Photo: Kate Neal
There's at least one reason most couples don't opt for a French kiss for their first kiss: They're trying not to gross out their guests with overwhelming affection. But there are ways to show your affection that won't make your guests gag, and our experts are here to give nine recommendations.
1. Share a seat.
Most brides may go gaga for Mr. and Mrs. matched chairs, but your guests could find them over-the-top. So rather than sitting in separate too-cute chairs, "mix it up a little and rent in a love seat," suggests Sarah Glick, wedding planner at Brilliant Event Planning in New York City. "The two of you can be cozy on the same sofa, but without any pet names or sappy lines tied to your place setting."
2. Present your spouse with a gift.
On your wedding day, slip your significant other something of significance to them, suggests Victoria Canada, owner of Victoria Canada Weddings + Events in Phoenix. "For example, we had a groom who was a baseball nut," she describes. "He loved the Red Sox, and his future wife knew that. So, she made sure he and all his groomsmen had cuff links that were created out of baseballs from actual Red Sox games. It was a thoughtful gift that showed she was paying attention."
3. Welcome plus-ones.
Says Glick, "Many couples choose not to invite plus ones unless the guest is in a serious relationship, which is fair from a budget perspective." But giving your guests plus-ones will keep them from feeling like third wheels, she says. "Sucking up the extra cost will keep your single friends from squirming and let them have the most fun helping you celebrate," Glick adds.
4. Schedule QT with each other.
There's no need to get mushy-gushy in front of guests if you've slated special time just for you two, says Canada. "One tradition that is found in Judaism is the Yihud, when the couple spends about 15 minutes alone after the ceremony — no photographer, no planner, and ideally them with some champagne and appetizers," she suggests. "Guests don't know where you are, and your spouse will love the one-on-one attention." Of course, this tradition can be incorporated into any wedding. "You know 15 minutes with the love of your life is worth it," says Canada.
5. Use your words.
Canada suggests showing off your love by sending one another heartfelt cards while you're getting ready, or offering up a toast at the reception. "These affirmations written and spoken will create that little love bubble that you should surround yourself with on your wedding," she says. "No one can eye roll at a card. But if you really want to make a statement, customize your vows. This is about you two and your life together."
6. Keep it small.
Pet names? No problem — as long as you don't blow them up on a billboard, says Glick. "If you have pet names for each other, a unique cake topper is often a place where my clients choose to do something that shows this affection," she says. "A lot guests won't even see the cake, but those who do will note that it's a personal element of the day and think it's sweet, not over the top."
7. Play more love songs.
The slow dances don't have to stop with your first twirl as husband and wife. "It's fun to take some time in the evening to recognize all the first dances that have come before yours," says Glick. "Silently celebrate other guests' marriages and relationships by playing songs during dinner that mean something to your guests. Then, even if your first dance is a huge display of affection, it will come in the context of many other couples having their own mini-moments."
8. Commit acts of service that will make the big day better.
Love can sometimes mean a clean car. Show off your love for one another, Canada suggests. Think: Hiring a pet-sitter, cleaning out each other's cars, or sending your groom and his guys get-ready bags, complete with water and treats. "If your future spouse is someone who is always taking care of others, this is the perfect day to spoil them," Canada says.
9. Enjoy a first look.
A first look isn't for every couple. But consider this: "A first look allows the two of you to be as emotional as you would like when you see each other for the first time," says Glick. "You don't have to tone down your love for each other and can be as affectionate as you would like. Then, when you see each other during the ceremony, you'll still definitely have a moment, but it won't be anything over the top and will keep your guests smiling."