With the days growing a tad shorter and a delicious crispness developing in the air, we are barreling straight into the second most popular time of the year to have a wedding. Some people absolutely adore wedding season while others have mixed feelings. For my fellow members of the Single Club, it can be one weird ride. You go from viewing weddings as something to look forward to, to a place to meet people, to a place to be sad, or to something you yourself will never experience because you are SO single.
But fear not, adorable and lovable singles everywhere. We’ve put together a survival guide that will navigate even the most timid of singles through this year’s wedding season. (And for those of you more sassy and confident singles who just adore weddings, good for you.)
Opening your mailbox to discover a fancy, tiny envelope is simultaneously exciting and bittersweet when you’re single. For a moment, you might smile thinking about the happy couple and what a wonderful day it will be. Then that nasty little voice in your head will remind you that you’re currently only dating Netflix and guide you through some tasteless math that winds up with you not getting married for another 20 years, at which point you’ll look ridiculous in a wedding dress.
Some of the pastel colored, glitter filled, calligraphy written invites you receive will politely tell you that you and you alone have been invited while others generously toss out the option for a plus one. Your initial reaction might be to rack your brain for possible people to take. Your platonic best friend? Your funny coworker? Your ex who you’re still on good terms with? While going with someone, anyone, may seem better than going by yourself, take a few things into consideration.
Unless your “date” knows a lot of people at the wedding or is a social butterfly, chances are they will expect you to remain tight by their side the entire night. Which, don’t get me wrong, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not exactly fun either. If you’re feeling brave, go stag, especially if you know a lot of people who will also be going! Carpool with others to avoid the whole walking in alone thing if it gives you the heebie jeebies, but embrace the notion that the wedding is a fun, formal party of sorts. If you bring a clingy plus one, it might prevent you from chatting up some other cute singles. You never know who will be out there waiting to bump into you on the dance floor!
One thing about weddings that singles and taken people can all agree on is that they are not cheap. Between engagement parties, bridal showers and wedding registries, it’s rather easy to spend a good chunk of a week’s salary on one wedding alone. When it comes to gift giving, be thoughtful, but practical. You’re not going in on a gift with someone, so you may not be able to afford one of the nicer gifts on the registry.
Buy a few gifts on the cheaper side, or in one of the safest bets ever, just give a check or cash. Pick out a nice card and save yourself from wandering around Macy’s aimlessly trying to decide if you should go with the sheets or salad bowl set. No one doesn’t like getting money or a gift card. Hit up Pinterest for some clever DIY gifts if you feel weird not giving an actual present present.
Treat Yo Self
When you feel that you look good, you automatically give yourself a confidence boost. I’m not making that up, it’s scientifically proven somewhere. Of course, no one should capture as much attention at a wedding as the bride and groom. They’re the stars of the show. But that doesn’t mean you can’t doll yourself up. If looking good is going to make you more excited about a wedding, then by all means go ahead and do so.
Go buy a new freakum dress or tie that makes you feel super fly (but not for every wedding you have to go to because you will go broke) and work that dance floor later on. If a mani or pedi will bring down the heightened stress levels from going to your fifth wedding as a single person, then go pamper yourself. Take a long look in the mirror at the beautiful creature you are and go off confidently into the day. Turning a few heads will bring you right out of those wedding blues.
If you’re just getting over a breakup, aren’t happily single or have given up on love entirely, it’s easy to get choked up or feel a bit resentful during a beautiful wedding ceremony. I’m not going to be gentle with you right now; I’m going to use tough love. You cannot by any means let such negative feelings show. You are an adult and you have to exercise your ability to fake an emotion. Plaster on a smile and keep in mind that this ceremony is not about you. Focus solely on the two people you are there for and remember you have been invited to take part in their special day for a reason.
Watch the groom as he watches the bride come down the aisle and restore any lost notions you have about love. If you can’t look at the happy couple for whatever angsty reason you might have, check out the bridesmaids or groomsmen, and if one catches your eye, flash them your best smile. For those singles who aren’t bitter about love, sit back and relax. If you’re single and hoping to do some flirting, do your best not to cry. Puffy eyes won’t help. Seriously. Listen to 1000 Years or All of Me the night before and get your crying out then. You’ll thank yourself later.
Congratulations! You’ve made it through one of the most emotionally trying parts of the night. Find your table and acquaint yourself with the others seated there or jump for joy when you realize you’re with all your friends. A reception is full of endless opportunities, and it is your job as a fun single person to take advantage of it. The people who are coupled up may be trying to live vicariously through you, so do not disappoint. Literally anything could happen at the reception. To help you through it, we’re entering the lightening round: the Do’s and Don’ts of being a single person at a wedding.
…let someone buy you a drink if they offer.
…say yes to a dance with a stranger. If it’s awful, excuse yourself to the bathroom and come back when a new song starts playing.
…attempt to catch the bouquet/garter.
…request a song you can own on the dance floor.
…show off your Cotton Eyed Joe skills. You are SO MUCH FUN.
…leave a friendly message on the video that will inevitably be made.
…put your phone away. No one likes the person who sulks in a corner on their phone. Plus, this will prevent potential texting disasters later on.
…join the after party if there is one.
…have fun, have a few drinks. It’s ok if you get giggly!
…shut down everyone who tries to talk to you.
…pout. Show off that great smile.
…go off on an ‘I hate my ex’ tangent for the videographer.
…deny yourself cake. Eat the cake.
…over think saying hi to that cute stranger. Just do it.
…be afraid to take off your heels if you start walking funny. Your butt will still look good without them.
…have too high of expectations. Going in with minimal expectations makes for a more promising night.
…go to the bathroom to avoid any cute moments between the bride and groom. Again, you’re an adult, not a junior at the prom.
…bring a flask. Seriously. You will get drunk and you will text mortifying things to whoever you might be pining for. Just don’t do it.
…drunk text period. Put it away.
…can I just again reiterate that the flask is a bad idea?
You are now a single wedding-goer expert. Well, maybe not, but you’re stocked with tons of tips. Practice makes perfect, so dive into the single waters and get ready to make some waves. Do not be afraid; do not be sad. Embrace your single status for what it is and make the most of that cute new dress from Express. Happy wedding going!