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10 Alternatives to “You May Now Kiss the Bride!”

Published Wednesday, Oct. 19th, 2022

Creative alternatives to the familiar wedding phrase, for couples and wedding officiants




Some wedding traditions stick around because they’re simple and timeless... like handfasting, or lighting a unity candle. But others stick around simply because they’re familiar, or because they’ve ‘always been done that way,’ even when they don’t fit a couple’s specific style or needs. 



Take, for example, the very common phrase:


“You may now kiss the bride!”



This phrase is usually heard following the wedding officiant’s pronouncement, and just before the recession begins and the ceremony ends. Although many couples find it sweet, others will think it sounds outdated and heteronormative. And some couples will think it’s just plain boring!


So, in celebration nontraditional wedding lovers everywhere – from feminist couples to same-sex, non-binary, and other LGBTQ+ couples; to modern wedding officiants, and more – here are 10 alternatives to help you end your wedding ceremony in style! 


Related: Write a Personal Wedding Pronouncement Using This Outline



Two young grooms kiss outdoors surrounded by trees and foliage on their wedding day

"You may now kiss the love of your life!"


Modern wedding alternatives to “You May Kiss the Bride”


1. “You may now kiss!”


If you like the wording in general but want to avoid the ‘bride’ bit, try this one. Other variations are “You may now kiss the groom!” or the gender-neutral “You may now kiss the love of your life!” or “You may now kiss each other!” 


Planning a bilingual ceremony? It sounds just as sweet in Spanish: "Se pueden ahora besar!"


2. “Let’s make your marriage official! Seal it with a kiss!”


This phrase keeps the kiss, but makes it gender-neutral and modern feeling.


3. “Let’s show the newlyweds our support!”


This version gets the wedding guests involved. While everyone claps and cheers, the couple is free to kiss, embrace, or raise their clasped hands in triumph – whatever happy display of affection they choose. 



Two young newlyweds embrace, surrounded by friends and family, on their wedding day

 “Let’s show the newlyweds our support!”


4. “You may now seal your marriage with a toast!”


AMM Minister Elizabeth Babinski (aka Liz Rae Weddings) suggests ending the marriage ceremony with a toast, and we love the idea! As Officiant Liz points out in this Bustle article, it’s a great way to include a unity toast and end things on a festive note.


Related: Ceremony Writing with AMM Minister Liz Rae (of Liz Rae Weddings)



5. “And now, for your first PDA as a married couple… Show us what you’ve got!”


A little humor can be a great way to end a casual ceremony, and this wording definitely takes a playful tone.


6. “You may now take your first steps as husband and wife!”


This version is a great fit for couples who want to start the recession (their exit down the aisle) without a kiss or hug – they can simply hold hands and head on out. This wording can easily be modified to be gender neutral: “as partners for life,” or “as a married couple.” 


7. “Everyone grab your cameras, because I think these two are about to kiss!”


This wording should only be used when the sudden flurry of guests and camera flashes won’t get in a professional photographer’s way – so use it with caution! But for couples planning DIY wedding photos, it guarantees a great first kiss photo. 


Related: Want Great Wedding Photos? Get Centered… For the KISS, That Is!



Young newlyweds embrace outdoors on their wedding day in front of large pine trees

Every part of the wedding ceremony should reflect the personality and values of the couple


8. “You may now seal your marriage with the secret handshake. Guests, please look away.”


This cute wording is perfect for couples who want a funny, surprise ending to their ceremony. Couples can practice their wedding handshake ahead of time and then unveil it following the officiant’s pronouncement, as part of a one-of-a-kind unity ceremony. 


9. “Five years ago you shared your very first kiss. Today, you share the first kiss of the rest of your lives together.”


This sweet sentiment is perfect for vow renewals, sequel weddings, or weddings held on a couple’s anniversary. Just modify the timeline to suit your needs!

10. Say nothing…


This is one of the most common choices made by couples: If your officiant has pronounced you married, as in “I pronounce you partners for life,” there’s no need for more words. You can take it from there! 



You might also like:





Newlyweds embrace, facing the camera, outside on the beach on a sunny day

From the article: 12 Creative Pronouncement Ideas for Your Wedding Ceremony:

10 alternative pronouncement ideas, from funny to formal examples, gender neutral to bilingual, and more. The best ways for a wedding officiant to say, “I now pronounce you married!”




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Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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