5 Easy Tips For Surviving A Wedding Full Of Strangers When You're A Plus-One

So you think you can’t dance at a wedding where you only know your date? Wrong! You totally can. Going to a wedding as a plus-one can be intimidating, but I’m going to give you tips on how to thrive at a wedding where you only know your date.

After all it is wedding season, I literally know five different couples that got married this past weekend. And guess what? It is very likely that a few of the guests at each wedding went with dates, didn't know a single other soul, and ended up having a great time!

As a person with social anxiety, I love going to an event that scares me and ending up having a really great time. It works as a way to show my brain that there really isn’t much to be scared of when it comes to celebrating something with a lot of people — like a wedding. Besides, I love a chance to impress a date with a good outfit and sick dance moves.

If you’re still skeptical, try out the following tips on how to have a great time and impress your partner or date amongst their friends and family.

Use the ceremony to your advantage.

OK, OK. I know the ceremony is like a big deal and like “technically” not about you but let’s strategize for a second. So this is where absolutely no one will be paying attention to you. Everyone’s focus will be on the whole wedding thing happening at the front.

This is your chance to pay attention to who is in attendance. Your date will probably introduce you to a lot of the most important people to pay attention to that evening. If you have trouble remembering names, like I do, take the quiet time where people are taking their seats to review the names of the people to whom you’ve been introduced. Survey the guests who might also look a little intimidated to be in attendance — they can be your buddies for the night.

Jump in head first at dinner

Everyone is generally in a better mood after the ceremony because, well, love is cool sometimes! Now that you’re at dinner, feel free to just go for it. Introduce yourself or let your date introduce you. There’s bound to be enough people that, if prompted with a general question, a natural conversation should evolve from there. Easy questions to ask include, "How do you all know the couple?” or “What do you all do for work?” This will make you a part of the group simply because you initiated the question— it doesn’t matter if you know them or not! Remember, everyone is around at least a few people they don’t know or barely know.

Take a (bathroom) break!

So you’ve made it through the ceremony and dinner. People are probably starting to dance. The first dances are going to start happening. Afterwards, feel free to excuse yourself to the bathroom. If you’re exhausted and need to assess your makeup or pit stain situation (bringing deodorant to summer weddings is a must — I’ve learned this the hard way) the bathroom is a perfect place to take a moment to collect yourself.

If I am a little socially exhausted, I will shamelessly take some time to just sit on my phone in a bathroom stall. You don't have to feel bad for taking time to yourself.

Don’t stay too long, though. Get back out there— it’s time to dance!

Dance like nobody’s watching— because they probably aren’t

You’ve basically made it through all the hard stuff. It's time to reward yourself. If you drink, grab an extra drink and head to the dance floor with your date! This is the fun part!

Most everyone is relieved that evening sun has set and the place has cooled off (maybe that’s just my experience with Indiana barn weddings talking). Regardless of location, the reception dancing is where you can basically leave your social worries behind. People have loosened their ties, kicked off their heels and the cupid shuffle is bound to start playing any second. Also, there is definitely someone dancing funnier than you, so you don’t have worry about that. Enjoy this time with your date and how confident you have been at this event they brought you to. If anyone brings you to a wedding they definitely wanted to show everyone how great you are.

Leave a good impression

If this is a new relationship and you might see your dates friends again soon, make sure to find them before they leave. A gentle hug and a “Nice to meet you, [insert name here],” goes a long way with people, especially if you talked for a good amount of time at dinner.

Important tip: Make sure to only state their name in your goodbye if you for sure remember it. When in doubt of their name, it’s better to just leave it out or ask your date before you say it.

Time to find the high heels you might have kicked off earlier..

Congrats! You made it through a wedding where you knew no one and you’re leaving with memories that you wouldn’t have gotten if you had passed this up. Your date is proud of your confidence and also so happy they got to introduce you to old colleagues, childhood friends or even family. Maybe you even caught the bouquet.

It’s always helpful to remember that the best part about going into a space where you don’t know anyone is that no one has any expectations for you. As long as you don’t do anything hurtful or outlandish, you’re just another wedding guest their to witness the couple! There’s nothing I love more than reminding myself that no one cares what I do when they don’t know me. It takes the pressure off and let’s me dance like no one’s watching, except for my date, who I definitely impressed with my cupid shuffle rendition.

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