Operation: Have as little of a break between the ceremony and reception as possible.
When there's a huge break between the ceremony and the reception...it's always a bit weird, especially if you're from out of town. The break between our ceremony and reception is 2 hours at most, and the reception hall will be open for our guests to go and relax if they choose. This means we have a small window of time between the ceremony and the reception to take pictures with our wedding party in Forest Park. We're taking as many pictures beforehand as possible with the families at the church pre-ceremony.
Long story short, since the time between the ceremony and reception is so small, doing the traditional receiving line after the ceremony means we would have maybe 30 minutes left for pictures, which definitely doesn't work. We thought about talking to people at the reception, but you really run the risk of not being able to talk to everyone, and some people might not be there, blah blah blah. Plus, the selfish side of me did not want to spend the party portion of the reception making small talk and not partying. I know, call me what you want in the comments, but I've been planning this wedding for over a year and I want to party.
After much deliberation, Ryan and I have decided to have our receiving line before the ceremony at the church. We're going to talk to people as they walk in, before they reach the guest book.
It'll be just Ryan and I; the bridal party and our parents can talk and mingle as they so choose. We'll start greeting people around 4:15, and since the ceremony starts at 5, there's a definite cap on this. Since the ceremony will start promptly at 5, we'll just talk to who we can talk to before then and then retreat around 4:50 or so to get ready for the aisle walk. This way the receiving line can't possibly run on for forever, since we have a ceremony to start.
Quick aside. We are seeing each other before the ceremony, as I'm sure you've deduced. I haven't been hiding pictures of me in my wedding dress from Ryan, and we're getting lots of pictures done before the ceremony together. When we first started wedding planning, I was planning on keeping the first look for the aisle walk, but then I read into the tradition behind it (there's a super brief overview of the tradition here), and we decided that the tradition did not hold a lot of meaning for us.
Ryan mentioned last night that we need to come up with a quick, polite line when people inevitably ask us "But you're seeing each other before the ceremony, isn't that bad luck!?". I suggested something that involved an obscenity, and Ryan suggested something along the lines of "Shut up and go sit down." Obviously neither will work (though I will use the obscenity with my friends), so do you all have any suggestions?
What are you doing for your receiving line?