Wedding Day Schedule

Wedding Traditions You Can Skip - The Receiving Line


Why the Receiving Line is Optional

Okay, I'll admit it... I'm not a fan of receiving lines. Generally I'm a very live and let live kind of person when it comes to wedding day planning and preferences, but receiving lines are one thing I think of as being not only optional, but in most cases, better off being skipped! 

Here are a few reasons why receiving lines and I do not get along: 

  • They take forever. Seriously, like forever. And if you're on a tight wedding day timeline, a receiving line could take up to 45 minutes of your post-ceremony picture time (or more), and cut into you enjoying your cocktail hour with your guests! 
  • Receiving lines have very little visual variety, from a photography standpoint. After about the first half dozen pictures of hugging, all the photos look the same because the couple (the subject of the photo) isn't moving, so there's no visual variety to shake things up! 
  • Receiving lines don't just take forever for the couple, but also for their family and friends. Do you know what kids dislike just as much as needing to be quiet for the entire duration of a wedding ceremony? Long lines filled with grown-ups. You know what grown-ups dislike? Also lines. 

I know what you're thinking... "Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel!" But, I'm not all doom and gloom! Here are some nice alternatives to the traditional receiving line that are more comfortable for your guests, and provide more visual variety for your photos, while still ensuring you get to greet everyone and that every aunt in attendance gets to pinch your cheek and give you a hug! 

  • Couples can dismiss guests from their seats. This allows guests to remain seated, rather than awkwardly half-standing/half-sitting like you do when you're trying to get in a traditional receiving line. Dismissing guests from their seats also ends up going a little more quickly than traditional receiving lines, so that's a bonus!
  • Couples can skip both the traditional receiving line and dismissing guests and go straight to any after-ceremony photos so that they can meet back up with guests during the cocktail hour! This plan has a lot of bonuses! For one, you get nicer interactions with your guests after they've had a bathroom break and have drinks and snacks. For two, you get way more visual variety in your photos, and more relaxed, casual and fun interactions with your guests. Win/win!

Regardless of what you decide to do, planning is key, so make sure to build plenty of time into your wedding day schedule for whatever method of guest-greeting you plan on doing, enjoy the day, and feel free to skip the receiving line! 


p.s. If you'd like to read more on planning a wedding day schedule, click here! 


Five Tips for the Perfect Wedding Day Schedule


Wedding Day SCHEDULING 101! 

If you're planning a wedding, creating a wedding day schedule that works well and takes into account all the moving pieces of a wedding day is one of the most important things that you can do to help your day go smoothly. Here are five tips to help you craft the perfect wedding day schedule! 

Tip 1

If you plan on taking any outdoor photos (pretty please take outdoor photos!) then the first thing you want to look at and plan around is sunset. The absolute best time for photos is the hour to hour and a half before sunset. It isn't known as the Magic Hour for nothing! Once you know what time sunset is (and make sure to take Daylight Savings Time into consideration), you know when your most important photo window is and can plan accordingly! The Magic Hour is the best time for formal photos and more intimate couples photos. 

Tip 2

Let your vendors help you! Even if you don't have a wedding planner, I can guarantee that your wedding vendors (photographer, venue, DJ, caterer, etc.) will all have some great advice on how to make the most out of your time. After all, the reason you hired them is that they are experts on weddings, so why not tap into those resources to get advice on your timeline? Your photographer is going to be your go-to person for planning the timeline up through cocktail hour, while your DJ (and your caterer/venue) is going to be your best resource for planning the events and timeline of your reception. 

Tip 3

Do you plan to do a first look? We're BIG fans of first look photos (click here for a more in depth discussion of why we love first look photos!) If you are planning on doing a first look, this frees up your timeline, and allows you more flexibility with your schedule to do things like knock out formal photos before the ceremony so you can enjoy your cocktail hour afterward. Also, you won't have to spend half the day avoiding the person you're about to spend the rest of your life with! 

Tip 4

Consider skipping the traditional receiving line so that you can spend more time mingling with guests in a meaningful way either at the cocktail hour or the reception! Your photos will have more visual variety, and you won't spend a half an hour to an hour standing in one place shaking hands! 

Tip 5

While every photographer is different, we ask our couples to plan for at least 30 minutes for photos of just the two of them, 30 minutes for wedding party shots, and 20 minutes for family shots. (Most couples only include parents, grandparents, and siblings so this is totally feasible within that timeframe!) Mileage will vary depending on each couple's circumstances, wedding party size, and a whole host of other factors. This is where (per tip #2) vendors can really come in handy to make suggestions that are relevant to your unique situation! 

We hope these tips help you as you start looking at your wedding day schedule, and happy planning! 

-- Sam