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What Is A Receiving Line And Do You Need One?

The purpose of a receiving line is so that all of your guests have the opportunity to meet and greet with you after you’ve gotten married. We all know that the wedding reception goes quickly and often times we aren’t able to greet every single one of our guests. It’s a bummer that you spend all that time planning and figuring for your big day that you don’t even get to see your closest and dearest of friends and family. So have you thought about a receiving line?


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Most of the time it is just the bride and the groom, but you will often see the parents of the bride (since the parents of the bride usually host) and the bridal party! If you like, you can also include the grooms parents; You may include whomever you like to complete your receiving line, just be aware, you may have to make introductions if you have a lengthy line.


A receiving line gives you the opportunity to see all the special people that you wanted to spend your day with; You may not have time during your reception to meet and greet all of your guests.


A receiving line usually takes place after the ceremony sometime before the reception, maybe even during the reception!


Where you have your receiving line is totally up to you and your spouse! If you would like to have it at your ceremony site? Do it! If you want to have it before you enter your reception, go for it!


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If you are thinking about having your receiving line after the ceremony, you may have your DJ or pastor announce for your guests to stay seated until otherwise advised. Once you (and your wedding party) have retreated back down the aisle, you can dismiss your guests row by row and greet them that way. This may be your best option! If you do not wish to dismiss your guests row by row, have them dismissed after you’ve line up at the back for them to retreat down the aisle and greet you and your new spouse!

If you are thinking of having your receiving line at your reception (this may be a little tricky to organize due to having to stick to your schedule), you’ll have to be waiting in line for your guests to get to your reception site if you want your line to be organized and to see everyone else.

You could have your guests automatically sit down at their designated spot and wait for you to arrive; They could then be dismissed by table to come and greet you. This may not be the most time-wise method as your guests will be waiting for your to arrive while you have pictures taken and then they’ll be waiting for the guests to go through the receiving line.


You’re guaranteed time with everyone.

More time to dance at the reception!

The introductions are done!


Time consuming.

You have to do all the introductions.

Less picture/reception time.


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  1. Make sure you have something in your stomach. Even if you aren’t hungry, be sure to have a little food in your belly. You are going to be doing a lot of talk to a lot of people and a lot of standing. You don’t want to get light-headed while you’re greeting your guest!
  2. Hydrate! Have water close by while you’re doing a lot of talking, especially if you have your wedding planned for the summer time!
  3. Take a few moments to sit down or take a break. You just go married!!! That is huge and exciting and awesome! Be sure to give yourselves a few moments to just breath. Your guests will surely understand!
  4. Seating… Not only for you, but for your guests as well. You may have guests with health issues or elderly loved ones that can’t take standing for long periods of time.

Be courteous when thinking of how to plan your receiving line, have water, seating, and time. Receiving lines can be time consuming, but they can be oh-so worth it. You will not regret those extra few minutes with your guests and they will feel extra special to have those few moments with you. Happy planning!!

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