Wedding Wednesdays Q&A: The Wedding Reception Line

Wedding Wednesdays Q&A by Jamie Chang Destination Wedding Planner of Mango Muse Events

Q: What do you think of a wedding reception line?  Do we need one?

First off, for those of you who don’t know what a reception line is, it’s an older formality where guests are greeted by the wedding couple and their parents before entering the wedding reception area.  It’s called a reception line because guests have to line up to be received by the hosts.  So, to answer your question, I like the idea of a wedding reception line, but not in practice.  Let me explain in more detail.

I think it’s great as a guest to be greeted and acknowledged at a wedding.  Most times you are just one amongst many especially if it is a particularly large wedding and unless you seek out the couple, you can easily go through the whole wedding and never say one word to the couple.  It is nice to feel wanted as a wedding guest and appreciated and in that respect, I think greeting each guest in a reception line is a great idea.

As a wedding couple, it’s also a good idea because you really are the hosts and to some degree it is your job to say hello and make sure people are having a good time.  Not only does a wedding reception line ensures you see everyone, but you can actually say your thanks and express your love.   However, in

In reality, though, wedding reception lines are not the best idea nor are they very fun.  It’s not fun for the couple or the parents to have to stand there for who knows how long and shake people’s hands and talk to people they don’t necessarily know.  It’s also not fun for the guests who have to stand in this reception line just to get inside.  It’s just not that pleasant for anyone, so I usually do not recommend having a wedding reception line.

However, if you do want to see everyone (which I think is nice), a good alternative is to go around and visit each table during dinner.  The couple can say hello to everyone that way and it’s much more casual.  You have the ability to have a longer conversation without holding up a line and you can say brief hellos to the people you don’t know or aren’t close to.  With parents, it’s also beneficial because they can just visit the tables that have their guests.

Another great idea that we do for most destination weddings is to hold multiple events during the week leading up to the wedding.  That way you get to spend time with your guests in a more intimate setting and don’t have to worry about seeing everyone at the wedding.  The events can be just for certain groups of people or for different groups that you want to get to know each other.  It creates memories and shared experiences that are a part of the entire wedding celebration, not just on the wedding day.

Wedding couple hugging wedding guests at a destination wedding in lieu of a wedding reception line

(Photo credit: David Pullum Photography)

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