How to Attend a Wedding Alone

Attending a wedding stag or without a date isn't easy. Here's how to prepare to have a great time and enjoy a wedding even if you're alone.

By Kathleen Wong

couple dances at wedding
Photo by Omar Lopez

Receiving a wedding invitation: exciting! Being unable to finagle a wedding date (or friend): anxiety-inducing! Attending a wedding where you only know the couple may make you inclined to RSVP “not attending.” We don’t blame you. The thought of sitting at a table making small talk with strangers sounds, uh, less than ideal. Before you decline and miss all the wedding fun, though, reconsider. Here’s how to attend a wedding alone and still have a great time.

Dress for confidence.

If you’re nervous to attend a wedding alone then now is a good time to channel the whole “fake it til you make it” thing. Take the extra step to feel good about yourself—whether that means splurging on a blowout, buying a new suit, or wearing those statement shoes you never have an occasion for. If you’re radiating confidence, you’ll carry yourself stronger and draw more people toward you. You’ll also be more inclined to approach others if you’re not feeling insecure about your appearance.

INLINE oh-honestly 1080x720 Tess&Sean Photo Credit // Oh, Honestly Photography

Unplug—for real.

Your phone is essentially an on-the-go safe space. It’s easy to scroll social media or text friends you wish were there whenever you feel lonely or awkward at a wedding. Although it may be comforting to be on your phone, try keeping your phone stowed away. Not only will it force you to interact with your fellow wedding guests, but it will also make you seem more open for others to approach you. If this sounds challenging, try setting a limit on the amount of time you can spend on your phone, such as you can only check your phone for five minutes every hour—and maybe in the bathroom or outside.

Come prepped.

If you get anxious about starting or continuing small talk with strangers, try to come prepared with a few questions to ask other guests. They can be as simple as asking where they’re from or how they know the newlyweds. Make it a challenge to start up a conversation with at least two people at your table. And if you run out of things to say, a compliment never fails.

Keep an eye out for other solo guests.

It’s unlikely that you’re the only single at the entire wedding. If you don’t get a chance to ask the couples about this ahead of the wedding, then keep an eye out on your own. Look for your fellow stag guests and don’t be afraid to make conversation. They’re probably in the same boat as you and will be more than happy to hang out and get to know you a little more.

Don’t get sloppy.

It may be tempting to hit the bar for some liquid courage—just be wary of drinking too much. It’s best to stick to one or two drinks at most. This will help you loosen up a bit, but still keep your mind sharp. The last thing you want to do is be sloppy at a wedding when no one is there to have your back.

Don’t hide.

Even if you’re more of an introvert, hiding out at a wedding might actually make you feel even lonelier and uncomfortable. Plus, the time will just drag on and on. Make yourself visible to other guests. No, that doesn’t mean throwing yourself into the spotlight, but small changes help. Instead of sitting in the back row, ask some friendly-looking guests if the seat next to them at the ceremony is taken. This integrates you into the crowd early on and will start your day off on the right foot.

INLINE RosieNaryPhotography 1080x720 Erin&Tom Photo Credit // Rosie Nary Photography

Have a positive attitude.

Let go of expectations and actually believe you’ll have a good time—because you probably will. If you go in nervous and expecting a terrible time then that bad attitude will set you up for failure. You’ll be reserved and even potentially come off negative. Not a good look. Weddings are fun and, if nothing else, you have the couple in common with everyone else there. So, you should be able to find some common ground. At the end of the day, try to remember that you’re there for an important reason and that the day isn’t even about you—it’s about celebrating the wedding of people you care about!

Attending a wedding alone isn’t the easiest thing for many people. However, the right mindset and a bit of solo preparation can give you the confidence you need to enjoy your night.

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