What is the correct order of a receiving line?

As a wedding planner in Chicago, I get asked many questions by my clients. This was one I received last week that I waned to share with all the readers on my blog. "What is the correct order of a receiving line?" Receiving lines are a great way for you and your new spouse, your parents and your new parents to greet and welcome their guests following the ceremony or during the cocktail hour.

The most important tips for the receiving line is to quickly thank your guests and introduce the person next in the receiving line to make sure that the person knows the guest you are speaking to. I have seen lines get a little long and drawn out. The receiving line is not for long conversations but a quick hello and "thank you for coming."

The proper order is as follows:

Mother of the Bride

Father of the Bride

Mother of the Groom

Father of the Groom




Maid of Honor


Fathers are not required to stand in the receiving line but it is a nice time for them to be able to greet all the guests at your wedding.  For brides and grooms with divorced parents it is acceptable for the new spouses to be a part of the receiving line if all parties are comfortable with that and everyone gets along well. 

If you want you can ask the maid of honor or best man to stand in the receiving line with you as well. 

Tip: It is a good idea to place a little highboy table at the beginning of the receiving line for guests to place any drink they may have with them. It is proper for them to leave their drink to go thru the receiving line so that they do not spill on anyone in the receiving line.

Note: There are many variations to the receiving line and who stands where. Above is the most traditional order and the one I recommend to my clients. 

Thank you Becky Hill for the awesome image from Morgan and Mike's wedding