Wedding season can be great fun—a time to dress up, travel to exotic destinations and drink champagne with cute friends-of-friends. But those celebrations of love and coupledom can also have a sting when you’re RSVPing for one.
It might be tempting to scare up a date with someone—anyone—to save yourself from scrutiny. But Jen Doll advises against it. Doll is the author of a terrific new memoir, Save The Date: The Occasional Mortifications of a Serial Wedding Guest, and she says that going to a wedding alone can be a lot more fun than bringing a plus one.
“I really recommend going to weddings by yourself when you’re not in a serious relationship,” said Doll, “The weddings I go to with dates have all this extra pressure–making sure your date has fun and looking at your date in a more serious way than you need to at the time. It can be hard to let go and have fun when you have this other appendage. If you’re not in a relationship, you can do whatever you want.”
Here are Doll’s suggestions for a great date-free wedding.
1) Inquire About the Guest List
“It’s okay to ask the bride or groom if there will be other single people,” said Doll. And even if you don’t know a soul, weddings are very friendly places. “People are willing to embrace you very quickly if you go up to them and are just a normal person.”
2) Bring a Friend
“At a recent wedding, I went with another woman who is single. It was really fun. There’s none of the pressure of having a romantic date, but you still have kind of a wing person with you.”
3) Remember: It’s Just a Party
“You go to parties alone–what’s the big deal? You don’t have to have a date for everything you do. Soon enough you’ll be talking to someone.”
4) Make it a Vacation
“Make it a treat for yourself. Buy something new that you feel really great in. Spend the money to stay at a nice hotel or stay an extra day.”
5) Hate the Bouquet Toss? Skip it
“The more I talk about it, the more I become aggressively anti-bouquet-toss. It’s so demeaning. It puts us into a situation where the assumption is that we all want this, and we’re all going to jump up in the air and claw each other’s eyes as single women. Does anyone like being paraded out as a single woman and told to jump for a bouquet? If you know it’s going to happen, excuse yourself to go the bathroom, or be really far away. I would just avoid anything that makes you feel bad.”
6) Keep Your Perspective
“When we go as guests, we only see what has been laid out in front of us in a very orchestrated, meticulous fashion. That’s what we’re supposed to see. We’re not supposed to see that the bride and the groom had a terrible fight two nights ago, or the bride is crying because the flowers cost so much that they couldn’t afford the down payment on their house. We are given a lens through which to look at love and it’s warped. It’s hard to maintain perspective. It’s hard to remember that this is just this day. Getting married isn’t getting at the top of the mountain, you’re just continuing to walk.”