Would You Do a Small or Big Wedding Kiss?

Elaine and Jonathan stoop wedding by Belathée

Alex and I are coming up on our 11th wedding anniversary, and it honestly feels like a lifetime ago. Before tying the knot, I remember being nervous about the most random things, including how big our wedding kiss should be. Would we keep it small and grandparent-friendly, or go big and passionate? In our case…

Joanna wedding kiss

I got so swept up in the moment, I just went for it.

Here are 10 more sweet kisses — of all sizes — if you’re in the mood for love:

wedding kiss

Hilary + Courtney, photographed by Alexandria Monette.

wedding kiss

Georgia + Andrew, photographed by Ashlyn Cathey.

wedding kiss

Eleanore + Greg, photographed by Laura Jean Murray.

wedding kiss

Colleen + Chris, photographed by Kelly Brown.

wedding kiss

Alec + Mike, photographed by Rachel M. Leva.

wedding kiss

Photographed by David Bastianoni.

wedding kiss

Brenna + Sabrina, photographed by Cedar & Pines.

Photographed by Jordan Voth.

wedding kiss

DT + Joel, photographed by Love and Water.

wedding kiss

Jamie + Risa, photographed by Cassie Rosch.

Would you do a big or small kiss? If you’re married, what was your kiss like? What an amazing moment it is!

P.S. 11 wedding dos and don’ts, and did you have sex on your wedding night?

(Top photo of Elaine + Jonathan, photographed by Belathée.)

  1. Melissa says...

    I’m getting married next July, and I’m already thinking about this a lot. I’m so not a center-of-attention, PDA person, but I have a feeling my feelings will change the day of.

  2. Kelly says...

    My husband really went for it! Full face-grabbing passion, and when you watch the video, you can see me say « Wow! »

    It’ll be 3 years this month, and that’s one of my favorite moments of the video.

  3. Angy Braine says...

    Love this post!!

    I was reminded of the scene in Wedding Singer [cheesy film I know] where Drew Barrymore insists that her wedding kiss will contain “church tongue – not porn tongue!” Lol.

  4. Andrea says...

    Our kiss was giddy but smaller, we were nervous with so many people watching! Parents and grandparents and extended relatives, oh my.
    Our 3 year old daughter, on the other hand, has recently become a big fan of a big wedding kiss. She will hug me tight and press her face into mine for over a minute (as I laugh throughout almost every second of it) and when she pulls away she’ll say “that was a marry kiss!” We have no idea where she got it from.

    These photos made my day :) thank you!

  5. Em says...

    ALWAYS in the mood for love. Thank you Joanna :)

  6. Bex says...

    I don’t remember at all!! I just remember feeling insanely happy and lucky and nervous excited and feeling like my husband was the only person there. (is this a coping method for being-in-front-of-a-crowd anxiety or just love?)

    • Hayley B says...

      Same! I was just a bundle of nerves during the church ceremony. I can barely recall if there was even a kiss, much less how long it was! The only thing that really registered was my husband’s equally nervous-happy energy beside me and the love and smiles of everyone there.

  7. Hi! I am a florist and wondering if you would consider tagging the florist in the first photo? It’s a beautiful installation they definitely deserve credit!

    xoxo

    • andrea says...

      Agree! This was the wedding of Elaine Welteroth, former editor of Teen Vogue. Those flowers are magnificent and so was the entire beautiful creative wedding (took place during covid, too)! Many more photos of it on vogue.com, which is where I originally saw it. If I recall I think the vendors she used were mentioned.

  8. Grace says...

    I am not one for overdone PDA (good for them! not for me!), but my partner comes from a very affectionate, passionate family. At his cousin’s wedding, the groom was basically licking the bride’s face (wide open mouth! saliva trail! visible tongue from the 5th row!) and I was privately mortified until I heard my boyfriend beside me quietly say “EW” in such a hilarious deadpan that I burst out laughing. Luckily, nobody heard me over the applause and I took it as yet another good sign of our compatibility.

