Wedding season is in full swing—and that means you probably have a pile of invitations piled up on your kitchen counter. But what if you were invited without a plus one to your college roommate’s nuptials? While weddings offer you the chance to show off your moves on the dance floor, enjoy a bunch of fruity cocktails, and celebrate with friends and family you haven’t seen in forever, going alone can take all the fun out of the experience…or so you thought.
“Oftentimes when you’re afraid to do something, like go to a wedding by yourself, it’s because we imagine how bad it might be,” says Paige Rechtman, licensed psychotherapist in New York City. “You might tell yourself: You’re going to feel all alone, there are going to be slow songs that will make you sad, and everyone’s going to be talking except for you.”
It doesn’t have to be that way, though.
“Going solo means you can actually have more fun at a wedding: There’s no partner drama, it’s an opportunity to meet new people, and you’re free to do whatever you want,” says Rechtman.
Follow these expert-approved tips for having a great time at a wedding sans date.
1. Ask about seating arrangements early.
If you’re nervous about attending a wedding by yourself, reach out to the bride and groom beforehand to see if they can seat you with other guests who will be attending by themselves.
“Couples want people to enjoy themselves at their wedding,” points out Rechtman. “They really put a lot of energy into making sure the event is a pleasant experience.”
2. Go in with a positive mindset.
The bride and groom invited you for a reason: They want you there celebrating with them, so keep your attitude upbeat.
“If your energy is welcoming and fun, you will be more likely to attract others,” says Michelle Fraley, professional matchmaker and dating expert in Tucson, Arizona. “Be sure to keep your body language relaxed and open and don’t forget that smile. Before you know it, you’ll be making all sorts of new friends.”
3. Take charge and introduce yourself.
Put down your phone! Instead of scrolling through Facebook and Instagram all night, strike up a conversation with anyone who looks like they have a friendly vibe, suggests Rechtman.
But don’t feel like you have to limit your socialization to solely other single guests.
“Couples don’t mind talking to single people,” says Rechtman. “You don’t just have to be drawn to anyone who’s by themselves. Be open to whoever’s there.”
4. Have a good story ready.
Inevitably, you’ll be asked how you know the bride or groom. Don’t just give a basic answer like you work together or you went to college together.
“Be sure to have a funny or charming anecdote to share as to your connection to the new couple,” says Fraley. “Going that extra step in sharing will be helpful in making you seem approachable, fun, and memorable.”
Keep the convo flowing by engaging guests and asking them questions too, says Fraley.
5. Don’t sweat the slow songs.
Dreading sitting by your lonesome during all those slow songs? Take that time to appreciate how amazing you are.
“If you have no one to direct those lyrics to, direct them to yourself,” says Rechtman. “You’d be surprised at how many song lyrics actually make sense if you turn them back around onto you. It’s a good way to practice some loving self talk.”