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What does a single gal dread more than attending a wedding? Attending said wedding alone, some might say. "It's easy to feel self-conscious when everyone else at the wedding seems to be coupled," commiserates Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., psychologist, friendship expert, and creator of The Friendship Blog.
With wedding tables set up to accommodate even, not odd, numbers and the dance floor crammed with gyrating lovebirds, the proverbial wedding decks can seem stacked against single people — especially those denied a plus-one by their hosts. "A single person may be placed at a table with people she barely knows, and feel socially awkward, especially if she is shy," Levine says. "She could also feel like all eyes are on her, even when they're not."
What's worse, if a woman wants to be married, attending a wedding alone can evoke feelings of self-pity, "even if she feels happy for her friend," explains Levine. "She may feel left behind."
But there's good news: You can beat the plus-one-less blues. In fact, you can fly happily solo at your next wedding event with these expert survival tips.
Say hello to other singles.
Before your friend's big day, reach out to a bridal party or family member to see who else might be flying solo at the reception. "Perhaps you already know one or two of those singles," says Levine, "or could share transportation with someone new so you can meet each other before the wedding." Spending time with other singles isn't just to take the edge off feeling alone, Levine says. It's a chance to make new (and hopefully lasting) friendships.
Wear something that makes you feel wonderful.
The quickest way to give yourself a boost of confidence is to wear something that makes you feel amazing from head-to-toe. That, says Levine, means selecting everything from an outfit to shoes, makeup, nails, and a hairstyle that you love. Dressing to the nines, Levine says, "will give you a confidence boost on your friend's big day."
Chat it up.
Levine says when it comes to attending the wedding reception, it's time to "be friendly and outgoing. Look at the wedding as an opportunity to meet new people, the ones seated on both sides of you, and those at other tables." Make conversation with others waiting for their drinks at the bar, "and get on the dance floor when the music moves you," Levine says. "People are attracted to people who look like they're having fun."
Don't stick to only singles.
While it's smart to seek out people in a similar situation as you, "don't limit your outreach to only them," Levine says. "You may enjoy conversations with older people or younger people. And reach out to couples, too. Everyone is a festive mood and you already have something in common to talk about: Your friendship with the bride and groom."
Keep your perspective.
Yes, attending a wedding without a plus-one can be the pits. But if you can keep things in perspective, you can forget you're flying solo and really have fun. "Remember that you are there to celebrate and support your friend," Levine says. "It's her important day and just another day for you. By inviting you, your friend has told you that you are an important person in her life."