Receiving Line

After the newlyweds and guests leave the church, the bride and groom “receive” all the guests — nothing particularly novel about that for a non-Pole. What is novel is the kissing.

Mwa, mwa, mwa — left cheek, right cheek, left cheek again.

The men kiss the bride; the women kiss the groom; the women kiss the bride; and most disconcerningly, the men kiss the groom.

Having been raised in a non-kissing culture, it’s taken a little while to get used to it. It’s not just at weddings — most offical, congratulatory occasions require the kissing.

On Saturday 14 September 2004, I kissed about 120 people. I tried not to take the initiative, especially with the men. But if a man wanted a smooch, well, culture dictated that I pucker-up.

When Dave came along in the receiving line, we shook hands like men and left it at that.

Kissing finished, the photographer took over.

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