It’s the summer of 2019 and wedding season is in full swing. I am unfortunately of an age where my friends are all getting married. All of my annual leave each year is being sucked dry by weddings and hen dos. I love my friends and I wouldn’t miss these events for the world so please still invite me people! But it does sometimes suck when you’re single. One of the worst parts about being single at 29 is that none of your friends are single too. You’re getting all these invites to your closest friends’ weddings but every time you open them up you see it’s just your lonely little name on the invite. There’s no plus one, no “and” with the name of your partner. It’s your name, standing alone at the top of that piece of paper (or card if it’s fancy). You feel your heart drop out of your arse and the anxiety start to rise in the pit of your stomach about the fact you might be the only single person there. Trust me, I feel you! If it helps at all, I went to a wedding last year where the bride joked that I was “difficult to sit because I made things an odd number”. Hilarious. So funny in fact that I cried with laughter (spoiler alert… they were not tears of laughter). This year, I’ve gone into wedding season with a whole new outlook and I’m hoping I can encourage you to do the same. Rather than seeing your name alone on that invite and feeling an impending sense of doom, look at your name standing proudly up there on the invitation and remember the honour you should feel that your friends want to share their incredibly special day with you. They don’t want you distracted by a plus one that you’ll have to introduce to everyone and look after. They want to spend the day with you and they want you on your top form.
The first thing I always do is figure out what I’m going to wear. Now I bust a gut working two jobs and very rarely have days off so, if like me, you don’t have spare money to blow on a new dress, go second hand. I tend to re-wear items I already have in my wardrobe as well but just wear my hair differently. Don’t spend loads of money on new stuff if you don’t need to. Besides, fast fashion isn’t sustainable so we’re being good to the World too. One of my favourite wedding outfits I bought was on eBay. I then decided to spend the money I’d saved on having my make up done for the day. Once I’ve decided what I’m wearing, that’s a big battle done. Choose something that will make you feel confident and something that makes you feel beautiful, because you are. Being single during wedding season can make you feel miserable about yourself. It really tugs at my self esteem and reminds me I’m not good enough to be loved or to marry. First of all, this isn’t true. More importantly, this is why you need to feel good about yourself for the event. If that’s done by buying a new dress, do it. If you feel good having your make up done, do it. If all you need is a Snickers bar in the car before you walk into that church… DO IT! Whatever it is that will give you a positive self esteem or confidence boost to get into that wedding venue, you absolutely do you.
If you’re worrying you might not know many people, ask the bride or groom who you’re sitting on a table with. Not only will you find out if you’re with someone you know, but if you’re not then you have conversation starters to get to know them already. You can ask the bride/groom who they all are and prep chatting to them about whatever she/he says before hand. If you’ve been to the hen or stag do, you’ve already got a load of people to talk to so aim for them when mingling. Weddings are the best time to meet new people and it’s so easy to start a conversation with “so how do you know the happy couple?”. It’s the easiest way to get chatting and you never actually know who might be single especially for you. One of my most important tips is, try to chat to people on your table. It’ll alleviate so much of your stress and worry, plus it’ll make the wedding more enjoyable for you. It also means people will walk away remembering how lovely you are.
Next up; plan your ride. If you don’t know anyone else going to share a lift with and you want to have a few drinks, book taxis before hand or plan public transport. If you want to stay in a hotel then absolutely treat yourself and book it before. I don’t actually mind staying sober so sometimes if I’m hitting up a wedding solo, I’ll drive myself. It means I can leave when I want to and I’m only working on my time. If you can’t face doing the wedding solo and sober, plan ahead! If you leave it to the last minute, it’ll cause more stress and you won’t want to go at all. Plan ahead. Plan ahead. Plan ahead. Was that clear enough? The anxiety about something is normally worse than the actual thing itself so if you take this in bite size pieces, it’ll feel easier. One bite size piece is planning your ride or hotel in advance.
The most important thing you can do when you’re hitting up weddings single is to own it. Own being single and don’t let it drag you down. Last year at a wedding somebody came over the mic and announced that the bride was going to throw the bouquet. Booming through the speakers came the sentence “so all the single ladies come and join us” to which I naturally stood up. That might possibly have been the saddest sight for everyone else in that room. One, lonely, single girl standing up on her own. I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that only I stood up and tumbleweeds rolled across the floor. Then came the awkward moment where I looked around searching for safety, the guy on the mic turned towards me with a panicked look in his eyes. People sat around the room stared at me. You know when you’re looking at something that’s so embarrassing for another person and you’re cringing? You can feel how mortifying it is for them, your face can’t hide how embarrassed you are for them and you want to try and help. But. You. Just. Can’t. Look. Away. That’s what it was like. The guy on the mic looking at me with his pained, sympathetic expression quickly tried to add “um. Let’s get all the unmarried women in the room up for the bouquet.” Obviously a load of other women started to get up one by one and make jokes with their partners. Fuck the bouquet, I don’t even want it! I sat down and drank more wine. Looking back, I wish I had stood up and absolutely owned my single status. I should have said loudly “just give me the bouquet” and laughed. Throughout the rest of the night, people were saying how jealous they were of my single life and jet-setting around the world with no responsibilities at home. I am lucky and I’m living my single life in different countries around the World with nobody moaning that they want me home more.
So my plea to you is that you do single status at weddings better than I did last year and do it the way I’m doing it this year. Own your singledom. Be the President of your Kingdom that has you standing proudly on your own. Drink your drinks. Chat to people and make new friends. Eat delicious wedding food and cake. Take photos. Smile and laugh. Being at a wedding single can sometimes be a blessing. You don’t have to keep an eye on your plus one. You don’t have to introduce someone to everybody there and have them following you around because they don’t know anybody. You are free to see whoever you want and do whatever you want. If there is ever a moment it’s all getting too much, take yourself off for a little break and just chill. Collect your thoughts and get back out there. You’ve got this.