Receiving Line Etiquette for a Wedding

A friend of mine showed me a video of a wedding she attended a few years ago.  The wedding was absolutely gorgeous — the bride was stunning, the ceremony was romantic (I cried, of course), and my friend says that the food was right up there with perfection.

You would have thought that those details would be what my friend described to me the most, but they weren’t.  She was most affected by the handshake she received from the bride in the receiving line.  You see, the bride barely acknowledged my friend and her handshake was very limp.  I explained to her that the bride was probably exhausted and she probably wanted nothing more than a moment alone with her groom.

But this made me wonder for a minute.  What if she wasn’t tired.  What if she didn’t know the receiving line etiquette for her wedding?  Here are some tips:

1. Have a receiving line only if you can handle greeting ALL of your wedding guests.  Greeting approximately 150 wedding guests is not an easy task.  If you are unsure about your ability to greet the last guest with the same enthusiasm as the first guest, skip it.  Greet your guests throughout the reception.

2. Get rid of the bouquet. Give your bouquet to your wedding planner (or a trusted friend) for placement in a safe place.  Bouquets get heavy after a while and it is a little awkward to hug or shake hands if you are holding it.

3. Schedule enough time for each guest.  Your timeline should allow approximately 15-30 seconds for each wedding guest.  Hopefully, everyone will not take that long, but it’s a lot less stressful than worrying about the time that you are losing because of a chatterbox.

4. End each handshake with eye contact and a smile.

5. Make sure that everyone in the receiving line knows to keep it moving.  Parents are typically the most guilty.  The receiving line is an opportunity to greet each guest.  Long conversations should be held during the actual reception.

6. If your ceremony and reception are in the same venue, consider skipping the receiving line altogether.  Most cocktail receptions typically lasts 60 minutes.  If this is the case, your wedding guests at the end of the line may miss the entire cocktail reception.

7. Be aware of the little rules involving a good handshake.  This blog post is already quite long, so I thought I would share a video to discuss the rules connected to a good handshake.

Take care!  Love & Soul Always, Kawania



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