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Wedding Receiving Line Basics

Although a receiving line can be an exhausting and lengthy part of your wedding day, when it comes to greeting guests, it can be your best friend. A receiving line gives you the chance to say a personal hello to everyone in attendance for your nuptials. Here are the basics of what you need to know about receiving lines:

What is it?

As the name suggests, a receiving line is a line in which you stand to receive people. It will give you and your new spouse a quick opportunity to exchange hugs, kisses, handshakes, and well wishes with your wedding guests.

When does it happen?

The best time for a receiving line is either immediately following your wedding ceremony or at the beginning of the reception when all guests are still in attendance. It works best when it’s held in a roomy space such as a church/facility vestibule, reception hall, or outdoors of your ceremony or reception site. Some couples may opt for a variation of the receiving line; after the ceremony ends, the bride and groom dismiss guests by row, hugging and greeting each person as they exit. This is an acceptable alternative, but can take a lot of time if your wedding is sizable.

Who participates in it?

The individuals who actually stand in the receiving line are up to you. Typically, the bride and groom are accompanied by both sets of their parents. You may also opt to include the entire bridal party if there’s ample room. Guests then make their way down the line, greeting everyone in order.

What’s the point?

The receiving line gives you the chance to offer a personal greeting to everyone who attends your wedding. Since the ceremony and reception are often busy and pass by quickly, you may miss the opportunity to speak with many of your guests. During the receiving line, you’ll have to chance to exchange a few words with everyone. You and your new spouse can also make introductions to guests that one of you may not know.