    We are now married and shared what I considered to be a perfectly sweet and appropriate kiss at our own wedding :)

  9. Sarah says...

    Is it weird that I don’t remember?! I’ll have to check our photos for clues! I do remember tearing up a little during the “in sickness and in health” part, and my aunt-in-law told me later it’s “bad luck to cry at your own wedding.” I think that’s hogwash! Cry, laugh, kiss, do whatever you feel in the moment!

  10. Anna says...

    I was so nervous about our kiss (so uncomfortable with PDA) so we spent months practicing a dipping kiss where my husband held my lower back while I leaned backward and we kissed. Despite all the practice, I got nervous in the moment and I accidentally held up my bouquet over my face! Everyone was like “we couldn’t even see the kiss!” I don’t know why I thought it was a good idea to do such a dramatic kiss anyway but my husband still loves to practice the dipping kiss all the time, 2 years later.

  11. Emily says...

    we definitely practiced a nice, loving but respectable kiss beforehand… and then accidentally made out instead. it’s just so hard to stop kissing in that moment!

  12. Meg says...

    My partner and I got married just two weeks ago. Because of the pandemic, my older brother married us in my mom’s back yard. We talked a bit about the details of scrubbing the patriarchy from the language, but after planning and then re-planning the wedding I didn’t want to get into all the details anymore. My brother surprised us with this moment, when he said, “Meg, you can kiss your groom.” It was funny, made me feel seen, and totally derailed my anxiety about the moment feeling staged or awkward (smooching with just my parents to watch! awk!!).

    • I got married two weeks ago, too! It was so hard for it all to be derailed in the months leading up to it, but we got married and that’s what matters! Hope you and your partner are enjoying this time :)

    • Maria says...

      Ha! Love this. Congratulations!

  13. Kathryn says...

    I love wedding pictures, and all of these are so lovely (and make me excited for weddings that are now lining up for the next few years).

    Our minister had us turn to the congregation after our vows facing each other, so when she announced the kiss we both turned in and managed to leave our bodies behind, with a congregation-facing arm down each. We definitely discussed levels of appropriate beforehand, generally out of entertainment during the planning and mostly in respect for the historic church rather than guests, and it came as a good solid kiss (in my opinion, anyway!) even without both arms around each other! The awkward arms make me laugh with an eyeroll every time I look through the photos, but not as much as the one that comes after where the other photographer caught my new husband going for my bum through my (rather froofy, thankfully) wedding dress with his other hand; luckily only for them… and the minister… to see!

  14. Vicki says...

    We had a religious ceremony and at the rehearsal the priest walked us through the whole ceremony except the kiss because we didn’t want a Mr & Ms presentation (We kept our last names) so when I asked about it, he joked “don’t worry I won’t forget!” And then he did! We had a small kiss at the peace, but no official kiss. Then at the reception he sheepishly came up to do a blessing of the meal and admitted that he had slipped up and was going to make up for it now – so he called for the kiss and we went for it while our guests cheered!
    So we got our moment :)
    I love these pictures of everyone’s special moment its such a joyful part of a wedding!

  15. Lane says...

    What a welcome distraction. I just felt compelled to write in that we got engaged at the end of Feb…I then lost the month of June to COVID-19.

    Just this week, one of our parents recieved a devastating cancer diagnosis.

    It’s hard to put in words the bottomless agony I feel for our family, our country and the uncertainty we’re (all of us) are facing.

    One bright spot? I cannot wait to kiss the shit out of my fiance in what will probably be the front stoop of our apartment building. To have both of our parents be with us, and finally understand the meaning of deep, supportive, unconditional love.

    Very different and infinitely better than 10+ years of wedding pins :)

    Please stay safe PLEASE wear a mask.

    • Ashley says...

      Congratulations Lane!

    • Sheila says...

      I feel so much of what you’ve said here. Don’t know if it’s any comfort, but you’ve stuck out in my mind. I’ll be thinking about you for the rest of the day. Best to your grandparents, and to you and your fiancé!

