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The Reception

The bride's parents stand first in the receiving line, followed by the groom's parents and the bride and groom. Guests line up outside the reception room and give their names to the major-domo who will announce them. They need only shake hands and say "How do you do?" to the parents, adding perhaps a word about how lovely the bride is or how well the ceremony went. The bride introduces to her husband any friends that he may not already know, and vice versa.

The important parts of the reception are the cutting of the cake and the toast to the bride and groom. There should never be any long speeches. When all the guests have been received, the major-domo requests silence and the bride cuts the cake, with her husband's hand upon hers.

The toast to the bride and groom is usually proposed by a relative or friend of the bride. He may say, "My Lords (if any are present), ladies and gentlemen, I have pleasure in Proposing the toast to the bride and bridegroom." He should not make a speech full of jokes or silly references to marriage. It should be short and dignified. The bridegroom replies with a few words of thanks. He may or may not then propose the health of the bridesmaids. The best man replies with a few words of thanks. If a meal is provided, the toasts will come at the end of it.

After the toasts the bride and groom may move around the room talking to their friends until it is time for them to go and change. When they are ready to leave, guests gather to see them off.

Wedding Presents can be anything, according to your pocket and your friendship with the bride or groom. Such presents are usually fairly substantial compared with most other presents, and should preferably be things useful for a future home. Some brides have lists at a large store near their homes. It is always wise to ask if there is one, as this eliminates your sending something the couple may have already. The list should contain items of all prices and when one is bought it is crossed off. A wedding is one of the few occasions when money can be given, usually as a cheque. Presents are sent after the invitations have been received, usually to the bride's home. You address the card to both the bride and bridegroom.

(Etiquette by Martine Legge)

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