How to Survive Attending Your Friends’ Weddings While Single and Alone

I just received my first official wedding invitation from an actual friend, not a family member or distant “aunty,” in the mail.

Oddly, although I suppose I should have expected the post-college graduation nuptials invites to start rolling in predictably, I was caught off guard by the invitation none the less. I’m technically not single (far from it, surprisingly, my boyfriend lives with me),  but I also know I won’t be getting a plus one to this ceremony or reception, and I am not close enough to this friend to be a bridesmaid, so what does that mean for me? And likely, at some point in your life, you as well?

It means that I’ll (and you will too) be sitting alone at a table, with a bunch of random people who aren’t my friends while I try to survive the classic “banquet chicken breast with steamed carrots and broccoli” that you always find on the menu at a wedding of a 20-something who is having a wedding on a budget. It means that I’ll be sadly moping around while the bridal party, likely to be comprised of the only people I’ll know at the wedding, sits at a table together with their champagne toasts and first dibs on cake (the real reason I attend weddings).

And of course, this situation is in no way unique. We will all, at some point, wind up at a wedding where we are invited on pretense or even cursory obligation– a friend to whom you haven’t spoken regularly in some years, but at one time you had been in a tight knit group, who you still care for, but to whom you just aren’t important enough to sit in arm’s length distance from at her wedding, will invite you to come witness her pledge to be monogamous to one other person for the rest of her life. And you too, will find yourself pushing ice berg lettuce around on a salad plate with a couple of strangers who you have absolutely nothing in common with. So how does one survive this predicament?

Look, I’m not going to give you hallow tips about being outgoing and kind to everyone at your table, or using some specialized tinder like app meant for sourcing compatible people to hang out or hook up with at the wedding you’re attending– no, unfortunately this doesn’t actually exist (although, frankly if this app did exist would be perfect, and if any developers are reading this, I’m begging you to please start working on it). I have one piece of advice to you, if you’re going to say yes to a wedding invite of an old friend without a plus one and if you’re single.

You need to answer this question first. Is there going to be an open bar? 

Look, how else are you going to survive the long winded speeches about deep love and dedication? How else are you going to keep yourself from eye rolling when the girls from your hometown nearly claw out each other’s eyeballs to catch the bride’s bouquet? What on earth is going to get your through the 4 hour reception, the lack luster food, and the goddamn electric slide, and the white noise of your anxiety about your failed love life and adulthood without a slow and creeping desire to strangle yourself swelling in your throat…Okay that might be a little bit dramatic but… you get me.

There is one answer and that answer is copious amounts free alcohol.

If yes, get thee to it the moment it opens. Horde drink tickets, snatch whatever you can when someone’s grandmother gets up to go to the bathroom. Don’t get sloppy, but also do make sure to avail yourself of this free flowing, ever so rare resource that is free alcohol in your time of need. With the right amount of free drinks, you’ll probably forget about the fact that you’re alone and stuck at a table of strangers, and maybe even muster up the strength to have fun. Hey, anything’s possible (with an open bar, at least).

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