There are pros and cons to having a receiving line directly after your wedding ceremony. If you choose to have a receiving line, you get a chance to greet each guest personally and thank them for being there for your special day. If you choose not to have a receiving line, you can get to the reception sooner and ensure that your guests don’t have to wait too long for dinner.
As a photographer, I definitely have an opinion on receiving lines. If you’ve already had a first look and taken bride and groom portraits, bridal party portraits, and family portraits all BEFORE the ceremony, I think receiving lines are a great idea and don’t cause any issues. If you schedule all your pictures for before the ceremony and want to have a receiving line, you definitely should!
If you don’t schedule all the pictures before the ceremony and still need to take bride and groom portraits, bridal party portraits, or family portraits AFTER the ceremony, I recommend NOT doing a receiving line for a few reasons.
1. Often times receiving lines can last up to an hour, depending on the wedding. If you still have to take pictures, they’re often rushed and you don’t feel relaxed.
2. After a receiving line, the groom’s boutonniere is squished and the bride’s hair usually isn’t quite the same. Portraits will look best before the ceremony or at least directly after the ceremony.
3. The bridal party and family tend to wander off during the receiving line time and it’s hard to gather them all again for pictures (speaking from experience here!). If you are planning on taking pictures after the ceremony, it’s definitely much easier and less stressful to do that without a receiving line.
I recommend skipping the receiving line and instead making sure to go to each table during the reception. This idea still gives you an opportunity to greet each guest individually and talk to them personally.