ASK FATHER: Newly wedded couple kissing during wedding Mass?

From a priest…


Do you think it is appropriate for a newly wed couple to share a kiss at their wedding mass? If so, the only place in the Ordinary Form I can think of it happening is at the very end, before they process out.


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  1. I don’t know just where it comes from, but somehow people have the idea that the officiant says to the groom — upon completion of the vows — “you may now kiss the bride.” I have been asked, “when do you say that, father?”

    My answer is I don’t; it’s not part of the ritual. And, as I add, “it seems ridiculous to me that you need my permission to kiss each other. Use good decorum.

    That said, I don’t worry about them kissing. If there is an exchange of peace, that seems the best time.

  2. DavidJ says:

    What’s wrong with a simple kiss at the sign of peace, sans fanfare or announcement?

  3. Best response to a Quaeitur, ever.

  4. Hidden One says:

    No words wasted. I like that. :-)

  5. Terentia says:

    Slightly off topic but still on the topic of weddings: Yesterday I attended a generic protestant wedding. Following “if any one knows any reason these two may not marry, speak now or forever hold your peace”, the minister then addressed the bride and groom. Reading from his ceremonial book, he said, that in view of their vows in the sight of God, and acknowledging that they will stand before God for judgment, if they knew of any impediment to their vows, they should “confess” the impediment or their marriage would not be valid in the sight of God. I have never before heard this at a wedding. Does anyone know what marriage ritual this is?

  6. APX says:

    The other issue with couples kissing is that it tends to result in hooting, hollering, and cat-calling from various members of the congregation. Might as well just spare the couple the embarrassment of uncle Bob and cousins Cletus and Billy acting like rednecks.

  7. de_cupertino says:

    When my wife and I wed in 2009, I hadn’t discovered the Extraordinary Form or really any of the pre-vat ii traditions of which I am now so fond. Had I been aware, we wouldn’t have had the ‘unity candle’, and perhaps could have foregone the “you may now kiss the bride.”

    However, I had the awareness to find a proper organist and pick some decent hymns (didn’t know what a proper was, sadly.) And I insisted on the Agnus Dei in Latin, which I thought at the time was really special.

  8. pappy says:

    If there is a sign of peace, I don’t see why they couldn’t kiss then. Around here lots of married
    couples exchange a kiss at that moment.

  9. jhayes says:

    Terentia, in the Church of England wedding service, the minister says:

    The Declarations

    The minister says to the congregation

    First, I am required to ask anyone present who knows a reason why these persons may not lawfully marry, to declare it now.

    The minister says to the couple

    The vows you are about to take are to be made in the presence of God, who is judge of all and knows all the secrets of our hearts; therefore if either of you knows a reason why you may not lawfully marry, you must declare it now.


  10. AnAmericanMother says:

    Terentia, that is the good old 1928 Book of Common Prayer ‘Form of Solemnization of Matrimony’, to-wit:

    DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church: which holy estate Christ adorned and beautified with his presence and first miracle that he wrought in Cana of Galilee, and is commended of Saint Paul to be honourable among all men: and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly; but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God. Into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. If any man can show just cause, why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.

    this in red: ¶ And also speaking unto the Persons who are to be married, he shall say,

    I REQUIRE and charge you both, as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed, that if either of you know any impediment, why ye may not be lawfully joined together in Matrimony, ye do now confess it. For be ye well assured, that if any persons are joined together otherwise than as God’s Word doth allow, their marriage is not lawful.

    likewise in red: ¶ The Minister, if he shall have reason to doubt of the lawfulness of the proposed Marriage, may demand sufficient surety for his indemnification.

    The ‘new’ (1979) prayer book, which bears a frightening resemblance to the “Lame Duck Version”, of course dumbs this down substantially, omitting the dreadful day of judgment (as if by that omission pretending that it somehow won’t happen?) and a good deal more.

  11. jhayes says:

    AnAmericanMother, an only slightly modified version of the 1928 Prayer Book ceremony is permitted as an “alternative service” in the Church of England.


  12. AnAmericanMother says:

    Looks like the remnant in Jolly Olde England – just like their fast-diminishing Episcopalian brethren – have softened up the marriage service as compared to the old 1662 book – apparently all this political correctness is pervasive throughout the Anglican Communion.
    Thankfully my husband and I were married under the old ’28 Book – which is virtually identical to the 1662 Book in the Charge. What is really take-no-prisoners in the ’62 Book is the preamble, after the “unadvisedly or lightly” language, “duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.
    Fir?t, it was ordained for the procreation of children, to be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy Name.
    Secondly, it was ordained for a remedy again?t sin, and to avoid fornication; that such persons as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Chri?t’s body.
    Thirdly, it was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.” All of that language is gone of course.
    Nothing mealy-mouthed about Archbishop Cranmer. Can’t say the same about his successors.

