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Civil Ceremony Sample
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Step-by-Step Reception
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Below are a few of the questions that we see often. We'll give you the correct etiquette for different situations but remember your reception is the time to party, so don't take the rules to heart.

What is the correct order for people to stand in the receiving line?

Line up #1
Line-up #5
Mother of the Bride
Mother of the Bride
Father of the Bride
Father of the Bride
Mother of the Groom
Father of the Groom
Mother of the Groom
Father of the Groom
Maid of Honour
Grandmother of the Bride
Best Man
Grandfather of the Bride
Grandmother of the Groom
Grandfather of the Groom
Line-up #2
Line-up #6
Mother of the Bride
Mother of theBride
Mother of the Groom
Mother of the Groom
Best Man
Father of the Groom
Maid of Honour
Father of the Bride
Line-up #3
Line-up #7
Maid of Honour
Mother of the Bride
Father of the Bride
Best Man
Mother of the Groom
Line-up #4
Father of the Groom
Maid of Honour
Best Man

* Not including men in the receiving line is perfect if your dealing with divorced parents.

What happens in the receiving line?
  • Before the line starts make sure no one in line is holding anything. Put bouquets, purses, etc, away. You'll be kissing and hugging your guests and you don't need things in your way.
  • The purpose of the receiving line is to greet your guests and for everyone in the line to introduce themselves, state their position and their relationship to the couple. Example: While shaking hands say, "Hi, I'm Jane one of Cathy's maid of honour." You get the drift.
At the reception, who sits at the parent's table?
  • If you are having one parent's table, symbolizing a united family now, then both sets of parents and all grandparents.
  • If you are having separate tables, each parent's table will have the parents and grandparents.
  • Your parents will choose whom else they want seated at their table.
  • People to consider: aunts, uncles, godparents, clergy or other close relatives.
Who sits at the head table?
  • The bride and groom are seated in the middle of the table with the maid of honour sitting beside the bride and the best man sitting beside the groom.
  • You have two choices here, either the guys sitting on one side of the table and the girls on the other or seat everyone boy-girl-boy-girl
What is "Announcing into the hall'?
  • Your guests will already be seated at their tables.
  • The couple, their wedding party and parents (grandparents optional) are announced into the hall by either your DJ or MC.

* The announcing is optional, you don't have to do this if you don't want.

What is the order in which we enter the hall?
  • Bride’s parents
  • Groom’s parents
  • Groomsman & bridesmaid
  • Groomsman & bridesmaid
  • Best man & maid of honour
  • Flower girl and ring bearer
  • Bride and groom

* Make sure that whomever is doing the announcing has a list of everyone's names and titles (best man, bridesmaid, etc) in the correct order in which they will enter the hall.

What are Favours and Bombonniere?
  • Favours and bombonniere are the mementos/gifts that you give to your guests at your reception.
  • You don't have to give your guests a favour but it is a nice token of your appreciation for their attendance and gift.
  • Giving a donation to a charity instead of trinkets has become a very popular thing to do. Your best man can mention this in his speech. He should explain why you chose that particular charity also, makes it more personal.
Who gets Favours and when do I hand them out?
  • Usually only the female guests get a gift.
  • If you are planning on giving chocolates or boxed pieces of wedding cake, then everyone will receive a favour.
  • Your wedding party can hand out the favours from the receiving line. You can put the favours right on the guest tables or if the couple is planning on going from table to table later on in the evening to chat with their guests, they can hand them out personally then.

We have separate articles for toasts and speeches and a reception timeline to help you with when to do what.

Enjoy Your Reception!!

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