  16. Anne says...

    At military weddings, servicemembers often form a sword arch for the newlyweds to walk through. It’s tradition for each pair to drop their swords and require a kiss before they’ll let the couple pass. At the last pair of swords, my new husband did a proper dip and smooch, to the crowd’s delight. It was such a fun, romantic, swoony moment! Definitely one of my favorite photos from the wedding.

    • Julee says...

      I love a good military wedding… aren’t they so romantic???? 😀
      I married a naval officer myself.

    • molly says...

      Anne, that all sounds so lovely!! xo

  17. Kate says...

    I honestly don’t even remember our first kiss, but I do remember that afterwords multiple guests said they were so concerned we we were going to kiss randomly in the middle of the ceremony with the way we were looking at each other

  18. Caitlin says...

    I don’t know if you’d call our kiss big or small, but it’s one of my favorite photos from our ceremony for this reason: my older brother officiated our wedding and in the photo of the kiss, his face says “oh crap, I didn’t think about how close I would be to this moment!” Cracks me up every time I look at it!

  19. Katie says...

    My husband and I went for it. It was a big one! My mom said, “That was a smooch!” Ha! It was such a happy moment, and I’m so glad to have a picture that captures how excited we were.

  20. Leslie-Anne says...

    Thanks for prompting me to think about my wedding day. It was so romantic that I once told someone that I felt sorry for Kate Middleton because she merely got a royal wedding, but I got an actual fairy tale wedding (thirty-one years ago)! Also, it was a big kiss.

  21. Stephanie says...

    Oh man, we didn’t talk about our kiss at all beforehand. I went in for a medium-length kiss? Like, not a make out sesh, but not a peck. But my husband definitely just gave a peck. I seriously almost fell over as I was still leaning in when he pulled away, hahahaha. He’s not big on touch or PDA, so I should’ve figured.. but it didn’t even occur to me!

  22. Meghan says...

    I love this so much – what a beautiful thing to celebrate the love of others :) Our kiss was classic and sweet, but then my husband went in for a second one! I was so surprised and our families erupted with laughter. It was a sweet way to begin our life together, with a cheeky little surprise :)

  23. Kate says...

    Love that you featured Elaine and Jonathan – their pandemic wedding was just beautiful! Also, don’t we all want to be Elaine Welteroth when we grow up? <3

  24. Kim says...

    What a joyous post and such lovely pics… oh gosh especially the one of Jamie and Risa both slightly lifting their dresses, so sweet!

    I remember getting playfully scalded by our photographer for leaping up into my husband’s arms for our little pash – she was worried about getting the right angle of my feet hovering above the sand (beach wedding)

  25. Sylvia says...

    As I’m happily single I don’t await that day anytime soon, but if and when it comes around the kiss must be sealing in all the positive assuring ways. Doesn’t have to be a makeout session but last a moment. A moment to be relieved, to really feel the lips, to take the time for eachother whilst the brimming all around (even the very small weddings) so this would be our moment of acknowledgement “we did this! I’m here! and will be!”.

  26. Tessa says...

    My husband and I are both a little shy about PDA and so had a short and sweet ceremony kiss. Afterwards, my grandma urgently pushed her way through the crowd at the reception to say “what was that? that was just a peck! I wanted more!” We both laughed so hard. She was so disappointed and we never expected that from her!

  27. Agnès says...

    I love all of these comments! Thanks for the love, it is so welcome!

  28. Kat says...

    I barely remember the “first kiss”. However, when I first walked down the aisle, I hugged my dad and then turned to walk the remaining 5’ to my place in front of the priest. My soon-to-be husband, who had been waiting at the front next to the priest, bounded over, clearly forgetting everything from the rehearsal about our places. Reader, he tried to kiss me *before* the ceremony!

    Everyone audibly giggled and the photos are priceless.

    • Hayley B says...

      Hahahahaha that’s so sweet! ❤️ Your hubby sounds adorable!

    • Emma says...