  13. AnAmericanMother says:

    The medial “s” in the typeface doesn’t print. Sorry about that.

  14. mulieribus says:

    It is becoming customary in my FSSP parish that the couples to be wed bring a crucifix to the wedding ceremony and make their vows while placing their hands on the crucifix. They are encouraged to take all their joys and sorrows of married life “to the foot of the Cross”. At the end of the nuptial Mass they kiss the cross, rather than each other. They then carry the blessed crucifix out of the church and it is put in a place of importance/veneration in their new home.

  15. Rachel says:

    I like that custom, mulieribus!

  16. Phil_NL says:

    There’s inappropriate, and then there’s inappropriate.

    It is indeed not appropriate to plan on a moment where that would happen, as it isn’t part of the rite – “you may kiss the bride” is not included.

    But it isn’t inappropriate on a level that one should actively strive to prevent it. Especially as, in most NO Masses, at the sign of peace pretty much the entire congregation is already shaking hands, but often also kissing or hugging – especially at weddings, most likely. It seems more than a bit ridiculous to have the parents of the bride or groom kiss eachother in the pews at that time (and with some basis too, “greet eachother with the holy kiss” isn’t that far out of context…) but insist the bride and groom cannot.
    If you don’t want people kiss, you reasonably also have to omit the sign of peace. Is that worth it?

    So in all, I wholly agree with Fr Martin Fox and some other comments above. Don’t make special accomodations for it, but if there’s a sign of peace, it’s pretty much inevitable. At that point, it’s not misplaced unless one judges the entire sign of peace misplaced. One can argue that’s exactly the case, but wedding Masses aren’t the place to start that battle.

  17. Wiktor says:

    I was married 3 years ago, and to be honest, I don’t remember if there was a kiss or not.
    What I do remember is that it was one of only few times that I heard the Roman Canon during Novus Ordo Mass.

  18. jhayes says:

    AnAmericanMother, Cranmer was more earthy, but the ideas are still there:

    …duly considering the causes for which Matrimony was ordained.

    First, It was ordained for the increase of mankind according to the will of God, and that children might be brought up in the fear and nurture of the Lord, and to the praise of his holy name.

    Secondly, It was ordained in order that the natural instincts and affections, implanted by God, should be hallowed and directed aright; that those who are called of God to this holy estate, should continue therein in pureness of living.

    Thirdly, It was ordained for the mutual society, help, and comfort, that the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.

    Into which holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined.

  19. kimberley jean says:

    I don’t mind a little peck but that whole hog, “Hey let’s consummate this sucker right now!” kissing while the church errupts into hoots and cheers has got to go.

  20. Michael_Thoma says:

    Does the Anglican Use Matrimonial Liturgy retain this form in the Latin Church?

    My wife and I were married according the Malankara Recension of the Syriac Rite in the Syro-Malankara Catholic Church — no rite of kissing included, and considered culturally taboo, if done.. tolerated at the post-wedding reception, although can be frowned upon!

  21. Kensington says:

    If you don’t want people kiss, you reasonably also have to omit the sign of peace.

    If only!

  22. Reliquary says:

    I personally don’t care for watching couples kiss during the sign of peace while I wait to shake their hand. This also reminds me of an FSSP priest who once told couples not to hold hands while walking up to and receiving Holy Communion.

  23. AnAmericanMother says:

    What a lovely custom! I wish we had known about that before my daughter was married last December.
    I think they kissed during the Peace, but they didn’t make a big deal out of it.

  24. C N says:

    My husband and I did not kiss during our wedding mass. We saved it for the photo op after we had left the church.

    The number one comment we received after our ceremony was, “You forgot to kiss!” As if that’s the part everyone cares about…
    We just had to smile and say, “No, we didn’t.”

  25. Phil_NL says:


    I agree, the sign of peace – or better said, the shaking of hands or worse – is as welcome to me as a minor toothache. Point is of course that people expect it, and especially wedding masses will be frequented by Catholics who, how shall we put it, cause very little wear and tear on the pews. That might extent to the couple as well, too. Under such circumstances, I’d expect the sign of peace to live on during such Masses for many years after it would have been axed from normal liturgies. It’s not a battle many priests will want to wage, and with good reason. So any progress on the sign of peace front would have to come first.

    And I see few signs it’s happening at all, to be honest.

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