And now you have arrived...
Okay, you made it to the reception - now what? For the meal portion, receptions will usually have assigned seats at assigned tables. Hopefully the bride and groom put you at a table with friends, or at least other singles. Even if they didn’t, it’s rude to immediately drag your chair over to another table, especially if you were asked to choose an entrée in advance. Having worked as a catering server, I can speak from experience that the chef and the wedding planner are on the verge of a shared anxiety attack ensuring that the correct plates are sent to the correct seats. Don’t make them suffer.
If there is a band or some sort of music in the dining room and people are dancing in between courses, feel free to flit away for a moment or two to mingle, but be sure to return to your spot until dessert is over. After that, you can find your friends and never look back. Until then, practice your small talk skills. Everyone in attendance is somehow connected to at least one-half of the couple, and thus you have at least one guaranteed conversation topic. Lighten up, relax, and get your mingle on.
If you’re worried about prying questions regarding your own social life, come prepared with one or two lines that will provide an answer but no details, making it clear you’d prefer to keep your private life private. For example, in response to the question, “How is someone as fabulous as you still single?” Tristan Coopersmith suggests saying, “I’m holding out for someone equally as fabulous.”
Ultimately, it is imperative to keep in mind that weddings are at their core celebrations of
happiness. Marriage is a big deal: your friend has decided that she is so madly in love that she wants to spend the rest of her life with her partner. That’s pretty awesome, and incredibly brave. Be proud of her! And if you end up leaving the wedding alone and misty-eyed over your own fate, remember these words of wisdom from Coopersmith:
“The most important thing to do is to think of your dating life not as a means to a marriage end (which lands a lot of people saying ‘I do’ to Mr. Wrong), but rather a journey in self-discovery that will help lead you to your forever guy. Be confident that your time will come when you are truly ready, not a moment before.”
As difficult as it may be, don’t apply yourself to someone else’s timeline. If you were, as I was, content with the pace of your own life before hearing of the wedding, you should be equally content afterwards. View your peers’ weddings as a positive, if informative, experience; you are witnessing what will become one of the happiest days of their lives, and meanwhile you can evaluate the elements in a relationship that make you happy and be the perfect guest.