If your refrigerator looks anything like mine these days, it’s wallpapered in wedding invitations. I don’t have enough magnets to hold all of the save-the-dates, rehearsal dinner and brunch cards, and the million little pieces of paper ("Reserve your hotel room!"; "Directions!"; "Stacy and George are registered at Bed Bath & Beyond!"). My fridge is a professional race car plastered in declarations of love instead of tire ads.
No plus one? No problem. Here’s how to navigate the nuptials if you’re going stag.Once you’ve sent back the RSVP, booked your travel and accommodations, and picked out what you’ll be wearing, you can finally start thinking about the actual wedding. If you’re single, you might be wondering who will be at your table, if there's anyone you can dance with.
There are chairs to lift, garters to remove, and shots to down. Do these things.
LAY THE GROUNDWORK
Though they should know already, be sure to tell the bride and groom that you’re single. Weddings are great places to meet new women, especially if you give the soon-to-be-married enough time to seat you with other single friends. Getting stuck with the weird uncle, cousin, or worse, at the kid’s table, would be a waste.
Before the big day, ask about other single people who will be in attendance. That allows you to keep an eye out for that friend from college or old cute neighbor they’ve been telling you about. Weddings are like the bar scene, except everyone has one degree of separation from the bride and groom. Use that connection as a way to start conversation.
GET A WINGMAN
You won’t be the only single guy there, even if it feels that way at times. Scout out the others, preferably at pre-events—engagement and bachelor parties, the rehearsal dinner—and band together, not in misery but in delight. Building solid relationships with the other grunts is crucial. They'll cover for you when your ex-girlfriend’s roommate starts in with a sob story, or when clingy cousin Sally wants to grind with you.
If you know couples that are going, be the third wheel. Make them your wingpeople; they can help introduce you and make you seem more approachable. Couples love living vicariously through singles, so bring them on to help scope out the ladies.
Of all the behavior that women equate with lovemaking, dancing is near the top of the list. It’s not just about your moves; it’s about having fun. A guy who is smiling and enjoying himself is a guy who will get approached. Women want to talk to, get to know, and be with the guy who’s having a good time.
And don’t get discouraged when the DJ drops the needle on a slow jam. Keep dancing! Insider tip: grab an older lady. Get caught dancing with mom or grandma, and the single ladies will love you.
THERE'S NO CRYING AT WEDDINGS
It's understandable that your first reaction might be "Great, another wedding.” But fixate on how much it sucks to be single, how you'll never find love, or how broke you are from all these weddings, and you can punch your one-way ticket on the Single Express.
There are chairs to lift, garters to remove, and shots to down. Do these things, and you'll be sure to impress the ladies with your fun, youthful attitude. No one likes a wallflower. Let loose and have a cocktail, just be careful not to let the open bar turn into beer tears. Here’s a good test: When the band starts playing Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep,” do you start tearing up when they reach the “We could have had it all” part of the chorus? Time to switch to ice water.
HAVE ANSWERS READY
Between grandmas with a penchant for cheek-pinching and overly curious friends of friends, you may be fielding a lot of “How could you possibly be single?,” or “What type of girl are you looking for?” inquiries. The answer to nosy relatives and strangers alike is that you’re holding out for the right lady. A statement like that leaves you standing gracefully single, subtly acknowledging that you’ve had options but turned them down. This reply also shuts the door on condolences or additional questioning—just the way you want it.
JUST SAY NO
You may feel obligated to go to every wedding you get invited to, but remember, you don’t have to. Before you RSVP, ask yourself:
- Is this a close friend or loved one?
- Have I seen and/or spoken to this person in the past year?
- Can I afford to travel there?
- Will I be disappointed if I don't make it?
If you answer yes to these questions, then reply yes. Otherwise, politely send your regrets (and a thoughtful gift) and then let yourself off the hook.
Given all the expenses of weddings, the outside of your fridge may look a little less crowded, but your wallet thankfully will not.
In Two Weeks: Can you hear me now?