For a Las Vegas wedding, some brides choose to include a traditional receiving line to welcome guests to the wedding. This ensures that each guest is greeted and has an opportunity to pass along their hugs, handshakes, and congratulations to the new Mr. and Mrs. Married Couple. However, what if standing for 45 minutes while a whirlwind of faces passes you by isn’t your idea of making memories? For any bride who’s hoping to greet her guests in a fun fashion, I’d like to offer several alternatives to a traditional receiving line as you continue your Las Vegas wedding planning.
Make the Rounds During Dinner and the Reception: As the bride and groom, you’ll be served dinner first. Once you finish your meal, mill about the dining area. As guests finish eating, stop by their tables to say a quick hello and squeeze in a hug. Don’t want to disrupt the dining? Then wait until after dinner and make the rounds during the reception. If you spend your time mingling at tables, dancing with guests on dance floor, or shaking hands near the bar, you’ll enjoy the evening and greet your guests.
What to watch for: If you speed around the room to quickly greet everyone during dinner, some guests many take your ease at quickly throwing out hellos as a sign they’re not important enough to receive a proper conversation. Don’t move too quickly from group to group. Give each guest time to talk too.
Remove the Head Table and Add Two Extra Seats to Each Guest Table: Let the emcee tell guests the reason behind the extra seats–the bride and groom will be joining them soon! Brides, once you receive your meal, take a seat and start chatting. At the conclusion of each song (make the music dinner-time appropriate; no chicken dances here), you and your groom will pick up your plates and move to the next table. Since most songs are about three minutes, it’s enough time to thank your guests for attending while giving them the opportunity to comment on your ceremony, marriage, etc. Since the music lets you know when to move, you don’t have to worry about being rude as you leave the table. As the emcee will explain, it’s just part of the game.
What to watch for: The bride and groom won’t have much time to eat. Unless you’re a skilled conversationalist who can get the table talking while you eat a few mouthfuls, you’ll likely have a rumbling tummy by the end of dinner hour. But if you have a smaller guest list, you can spend more song time at each table and eat too!
Serve your Guests their Dessert: After you and your groom ceremoniously cut the cake, position yourselves behind the cake table. Let your emcee/disc jockey announce that you’ll be serving cake, so guests are welcome to stop by the cake table for dessert and quality time with the happy couple. To speak freely with guests without stress, let someone else cut the cake while you and your groom serve the slices. With guests coming to you, you’ll save your energy, pay your guests your respect through this service, and enjoy a fun twist on tradition.
What to watch for: Some guests won’t stay until the cake-cutting time. Since you don’t want to miss your opportunity to greet each guest, include this special time of service in the program. Then guests may stay and you’ll be able to personally thank them for coming to celebrate with you.
Host a Money Dance During the Reception: During the dancing, the disc jockey will ask guests to line up to for the money dance, which lets the bride and groom make a little extra money for their honeymoon. For small change, big bucks, or even an I-owe-you, guests can dance with either the bride or groom. With each guest’s turn, you have time to share a few words as you dance together, giving guests personal moments to remember from your wedding.
What to watch for: Some guests do not feel comfortable dancing. Even if they’d love a special moment with you, nothing is going to convince them to step onto the dance floor. If you do have a money dance, you’ll likely have to incorporate another method to be sure you can greet every guest.
Form the “Circle of Love” on the Dance Floor: Ask your disc jockey to invite all your guests to gather around you, the bride and groom, on the dance floor. Once they’ve formed a circle, you can go around greeting guests as the music carries you quickly from person to person. While guests wait to be greeted, they’ll enjoy the environment. Included and involved, guests will love this way to let you, the happy couple, know how loved you are by everyone who’s come to celebrate with you on this special day.
What to watch for: If you wait too long into the dance party, you won’t have many guests left. However, if you’ve already made the rounds during your reception, then feel free to host this “circle of love” as a beautiful conclusion to your wedding day. But if this is your only receiving line alternative, then have your disc jockey form the circle earlier in the evening, like after the Grand Entrance, to ensure you’ll see each guest.
Have Happy Guests and a Happy Couple
Once you’ve considered these alternatives, pick one or two that best fit your and your groom’s personality. Then, take the tone of your wedding into consideration. With these modern methods, you’ll accomplish the goal of a receiving line without the long wait. With happy guests, a happy couple, and a refreshing twist on tradition, your Las Vegas wedding will be one to remember!
Author: Allyson Siwajian © 2011
Photographs of Anthony and Allyson Siwajian’s wedding taken by Jamison Frady of Quiet Art Photography © 2010 (Used by permission.)