Whether it’s you as a couple or one of your parents hosting your wedding, you have a lot of people to say hello to and thank! How on earth are you going to get that done and get married AND party your socks off? Well traditionally there’s a receiving line – where you line up (with your loved one and parents and anyone else you want) and say hello and thank you to every single guest – yup that’s right! But there are plenty of alternatives as well, so let’s run through them so you can decide:
Do you need to have a receiving line? If you have less than fifty guests attending, it is not considered a necessity. However, if it is more, then etiquette dictates you have to have some way of greeting all of your guests in turn – how else are you going to make sure you party with everyone!?
There is no longer a set order of people who should be in the receiving line. You can have the hosting parents leading the line, followed by you as the married couple, and then the other set of parents as well as the bridal party. Alternatively, you can just stand and greet your guests together, while the parents and the bridal party entertain those who are waiting. Either way, your options are endless! However, the shorter your line, the faster the guests will move.
We highly recommend checking if there is enough space to hold a receiving line at your ceremony/reception venue! You don’t want guests to get on top of each other, or start getting stroppy because they are too hot or too cold. Similarly, we suggest that you host your receiving line in an area where drinks and nibbles are available, so people aren’t left hungry and thirsty while they wait.
A receiving line is not the moment to catch up with your guests; otherwise you will be there for hours – so hold the chitter chatter! You should simply introduce the guests to the VIP’s in your line that they don’t know, accept their congratulations and offer your thanks. Done!
An alternative to a receiving line is to visit each table in turn during the meal. One lovely idea we heard about was each table having two empty seats for the married couple, so that they could sit down at each table, chat to the guests and keep eating!
We also really like the Chinese tradition, by which the married couple have a toast with each table. This is guaranteed to be quicker than sitting down to eat and, you will get to hear some lovely wishes!
Whichever option you choose, your guests will still race over to you after the ceremony with hugs and congrats, so just make sure you enjoy the moment and thank everyone!
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