Blame it on technology and our ever-waning attention spans, but nobody, especially your guests, likes waiting in line. And who can blame them? Nowadays, more and more brides and grooms are seeking creative, alternative ways to greet their guests without cutting into valuable wedding time. So as not to waste anyone's time (yours included), say, "I do!" to these modern alternatives to the traditional receiving line.
1. Get Rid of the Rest of the Crew
If you want to have a receiving line, a modern version would be to just have the bride and groom greet all guests — instead of including both sets of parents and the bridal party, notes wedding planner Tracie Domino, founder of Tracie Domino Events. "This will move things along much more quickly and will be more enjoyable for your guests who won't have to make small talk with people they don't know.
2. Do a First Look so You Can Hang During Cocktail Hour
Having a small-ish wedding? Rather than taking a ton of photos and missing the entire cocktail hour, wedding and event planners Jennifer Arreguin and Natasha Burton of Swoon California, recommend spending this time going around as a couple to greet all of your guests. This works best for weddings that are about 120 guests and under, they advise. "And if you forget someone, simply find them on the dance floor later!"
3. Greet Guests as They Arrive at the Reception Venue
"I absolutely love when we have clients that host their ceremony in a church actually arrive at the venue before guests so that they can greet them at the entrance — where there is also champagne being passed, of course," tells Charleston-based wedding planner Francesca DiSalvo-Follmer of Pure Luxe Bride. "It's the perfect way for a quick hello and congrats as cocktail hour begins." We agree!
4. Go Around to Each Table
Seasoned planner Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques, says she's recently encountered several "traditional" brides who opted out of the receiving line after having watched their older siblings stand politely to greet guests for their entire wedding cocktail hour. While they did use this time to casually mix and mingle with guests, they also didn't eat much of their own dinners because they spent more time than typical visiting with guests at each of the individual tables. "The reality is, that whatever way you choose to greet your guests will take time — but it is completely necessary."
5. Throw a Welcome Party Beforehand
According to Malone, most destination brides and grooms don't even bother with a receiving line at their wedding because they've already spent the entire weekend with their guests, hosting welcome parties and rehearsal events. By the time the big day arrives, they've hung out with everybody there so there's no point in wasting good party time standing in a formal line when they could be having fun with their friends and family, she points out. "With that said though, it is important for destination brides and grooms to make a real effort to visit with guests for an extended period during the welcome party and other pre-wedding events they host so that everybody who traveled far feels like they got in good face time."