Monday, August 7, 2017

Kiss the Groom

A bride and groom kissing. Image source.
When I was thinking about what I wanted the our wedding ceremony to be like, I decided I did NOT want to include the line "you may now kiss the bride." It portrays the groom as the one who is actively doing something, and the bride as a passive object waiting for it to happen to her. Aren't the bride and groom BOTH making the choice to get married? Don't they BOTH enjoy kissing? Why is this line specifically addressed toward the groom? (Patriarchy, that's why.)

I even remember one wedding I was at, where the officiant said, "David, you may kiss your bride." Yes, he actually said the groom's name right there. As if to make it clear that this was about the groom, and the bride would just passively let it happen to her.

And thinking about it now, it feels gross, but at the time I thought that's just the way it is. The pastor says "you may now kiss the bride" because that's what you say at weddings. I wasn't a feminist yet; I didn't think about the history and the reasons behind wedding traditions. I didn't recognize it as the product of a sexist and patriarchal system. I didn't know that weddings don't have to be that way.

If you had that line at your wedding, I'm not judging you. I'm not concerned about individual people's choices; the real problem is the culture that tells us this is normal. Ever since I was a little girl, I knew that at weddings, they say "you may kiss the bride", and I never heard anyone ask "hey why don't they ever say 'you may kiss the groom'?" Nobody ever questioned it- and that's a problem.

Our officiant was fantastic, and she actually asked us about this during the planning even though I hadn't even mentioned it to her yet. She was like, "So do you want me to say 'you may kiss the bride' or 'you may kiss each other' or what?" We decided on "you may kiss each other."

Such a small thing, just one line out of the entire wedding day, but I'm really glad we kissed "each other."

Related: We're Not Doing the Garter Thing


Note: In this post I'm specifically talking about weddings with a bride and groom, but don't forget that same-sex weddings exist too! Also some people don't enjoy kissing and that's fine too. You're not required to kiss just because you're married.

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