There is a lot to consider when deciding whether to have a receiving line or not. Let’s start with the basics of a traditional receiving line.
Receiving lines allow you the opportunity to meet with and thank every guest individually. They also allow your guests face-to-face time with the VIPs of the night and offer their congratulations. Traditionally, the receiving line includes the bride’s parents, the bride and groom, and the groom’s parents, and typically occurs right after the ceremony.
Here are some different variations:
Receiving lines offer large weddings the opportunity to see everyone; however, this can take a substantial amount of time, so keep that in mind when planning your timeline. It takes approximately 20 seconds per guest, so for about 150 people, plan on about 45 minutes.
Instead of the Traditional Receiving Line…
There are also other options you may choose instead of following the tradition.
Cocktail Hour- Mini-Receiving Line:
If you still want to include a receiving line, but modify it, consider this variation. If you have taken pictures beforehand, you may consider a mini-receiving line, as guests enter cocktail hour. You can ask parents to greet by the place card table and you and your groom can greet as guests enter. Should you choose this option, you may want to consider extending cocktail hour by 30 minutes to ensure you get to take part in cocktail hour festivities, too.
Cocktail Hour- Mix & Mingle:
Forgoing a receiving line altogether, simply join your guests at the cocktail hour. Instead of having a separate bridal party cocktail room, you can meet and greet your guests during cocktail hour and use that time to eat, drink, and mingle throughout the room.
Make Your Rounds Reception Style:
Greet guests at their tables during the reception. Make your way around the room to each table. This also allows for guests to take pictures with you and your groom.
These variations ensure your guests do not have to wait in a long line to see you. This can be frustrating for guests, especially if weather conditions are a concern.
Either way, when deciding to stick with tradition or modify your receiving line plan, the bottom line is to thank each of your guests for coming and sharing in this special occasion with you.