      I’m cracking up – I did the same to my husband! I was so excited when I saw him at the end of the aisle that I went in for a quick “hello, i love you” kiss, and he full-body dodged it! Everyone started laughing and I seriously blushed and I think looked hurt (such rejection!), but he made up for it with a memorable, hands-on-both-cheeks kiss once we were officially announced as Mr and Mrs. What a guy!

  29. Gena says...

    Just so beautiful! All of them. Brought me to tears, go love! It will get us through these strange times.

  30. Such a heartwarming post and reminded me of my own wedding. We just shared a soft short kiss. I’m too shy in public.

  31. Tabitha says...

    OMG, we made out like teenagers at our City Hall elopement! We had a couple of our closest friends there as witnesses, and they started cheering. I didn’t even realize we were borderline inappropriate, I was so caught up in the moment and eloping was the most romantic thing I’ve ever done!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Love!!!

  32. Chamila says...

    Hi J,
    I have Hinduj origins but i dont live in india. In our culture, kissing right after being declared wife and husband(for us it would be after we have walked around the sacred fire seven times), is inappropriate. It isn’t seen as right and would go against our norm.
    Ive always though, loved watching newly married couples kiss on tv because i find it so charming.

  33. Helen says...

    Such a fun post! My husband and I didn’t talk about our kiss before our day, so it was a total surprise! When the priest gave the word, we looked at each other, leaned in, and planted a nice, solid, few second kiss on each other. BUT, the best part that I will always remember, my husband surprised me with the sweetest kiss on my forehead after. Later, my grandma told me that the forehead kiss made her cry.

    • Michelle says...

      Helen, that is the sweetest thing! What a tender little gesture- I would have cried too :)

  34. Julee says...

    Happy anniversary, Joanna!

    (We’re not far behind you. 11 years in October, 4 kids, oh my. )

    When I got married, we kissed quickly. It was an out of body experience for me, and I didn’t have a ton of feelings about it until later!!!
    I do remember my husband wanted us to stand in this super expensive Persian rug of his to exchange vows (we got married at home- pre-corona- I know!!!!!), and I didn’t want to ruin his rug and I said no way. The floor is good enough for me, ha.

  35. Kamina says...

    We practised our kiss before the wedding day. (I have no idea why; this is the kind of ridiculous thing you find yourself doing when you’re planning a wedding.) It’s a chaste yet lovely three-pump kiss, tiny amount of tongue, finish on a peck. We have NEVER kissed this way in real life! 11 years later, occasionally one of us will give the other the “wedding kiss” and the other one will recognise it and we have a sweet moment.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Oh my gosh so cute :)

  36. E says...

    These photos are beautifulll!!!!!
    Our wedding ceremony was in Hebrew (a language neither of us speak) and my husband’s comical uncle sat front row and in the middle of the ceremony motioned to us and said “kiss!!! the rabbi said it’s time to kiss!! kiss now!!” and we were so flustered we ended up kissing right then and there….only to quickly realize we were still RIGHT in the middle of the ceremony (to our uncle’s delight). The Rabbi looked veryyyy confused and just continued singing…and we laughed/cringed our way until the time for the actual kiss (still cringing writing this)

    • Emily says...

      As someone who’s someday going to have a Jewish wedding with lots of Hebrew, this made me laugh! Totally something one of my relatives would do, too.

  37. Anna says...

    These are all so lovely! But now all I can think of is “Not porno tongue. Church tongue.”

  38. Tracy says...

    I really struggle with any public displays of affection (for myself, not others) so the kiss at the end of my wedding freaked me out. So much so that I apparently forgot how to kiss and bumped my new husband nose to nose. I felt like such an amateur.

  39. We went for it! The bigger debate for us was whether or not to have edited or unedited dance music during our wedding reception! We went with unedited and didn’t hear any complaints, not even from my Southern grandmother! :D

  40. My husband and I were lucky enough to have 2 weddings- one at Manhattan City Clerk’s office and one in Greece. In the clerk’s office we got married in front of 4 close friends and had a short but passionate kiss (I had to stand on my tiptoes to reach him since I was in flats!)

