This is What I Learned from Going to Seven Weddings Alone
I also didn’t meet anyone so—according to Hollywood—I’m either dead or Daria.
As much as you—single person extraordinaire that you are!—may love living alone, dining alone, going to movies alone, and traveling alone, going to a wedding alone can feel like the final frontier. For some reason, weddings have a permission setting on them that allows every other guest to come up to you and ask, “So where’s your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/partner?” Followed up by, “So why don’t you have a significant other/oat-topped love muffin/main squeeze/happy honey/sweet gazelle?”
Or my personal favorite: “Oh, don’t worry. You have plenty of time. Wait… how old are you?”
This year, I took to responding, “I also have plenty of boyfriends.” Ba-dum-dumpsh.
So, through trial and tribulation, I’ve got a pretty good idea of what it takes to have a fun time at a wedding when you’re flying solo. Here’s what’s key:
Take the idea that weddings are a great place to “meet someone” literally. That someone doesn’t have to be a romantic someone. When I interviewed Maddie for an article on the topic this summer, she told me, “I’ve been to weddings where I made a best friend for a night. I don’t remember their names. But for one evening, we were soul mates.”
The fact of the matter is, the sit-down dinner is generally a small portion of the wedding. If you’re feeling antsy, go hang out at the bar. Go to the bathroom repeatedly to check your makeup (and your phone…). Wander outside to admire the sunset. Go to your car to change into your flats. Find out where the kiddos are hiding and hang with them. Which brings us to my next tip…
3. BRIDGE OUTSIDE OF YOUR AGE GROUP. This is one of my favorite cocktail dresses australia party tips of all time. Every party I go to, I make friends with the toddlers. They’re cool. They like to dance, they know all the best hiding and napping spots, and they’re frequently served dinner first. You can avoid a lot of adult conversations by playing peek-a-boo with a baby or hide-and-go-seek with a rowdy gang of six-year-olds.
Some of the most fun I’ve ever had on the dance floor was with couples in their seventies who were more than happy to adopt a twenty-something for a few hours and show her how it’s done.
Just after college, I went to my friend Clara’s wedding. I was the only person in our age range there who wasn’t in her sorority or her new husband’s fraternity. Which is to say that everyone knew each other, I knew no one (except the bride, who was a smidge busy), and it felt like middle school all over again.
I talked to the moms, dads, uncles, aunts, and grandparents. I also pretended I was Audrey Hepburn and practiced wandering around with a slight and inscrutable smile on my face. You know, just a mysterious girl floating by in the background of a party that was the opening scene of a movie. A girl who would be revealed in the very next scene to be the plucky and charming heroine.
4. CLEAR THE DANCE FLOOR FOR THE SLOW
8. DON’T BUY A NEW DRESS. Look, sometimes you’ve been to many weddings and bought many, many gifts, and trying is just going to feel like effort without reward. Recognize those times. Honor them.
9. REMEMBER THAT IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU. Despite how many people are going to come up to you asking where your date is (a million, otherwise known as one or two), absolutely no one is paying attention to you. They’re all watching the couple.
You are not the star of this narrative. There’s freedom in that. Be polite when people are giving toasts, don’t use your phone during the ceremony, and don’t take your shirt off. Other than that, show up, celebrate, hug random people, flirt with the bartenders, hide in the bathroom, eat second servings of the mac ’n’ cheese off the kids’ buffet. Revel.