As a self-acclaimed grouch and habitually single person, I panicked when I received my first invite to a friend's wedding. Is 25 really the age where people start getting married!? I thought. I didn't even have a savings account. Was I going to be the only single girl at the bouquet toss? And who would I share a hotel with? Would I have to invite some random dude, but be like, "Get your own room"? But then I took a closer look at the invitation: I didn't have a plus-one. Phew. Going solo to a wedding is the rule, not the exception, I've discovered. And it's actually a blast.
First thing's first: Let's get the "everyone is different" spiel out of the way: We all live life on different timelines; comparing your choices to those made by others is a recipe for disaster; and you don't need a partner to be happy. While these are all easy things to tell yourself, they're much harder to actually believe. No matter how much I proclaim to love being single — and I actually, do love being single — I'm always a little bit embarrassed if someone asks me if I have a boyfriend and I have to say "no."
It's societal garbage, but my mind has a tough time believing that being single doesn't actually make me "less than" people in relationships. Just the way my mind has a tough time believing that not being a mushroom-tea drinking vegan doesn't actually make me "less than" that seemingly perfect food blogger I follow on Instagram. (No shade to healthy eaters — you're going to live longer than I will!)
When it comes to celebrating your friend's marriage, though, I promise that going solo does not make you weird, or lame, or lonely. In fact, going to a wedding solo means is that you are perfectly normal and doing something everyone does at some point, whether they are in a relationship or not: going to a wedding without a date. Nobody tells you how common this is, until you start getting invited to weddings.
Why is it so normal? Money! Weddings are expensive, and so plus-ones are rarely given to people who aren't in long-term relationships and marriages themselves. This means that you will never be the only person without a plus-one at a wedding. Never. Weddings are carefully planned events, and the couple who is asking you to come celebrate their love is not going to leave you sitting in the corner at a table for one. Instead, there will be a whole group of young people sans dates that you will be seated with, transported to the wedding with, and encouraged to party with all weekend.
Additionally, you will probably find a "wedding buddy" before you even arrive at the ceremony, especially if you are heading to a destination wedding. When my friend from freshman year of college got married in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I realized quickly that the only other friends I knew would be going were definitely in the wedding party. (I transferred schools my sophomore year, so while I stayed close to the bride, I wasn't bridesmaid-level close with her, and I didn't know exactly who else would be there.)
Because my friend was a very considerate wedding planner, she let me know which women I knew from my NYU days would be at the wedding, and my long-lost but very cool friend Kirsten and I happily became "wedding buddies." We agreed to share a room, book travel together, and actually ended up driving the nine hours from New York to North Carolina together when every effing flight to Raleigh was cancelled. (True story!)
And if you don't have one wedding buddy, you are still going to have a great time. Here's why: when you go to a wedding solo, you have the freedom to do exactly what you want. You get to decide how long you want to take to get ready, you get to pick which item on the registry seems the least tacky, and you get to decide how long you want to stay at the reception.
An added bonus: you'll meet really cool people if you go to a wedding solo. Weddings are social events all about celebrating a couple that even attendee knows in one way or another, so you automatically have a conversation starter with that cutie at your table. "How do you know the happy couple?"
At the end of the day, you are attending a wedding to celebrate the love two people have found, and they're going to be providing you beverages, food, and goodies in return. Rather than stress so much over whether you have a date or not, try to focus on the people getting married, and celebrate them! Plus remember: going to a wedding without a date is the rule, not the exception. Enjoy!