Before and After: The Kiss

5 Dec

Planning the big day smooch
Kiss 1It’s the most important, and most public, smooch of your life: the one that happ- ens after they say “You may now kiss the bride.”

Find out how one bride and groom went about their wedding day kiss! (Hint: There was a plan involved, but it wasn’t our plan to plan it!)

Fifteen months ahead of our big day, we had – quite expectedly, I would say – not given any thought to our wedding day embrace. That is, until we met our officiant. When we held our first meeting with her, she took us through all the legalities, information needed about our witnesses, suggested ceremony texts, and a checklist of homework tasks. The last task on her checklist was not one we were expecting. “Now, have you thought yet about how you will do your kiss?” We looked at each other blankly. That would be a no. “Well, no problem. The only rule is that it should be at least 10 seconds so that the photographer can get it, nothing to worry about.”

What?! Ten seconds? Ten whole seconds of giving each other a big sloppy wet one in front of our grandmothers and colleagues? The photographer part is of course absolutely vital, but so long? We did see her point though when we thought back to two previous weddings we had attended, and not so much the needs of the photographer but guests’ reactions to the case. In both cases when the priest said “you may now kiss the bride”, all of the guests leaned forward eagerly in anticipation, a hush fell over the crowd… and the newlyweds gave each other just a half-second peck on the lips. Huh? The first thought that went through my mind on both occasions was, “Oh. Maybe they don’t fancy each other very much after all.” Yes, really. I thought the same thing when Prince William and Catherine Middleton finally succumbed to the chants of the crowd for them to kiss on the balcony of Buckingham Palace: “Ooh, will they do it? Yay, they’re going to do it! Aw… that was it?” Luckily for Kate and Wills, thous- ands of broadcast cameras were capturing every moment. My hairdresser admitted to me that she and her husband had also done a too-quick kiss on their wedding day… and their photographer made them come back and do it again. Awks! Now that would be embarrassing.

Cake Topper 2With this in mind, long after our meeting with the offici- ant, my groom and I prac- tised our wedding kiss at home (homework can be fun sometimes!). We deci- ded that 10 seconds felt uncomfortably long. Five seconds seemed a good amount of time, and more than enough for cameras to capture the moment! Ag- reeing on a smooch time- frame, as clinical as it may sound, would also avoid the potential awkwardness of one of us pulling away earlier than the other or similar.

In rehearsing our kiss, we also realized that timing wasn’t the only thing that needed to be choreographed to avoid awkwardness. Do we keep our mouths completely still during the kiss? (We knew French kissing was out of the quest- ion, but exactly how chaste do we need to be here?) Where should our hands be? Which way do we tilt our heads? Do we just do one long kiss, or finish with a dreamy smile and quick follow-up? (Egads, who knew that this kiss required as much planning as the rest of the wedding?!) So! The groom and I decided that we would tilt our heads right, keep still, and make it one long kiss. We would hold each other’s hands at our sides, so that it felt a little more intimate, without cov- ering each other’s faces or looking like we’re going in for the grope. We believed that option would be simple, elegant and romantic.

Two days before the wedding, we held a rehearsal of the ceremony with our off- iciant and bridal party. When we approached the kiss part of proceedings, the officiant said, “Now we won’t rehearse the kiss now, but when we get to it on the day just… oh… zone out.” Zone out?! Now she’s telling us to zone out? After the 10-second rule, and all of the other smooch choreography and decision-making it led to?! Sigh!


A pretty good likeness to our wedding kiss!

A pretty good likeness to our wedding kiss!

Our wedding day was abso- lutely wonderful. 🙂 We had the time of our lives, and (almost) everything went smoothly… including the kiss. Our kiss choreo- graphy was perfect: we stepped toward one another, held each other’s hands, and shared the first embrace of our marriage. We tilted correctly, there was no clumsiness or missteps, and we stopped after exactly five seconds! Five was indeed a decent timeframe: it gave our guests enough time to audibly “ooh” and “ah” and start clapping… and we received from our professional photo- grapher and guests 14 different photos of our kiss, so it was definitely enough time for the cameras!

I was overjoyed with how it went… until a couple of weeks after the wedding, when a girl from school who married the weekend after us shared her nuptial photos on Facebook. Her kiss looked better than ours! I obviously couldn’t see from the still photo how long their kiss lasted (or if there was any PG13 lip movement involved), but they had instead wrapped their arms around each other’s waists and shoulders. Their kiss seemed so much more passionate and in love than ours did! Admittedly though, I don’t know if I would have been com- fortable giving such a passionate smooch in front of all my family and friends. As I continued to receive newsletters from wedding websites I had subscribed to during our engagement, I saw new images from real-life weddings, and felt more and more envious of other couples’ official kiss photos.

My reflective advice? If it doesn’t make you feel too clinical and robotic about it, do consider choreographing your kiss. I was very worried about embarrassing myself (in any way) during the day in front of all our guests, and planning the kiss gave me a little more peace of mind about that most symbolic of moments. Also, be passionate but do be considerate to your guests; your Aunt Mildred doesn’t need to see you two sucking each other’s faces off. However, I would suggest starting planning at the opposite end to the Reflective Groom and me: decide how you want your kiss photo to look, and then figure out the choreo- graphy. Seriously! Browse your way through real-life wedding photos, and decide together how you want that picture to look on your mantelpiece. Pass- ionate? Simple? The commentators may say a dramatic dip at the altar is cheesy, but – if that’s how you want that kiss to go down in your memory – then I say cheese it up to the max! And once you decide on how you want the kiss to look and the “logistics” of the moment, pucker up and have fun practising with your spouse-to-be. 😀

Did you plan out your wedding kiss, or did you go with the flow on the day? Were you happy with how your pictures looked?

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