Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Wedding Receiving Line Etiquette

If you are planning your wedding you may be wondering whether or not to have a receiving line during your wedding. Read on to find out more about what happens during this tradition and learn a bit more about wedding receiving line etiquette.

A long time ago the wedding party would surround the bride and groom to ward off evil spirits as guests wished them well. These days, the wedding party – along with the parents of the bride and groom – gather into a receiving line as a way for the wedding party to show the wedding guests that they appreciate you attending the wedding and are happy to see them.

What is the most common way to form a receiving line?

Usually after the wedding ceremony you and your new husband or wife will walk down the aisle with your bridesmaids, best man and parents following, then everyone else will follow and takes their place in the foyer or outside, if weather permits. Sometimes the wedding receiving line will happen straight away and sometimes it will happen after some photographs have been taken and immediately prior to the wedding reception or wedding breakfast.

A receiving line is normally formed with the bride and groom in the middle and parents on either side. Place the groom's parents next to the groom, and the bride's parents next to the bride. Next, position the best man on the groom’s side, and the bridesmaids on the bride's side.

A lot of couples decide to skip this tradition because it can take a long time and often seems very formal.

An alternative to the traditional receiving line, would be for the bride and groom do the job of the ushers and dismiss guests from the church. The couple turns to face the congregation and marches down the aisle following the ceremony, taking a moment with their parents once they are ushered out, and then the couple returns to the front of the church. As each row of guests is dismissed from their pew, the newlyweds greet them. Begin with the front row on the bride's side of the church, and then alternate back and forth until you reach the last pews.

What should you say to your guests in the wedding receiving line?

“Hello” is a great way to get started. Be sure to thank you guests for coming and introduce them to your spouse or your parents if they do not know them.

How much time should you estimate for spending in the wedding receiving line?

As long as you keep the greetings short and sweet, you should budget around 30 minutes for 100 guests.

Whether you choose to follow traditional wedding receiving line etiquette or not, it is more important to take the time to acknowledge each guest and thank them for coming and give them a chance to feel like they were an important part of your wedding day.

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