Receiving Line Etiquette


-by Lisa
The receiving line is a lovely tradition. It gives the couple, their parents and wedding party the opportunity to great all guests. In a large wedding, this may be the only opportunity for guests to offer their congratulations to the newlyweds. The receiving line traditionally takes place at the reception, but can also take place at in the Church vestibule or on the stairs right outside - time permitting. A church is the ideal location to hold your receiving line, if all guests are not invited to the reception. As an alternative to the receiving line at the Church, the Bride and Groom can re-enter after the processional to greet guests as they exit the church - which eliminates awkwardness if the parents are divorced or do not wish to participate in a formal receiving line.

Participants of the receiving line are as follows:

Receiving line without fathers

1. Mother of the Bride
2. Mother of the Groom
3. Bride
4. Groom
5. Maid or Matron of Honor (if you have both, the Matron of Honor comes first)
6. Bridesmaids (in order of age)

Receiving line with fathers

1. Mother of the Bride
2. Father of the Groom
3. Mother of the Groom
4. Father of the Bride
5. Bride
6. Groom
5. Maid or Matron of honor (if you have both, the Matron of Honor comes first)
6. Bridesmaids (in order of age)

Who you include in your receiving line is up to you. I often suggest that you eliminate wedding party members (Bridesmaids and Maid/Matron of Honor) to save time. Ultimately, your guests want to speak to you and your parents. It’s totally acceptable not to include Fathers, and instead they can circulate amongst the crowed. If Mothers are remarried, Stepfathers can be included if you wish.

Just as some line tips.

1. As stated above, only include the essential members - so that your guests do not face a long and tedious wait.

2. Serve refreshments to your guests while they wait.
3. Conversation should be brief but pleasant.

4. The Bride (and Bridesmaids if included) should keep the bouquet in their left hands, or place it to the side while in the line.

5. Any accessories worn during the ceremony should be worn in the receiving line (hats, gloves, etc).

6. The Bride can kiss those guests which she knows well; otherwise a handshake is appropriate.

Some couples elect to eliminate the receiving line, instead, circulating with their guests throughout the reception. If you choose to eliminate the receiving line, you have the responsibility of greeting each and every guest at the reception.

3 comments:

jenny said...

Hey Lisa you have been go through very good dressing and well blessings from parents also..Have good life ahead.

r4i

Jen @ 1 Mother of the Bride said...

Although I love the tradition of the receiving line, it can be rather tough on couples with divorced parents. As a divorced mum, standing next to your ex in the receiving line, could just add to the awkwardness of the wedding day. This may be part of why there's a move away from this tradition to something more informal.

Rachel said...

Great info and super helpful! Thank you!

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