Do I Need to Have a Receiving Line at My Wedding? 4 Alternative Ideas for Greeting Your Guests

Photo courtesy of  Eric Foss Photography

Photo courtesy of Eric Foss Photography

A receiving line is a traditional way for a bride, groom, their parents, and members of the bridal party to say hello and thank you to their wedding guests all at once.

The sentiment behind a receiving line is one that I think should never be left out of a wedding day; all of your friends and family have come to celebrate you and they would love a little face time with the bride and groom. However, the exact practice of a traditional receiving line is one that can be modified in the spirit and style of your wedding day to better suit your personality. Here are a few ideas of ways to modify the traditional receiving line for your own wedding. I hope you find them helpful in making your receiving line or other guest greeting decisions!

1. A receiving line with just the bride and groom

This is a great option that allows your parents and bridal party to mingle with guests and be part of the party right away. It will also keep the line moving a little faster and allow guests to see the main attraction: the newly married couple!

2. Greeting guests as they arrive to your party

I've seen this done two ways, each of which require careful planning of the photography timeline. One is to greet guests at your ceremony site as they arrive. It will catch them off-guard, in a good way, and will allow you extra time to give hugs and say hello. The other option is to get all family and posed photos out of the way prior to the ceremony so that you can arrive at the reception venue before your guests. You and your groom can be waiting inside with drinks in hand, ready to greet and mingle and get your party started!

3. Visiting each table throughout the reception

If your wedding is large, this may not be ideal, but if you are having a smaller affair, this is a great way to say hello and thank you to each of your guests. Your guests will really appreciate you stopping to show your gratitude!

4. Mix it up!

Not sure which receiving method is best for you? Think about how you could mix up the methods within your wedding timeline to keep the event moving, while also making sure you have time to say hello to everyone. Also, consider your guests: do your college friends care if you stop at their table, or would they rather party with you on the dance floor? You could do cocktail hour greeting and mingling for a bit, then walk around to tables of guests who are less likely to be on the dance floor, and then hit the dance floor to celebrate with the rest of your guests.

Really, there are no hard and fast rules, so make it you!

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