So a lot of times I ask my couples if they are going to do a receiving line or not. This might seem like a strange question because why would your photographer care whether or not you do a receiving line? In reality, it can actually take up quite a big chunk of photo time depending on how your day is scheduled.
Are you doing a first look, or traditional?
So whenever my couples already do a first look usually a receiving line it’s not a big issue because all the photos are finished family formals are done and really we just have cocktail hour and then maybe some sunset portraits left to do so having a receiving line at that point really is not going to cut in on any portraits.
If those you are doing a traditional wedding where you haven’t seen each other before the ceremony I really encourage couples to consider not doing a receiving line and greet guests when the reception is started. Let’s say you have like 200 guests at your wedding, by the time you get through and greet everyone usually has it taking like 15 to 20 minutes if not more. Even if you have the mindset where you’re just gonna give a quick hi, hug and move down the line there will always be someone who wants to chat for a little bit. Or maybe you want to introduce them to your new spouse because they are a family friend or childhood teacher.
The bottom line is that receiving lines are great when you have time to kill but really they can just cause added stress to you if you need to do family formal’s, wedding party photos, and the bride and groom portraits.
One way to greet guests is at your reception after you’ve done your toasts and grand entrance you can walk over to each table and greet everybody and sometimes I’ll take the opportunity to like grab a photo of the entire table with the two of you you know that’s a good option as well.
The Quickest Receiving Line Formula
Another thing that you can do for a receiving line to try and take up less time while still going through and seeing all of your guests is to dismiss your guest by row personally.
So the psychology behind this idea is that if you wait at the end of the aisle and have ushers dismiss your guests, you are going to cause a really large line and people are going to stand and chat with you for a long time. But if you walk back down and dismiss all of your guests yourself it tends to go a lot quicker because people don’t want to be the one to hold up other people from being able to get out of their seats. So it is kind of a way to approach a receiving line just to make sure that everything keeps following a little bit quicker and this is helpful if you have a party bus or cocktail party you want to get to and don’t want to spend 45 minutes in receiving live.
My goal as an Iowa wedding photographer is to make sure you can get the most out of your wedding day. I hope this blog post helps you in deciding if you should have a receiving line or not!