Each week, Miami dating expert Nikki Novo gives us advice on finding love in this hopeless place. Today: How to get through this year's barrage of other people's wedding bliss.
After months of dressing your fridge with a collection of heart-shaped save the date cards and magnets of happy couples, the time has finally arrived: wedding season.
Not since Valentine's Day have you harped on the fact that you're single. But with a marathon of monopolized weekends, pricey gifts, and kissy Champagne toasts ahead, you can't help but feel bad about your relationship status week after week. And that tiny rsvp box isn't helping either. Are you bringing a plus one? Will you have any prospects by the time the event rolls around? Should you go stag with the hopes of meeting someone? Should you go at all?
Well, here's one piece of literature that was created just for you. As you prepare yourself for a calendar filled with painful blind setups and cold chicken, take a look at our guide for surviving wedding season. There's no mention of catching the bouquet. Promise.
Sean Molin Photography / Flickr CC
1. Go in with the Right Mindset
It's easy to get caught up in your own single situation every time an invitation comes in the mail, but as harsh as this may sound: these weddings are not about you. They're about your friends and family members who have hopefully found a wonderful life partner. They want to celebrate, and they want you to be there with them.
While their love might open some unhealed wounds for you, do your best to be genuinely happy for them. You would want the same if it were your wedding. And, honestly, the only way you're going to attract goodness in your life is if you see it and appreciate it when it happens to others. Just because their time has come, it doesn't mean yours will never arrive. You have to believe it to see it. I believe it.
2. To Plus One or Not to Plus One
This is definitely a controversial topic. Most wedding etiquette experts will tell you not to subject the bride and the groom to the cost of your plus one unless your guest is someone significant.
I personally feel this is an individual decision. If it's a family wedding and you feel comfortable hanging with mom, dad, and cousins, then don't subject yourself or anyone else to the awkwardness of a random plus one. But if it's a co-worker's big day and you won't know anyone else there but the bride, sourcing date prospects a few months in advance isn't a bad idea.
Most of us want to have a date only to feel like we belong. We all long to belong, and fitting in with the crowd of couples satisfies our need. But listen to me: you do belong, no matter what. Your friends with significant others attending the event love you regardless of your relationship status. And good friends will make you feel comfortable if you decide to go stag. If they don't, well, it's time for new friends.
Bottom line: don't feel obligated to make a decision that doesn't make you feel comfortable.
CARLOS62 / Flickr CC
3. Social Media Stalk Other Single Guests
Yes, I'm serious. How close are you with the bride and groom? Would they be willing to share the names of other single guests? If so, pop those suckers into Google and engage in some good ol' social media stalking. It's not like I need to tell you how to do this.
Local wedding coordinator Eric Trelles of ET Events suggests looking out for single guests that share your common interests. Send a message beforehand and introduce yourself. And if there are enough people going solo, Trelles recommends reaching out and maybe even arranging car service for all of you to and from the event. You never know where the ride will take you.
4. Take Part
If you decide to go it sans plus one, make the best out of it by getting involved. Maybe the bride can use your help during her photo opps, or the groom could use a drink?
Trelles says single guests can still enjoy themselves by dancing in a crowd or inviting older attendees (the abuela and abuelos) to get down. He does, though, warn against enjoying yourself a little too much by getting intimately involved with the Tequila station or bar.
"I recently found a bridesmaid sleeping on the marble floor of a cocktail area," he admits.
5. Don't be Afraid to Say No
Lastly, if you're not up for another "celebration of love," just say no. Besides making you feel uncomfortable, weddings are an expense for everyone involved. Save your hard-earned cash and theirs by graciously declining.
Every time an invitation arrives in the mail, open it and listen to what you feel. If your gut feeling is saying you don't know the couple too well and you think the relationship is inauthentic, then honor what your insides is trying to tell you.
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Attending wedding after wedding can be hard on even the most confident single. And there's no reason to be shameful about it. We've all been there.
Make your decision on a case-by-case basis. Be true to what you feel. The relationship you have with yourself is the only one that will last forever. And you don't need a fancy wedding to prove it.