The Receiving Line

The receiving line is a great way to greet each of your guests, and thank each one individually for coming. In fact, if you have more than 50 guests a receiving line is considered proper etiquette. The benefit of doing a receiving line is that it ensures you get face time with each and every guest. This way you don’t have to worry about finding and greeting everyone at the reception, which can cut into your fun time.

Typically, the receiving line takes place immediately after the ceremony or at the beginning of the reception. According to “the most commonly used ceremony site areas include the hallway or vestibule at the head of the aisle, outside the entry doors, down the front steps, or on the front porch. At your reception site the options are many, depending on the party space: consider the cocktail lounge, the lobby, just outside the doors leading into the main room, or the reception room itself, perhaps on the dance floor”. Another option would be to personally dismiss guests by row immediately after the ceremony.

If you’re wondering who should stand in the receiving line, it’s really up to you. Traditionally, the receiving line has the brides parents, the bride, the groom, and the grooms parents. However this can get lengthy and tricky if parents are divorced, remarried, etc. You could also choose to include the maid of honor and bridal party. Traditionally, the groomsmen are never included in the receiving line. However, it’s good advice to keep the receiving line short for practical reasons. Many couple opt to have a receiving line with just the two of them.

If you have less then 50 guests at your wedding, you could choose to do your meet and greet at your cocktail hour instead of doing a receiving line. The bottom line is that it is important that you greet and thank every one of your guests.

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