    In Greek American weddings, the priest usually incorporates a moment for the kiss at the end of the service, but since we were married in Greece by Greek priests, the wedding ended and the kiss…never happened! And you know the craziest part? I am just realizing this 5 YEARS LATER. The wedding day and ceremony (and the fabulous after party up in the mountains) were all such an exhilarating rush that it didn’t even cross my mind! Plus our wedding photographer was amazing and the photos she captured from our wedding are absolutely stunning. So I guess it worked out in the end :)

  41. Katya says...

    We had a Jewish wedding and right before the kiss my (brand new) husband had trouble breaking the glass so our kiss mostly consisted of laughter and his embarrassment! The pictures are hilarious as I try to not laugh while we kiss.

  42. d says...

    Who says grandparents can’t handle a seeing a hot, steamy, wet kiss? When I’m a grandma, I hope my grandkids don’t censor their wedding kisses for me.

    • Lindsay says...

      Yes! I love this.

    • Agnès says...

      I was actually thinking, reading the post, that grandparents would certainly love a steamy kiss! (for a sec, I read “I’m a grandma”, I wish a grandma had written your comment!!).

    • Sarah says...

      My grandmother gave me a gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret “for your trousseau.” I thought it was so sweet and such a quiet insight into her marriage that she wanted me to prioritize this. My “first night” look came from her gift certificate!

  43. Emma says...

    Fun fact: the dress on the gorgeous bride in the first picture is (I’m 99.9% positive) only $100! We could not keep it in stock one summer at the women’s boutique I managed. Looked to good on so many gals and I always imagined it as a wedding dress. Loved this post, CoJ!

  44. Mandy says...

    Oh these wedding posts are all so sweet and charming and all the romance I need in my quiet quarantine life! Love this our kiss was not over the top but a perfect us kiss! Joanna I love that pic of you before and during the kiss! You can just feel all your feelings! So sweet!

  45. A.E. says...

    These pictures are so touching and beautiful. I have to say though, looking at wedding content this year just stings a little — my own wedding was cancelled because of the pandemic. For those of us feeling like we won’t get a chance to make these memories, it’s a bit difficult. BUT this is also a nice reminder that even if we just have a small elopement, I’ll still get that nice smooch at the end to seal the deal :)

    • Olive says...

      I agree 100%. After 8 years together, 2020 was finally going to be the year we tied the knot (and after hearing only choruses of “FINALLY” when we announced our engagement at the end of 2018, it felt especially long-awaited 😐). Then COVID happened… and we decided in March to push our May wedding to May of 2021, naively thinking that everything would be better by then. And now as the months go on, and it’s looking like even THAT probably won’t be possible, the new overwhelming response from all of the guests we were so excited to celebrate our union with is “Why bother going to all the effort. Just elope. You’re not getting any younger and you need to HAVE KIDS!”

      It just really really sucks. Part of the reason it took us so long was that it was really important to have everyone in our huge families in the same place, if for just once in our whole lives – everyone is so spread out, even our *siblings* haven’t met – and big weddings are expensive, and we were paying for it ourselves. And now it looks like not only will it not be possible, but no one other than us even cares. And it hurts a lot. Obviously you only ever need 2 people for a wedding, but we wanted our communities to share that memory with us (as everyone else was able to do in their weddings prior to 2020). Now anyone who just wants that same thing is treated as selfish and petty.

  46. NH observer says...

    These are absolutely gorgeous, and I agree with the commenter who applauded your approach to diversity. One question: why are some of the couples listed by name, while others aren’t?

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      Good q! It’s because those photos were from the photographers’ websites where the couples’ names weren’t included.

  47. Macy says...

    My husband was so delighted that he simply currently control himself and tried to lean over and kiss me on the cheek mid-service. I was shocked and ducked away because we were not husband and wife yet… Well it was captured on video and is now a gif we send to each other!

    Thanks for this joyous post.

