How to: Receiving Line and Fast Family Portraits


Should I Do a Receiving Line and How to Make Family Wedding Super Fast

you should consider the pros and cons of a receiving line

Often times, couples like to have a receiving line immediately following their wedding ceremony. We like to have couples consider the pros and cons of receiving lines. They give you a chance to greet your guests, however, they tend to take up a lot of time and often eat into the time couples have reserved for their formal portraits.

We find that a better solution is to greet your guests during dinner. This gives you a chance talk to everybody and maximize time for portraits and at your reception.

how to have an efficient receiving line

If you are going to have a receiving line, the most efficient way is to release your guests row by row. We find this takes about half the time as standing where the guests are exiting the event space.

To release guests row by row, simply come back to the front after the ceremony and greet your guests one row at a time. This still has the benefit of letting you see all of your people, but gives you more control over the pacing.

Greeting your guests row by row also releases your family first, giving them a chance to go to the bathroom before family portraits start and a chance to mingle with the other guests.

how to have fun, fast, and easy family portraits

Family portraits have a bad rap. People feel like family portraits take way too long, slowing down the energy of the wedding day. We have figured out a way to make family portraits a breeze!

There are three main problems brides and grooms run into with family portraits. First, people often get lost! Inevitably someone is in the bathroom, changing a dirty diaper, or at the bar. Second, people do not know who is included in the photos. Every other wedding an aunt is asking me if she is supposed to be there for the pictures. Finally, people often don’t know where they are supposed to be and when they are supposed to be there.

The simple solution is a clear plan and good communication. Tell family members three times when and where they are supposed to be.

Before the wedding, decide who you want included in family photos - you do not have to stick to blood relatives! If there is a childhood friend who is like an aunt, you are welcome to include them in your photos!

After you have decided who you will include, tell them three times where they are supposed to be for family photos and when.

  1. Have a parent on each side of the family call/text/email the family members to be included a couple of days before the ceremony. The message should run something like this: We want you to be a part of our family photos! Please meet up front immediately following the ceremony/receiving so that we can have fun, fast, and easy family photos.

  2. At your rehearsal dinner, take a moment to explain that family photos will happen right after the ceremony/receiving line.

  3. Have the officiant make an announcement at the end of the ceremony: “Could the extended family please meet up front for photos immediately after the ceremony/reception.”

If you make the extra effort for clear communication on the front end, you will be rewarded with a smooth sailing day!