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The receiving line,
when and where?
There is growing discomfort with receiving lines. If you don't do a receiving line, however, it's up to you to be sure you greet and talk to each and every wedding guest. That can be tricky in the swirl of reception activities. If Aunt Gladys came all the way from Winnamucca and you miss thanking her for coming to your wedding, there may be hell to pay!

I recommend you have a receiving line in order to offer every one of your guests at least one occasion to speak with you on the wedding day. Some of your good friends who saw you yesterday and will see you tomorrow may not find it necessary to do the receiving line. That just makes it shorter. But everyone had equal opportunity to meet and greet you!

Not every wedding attendant and family member needs to be in the receiving line. That will cut down the time spent in the receiving line by both you and your guests. The guests want to greet and congratulate the two of you! That's the main attraction. Check with families and at least Maid of Honor and Best Man. Who among them really wants to be in the receiving line with you? Many will not. One or two... mom perhaps... may.

Get your post-wedding "instant replay" and "line-up" pictures taken immediately after the wedding and let your guests precede you to the reception area. Let them go in and settle down a little. Don't make the receiving line the price of admission to the reception! It isn't fair to your guests to make everyone wait outside until you finish pictures.

When you join the guests at the reception there may be a set of formal introductions and entrances. Then go to a place in the reception area where nothing else is going on and form your receiving line there. Don't make the receiving line the price of admission to the food! Cue a few of your friends to be watching for you to set up the receiving line and ask them to get the line going. Once guests see the receiving line in progress, they will join it when the line is acceptably short, or when they finish talking to Uncle Henry, or after they snag another shrimp. It's up to them. If they choose not to participate in the receiving line at all, it's their choice. You haven't slighted them. 

Submitted by:
Dave Sugarbaker


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