Recently, I was working with a client and we were deciding whether she and her fiancé should do a receiving line. We came up with a list of pros and cons, and in the end, she opted not to. However, some of my couples do chose to do a receiving line after their ceremony. Six years ago at my own wedding, my husband and I chose to do a receiving line and it worked to our advantage, but it's not for every couple. I'll take you through some pros and cons of a receiving line to help you decide if it's right for you.
A receiving line is done immediately following your ceremony. Basically, the couple walks down the aisle for the first time as a married couple. They only walk to the back of the church or the back of their ceremony location. They stand there and wait for their guests to walk down the aisle to greet them. Guests will form a line to offer their congratulations to the new couple.
One of the benefits of doing a receiving line is that you get to formally say "hello" to all of your guests before your reception starts. This can eliminate the need to go around to all of your tables during the reception-- although proper etiquette would tell you to still do both.
One downside of doing a receiving line is that it eats up a lot of time- especially if you have a large wedding. Some guests will want to talk to you for several minutes, holding up the line. If you are pressed for time you need to take this into consideration.
Here's where I see a lot of couple opt to do a receiving line: You are getting married in a church at 2pm, then cocktail starts at 5pm somewhere else. This leaves you with a lot of time to get pictures taken, and time to say hello to all of your guests.
Here's when I suggest you don't do a receiving line: Your ceremony and reception are at the same venue, and you only have the venue for a total of 5 or 6 hours. You are pressed for time and your only option for bridal portraits is between your ceremony and reception...and you actually want to be at your cocktail hour.
Also, if you are having a super small wedding there really isn't a need for a receiving line. You can easily greet all of your guests during your reception.
Receiving lines are considered a traditional part of a wedding, however with so many couples now opting for non traditional weddings, receiving lines seem to be a thing of the past. If you decide to for-go a receiving line, you need to carve out time to say hello to each of your guests during cocktail hour or your reception. Nothing makes a wedding guest more upset than not getting to talk to the newlyweds.
When bride-to-be Nicole initially contacted me about possibly coordinating her wedding, I did everything I could to win her over. I wanted to do this wedding because her fiancé Sean was a member of the United States Marine Corps and had served our country oversees. I wanted to do my part, no matter how small, to help this couple have the wedding of their dreams. Also, Nicole and Sean were two of the nicest people I had ever met and I immediately wanted to work with them!
Nicole and Sean were married on November 12 at the Historic Penn Farm in New Castle, Delaware. This wedding involved a lot of DIY projects, and the venue was a complete blank canvas. The good thing about the venue is that it allowed the couple to completely transform the barn into the vision of their rustic, Fall wedding.
Nicole wanted to get married at this venue because she grew up on a farm, and wanted her guests to experience the serenity and beauty of the Historic Penn Farm. The mix of the rustic barn, plus the beautiful November weather made for a gorgeous wedding. Guests danced the night away to country music, played with props in the photo booth, and took selfies with polaroid cameras!
I loved all of the little details that bride Nicole had thought of. From the marine-themed toasting flutes, to the cowboy boots, to the old truck that served as an amazing backdrop for photos. All of these details perfectly showed off the bride and grooms personality!
Guests took home adorable succulents for their wedding favors.
Nicole and Sean took time during their reception to play the "shoe game", which was a fun and interactive game for guests to enjoy. It also allowed guests to get to know the newlyweds a little better!
I think I am turning into a sap, because lately my favorite moments of weddings have been the ceremony. This wedding was no different. I teared up throughout Nicole and Sean's vows to each other. It was clear to everyone that this couple was madly in love with each other.
This naked cake fit in perfectly with the rest of the décor.
Flower girl Liberty was the hit of the wedding!
Nicole and Sean did a "first look" before their ceremony, which is always a beautiful, intimate moment. I love that this couple involved Sean's son Liam, who also served as the ring bearer.
Here are some more of my favorite moments of the day. I had a lot of trouble narrowing it down to just a few pictures!
Nicole + Sean's team of Wedding Professionals:
Ceremony & Reception location: Historic Penn Farm
Wedding Coordinator: Table 1 Events
Caterer: Lapps Catering
Photography & Videography: Mobile Video and Photography
DJ: The Pros
Officiant: Pastor Brett Walker
Violinist: Wilmington String Ensemble
Rentals: Action Events
Bartenders: Swig Events
Cake: Barb Martin
Florist: Brenna Davis
Hair: Desorrae Webb
Photobooth: Oh! Snap That Photo Booths
Sammy and Bernard were married on October 29th (Halloween weekend!) at World Cafe Live at the Queen, which is a music venue in Wilmington, Delaware. When I met this couple, I knew immediately that they wanted a unique and fun wedding. They had a music-themed wedding, sprinkled with a mix of Halloween. This couple worked very hard to make sure their wedding was anything but cookie-cutter!
The venue totally fit the Sammy and Bernard's style and could easily be transformed into an event space.
The couple used their favorite CD albums instead of traditional table numbers. Each table had a picture of an album cover so that guests could find their seats.
One of my favorite moments of the wedding was the ceremony. Sammy had kept all of the flower petals that Bernard has ever given her (swoon!) and the flower girls used these petals when they walked down the aisle. This was such a beautiful event to see.
Bernard has three nephews who are triplets and served as the ring bearers. Once of the triplets was not able to walk down the aisle, so Bernard, with the help of his family, built a remote controlled car to help him. Read more about that here.
Sammy and Bernard made a painting during their wedding ceremony, as a symbol of their love and commitment to each other.
During cocktail hour the couple took bridal party portraits, however these were anything but boring! Sammy and Bernard rented the "Ghostbusters" car to take pictures in front of. They were such a fun couple to work with!
The picture below is one of my favorites!
Sammy's bridesmaids each wore different fall-colored dress, which perfectly fit in with the season.
The groomsmen added some flair to their attire by wearing fun socks!
The Bachelor Boys Band played throughout the reception as guests danced the night away.
Instead of a traditional guestbook, guests signed records! This was perfect for the music-themed event.
Sammy & Bernard's team of wedding professionals:
Ceremony & Reception location: World Café Live at the Queen
Day of Coordinator: Table 1 Events
Photographer: JFS Photography Design
Music: Bachelor Boys Band
Florist: Jill's Flowers and Frills
Cake: Sweet Somethings Desserts
Transportation: Dave's Limousine