In recent years, receiving lines have fallen out of popularity in wedding circles. Couples tend to prefer the organic feeling of mingling with their guests during their reception. As I've continued observing the different methods couple's try using to mingle with their guests I've come up with some pros and cons that each couple may want to consider before officially nixing the receiving line.
Doing a receiving line takes the pressure off of the bride + groom to ensure that they get to every table during the reception. If not timed correctly, sometimes guests will start dancing before the couple makes their complete round. There is also greater potential that the couple will miss out on the meal because they're so worried about getting to every table.
It can be awkward if the couple doesn't know a fair amount of their guests. It's also not very enjoyable for the guests to wait in line to see the couple.
There is more time to spend dancing and celebrating at the reception. The couple can connect with their nearest and dearest friends during the reception instead of getting stuck in a drawn out get-to-know-you conversation with a cousin they haven't seen in almost a decade.
If the couple skips out on a first look and didn't do very many photos pre-ceremony, doing a receiving line can cut into time for photos. Guests are just excited to see the couple and don't tend to think about being on a schedule or what the couple might need to do besides the receiving line before the reception. Also, the bride's hair and makeup can also get messed up from all the hugs, along with the groom's boutonniere.
It allows for a smoother transition from the end of the ceremony to the exit to the reception.
Because of the rushed atmosphere of a receiving line it can be more difficult for the bride and groom to introduce each other to friends and family the other has never met.
A good method for making a receiving line less awkward for both your bridal party and your guests is to only include the people that will actually know the majority of the guests. Include the bride, groom, and their parents and leave the bridal party and the rest of the party out of the lineup.
Are you for or against receiving lines?