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Receiving Lines Guide

Receiving lines ensure that you get to see every one of your wedding guests, even if it's for a brief moment, before the end of the ceremony.  This is your way of connecting with company and allowing your guests the time to give you their most heartfelt greetings.  

Etiquette and Options

  • Why it's important:  This is your chance to personally thank each guest for coming to your wedding.  If you are having more than 50 guests present, a receiving line is always considered proper etiquette.  If you rely on the more greet-them-as-you-see-them approach, you are bound to miss someone and your conversation time will be cut short in order to move on to another person.  Save yourself this stress and implement the traditional receiving line.
  • When to do it:  The receiving line is typically formed immediately following the ceremony or promptly at the beginning of the reception.
  • Where to do it: You will want to evaluate your space and be sure to choose an area that is well-ventilated and easily accessible for guests.  Popular areas to form this line after the ceremony are in the hallways entering or exiting the venue, at the end of a church aisle, outside of entry doors, down the front steps, or on a front porch; this way, guests can keep walking in a continuous flow.  At the reception you have many options, from the cocktail lounge to the lobby to the doors leading to the main room.  Ultimately, pick a spot where you and your guests can stand comfortably for a period of time.    
  • Who's in it:  Traditionally, the bride's parents are the first to greet guests in line, as they are the hosts; they are followed by the groom's parents and the wedding party if there is room.  However, in more modern weddings where the bride and groom have paid for the wedding themselves, the couple often chooses to stand alone.   
  • How it works:  This is the time for the bride and groom to go through introductions.  They may introduce their new spouse and parents to guests that they may not have met before.  Introductions with a first name and their relationship to you should suffice.  Guests will simply introduce themselves, shake hands, offer congratulations, and keep moving down the line.

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