Do you need a receiving line at your wedding reception? When do you do a receiving line at a wedding? What is an alternative to a receiving line? Ah, so many questions! We’re tackling the wedding receiving line in today’s blog post! Read all about it below + subscribe for the latest to your inbox, free!
When Kate wrote us over the weekend, I wanted to swoop in and answer her question right away. If you’re planning your reception, you may be wondering: do I have to have a receiving line?
P.S. I’m answering this in full in vlog format if you’d prefer. Watch it and/or read it below!
Kate writes us with this question,
“Hi Emmaline, I’m planning my reception and I want to do a grand entrance where my husband and I are announced along with the wedding party. My mom wants us to do a receiving line but I don’t want guests to see us before the entrance. Do I have to do a receiving line at my wedding?”
Great question, Kate! Whether or not to have a receiving line at a wedding is a tough question, especially when your mom wants you to do one thing and you want to do a grand entrance instead. However, it’s pretty typical for couples today to skip the receiving line and opt for a large, momentous grand entrance instead. Let’s discuss what you can do instead.
Do You Have to Do a Receiving Line?
So, is a receiving line mandatory at a wedding?
The short answer: no.
The long answer: no, but… you DO need to greet your guests in some way.
When is a receiving line at a wedding?
A receiving line is typically done at the start of the reception. The newlyweds, their parents, and the wedding party form a line near the entrance of the reception to greet guests one-on-one as they enter the space. In this way, you’re able to engage with guests directly and greet each one individually, which is a wonderful thing to do.
How long does it take?
How long does a receiving line take? It probably takes about 20 minutes or so, estimating this upon 75 guests. However, it’s usually pretty short-and-sweet, as guests just say a few words of hello and you’re greeting them one by one, as they make their way to their seats. It’s a short moment that many couples enjoy, but it’s not for everyone.
What are some alternatives?
If you’re looking for a receiving line alternative, we have a great suggestion. There’s no rule that states you have to do a receiving line at your wedding, but you DO need to greet your guests. So, skip the receiving line if you wish and choose one of my favorite wedding receiving line alternatives instead: greet guests at each table. Go table-to-table at your reception, with your new spouse, and greet guests together directly.
To follow proper wedding etiquette, you’ll want to choose either a receiving line OR greeting guests at each table. Don’t worry: if you opt for the latter, I think your mom will be happy, too. :) She likely just wants to make sure your guests are greeted properly.
When do you go table to table?
When should you do this alternative? Probably during dinner, or immediately following. You can also do it right upon making your grand entrance. Simply make your way around the reception space and go to each table to greet your guests. Engage in conversation, thank them for coming to your wedding, and make them feel welcome. In this way, you’re doing the same thing you’d be accomplishing with a receiving line — greeting guests directly — but you’re doing it on your own time and in your own way.
Work with your DJ and wedding coordinator to see when a good window of time is available. You don’t want to wait too long and risk missing out on guests (in case anyone needs to leave early). The night goes by quickly, so keep this in mind.
This is a great thing you can do during dinner, or immediately following.
I hope it helps!