Survive Attending a Wedding Without a Plus-One
Attending a wedding alone isn't anyone’s first choice, especially if you don’t know many people at the wedding. It doesn’t matter whether your date cancelled, you weren’t given a plus-one because of COVID guest count cutbacks or you just went through a bad break up. It will probably require a slight attitude shift to make the best of this situation, but not all hope is lost. Weddings are celebration of love and can definitely be fun for all guests regardless of whether you're paired up or not.
Before the wedding:
Don’t take it personally if they didn’t give you a plus-one.
If the reason you are going alone is because the couple didn’t invite a plus-one for you, it’s normal to feel upset, especially if you were expecting one. However, keep in mind that weddings are really expensive. They may simply have not been able to afford it. If you don’t know the reason already, you will likely never will know for sure. What we do know for certain is that it’s still very important to them that you are there. So rather than getting angry or upset, feel honored they want you to attend their wedding so badly.
If you think there’s been some mistake, for example, if you’re recently engaged, ask them. Be firm but gentle. “I noticed you didn’t offer me a plus-one. I don’t want to make things awkward, but Matt and I have been dating for eight years. Is there any way he can attend as well?"
If you’re single and were hoping to bring your bestie, or you just started dating your significant other a few weeks ago, cut your losses and accept you’re going to this wedding alone. It won’t be that bad. We promise.
See if there is anybody else you know attending the wedding.
If you know the couple well enough to be invited, it’s likely you’ll know at least one other person in attendance. Reach out to them beforehand and see what their plans are. You shouldn’t plan to hang out with them all night, but it will be nice to know of at least one friendly face at the wedding.
Do what you need to do to feel your most confident
Whether you need to plan a special manicure the morning of the wedding or make time for a yoga class, make sure you get it in. It’s not your special day, but in order to make the most of the day, you definitely want to do what you can to feel your best.
During the ceremony:
Mingle! Mingle! Mingle! People expect to mingle during the reception, but the time before the ceremony is just as promising when it comes to making new friends. People are always friendly at weddings because everybody is in a good mood. You're all there to witness a loved one tie the knot and merge two families together. You can certainly capitalize on this general good mood and maybe snag yourself a dance partner for later on.
Offer to help
If the idea of mingling makes you cringe, ask if you can assist. Especially if you arrive (slightly) early, there will definitely be odd jobs for you to help out with. Plus, you’ll meet new people without even realizing you’re mingling. It's the best of both worlds!
Sit near someone new
The ceremony is an easy place to make your friends for the night. There’s no pressure to talk much, and you’ll bond over the shared experience of watching the ones you love tie the knot. Do what you can to stay out of your comfort zone and sit next to someone you don’t know. You’ll thank yourself later when there’s another friendly face at the reception.
During the reception:
Make the best of your table
Unless you’re at a singles table, it might feel a little uncomfortable to be the lone single person at a table of couples, but it definitely doesn’t have to be bad. The best part about making friends at a wedding is that you already have at least one thing in common...the couple! Because of this, you always have a conversation starter. "How do you know Mariah and Chris?" will always suffice.
Identify family members you haven’t talked to in a while
If you are at a family wedding, relatives, especially those we like to call “holiday family,” will be ecstatic to catch up after only getting to see them at Thanksgiving or Christmas. Not all familial relationships are created equal, of course. One of the reasons family gatherings can be so stressful is that you have to navigate relationship land mines with people you haven’t talked to in ages. So be strategic. Make a beeline for the aunt you used to have sleepovers with as a kid and maybe stay away from the uncle you vehemently disagree with on politics.
Find a slow dance partner
If you’re more comfortable chilling at your table during the slow dances, more power to you. However, if you actually want to dance, see if you can find someone to slow dance with. If there’s someone you’ve had your eye on all night, these songs are your opportunity to make your move. But you definitely do not need to be even remotely romantically interested in your dance partner. See if anyone wants a break from dancing, and give their partner that break. Or see if any kids want a turn dancing on your feet!
Have an escape plan
Not a legitimate one, of course. But if the small talk is becoming insufferable or you just need a minute to yourself, it’s okay to take a few minutes to yourself. Take a walk, meditate, do whatever you need to do to come back and finish out the night.
Remember: This isn't a big deal.
We think you'll find that it’s a little liberating to realize that nobody cares that you’re there alone. The day is about the happy couple, and it should stay that way. That said, nobody is going to go out of their way to entertain you, either, so you have to take responsibility for your own happiness. Adjust your attitude, take deep breaths or long walks when needed, and you’ll make it through with no problem. Just remember to have fun!