if you had asked me about a receiving line years ago i would have said "they're long and annoying," but now i have a totally different feeling about them. read on.
this weekend i had the pleasure of attending my awesome friend's wedding and she had a receiving line. although i did have time to slip back into the "getting ready" room to get a quick snack before i jumped into the receiving line, i must say it was great! let me tell you why:
1) as a guest you get a chance to look the wedding couple in the eyes and give them your personal congratulations. you have their un-divided attention, even for just a moment or two. you often don't get this at the reception.
2) as a the wedding couple you get to greet every single guest sincerely, which means if you miss chatting with a few folks at the reception it's not as big a deal since you already greeted them in line. you get to thank them for coming and then pass them along to your new spouse. short and sweet!
we didn't have one at our wedding and instead we went to every single table and greeted our guests. i had scheduled 1 hour to do this at the recption during dinner but it took over 2! i wanted to greet everyone because people had traveled so far to attend our wedding. because it took so long our recption schedule got WAY off track and we had to hire the photographer for another hour at the last minute (at $$$$/hr, not cool!) because she was almost done and we hadn't cut the cake or danced the first dance.
ask me now and i say "if you have a lot of guests, definitely have a receiving line!"