Nuptial smooches: You Must Remember This

By Bev Bennett, Content That Works – 08/01/2005 – 12:00am


The good news: Your wedding ceremony will culminate with a kiss. Even better news: Practice makes perfect.

Lip-locking is part of the plan, but save the passionate practice for private.

A kiss is still a kiss unless you have all your friends and family standing by.

Then, depending on your smooching technique, the kiss merits a collective sigh, a photo opportunity or a story that will haunt you the rest of your married life.

Weddings are made for puckering up, and it starts with those memorable words, “You may now kiss the bride.”

And yes, how you lock lips does make a difference, say the lip savvy.

“As a former wedding singer, I’ve witnessed dozens – if not hundreds – of wedding kisses,” says Julia Sullivan, a writer and organizational consultant in Massachusetts.

“The key principle is this: Your parents are watching you. Give the most loving kiss you feel comfortable with under their scrutiny,” Sullivan says.

Too little contact will have your guests talking, as will too much. Avoid both the peck on the cheek and tongue wrestling, says Sue Fox, owner of Etiquette Survival, Los Gatos, Calif.

“I recommend erring on the formal side and being classy,” says Fox, who regularly consults with business companies about appropriate manners.

Although you know how to kiss – it’s pretty difficult to get this far in a relationship without some lip skills – Fox recommends you discuss the all-important moment with your partner before the wedding.

“A lot will depend on the couples’ personality,” says Fox, author of “Etiquette for Dummies” (Wiley Publishing, Inc., 1999).

“Open-mouthed, no tongue is probably the way to go. A kiss that lasts between 10 and 20 seconds ‘looks right’ to most observers,” says Sullivan.

And for those who want to get a rise from the onlookers, Sullivan offers this cautionary observation:

“In my experience most of the people who did the big, sexy smooch thing at the altar were divorced within five years.”

The Pucker Effect

The wedding twosome aren’t the only ones kissing at the ceremony.

During this joyous time you may find lips coming at you from all directions.

Don’t panic at all the puckering. Etiquette guru Sue Fox offers some tips on who and how to kiss.

* The social kiss: “In the art of the social kiss the person who is the recipient is in control. You can slightly turn a cheek, or put a light hand on someone’s shoulder if you don’t want a kiss,” she says.
* No kiss: It isn’t appropriate to kiss or hug someone you haven’t met before. But if you’ve bonded during the wedding you may exchange hugs goodbye at the end of the event.
* Air kisses: They’re best left to celebrities. They look phony, says Fox.

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