Attending a wedding can be a wonderful way to celebrate love with friends and family, but weddings can also be a source of stress if you’re single — especially if you’re worried about bringing a date when you’re not in a long-term relationship, fielding questions about your love life from well-intentioned-but-nosy family members or making small talk if you’re sitting solo at the ceremony.
Whether you’re blissfully single or you’re hoping to find new love at your best friend’s wedding (that would make for a great story), we’ve got you covered. For tips and strategies to help you enjoy the 2022 wedding season — without the stress — we turned to Shan Boodram, Bumble Sex & Relationship Expert.
Pinpoint the source of your discomfort
Before you make a plan of action for the wedding season, it can be useful to think about why weddings may make you nervous — while keeping in mind that those feelings of discomfort are totally natural.
“It’s normal to feel insecure about attending weddings while you’re single, whether you have a date or not,” Boodram says. “Use this opportunity to self-reflect and ask yourself questions before letting anxiety over wedding season creep in.
“For example, does this sense of insecurity mean you’re ready for another level of romantic partnership? What does pursuing that look like for you? Or does it mean that you’re afraid that others will judge you for being single?”
If it’s fear of being judged for being single that is giving you pause, it may be heartening to learn that being single is increasingly a conscious, positive choice for many people in 2022. In fact, recent research found that the key reason why single people are single right now is simply because they enjoy being single.
Boodram also affirms this notion, saying that “Bumble has seen an incredible trend of those who’ve identified as ‘consciously single’ – a state of joy and self-acceptance in being single.” This current state of happy singledom in 2022 may be a sign of the times. “The pandemic has made half of us [53 per cent] realize that it’s OK to be alone for a while, and most singletons globally [54 per cent] are being more mindful of how and when they date.”
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Remember: it can be fun to be single at a wedding
Once you recognize that there’s nothing wrong with being single during wedding season, you can begin to frame your wedding guest experience from a place of joy and celebration.
“Many people often focus too hard on the question, ‘Why am I still single?’ instead of approaching the situation with a positive mindset,” Boodram says.
“My advice would be to empower yourself by focusing on what you can gain from being single, rather than what you’re missing out on. This can truly be anything — from spending additional time with friends and family to focusing on a new hobby to planning your next adventure.”
Rethink your concept of a ‘plus one’
Does seeing a plus one on a wedding invitation make you break into a sweat? Try not to fixate too much on whether you have a date for a wedding event. “Success doesn’t have to mean you snag a wedding date. Instead, look forward to making memories with those closest to you,” Boodram says.
Additionally, if you have been given a plus one and want to use it (and the wedding couple is okay with you bringing whoever you want to), try not to stress too much about trying to rush into a relationship before the big day.
As Boodram explains, “having a [plus one] doesn’t mean you have to bring a romantic partner. Know you can invite a good friend if the bride and groom are okay with it – and who knows, you may meet a potential interest at the event, or perhaps you’ll connect with someone who wants to introduce you to someone later down the road.”
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Be prepared for those nosy questions
Of course, if you’ve ever been single at a wedding filled with well-meaning family members, you’ve probably experienced the uncomfortable experience of being quizzed about the state of your love life before you’ve had a chance to have a bite of wedding cake. While you can’t always avoid these questions, taking a moment to prepare yourself can help you feel less caught off guard should they happen.
As Boodram explains: “Whether you’re getting ready to see family or friends in person for the first time, you may also need to prepare a response to the question, ‘so, is there anyone new in your life…?’ This can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be, if you firmly decide how you feel about it and can express that.”
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Don’t be afraid to mingle — if you want to
If you’re single and you want to meet someone new, mingling and chatting with new people at a wedding can be a fun opportunity — but it can also be a bit intimidating. The key in this situation is to be open-minded.
“If you are interested in mingling, try to attend weddings with an open mind, as you never know who you’re going to meet,” Boodram says. “Based on a survey, more than [one in three] people on Bumble would describe their approach to dating as exploratory [43 per cent]. Approach new people and find someone to connect with – at the very least, it may help you meet a new friend.”
But what, exactly, can you say to strike up a conversation with someone at a wedding?
“The beauty of weddings is that they provide so many opportunities to start conversations with someone,” says Boodram. “‘How do you know the bride and groom?’ is an innocent and straightforward conversation starter you can use when approaching a romantic interest, whether lining up at the bar or walking past them.
“You can even go right up to their table and hit them with the ‘do I know you from somewhere?’ because who’s to say you don’t — especially because you were both invited to the same event! Positive conversations about the food, decor, ambiance and couple are also fair game and innocent to see if the person is worth pursuing a further connection with.”
Once you’ve opened up a conversation with someone, you then have a blank slate to see if there’s a possibility for connection. “From there, you can seek shared values and find things you may have in common to continue building the connection and conversation,” Boodram says.
Focus on having fun and celebrating the happy couple
If all else fails, remember the reason why you’re attending the event: to celebrate love and the newly married couple.
“Weddings are meant to be a moment of celebration and a time to have fun,” Boodram reminds us, “so remember to enjoy yourself and make the most of it!”