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Sealed with a kiss...

In New Zealand the first wedding kiss is par for the course...

Wedding kisses and shows of affection

In many Asian countries kissing is not a common public affection. In India a couple almost never show public affection yet Indian men put their arms around one another in friendship. Jewish fathers kiss their sons and new son-in-laws on the lips. The Brits kiss on both cheeks, the Slavic kiss three times on alternating cheeks.

Kissing on the lips in New Zealand is usually shared between a couple, close family and close friends.

The wedding kiss harks back to Roman times when kissing was a legal bond that sealed all contracts. The Romans also believed that a kiss caused the joining of the couple’s souls as their breath was shared. And, believe it or not, in the ‘old’ world marriage had to be consummated to be legally binding.

In most Western cultures the first kiss by the newly wedded couple seals the deal. Guests expect the traditional kiss which signals the start of celebrations. Down under in New Zealand the first wedding kiss is par for the course, de rigeur, expected, traditional.

And kisses come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s a selection observed over many years as a marriage celebrant in New Zealand.

The peck aka the pucker – the groom struggles to get close to his bride because she’s wearing a ‘pavlova’ and he’s hesitant to mess her make up. The celebrant asks them to repeat the kiss just to make sure they've sealed the deal.

The high five and hug – a ‘hip’ couple seal the deal trying to be different and not embarrass their parents, siblings, grandparents and also themselves.

The back bender – the groom takes his bride by surprise, bends her backwards to horizontal level and plants a super smacker.

The smother – the groom wraps his bride up in his arms like a blanket – the kiss all but hidden from view.

The stamp – the bride, wearing fabulous red lippy, shares the perfect symmetrical kiss with her man who surfaces looking like a groom in drag.

The never-ending – the kiss goes on and on… the clapping continues… and on and on… the whistling starts… on and on… the whistling continues…on and on… guests shout ‘find a room’… finally the couple emerge looking very pleased with themselves.

A word of caution... a kiss that's just a little too passionate, a little too intimate may make your guests feel a tad embarrassed. Being pronounced married is the 'highlight' of your ceremony. You may like to plan a little about 'the kiss'. Enjoy your BIG day.

Have a great wedding!

Jo x

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