The Forced Kiss

At a wedding I recently attended the clinking of utensils against glasses was repeatedly heard during the reception. In other words, there was a subset of guests who were trying valiantly to induce the bride and groom to kiss on cue. The newlyweds did not, however, give their loved ones the satisfaction, much to my delight. I’ve always rather disliked the tradition of peer pressuring the couple into PDAs for the amusement of those in attendance at the wedding reception. Some people just aren’t that demonstrative (in public or otherwise) when it comes to affection. Others don’t like being the center of attention any more than they have to be.


I know some people actually enjoy being cajoled into kissing and, yes, it’s just a bit of harmless fun. No one was harmed in the making of this liplock! But if you, like me, aren’t a big fan of this tradition, there are plenty of ways to have a little fun with it. The aforementioned couple would pucker up, go in for the kill, then swerve away at the last possible moment. The groom even planted one on the best man at one point. After a while, their guests got the hint and gave up.

On the other hand, maybe you don’t mind kissing on cue, but you want to make your guests work for the privilege of seeing you buss. I came across the following ideas in the comments at Darren Barefoot’s blog:

  • my wife attended a wedding once where the centrepieces on each table were fishbowls with several goldfish swmming around in them. To get the couple to kiss you had to actually swallow a goldfish. Full points for originality, but not for taste (aesthetic nor culinary) Once the rowdies got drunk it was a full on bride/groom make out fest.
  • I’ve been to 2 weddings where you had to compose and recite a poem – both started out well, but devolved into dirty limericks by the end of the night. Most were pretty funny, though, so the entertainment value is high.
  • Most of the weddings I’ve been too lately have had trivia challenges. That is, there’s a list of questions on each table and to get the couple to kiss, you have to answer the question correctly.
  • I emcee’d a wedding two weeks ago and with the Bride & Groom’s permission, enacted my own little wedding rule: Want to clink glasses? Then I get to pick the person you get to kiss.
  • I believe I witnessed one where you actually had to pay to see the couple kiss (perhaps my inner capitalist may have created this memory for my future wedding). The show wasn’t worth the cash to me, however, and I was content to see six inches between the couple rather than shell out cash on top of a gift.
  • The last wedding I went to, if you wanted the bride and groom to kiss, you had to demonstrate a kiss first, and then they would copy it.
  • Some young newlyweds-to-be who fancy themselves wine connoisseurs said they were doing the following at their reception: a big container full of corks, some with red wine on the ends (used), some new, one or two marked black. The bucket goes around the room to whomever dares: pick a red cork, bride and groom kiss, pick an unused cork, kiss your own date, get the black cork, EVERYBODY kiss (their date, I hope, but maybe they are more fun than that). The bride and groom could stack the odds as they wish if they are in charge of the corks. Could be pretty funny.

Goldfish? Quiz bowl? I’ll admit I have never been to a wedding where I encountered anything like that… or, I should add, anything as tacky as asking guests to pay to see the newlyweds kiss, which is apparently fairly common in some areas. Have you?

12 Responses to “The Forced Kiss”

  1. MET says:

    I am WAY not OK with the goldfish one. Partially because it is gross and partially because it’s a bit inhumane.
    I do like doing trivia for kisses and having to show a kiss.

  2. I hear ya, MET! I’m what you might call an insular ethical vegetarian, as in I don’t want to kill animals for food but I don’t care if other people do. Hey, meat is tasty! But killing little fishies for entertainment? Ugh. I can’t imagine that being swallowed alive by a human being is a nice way to go…

  3. Twistie says:

    I’m happy to say I’ve never seen any of these at any wedding I’ve attended. In fact, I’ve never attended a wedding where clinking glasses resulted in anything other than a clink of crystal. I know it’s a tradition, but it’s one I’ve never seen played out where I am.

    As for these others…I’m not sure whether killing goldfish or demanding cash is the most offensive, but I really don’t think I’d want anything on the list at a wedding of mine. Mr. Twistie and I did kiss quite a bit on our wedding day, but entirely because we wanted to. I really dislike the concept that anyone has any business informing the bridal couple that they need to pucker up on cue.

  4. dr nic says:

    I was at a wedding where the bride and groom announced that they wouldn’t kiss unless the entire table stood up and sang a song with the word love in it. Needless to say the bride and groom did not do too much forced kissing that night (although the wedding party’s rendition of “Love Shack” was great).

  5. kate says:

    i went to a wedding last fall that supplied every table with a magnetic poetry set, and instructions to write a poem to get the couple to kiss. someone had pulled out all the dirty words, but unfortunately the groomsmen had found the stashed words and re-supplied the tables…. the table i was at tried to keep it clean (there were nuns there!), but it wasn’t too long before the words were collected & the poetry jam shut down.

  6. Toyouke says:

    The last wedding I went to, the drinks were served in plastic cups. Problem solved.

  7. libbyblue says:

    At one wedding, bells. At another wedding, the usual crystal. And at most other weddings I’ve attended, the entire-table-must-first-sing-a-song-about-love method was employed.

    I’ve never been to a wedding without the forced kissing.

    I also think my soon-to-be husband and I (two and a half weeks!) will kiss plenty without additional prompting. I mean, I don’t get him back from his overseas job until the week of the wedding! I’ll file away the fake-out idea in case guests find a way to get pointedly noisy. Of course, some of them would probably pay good money to see either of us kiss the MOH or Best Woman… *sigh*

  8. Violet says:

    I like the idea of money. NOT for the couple, but as a donation to their favorite charity.

  9. Toni says:

    I have also been to a wedding where the table had to sing a song with the word “love” in it to get the couple to kiss. My mischievous table did an enthusiastic rendition of “Love Stinks.”

  10. Nony Mouse says:

    One wedding I went to had the typical glass clinking thing going… until the groom got a good look at who was instigating things. He then announced to the delight of most of the crowd that by that point in time, everyone knew what they looked like kissing and it was their parent’s turn to stand up and demonstrate. CAUGHT! But they were sports about it, and that was the end of it.

  11. Emi!y says:

    One of my best college friend’s wedding was Christmas-themed and each table was given a carol title rather than a number. To get them to kiss the whole table had to stand up and sing the song. Easy for the “Jingle Bells” and “White Christmas” tables, not so easy for my table – “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.” By the time the couple were making their way around the room and each table was going for it, we, the young single friends, were several drinks into the (5) free open bars! 😀