You may now kiss the…

Image of a couple kissing in a sheep paddock and the title "You may now kiss the bride"

Traditionally, after the official business of marrying a couple is done, a celebrant will say something like, “you may now kiss the bride”. Which makes sense if it’s the nineteenth century and a groom has just taken possession of his bride. But I’ve never been comfortable with that wording. I don’t have the authority to permit anyone to kiss anyone else, and nor should I!

I’ve shortened it to you “may now kiss”, which is okay, even if it sounds unfinished. I’ve occasionally turned it on the guests and suggested they might like to see the couple kiss. My favourite solution was a recent wedding where I turned to the bride and said “you may now kiss the groom”!

At my own wedding, we played with it a little more, and instead of having one, we had five! Each moment where it felt appropriate, our bagpiper played the refrain of Scotland the Brave, and that was our cue!

But the awkwardness in the celebrant’s phrasing is nothing compared to the question each couple faces of how they should kiss!

Do we go for a long, impassioned smooch?

Do we have a peck on the lips?

Should you kiss their hand and leave it at that?

You could head down a YouTube rabbithole, or I could just tell you: the answer is somewhere in the middle. It can be fun for the celebrant to have to remind you that you have guests. And it can be charming to play it coy. But the fact is most Australians want to see some passion in the kiss, and not too much!

You’re in charge of this, though: if you tell your celebrant you’re going to have a fifteen minute pash while everyone watches, then that’s what should happen. And if you tell your celebrant to leave out the kissing altogether, then that’s what should happen. I might think you should find the sweet spot between those two extremes, but the most important thing to remember is that it’s your wedding: you do you.

I could tell you that 15 seconds is plenty of time to kiss the bride (or groom!), but if you’re really in the moment, you’re not going to have your stopwatch going!

But I will say this: make sure you talk this through with your partner before the day. It can be uncomfortable for both of you, and probably your guests too if you aren’t in sync. So get on the same page, and have fun practising 😉

For more on wedding planning, check out these posts!

Published by Trevar Alan Skillicorn-Chilver

Trevar Alan Skillicorn-Chilver is an authorised celebrant, a playwright, a teacher and quite a few other things!

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