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 Receiving line

  As if there isnít already enough for you to consider and decide about your wedding, there is one thing that is sure to be one of those things you hate having to make a decision about. Should you or should you not have a receiving line?
In the history of weddings, the most formal of weddings always had receiving lines. Especially at affairs that hosted hundreds of guests, the receiving line might be the one time during the event when everyone got their chance to speak with the bride and groom and the host and hostess of the wedding to offer their congratulations and their good wishes. Today, etiquette dictates that any wedding with more than 50 guests should have a proper receiving line, and it is still the best way for the bride and groom to welcome each guest personally and for the guests to offer their best wishes to the couple.
A receiving line is always done after the wedding ceremony is complete, but time may decide for you where to have the receiving line. It is customary to greet your guests immediately following the ceremony, at the location of the ceremony. If you have married in Church, for example, the receiving line is customarily held at the back of the church or on the steps of the Church as people leave. The Church schedule, however, may not allow time for a receiving line, especially if there is another wedding or other Church function scheduled to be held immediately following your ceremony. In that instance, it is perfectly acceptable to have the receiving line at the reception. If you want to greet your guests as they enter the reception location, however, keep in mind that you will not have much time for photographs following the ceremony.
Who stands in the receiving line is an age old question, and it is made more complicated when there are divorced and/or remarried parents involved. The ushers and groomsmen are never included in a receiving line. This is the time where they might be paying the officiant or helping clean up as the guests leave the Church, picking up programs and other wedding items. They can also use this time to socialize as the guests wait in line. Traditionally, at the front of the receiving line was the mother of the bride, considered the hostess of the event, and next to her was the father of the bride, the traditional host. Next to them, the groomís parents were positioned. The bride and groom were next in line, followed by the maid of honor, the best man, and in the most traditional sense, the bridesmaids.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon for the bridesmaids to mingle rather than stand in the receiving line, and the parentís position is somewhat blurry. If your parents are divorced, it is best not to stand them next to each other, implying that they are still a couple. You have several options with regard to your parents. Some couples opt not to have anyone stand in the receiving line with them, thus eliminating the need to make a decision about where to put divorced parents. If you wish to include your parents, you could choose to have your father mingle among the guests as they exit the church or arrive at the reception, while only the mothers stand in the receiving line. Another option you could utilize is the bridesmaid buffer method. This is where you separate your parents with a bridesmaid or your maid of honor, so there is a clear indication that they are not a couple, but they are both included in the receiving line as hosts of the wedding. It is up to the couple to decide whether or not to include step-parents in a receiving line, and the best way to deal with including them is to use the bridesmaid buffer method to separate the couples.
If you are at a loss as to what to say in a receiving line, you can take cues from the guests, and simply offer your thanks for their congratulations and for their attendance at your wedding. You may find yourself in the position to make introductions. There will be members of your extended family or possibly friends you have not seen in a while that have never met your bride or groom, and you can use this opportunity to make the necessary introductions. You might also introduce your parents to your partnerís family if the opportunity has not presented itself before for the families to meet. Especially if you will be receiving a large number of guests, keep your comments to a minimum, smile and say thank you, so that everyone can get to the party!
Whatever you choose to do, it is crucial to personally greet each and every guest who has made the effort to attend your wedding. Whether you have a formal receiving line or do an informal visit from table to table, do not miss the opportunity to thank everyone for sharing in your special day.

 

 

 

   

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