Receiving Lines – The Good and the Bad
When planning your ceremony you’ll come across a decision to be made about the ending. You’re walking down the aisle as a married couple, but then what? That’s where the tradition of receiving lines comes in… but it’s not exactly that simple!
Receiving lines, if you’re unfamiliar, are where you as a couple (and sometimes your whole wedding party and/or your parents) stand at the back of your ceremony space afterward and greet each and every guest in attendance. As you can imagine, there are good and bad aspects to this tradition!
One of the best things about having a receiving line is obvious: you get to say hi to and hug everyone who came to your wedding. Some couples choose to even get photos with everyone during this time. If that is a huge priority to you for your wedding day – receiving lines can be an efficient way of accomplishing this goal! They are certainly an ideal way of ensuring you get time with each of your guests, and if you choose to have your parents in the line with you, they’ll appreciate this time too.
There are some pretty big downsides to this tradition, too. One of the biggest issues receiving lines cause is in your timeline. The amount of time receiving lines take is, honestly, quite a lot. And it’s impossible to know just how much time in the timeline to allot for them! Aunt Sue might talk to you or your mom for several minutes, and when you have several friends and family members do that it really adds up. Your receiving line could take half an hour!
Another downside is that this time can be kind of awkward. Oftentimes this is the first time you’re meeting your new spouse’s extended family. Do you really want to introduce yourself in 20 seconds? It’s a little impersonal. And hugging 150 people when you only know half of them is an introvert’s nightmare!
Overall, the decision to have a receiving line comes down to the purpose of it. If you’re just doing it for tradition, maybe consider skipping it. If, however, you really desire that time with everyone and you definitely want a photo with all your guests, the receiving line is easily the best and most efficient way to do so. A new alternative more couples are doing is making time during the reception to stop by each table – that could be a better fit for your day! Whatever you choose – if you put in the time to figure out what feels right, there’s no wrong answer!
Header image by Cameron C Photography