    • Emily says...

      this made my heart swell. love the idea of gif’ing your wedding kiss too! <3

    • Emily says...

      Omg I love this — if you wouldn’t mind posting/linking would love to see it!

    • Jane says...

      This is so cute, brought a big smile to my face!!

    • AG says...

      I tried to do the same! Almost the entire room yelled at me – hilarious. One of the (many) reasons I regret not having a videographer.

    • fgb says...

      That is hysterical!

  48. anna says...

    such a sweet post. happy anniversary, alex and joanna!

  49. Annie says...

    OH! These photographs are gorgeous and show so much LOVE! When we got married, it was a BIG kiss. I was too excited to hold back! We will be married 16 years this November. And like you said, it goes by so quickly. I am filled with gratitude that he still makes me laugh (if not harder than before we were married), is a killer father, and knows when to let me be alone (especially since we are all in the house nearly ALL of the time).

  50. Lauren E. says...

    Thanks for the afternoon cry!! These are stunning.

    Also it makes me think of The Wedding Singer. “Church tongue.”

  51. I love that picture of you guys! Now that’s a kiss :)) Yes, I remember feeling the same jitters about that moment. Almost before the deacon finished his sentence, my husband scooped me up and gave me the most beautiful kiss, my face in his hands. That guy still gives me butterflies ;) Happy Anniversary❤️

  52. Meghann says...

    Ah, goose bumps! Love all the love!

  53. Colleen says...

    I so love and appreciate your inclusion in everything you do. My favorite thing about this lovely corner of the internet.

  54. Liz says...

    I really appreciate how you incorporate diversity into the blog and don’t call it out. It feels natural and like a step towards real inclusion in the world. Beautifully done as always :)

  55. Kelsey says...

    I was so incredibly nervous walking down the aisle! When I finally made it, I panicked and greeted him with a kiss. Everyone burst into laughter – oops!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s so sweet!

  56. Daniela says...

    My husband told me in advance he was going to go for it and I’m pretty reserved. We had a small wedding with just our closest family. Cue him going in for the big kiss, I kiss him back quickly, then turn my head and bear hug him instead. Haha!

    Our photographer somehow missed our first kiss. I definitely recommend hiring a really good photographer because that was (and is) such a bummer.

  57. The photos… swoooon. Love these moments of joy and love.
    I also got swept up and wrapped my arms around my husband for the smooch. (I also grabbed his butt during our first dance – and our photog caught it)

  58. Emily Yelencich says...

    I officiated my best friend’s wedding last year and one of the best pieces of advice I got was to GET OUT OF THE WAY for the kiss. Well…these two jumped the gun and didn’t wait for me to tell them to kiss…so their “first kiss” picture has me with a HUGE surprise face in the background. I’m very pleased with myself that I made it into the picture…not because of my mistake…but because of their eagerness!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That is adorable haha!

    • Bonnie Zimmerman says...

      My husband and I did a second kiss (with a dip!) halfway down the aisle during the recessional, right in the middle of our guests. Their surprise and delight made for such a fun and memorable little moment. My grandmother even tried to get my cousin to repeat the move at his wedding the next year-ha!

    • Kamina says...

      I second this advice! I was at a wedding recently and noticed something amazing the celebrant did – as soon as he announced “you may now kiss the bride” he quickly took a GIGANTIC step to one side and out of the shot! Wedding photos nearly always have the celebrant’s head sticking up awkwardly in the middle of the couple as they kiss!!! Hilarious but not great. I thought the celebrant stepping aside was so thoughtful and so well done.

    • Sarah says...

      We had our photographer move around behind our officiant for our kids photo. This way, we got to see the faces of all our guests, instead of the backs of their heads. Our photographer then had to do a bit of a sprint to catch our sword arch (Navy officer husband!) and walk back down the aisle though!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      What a great idea!

  59. Janet says...

    These are all so beautiful. I love that you actually put your hands on Alex’s face. So full of emotion.

  60. Julie says...

    So sweet! The pic on the mountain is AMAZING!!!