No wedding receiving line: Socially distanced ways to greet your wedding guests

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Original photo by melberry29

I have a condition called fibromyalgia which causes me near constant pain and makes me feel tired very easily. I am really worried about how to deal with receiving lines (shaking hands and hugging are extremely uncomfortable for me).

Can you think of any alternatives or polite ways to weasel out of the physical contact?


[related_post align=”right”]Laura, there are tons of non-touchy alternatives to the receiving line. Let's pull back the receiving line tradition and get down to the nitty gritty: you want a way to make each guest feel personally welcome and appreciated for making it to your wedding.

There are tons of ways to do so that don't force your guests to wait in line to shake your hand, and also allow you to conserve your energies on your wedding day. These ideas also work great for shy couples who shrivel up inside when they think of facing down a line of 100+ people waiting to touch them.

Serve your guests dessert

I love how Ali & Phil donned aprons and served their guests ice cream at their wedding. You could serve your guests cake or cupcakes or any other dessert, too. This allows you to interact with every single one of your guests, but you're safely tucked behind a table where they can't fondle you.

ice cream scoopers in african aprons


Have a cocktail reception before the wedding

This was the route we took. Since our guests had to ride a ferry to get to the wedding, we wanted to have a gentle start time to allow for folks missing ferries. The hour before our ceremony was spent welcome guests and having cocktails in the sun. It's not quite as non-touchy as having a dessert table between you and your guests' loving arms, but it's the least formal way to greet your guests.

Greet guests at their tables as they eat

Have your partner hold your hand or have an arm around your waist as you walk through the reception area chatting with guests as they eat. The physical contact from your partner is not only romantic, but it also makes it clear that your personal space is already taken up with them. And since your guests are sitting and nomming while you're standing, there's less pressure than a receiving line.


It's really hard for guests to hug you when you're wearing a big beautiful set of wedding wings. Bonus: wings are visually stunning and totally unique. This Etsy seller makes some guh-guh-GORGEOUS wings.


Remember that ultimately the goal is to make guest traveling from afar feel personally welcomed by both of you. It's just about finding a way to do so that allows you to preserve your personal space.

Now I'll open it to the peanut gallery — any other ideas for how Laura can greet her guests without getting groped?

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