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Wedding Receiving Line Etiquette Tips
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What is proper wedding receiving line etiquette? When I meet with couples for a pre-wedding consultation, I am constantly surprised at how many do not know what a receiving line is. Or if they do, they cringe at the thought. It is understandably not one of the day's highlights - standing in one spot while hundreds of people file by to offer their congratulations - uggh! However, unless you have a small wedding - 50-75 guests or less - I would recommend doing a receiving line. Your guests honor you by attending your wedding. The receiving line is possibly the only time when you will be able to personally thank each guest for attending. Even though the receiving line can take 20-40 minutes (depending on how many guests you have), this a fraction of the time it would take if you try to make the rounds to EVERYONE at your reception. So once this is done, you will be able to enjoy your party much more! Below I offer some tips on wedding receiving line etiquette.

Wedding Receiving Line Etiquette - Tip #1 - Keep it Simple

The surest way to make the receiving line an excruciating process is to go very traditional by including both sets of parents and the entire wedding party. No, no, no! From a guest's point of view, this is NOT fun. Very few guests are aquainted with all of those people. They have to shake hands and introduce themselves to a bunch of strangers when who they really want to see is you and your groom! Keep it simple by having the receiving line include just you and your honey. The parents and wedding party are typically mingling close by so anyone who wants to speak to them can easily do so.

Wedding Receiving Line Etiquette - Tip #2 - Act as Ushers

Typically, after the ceremony, the ushers dismiss the guests row by row. Instead, you and your groom can handle this task. After you are pronounced husband and wife, you will still walk back up the aisle. The minister can ask the guests to, "Please remain seated, the bride and groom will be back to dismiss you from your seats". What I like about this type of receiving line is that your guests do not have to stand in line. They can remain comfortable seated. However, keep in mind that if you have an outdoor ceremony you may have to improvise. There always seems to be one very hot weekend a year where we live- 100+ degree weather. If your wedding falls on such a day and you have the opportunity to get the guests inside an air conditioned reception room - do so! I've seen several people over the years, pass out from heat either during or after the ceremony. Go to plan B and have the receiving line somewhere inside.

Wedding Receiving Line Etiquette - Tip #3 - Provide Direction

Make the receiving line multi-task by setting it up so it guides your guests in the direction you want them to go. For example, if you're ceremony and reception are in two different rooms, stand in a location that will help guide the guests to the reception. If you'd like the guests to begin eating, consider standing near the start of the food line. The guests offer their congratulations and then continue onto the buffet.

In today's wedding world, wedding receiving line etiquette is not complicated. For most weddings, a receiving line is a necessary evil. But is a great way to quickly and efficiantly thank each guest for coming.


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