Weddings have receiving lines but many times, people are simply not sure the tradition and appropriate way to handle them. First, receiving lines offer the perfect opportunity to greet each guest individually. By the time, the bride and groom make it to the reception their attention is focused on cutting the cake, dancing the first dance, tossing the garter, tossing the bouquet, and so on. For this reason, it can be difficult to find time to visit with people, which is why the receiving line is such a good option.
Immediately after he wedding ceremony, the bride, groom, wedding party, and parents will make their way to the back of the church where a line is formed. First in line would be the brides parents, followed by the bride, groom, the grooms parents, the Best Man, Maid of Honor, the groomsmen, bridesmaids, reader, and minister. Depending on the age of the Flower Girl and Ring Bearer, they too can join the line, standing near the Best Man and Maid of Honor. However, sometimes these children are too young and cannot stand for a long time. In that case, they would be free to join their parents at the reception.
In the reception line, the bride and groom have the opportunity to introduce parents and each other to co-workers, friends, and out of town guests. As the guests pass through the line, whether a close friend, family member, or someone you barely know, take a few seconds to thank them for coming to your wedding. The key is to spend just a few seconds visiting so that the receiving line does not become backed up.
If there are divorced parents, you can handle this in one of two ways. If the parents are on good terms, then there is nothing wrong by having them stand side by side. However, if there is a level of awkwardness, then you can have them stand on either side of the bride and groom. If the parents are married and the stepmother or father is close to the bride and groom, then it would be appropriate for them to join in the line. Otherwise, they should stand off to the side or wait for everyone at the reception.
Although you will be having a receiving line, you should still do your best to get around to guests at the reception. You will find that if the bride and groom split up, they can cover more ground, appeasing the guests far better. Just be the best host you can, making your way around the room to visit longer with the people you love.