Today's blog is going to be all about the receiving line. What is a receiving line? A receiving line usually happens right after the ceremony. The wedding couple will great each of their guests as they either leave the ceremony site or as they walk into cocktail hour. It's a way for guests to give their congratulations to the wedding couple and for the couple to thank their guests for coming to the wedding. A lot of my couples ask me about receiving lines and if they should do one or if it's okay to skip them and how long they will take. There are pros and cons to doing a receiving line so keep reading for more info!
The main pro of having a receiving line is that you get to say thank you to all of your guests and they can give you their well wishes. Wedding days are BUSY and you have a lot of things on your plate and you just want to have fun and dance the night away during your reception. Sometimes once the reception starts you don't get a lot of time to go around and see everyone so the receiving line fixes that problem.
While it may seem like a receiving line is the way to go after you read that last paragraph, there is a catch. The main con of doing a receiving line is that it takes up sooooo much more time than you think it will! A lot of couple just think that receiving lines will take 15 minutes but the reality is that they can take 1+ hours. If you have 200 wedding guests and each guest talks to you for just 1 minute, that means your receiving line would take 3 hours! WHAT! Now, it is true that families will talk to you all at once, as will couples, so that will cut down on that time a bit. However, some people will want to talk to you for longer than 1 minute so some family groups could take longer.
If you do decide that a receiving line is for you, you will want to try to keep the line moving along. Make sure you and your spouse are saying quick hellos and moving on to the next person. If your parents are also a part of the receiving line, let them know that they need to keep the receiving line moving along. They can help keep people moving so you won't have to.
If you don't want to risk being stuck in a receiving line for a long time but you also want to make sure you are able to say hello to all of your guests, then there are still a few other things that you can do! These are great alternatives to receiving line!
The first alternative is to go around to the tables after you are done eating. The wedding couple is always served their meal first so you will be done eating before all of your guests are. Once you are done eating, you can walk around to each reception table and say some quick hellos while your guests are finishing up their meals. This goes by quicker than receiving lines because you are greeting multiple guests at once at each table and because you already have this dinner time accounted for in your timeline. You are able to eat your dinner and then say a quick hello to everyone at each table.
The second alternative is called the Table Photo Challenge. For this one, you don't really get to talk to your guests but you get a photo with everyone! Your photographer and DJ are a big part of this one. Basically what happens is that your DJ will make an announcement that you will be doing this challenge. You will have 1 song (so about 3 minutes) to run around to each table and take a photo with each table. This is fun because you get to scramble around (as do your guests), you get a photo with each table, and the whole exercise only takes about 3-4 minutes. Your guests know that this is a fast event to they won't talk to you for a long time during this event but they still get a photo.
What do I recommend? I usually recommend to my couples to skip the receiving line and to do one of the alternatives instead. This saves precious time on the wedding day and lets your guests enjoy cocktail hour. Doing the table rounds during dinner or a table photo challenge will still let you see each of your guests and won't take up a ton of time. With that said, this is your wedding day! If you really want to do a receiving line, then do it! This is your day!