As an invited wedding guest you may find yourself at times uneasy or unsure about various things. This is common when in unfamiliar territories. Best practice is to be you and try to stay relaxed. You were invited to this special event because you are considered special to the bride, groom and/or someone in the wedding party.
Once the wedding ceremony has completed, guests will commonly meet at the reception to celebrate with the newly wed couple. Wedding receptions often consists of music, dinner and dancing. Although the reception is a place to let loose and celebrate the couple's marriage, it is also a time where grace and manners need to be demonstrated.
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Receiving Line Etiquettes for Attending Guests
It is common in most traditions for the couple to set up a receiving line in the entrance area of the reception site. The receiving line is often consisted of the wedding party, parents of the couple and of course the couple themselves. This line is usually the most convenient time and place for you as a guest to offer your best wishes and congratulations to the newly wed couple. It is also a great way for the couple to welcome you and thank you for attending their very special day.
It is there at the receiving line that you will present your gift or place it in a specially decorated basket (if it is a monitory gift that is). If you are planning to take a packaged gift, a table should be set up close to the receiving line for this purpose. It is a wise idea however, that if you take a parcel to the reception it be placed in a convenient location before joining the receiving line. This will make things less awkward for you, it is also a better idea to consider having the gift sent to the couples home before the wedding day itself to avoid any extra hassles for you and/or the couple.
The receiving line is usually set up for a short time before everyone takes his or her seat. The faster the line moves the better it is on every one. Guest are usually hungry and the wedding party is often tired and in need of some rest. For this reason it is best that conversation be kept short and sweet while making your way through the line. Once the guests have arrived, been greeted and seated the reception will begin.
Some important things to consider when moving through a receiving line are:
- Keep a fast pace so everyone gets a chance to offer their best wishes
- Men should not kiss a bride on the mouth, a hug, hand shake or kiss on the cheek is sufficient
- Female guest who are wearing lipstick should not kiss the bride but rather give her a hug to avoid getting lipstick on her cheek
- Those who are not close friends of the bride should not attempt to kiss her, an appropriate approach would be to gracefully clasp your hands and congratulate her on her wedding
- Guests should congratulate the couple and both sets of parents
- Conversation should be kept short and sweet, extended conversation or questions will hold up the line
- If you are not close to the couple a simple introduction of yourself is appropriate
As you may see, proper receiving line etiquette is mostly common sense. It should not be hard for you to keep these things in mind when its your turn to join the receiving line to offer your thoughts of best wishes. Following simple steps like these will make you more prepared and ensure you of being a better guest.
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