How Should I Dismiss My Wedding Guests?

During my excursions of wedding videography I have run across both ways of dismissing your guests after the ceremony. It is the question that many couples face, and I myself am facing as my 2015 wedding day approaches.

So, which is better?

Standing in the back and having guests walk by or dismissing people by pews? Here is what I have gathered through my experiences.


The Line Walk

To me this seems to be the more traditional method of guest dismissal.

Weddings that I attended as a child would see the wedding party stand in the back or outside the hall and the guests walking by to greet and congratulate them. From what I have seen in filming weddings is that this method tends to see more personal interaction between the couple and select guests while others slip by the couple without saying a word, and others still lag behind in the chapel.

This creates lag in the proceedings and may alienate people who want to congratulate you, but can’t because Great Aunt Edna won’t stop telling you how beautiful you are.

The good news is that if you and cousin Eddie hate each other you won’t have to live through the awkward hug as he passes you by.

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The Pew Dismissal

This is a much more structured way of dismissal.

The couple goes to each and every pew and dismisses them one at a time. This gets people to leave the hall directly after you greet them, and smoothly moves things towards the reception.

As mentioned above there is no way to avoid the awkward hug with cousin Eddie, and many of your guests who sat in the back start to get antsy as they want to leave the hall. As you keep things moving you have less time to talk to people, but everyone gets greeted and everyone gets moving.


So what works best?

The hardest part of a wedding is trying to enjoy your day while sticking to a schedule.

For the sake of time and not leaving anyone out who came to celebrate your special day, I would say that pew dismissal is the best format for the guest dismissal.

Sure there is a moment of awkwardness with cousin Eddie, but Aunt Sue will get her turn with you as Edna won’t be able to steal all of your time, and everyone will move out of the hall so you can get those in-between pictures that will be much more difficult if guests want to linger.