Receiving lines used to be the mainstay- you know, the awkward, time consuming line we've all been made to stand in to greet and well wish about 15 people we didn't know. Thankfully, the tradition has gone to the wayside a little, and couples are getting a little more creative with how they greet their guests. The fact is, even if you only have 80-100 people attending your ceremony or reception (a relatively small wedding, comparably), you'd still have to allot anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute per person. Just imagine if you have the 'average' guest list, which is anywhere from 150-200 people. Yikes.
The few times I have seen a receiving line make it into the timeline normally stems from one or two factors: 1) There is a family member insisting on the tradition or 2) There is a family member insisting on the tradition and only the bride and groom are greeting the line. While I'd still like to see the whole thing quietly make a permanent exit, the latter of the two is better than the former. If you're open to modernizing the idea (making sure you greet all of your guests at your wedding), here are some great ways that still ensure you say hi to everyone. Oh, and your guests will thank you. I affectionately call this 'receiving line' theVisit During Dinner Mingle: Here's how it works: Since you're the bride and groom, we make sure you two eat first, whether that means we'll be sending a bridal platter out so you can avoid the buffet line or that you'll receive your first two courses at the same time to make sure you are essentially done first. This will give you time to go table to table and say hi, while your guests are seated. We add the mingling to your timeline and allot anywhere from 30 minutes to 45 minutes to allow you to do this. This is my favorite way, and although we can't promise you we won't tap you on the shoulder every now and then when one table gabs for too long, it does make for a much more relaxed situation.
Other ideas might include leaving a personal (handwritten) note at each place setting thanking your guests, or even just making sure you're part of the cocktail hour to be around your guests. I still always recommend the visit during dinner, since this seems to be the best way for couples to actually talk to every single person attending their wedding.
Did you come up with any other ideas that worked well to fit your mingle in? Do tell!