When Jean Paul Sartre said that, “Hell is other people”, what he (probably) meant to add was, “In relationships. At weddings. When you’re single.” While it seems that everything is currently undergoing sexy new rebranding (see Neville Longbottom of Harry Potter fame), singledom seems set to remain a state of being that automatically evokes pity – and never does riding solo feel like more of a deviant lifestyle choice than at a wedding.
However, crying into your canapé is not an option and after much research (read: years of personal experience) we’ve come up with the following tips to help put the ‘ding’ back in ‘wedding’:
Do your research
Weddings can feel daunting events to arrive at alone, especially if you’re already highly conscious of the fact that you are sans partenaire. To counteract this, find out which of your friends will be attending so that you can make travel, accommodation and gift-buying arrangements together. Asking the bride and groom-to-be about the other guests will also make for good small talk fodder at the wedding, ensuring that you’ve got enough knowledge of who’s who to be able to carry conversations without feeling too lost in a sea of unfamiliar faces. And you’ll know in advance to steer clear of the dreaded uncle with wandering hands, halitosis and a delusional view of himself as an ever-so-slightly balding Adonis.
This kind of preparation is equally useful for gleaning information about any eligible bachelors who could be in attendance. Sure, you may be using this knowledge for your own licentious means, but to the happy couple you’ll just seem to be taking an interest in their big day. Win-win.
When that ivory-embossed envelope thuds onto your doormat don’t feel the pressure to invite a plus one – any plus one! – solely for the sake of not wanting to look like a Nora No-Date. I learnt this lesson the hard way – upon receiving an invitation to a wedding which I knew an ex and his current girlfriend would be attending, I kneejerk-invited a guy with whom I’d on a total of three dates. Needless to say, the offer was rebuked and we never saw each other again.
The moral of the story is this: weddings are emotionally-charged places – great for catching up with old pals; sometimes great for meeting potential new partners. They’re not so great to drag an undefined ‘special friend’ along to. The awkwardness you’ll inevitably feel sitting next to each other watching a long-established couple exchanging their vows of undying love whilst simultaneously realising that you can’t remember your date’s surname is just not worth it.
Indulge in the food
The unspoken wedding truth is that, apart from the joining of two people in a legally and emotionally binding ceremony to celebrate their lifelong commitment to each other, etc etc, the food is the main attraction. The hors d’oeurves! The three-course meals! The wedding cake! It’s the stuff of dreams, with which you must stuff yourself. After all, you’re eating for two – you and the plus one you didn’t bring to the wedding. Eat and be merry.
The same rule does not apply to alcohol…
Though the bubbles may be flowing freely and you’re probably the most charming of guests after a few warm glasses of prosecco, it’s a fine line between being slick and being sick – and a line best left uncrossed. Unless you want to be the person leading the charge of a group of bemused elderly relatives in a marquee-based conga at 5pm in the afternoon, it’s best to pace yourself on the aqua vitae. It’s good to be entertaining, but not so laudable to be the entertainment.
Dance like EVERYONE is watching. And applauding!
Congas aside, once the tables are cleared, the speeches spoken and the dance floor primed, it’s your time to shine. Unburdened by a significant other who would undoubtedly cramp your inimitable style, you can – and must – cut loose, debuting the kind of maverick moves of which Mick Jagger (in his heyday) would be proud. Everyone will be so dazzled by how much fun you’re having that you’ll become the Pied Piper of the dance floor, people flocking to join you in your avant-garde two-step. Glorious!