One thing that you may not think about when you are planning a wedding, is actually planning time to spend with your guests. On paper, your wedding might seem like a long day but in reality it will fly by! Sit down with your planner and your fiance and do a mental walk through of your day, if you don't already have time budgeted to greet and mingle with your guests now is a good time to move some things around. Afterall your guests are there to see you, and some of them may have traveled far or may have had to cancel other obligations so that they could attend. Here are a few ways to help you get some face time with your guests. Receiving Line - According to the rules of etiquette, the receiving line should be formed at the reception following the ceremony or, according to other sources, immediately after the wedding ceremony before your guests leave for the reception. The order of the line is as follows: Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Groom, Bride, Groom, Maid of Honor and finally the bridesmaids. The most formal receiving line does not include the men of the bridal party (with the exception of the groom). Child attendants are also left out of this one. The order and makeup of the receiving line is acceptably open to change. Such exceptions include adding the groomsmen and fathers, adding children attendants or changing the order or the line.
If you choose to follow tradition, you'll want to decide whether to have the receiving line at the ceremony or reception site. When making your decision, consider the needs of your guests, the weather, the space required for the line and any other special circumstances. You won't want to be standing in the rain and neither will your guests. You also don't want to make your guests wait around for too long standing in line, so consider ways to make the process efficient and comfortable for everyone.
Your Options The receiving line does play a crucial role in your wedding celebration. Standing in a receiving line allows you to meet your new family and greet each guest personally. The flip side of that is your guests may not necessarily enjoy standing in line, so be conscious of their comfort by limiting the time you spend with each guest and accommode elderly guests by visiting them at their seats or seeing them first. Greeting the guests is a necessary part of your evening, it is up to you to decide how traditional or creative you would like to be.
Meet and Greet - If you opt for First Look Photography, (Bride and Groom Portraits before the Ceremony) you can get your wedding party, bride and groom, and even some family photos done before the ceremony starts. Then you can finish up your photos after the ceremony and enjoy your cocktail hour with your guests.
Pass Out Plates - Passing out the dinner plates to your guests is an alternative to the receiving line, as guests are usually released by table so that means your guests won't be standing in line longer than necessary. This might also make it a little more comfortable for you and your fiance so that you aren't overwhelmed by so many people at once.
Make Your Rounds - Mingle with your guests by visiting each table, allow guests to get a snapshot with you or have your photographer or videographer accompany you to the tables to catch the kodak moments! If you want to spice up this option you can have the DJ announce at the start of your dinner that you have placed well-wishes, or advice cards at their tables for them to fill out for the couple. After Dinner, you can make your way around the room and collect the cards in a card box or bag.
Photobooth - If you rented a photobooth or perhaps made your own photobooth set-up, invite your guests by table to take a picture with you.
Snowball Dance - If visiting each table or greeting guests in a line doesn't appeal to you, consider socializing on the dance floor by starting a snowball dance. You can mix it up by thinking of creative ways to switch partners such as having the DJ ask you to dance with someone older or younger than you, someone you haven't met yet etc.
Hand out treats/Favors or Parting Gifts - Handing out favors or late night snacks is another way to mingle, or to take another opportunity to visit with guests before they get ready to head home. It is another chance to catch anyone that you missed earlier in the evening, and hopefully to get to chat a little more with the relatives you haven't gotten to see for awhile or those who you are meeting for the first time.
There are surely pros and cons to each of these options, but the point is that you can truly be creative and find your own personal way to connect with your guests at your wedding. The memory of this day will live on, so make the most of it!