Wedding Memories: The receiving line


The purpose of a receiving line is to allow the hosts and other members of your bridal party to officially welcome and be introduced to all your guests. It is a wedding tradition that has been at weddings from Victorian times onwards.  At that time, with manners so important, it was the only way to guarantee that everyone was personally welcomed, and the host thanked, even if it was just briefly.

Here is how it works – after your wedding ceremony, your guests make their way to your reception venue, where it is usual to provide pre-reception drinks upon arrival. When all your guests are assembled and suitably refreshed, they will pass along your receiving line as they make their way to their tables. Regardless of who is paying for your wedding, the traditional receiving line takes the following form of female alternating with male:

1 The Bride’s Mother
2 The Groom’s Father
3 The Groom’s Mother
4 The Bride’s Father
5 The Bride
6 The Groom
7 The Chief Bridesmaid
8 The Best Man

A receiving line is a really good way to be sure you don’t miss anyone, especially if your wedding is large.  A receiving line is also a great way to be sure all the guests have a chance to meet your parents and attendants.  At a small wedding, it’s fine for the bride and groom to visit with each table – usually during the meal – to greet, thank, and chat with their guests but this way it is done before the meal starts and you can all enjoy the rest of the day.

If you are worried about timing, it is advisable for the wedding party to stand opposite each other or in an informal group, rather than in a single line – this ensures that people keep moving along and encourages natural conversation. It also avoids the stiff formality of guests having to repeat their name to each member of the wedding party as they move along the line. On arrival the ushers should point guests in the right direction towards the receiving line on arrival and drinks can be served while guests are waiting.


Ultimately a receiving line can be very flexible. Indeed, depending on your personal family situation and the number of guests you have, you can create the receiving line that you are most comfortable with.  So the question is, is it something from the past that you might consider for your special day?


Do you have some favourite wedding memories or traditions? Let us know and we’ll feature them in an upcoming blog.

Are you going to be a vintage bride soon? Need some vintage wedding ideas? Come visit our vintage wedding fair in Chiswick, London on 9th November and find everything you need for your big day. For more details check the website –

Follow on Bloglovin



1 Comment

Leave a Reply

End the wedding planning overwhelm and create a wedding that YOU want (not what *they* want)

Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get inspo sent to your inbox every Saturday! Also get:

🖤 Free printables, playlists and screen savers

🖤 The Ultimate Wedding Checklist

🖤 A guide to creating an eco wedding

🖤 The latest BOND Bride Magazine





You have Successfully Subscribed!