One of your friends is getting married and you are stoked to find the invitation in the mail—you can’t wait to celebrate their special day with them (and maybe take advantage of the free wine). But there is one problem: you don’t have any common friends, you barely know their family, and you’re practically attending a wedding with total strangers.
This thought alone may be nerve-wracking enough; you can only imagine how awkward it will be on an actual day. However, don’t let your doubts get the best of you—here are some tips for attending a wedding alone–and actually having a great time with it.
1. Talk to the person next to you
One of the most awkward parts about attending a wedding alone is being seated at a table with total strangers. It’s even worse when those strangers know each other except you. Don’t let the awkwardness dwell on you though; instead of sitting in silence, try talking to the person sitting next to you. Who knows? Maybe you can make a new friend, even if it’s just mindless small talk.
2. Walk around the venue
If you’re feeling anxious and there is time before the ceremony starts, why not take a breather to walk around? If the wedding is in an outdoor event venue, even better; you can have plenty of fresh air to settle your nerves. Don’t hesitate to take a break when you need to. Otherwise, you may find yourself overly stressed instead of having fun throughout the night.
3. Put your phone down
A lot of us have a habit of using our phones when we are in uncomfortable, stressful, or anxiety-inducing situations. If you are in a wedding where you don’t know anyone, you may be tempted to just sit in a corner and scroll through Instagram until the night is over. But it’s your friend’s special day—surely you want to put more effort into actually living in the moment, won’t you?
So put your phone down, at least for a few minutes at a time. Make small talk with other guests, grab another plate of appetizer, talk to the bride and the groom. Don’t miss out for the sake of avoiding awkwardness.
4. Stop thinking about what others think
The thought of other people knowing that you’re alone and judging you for it can make anyone at least a little stressed. However, everyone else is probably preoccupied with their own thing, and they are barely paying attention to the guests that they don’t know—which includes yourself.
5. Join the escapees
Not everyone likes weddings, much less taking part in all the activities. During the reception, you will likely find a few people hiding away at the bar or the lobby to do their own thing. Infiltrate the group and strike up a conversation. It’s easier to let your guard down with a smaller group of people than when you’re in a sea of strangers. If you’re lucky enough to find some common ground, maybe you can even hang out after the wedding is over. Instant friends!
6. Realize the benefits of going solo
Going to a wedding alone is not a bad thing, and you shouldn’t see it as such. In fact, there are many benefits of attending as a solo guest. You can leave whenever you want, you don’t have to look for a plus one (and you don’t have to wait for them to get ready). You don’t have to talk to people if you don’t want to. By embracing these benefits, the idea of attending the wedding alone won’t be so dreadful.
7. Put extra effort into your appearance
Showing up with your best look will do wonders for your confidence, which is something that you need lots of if you are going to be attending a wedding alone. Dress to impress, spend more time on your hair and makeup, pick out your best shoes, and show up with your head held high.
8. Find the other solo guests
You may not be the only one attending the wedding alone. If you see someone milling about on their own and not really talking to anyone, they are probably in the same boat as you. Consider approaching them and striking up a conversation, see where it takes you from there.
Attending a wedding where you don’t know anyone can be an extremely uncomfortable event. Or it can be a very special day when you get to meet new people, celebrate your friend’s new marriage, and level up your socialization skills. By following the tips mentioned above, it is likely going to be the latter.