What is the wedding receiving line?

As soon as the wedding ceremony ends, friends and family will be eager to shower you with hugs, kisses, and congratulations! The receiving line is a long-running tradition in which the couple and specific members of their families greet guests. It’s a simple way to transition the mood from ceremony to reception and make everyone feel comfortable and acknowledged.

To gain a better understanding of the receiving line tradition, here is a quick breakdown of what you need to know.

When and Where?

The receiving line is generally formed immediately following the ceremony or at the beginning of the reception. If the line is formed at the ceremony site, the most commonly used areas include the hallway or vestibule at the head of the aisle, outside the entry doors, down the front steps, or on the front porch. If the line is formed at the reception site, the most commonly used areas include the cocktail lounge, the lobby, just outside the doors leading into the main room, or the reception room itself. Whichever the case, it is important to choose an area that is most comfortable to stand at for the duration of the receiving line.

Who stands in the receiving line?

The wedding hosts head the receiving line and are the first to greet wedding guests. If the bride’s parents are hosting the wedding (by tradition), the receiving line begins with them, followed by the bride and groom, and then the groom’s parents. If space permits, the couple may also choose to include the entire bridal party in the line.

What Should You Say?

The receiving line is an opportunity to thank your guests for attending, share how excited you are to see them, and to also introduce them to your groom or members of the wedding party.  But, keep it short and sweet. You don’t want the line to get too long; you’ll have a chance for longer chats during the table visits at the wedding reception.

Featured Cover Image: Joel Serrato



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