Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Life: The Solo Wedding Guest Survival Guide

Minus a plus-one

I've travelled to the other side of the world on my own, eaten in countless restaurants on my own and run 20 miles across London on my own without telling anyone where I was going. I'm pretty ok with doing things on my own; I'm an only child, I live alone and I've been single for...nearly 29 years. The thought of attending a wedding on my own? Erm, can my mother be my plus one?

I am truly over joyed and grateful whenever a friend invites me to be a part of their big day and I have loved every wedding I have attended so far but the thought of having to show up sans plus-one still terrifies me. Despite taking few active steps to "find a man" (like, where are they all hiding?) I really never thought I'd be attending weddings of friends without one so it still feels strange and not without a touch of personal failure to be doing so as I am dragged (somewhat kicking and screaming) into my 30s. With wedding season coming up (/already started) here are my tips for actually enjoying yourself and not ending up alone in your hotel room eating left-over wedding cake while sobbing (alcohol units: 8, calories: 3000, v v bad)*.

1. Remember that its not just you. You are not the only single girl attending said wedding. You are not the only single girl to ever attend a wedding. Sometimes a self pep talk (in your head not out loud please) does wonders - I frequently tell myself that it's not "just me" and neither is it all about me.

2. Go to the Hen Do. Even if the hen do is drinking cheap cava out of a penis straw while cycling on one of those hideous pedal buses around London...go! Even if you don't know a single other guest apart from the bride...go! And while you're there, put your phone away, smile and make friends - remember university freshers' week and remind yourself that you do actually know how to do this. You will thank yourself when you have a friendly face to sit next to at the church or to tell you that there's loo roll stuck to your sandal after five G&Ts.

3. Speak to the bride. They've invited you so they want you to have a good time and not be an anxious wreck! Find out where there wedding guests are staying and how they're getting to the venue - I always pick the same hotel as other guests as it makes you feel more part of the celebrations and means you can share taxis and not have to worry about travelling on your own late at night in an unfamiliar place.

4. Plan ahead. If you're having to book hotels and trains, book them way in advance to minimise stress - for a wedding I'm attending later this year I bargained away and got a discount to reflect that I am not two people and so will not be eating two breakfasts. If you know they'll be downtime then make plans for it - maybe meet other guests for brunch, do something interesting in the area or pack your trainers for a morning run (for me that's the best way to start a somewhat uncertain day).

5. O-O-T-D. Do a practice run of your outfit and hair - shout out to the time when I realised that the zip on my dress was near impossible to do up without a helper and thank goodness I do yoga and can reach my hands behind my back without too much of a struggle in 35 degree Lisbon heat. Check that your dress isn't tucked into your knickers and that you've curled the back your hair and not just the bits that you can see.

6. Hit the bar. I would be cautious here and not advocate getting absolutely wasted if you're on your own, wearing heels and in an unfamiliar location but taking advantage of the bar means that a) you can befriend others hanging around the bar area who are sure to make good wedding buddies and b) you'll be less anxious and more sociable because gin is actually proven to delete those "dying alone with cats" thoughts.

I hope this doesn't come across as negative, it's really not meant to be - yes, there are people facing far worse things than having to attend a friend's wedding en seule but sometimes the little things can become big things in our heads and it can feel like the whole world and its dog are part of smug, smiling couples while you only have Netflix to check that you're still alive.

*If you don't get thiseference then you are too young to be reading this or worrying about any of the above.



  1. Interestingly, all the weddings I've been to I haven't been allowed to bring a plus one despite having a boyfriend at the time. I'm going to a wedding this weekend but Steve wasn't invited so I have to do it solo. Fortunately my friend is going and her boyfriend isn't invited either so we're just going to hangout together which makes it easier.

  2. Was just about to comment the same as Hannah above - I don't think I've ever received a +1 invitation to a wedding from any of my friends despite never being single. I think it's more down to costs perhaps, or the fact that we've pretty much always had our own groups of friends rather than being one big group. To be honest I try to avoid weddings as I really don't like them, but if I did go to one, I'd be more than happy to tackle it alone - research on the area in advance is always a good idea :)

  3. I love the Bridget Jones' reference!
    I've gone to a couple of weddings now solo and it's fine. I'm lucky enough I guess that a big group of my friends are there anyway so it's not awkward for me just milling around literally on my own. In my group of friends I tend to be the only one without a partner and it really doesn't bother me. I make self-deprecating jokes to make people less uncomfortable because I think THEY feel that I feel bad on my own but I don't want people's pity! So joking about being a sad and lonely (of which I'm neither) makes it easier and people relax.

  4. There's definitely a trend for partners not being invited to weddings at the moment! I have 2 where I can't take Tom along but luckily I've got friends going!
    Elle Bloggs

  5. Before Dan and I were married I attended several weddings solo. Luckily none where I just knew the bride/groom as I would probably have struggled to mix not knowing anybody else on the day. This seems to be very much wedding season at the moment. We've got five to attend this year!


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