Wedding season is well under way and everywhere you turn, every scroll you do on Facebook and every Instagram post seems to be all things wedding. But what do you do and how do you act if you are asked on a wedding date meaning you have to attend a wedding of a complete stranger?
I was recently invited by a new love interest to be a plus one at one of his best friend’s weddings, and as I had invited him to be my plus one a few months earlier I felt obliged to return the favour.
I thought it would be the same deal as he got. Rock up as an evening guest, slip in through the back door after all the important things like cake cutting and the first dance had been done and generally be invisible. But I was shocked to find out my invitation for a wedding date had been extended to the entire day, service and all. And for a socially awkward, commitment-phobe kinda gal like me, I started to panic! And asked myself these following things.
Should I buy a present?
My first instinct was yes. I’m the person who won’t and can’t go to an event without something to offer, whether it be a bottle of wine or a dessert or a cactus (yes that happened) so buying a present was a quick yes decision. But then I started to think, what can I get these people whom I have never laid eyes on? Do they live together already or do they need things for their new home together? Are they a soppy loved up couple or quite reserved in their love for one another? What colours do they like? What if I buy them something that they already have or clashes with everything they own? At this point, I realised I didn’t even know their names to write on the gift card, never mind a ball park idea of what they would like as a gift.
What should I wear?
The first and only rule when it comes to dressing for a wedding is do not upstage the bride. Avoid white at all costs. Don’t wear anything over the top. Let her be the centre of attention.
But when you have no idea what the bride is like, you don’t know what kind of dress they are going to wear. Will it be a princess, puffy ballgown number, or something really simple? And if you don’t know the answer to that question, how can you begin to decide where the bar for over dressing is? You also have the problem of not knowing what the colour scheme is for the bridesmaids, so you don’t know which colours to avoid. Imagine turning up in similar wear to the bridal party and having to spend the day explaining that, actually, you aren’t the maid of honour.
Can I get emotional?
The previous wedding I had attended (and the only wedding I had attended so far in life) was one of my friends who I have known from the age of ten. And even though I wasn’t planning on being on mascara watch, I found myself a blubbering mess. It was a tissue soaked day for me, as I cried as the bride walked down the aisle, during the grooms speech, the father of the brides speech, the first dance. Basically whenever anyone did anything, I was on the sidelines tearing up. But surely you’ll look like a total weirdo if everything a stranger does on the wedding day makes you cry like a baby? Will people think you’re sweet and sentimental, or just plain strange?
Who do I hang around with?
Obviously, most of the day will be spent with your wedding date. If not there’s something wrong!
But weddings are long days and in my case, this will be the first interaction I have with my new boyfriend’s friends so I don’t want to come across as needy, and hanging on his arm every second of the day. But who can you make friends with in such a short space of time? You have to befriend someone that you can guarantee you won’t run into an awkward silence after 5 minutes of chit chat about how lovely the bride looks and how nice the ceremony was. Weddings really put your social skills to the test. And if you’re as socially awkward as I am, it’s one uncomfortable test where you’re trying to impress your date and everyone you meet.
How much should I drink?
Weddings are long alcohol fuelled days. If you’re not sipping on champagne, you’re being asked red or white, and as soon as you have an empty hand, it seems someone has got a round in. For me, a day spent meeting my new boyfriend’s favourite people requires a little Dutch courage. However, no one needs a drunken burden. Will I look like a lightweight if I opt for water breaks? Will I look like a party pooper if by 7pm I’m sipping on a cup of tea? What is the right amount of alcohol when meeting a hoard of new people you’re trying to impress?
Where will I sit?
It’s always a roulette of which table you’re going to be placed on at a wedding, but when you don’t know anyone, but your wedding date is pretty high up on the social scale in terms of invites, you can bag yourself a rather good table. Which for me, the worrier that I am, I will spend my meal convinced that there will be other guests miffed about how far away they are from the head table, when a complete stranger is practically sat next to the father of the bride. Pretty awkward!
In hindsight, after spending a few days contemplating these factors, I came to this very conclusion. My mother always told me once you’ve RSVP’ed to an event, you have to be basically dead before you can’t show up. No matter how much worrying I was going to do, and how many fake scenarios I was preparing myself for, I had accepted the invite and wasn’t ready to ruin my track record of sticking to my RSVP’s (which has been solidly established since I was a toddler attending my nursery friends birthday parties.)
So if you’ve been invited on a wedding date to celebrate the marriage of two complete strangers, just think, if it all goes wrong and you spend the day feeling like a spare part, you can put it all down to experience, and never have to see these strangers again and you’ll bag yourself a free slice of cake!