You may kiss your bride - oh yeah?
(How to have the Perfect (and Perfectly Modern) Kiss)

 
by Jennifer Cram  (updated 04/08/2018)  | Categories: | Wedding Ceremony | Wedding Traditions |
Groom kissing bride behind hatYour first kiss as a married couple will be photographed and remembered by your guests (and everyone who sees the photographs) for years and years, so it is important to plan for the perfect kiss.

In my  role as a marriage celebrant I not only see many, many wedding kisses, I also have the responsibility of prompting them. As I tell all my couples, I'm not a "rules" person, so I don't impose any rules on them or their ceremony, but, when it comes to the kiss, these are the very strongly worded words of advice I give them: No tongue, no bum, no chewing gum.  While a quick peck can come across as emotionally distant, and quite cold, a full on pash will look frightful in the photos, embarrass your guests, and could well damage your dress.

No tongue: While you wouldn't want to seal your vows with a dry peck, watching a coupleReview of Jennifer Cram, The
                  Celebrant Who Gives You More indulge in a full-on tongue kiss is not a pleasant. There is a reason for the term "suck face", it is not a romantic experience for onlookers, and you run the risk of having lipstick all over both faces (particularly if you munch as well), which won't make for good post-ceremony photographs.

No bum (aka ass-grab): There is no way even the most skilled photographer can make an ass-grab look any less gross than it is (particularly if accompanied by a pelvis grind). And there is a practical reason too. Nerves and/or a warm day results in warm, moist hands. Most wedding gowns are now made from natural fibres, such as silk, which change colour and texture when warmth and moisture is applied. An enthusiastic ass-grab could well result in visible handprints! Don't grab the veil or yank your partner's head backwards either.

No chewing gum: Goes without saying!

To the above, I also add:

  • Keep the kiss silent
  • Keep the kiss short (ish).  Five seconds is more than enough for the photographs, and not so long that your guests get bored, or embarrassed
  • Forgo the dip. You're sealing your vows, not dancing the tango

The Perfect Kiss

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A softly lingering kiss (5 seconds) on the lips, preceded by a brief second gazing into one another's eyes before you move in for the kiss is the perfect wedding kiss. It is romantic. It is photogenic. It signals your emotional connection. And it won't embarrass your Nana. And no-one will mind if you immediately repeat it once, or even twice. Oh, and by the way, practice makes perfect, so much so that when you book a wedding with a formal rehearsal we will practice the kiss.

The Perfectly Modern Invitation to Kiss

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Regardless of how modern the bride is, how independent she is, when it comes to the kiss the statistical probability that she will be perceptually stripped of her independence by the wording of the conclusion of the wedding ceremony is overwhelming. Even so-call "modern" celebrants routinely say to the groom "You may kiss your bride". This is disturbing on so may levels that it should be banned.

First, the history. In the days when a groom acquired complete rights over his wife - both legal and physical - these words reminded him that he now had the legal right to avail himself of her. Legally, the bride's legal rights were suspended. When, in the traditional ceremony, the person doing the marrying, uttered those words, it was informational, not just directional. It was confirming a legal right, not just giving permission for a public kiss in church. It was reminding the groom that it was now his right, as husband, to his wife's body, regardless of whether she agreed or not In the 21st century a civil celebrant doesn't have the right to give the groom any such reminder, and therefore phrasing the invitation to kiss as a permission is just wrong.

Secondly, marriage equality really highlights this point - when you have two brides or two grooms, how do you choose which one to give permission to?  Invitation rather than permission every time, I say, regardless of the gender mix of the marrying couple. Or, because everyone is expecting you to kiss, you can just go for it!