The Receiving Line Basics

A receiving line isn’t required however, the bride and groom do have to greet and thank each and every one of their guests for coming to their wedding. A receiving line is really the best way to be sure they don’t miss anyone especially if the wedding is large (more than 75 people). A receiving line is also a great and efficient way to be sure all the guests have a chance to meet the couple’s parents and attendants. At a small wedding, it’s fine for the bride and groom to visit with each table, usually during the meal, to greet, thank and chat with their guests. The receiving line is held either at the ceremony site as people exit, followed by formal photography, or as soon as the couple reaches the reception site, after the formal pictures. Ideally, the location permits guests to have refreshments while they wait their turn, or allows the line to flow into the reception area. Who’s in the line? Whoever is hosting the wedding is the first in line. Traditionally, that’s the bride’s mother, followed by her father, the groom’s mother and father, then the bride and the groom. This is the short version of the receiving line. You can include the Maid of Honor or the Matron of Honor and one or two bridesmaids. If an aunt or uncle are hosting, the aunt starts the line. Fathers aren’t required to stand in line; they can circulate with the groomsmen among the guests. However, if the father participates, the others should also. In a military wedding, it is protocol for a groom in uniform to stand before his bride.


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