Saturday, 25 May 2013

Surviving Wedding Season

I seem to write posts like this every year! But having indulged myself in mentioning two weddings
I hate slow songs! Stupid DJ.
yesterday, I will now pay for it with a fresh new post on surviving wedding season when you are Single.

1. You do not have to go to all weddings. If invited, you probably have to go to family weddings to keep the peace, but even then there might be an out. Check with your mother.  And you should go to the weddings of your dearest friends, especially if they are in your town. But after that, no.

2. The bride won't be crushed if you don't go. If the bride is neither close family nor one of your dearest friends and you don't want to go, send your regrets ASAP. If you can afford to, send a present. It doesn't have to be a big present unless she is family and your culture demands it. The bride will like the present and will scratch your name off the list with mingled regret and relief. On the one hand, no you. On the other hand, one fewer mouth to feed. On my wedding day, my number one priority was my dress. That probably sounds bad. But really. Must. Keep. Dress. Immaculate.

3. Tell the bride to seat you at a table with cute guys, preferably her cousins. This is, of course, only if you do not know many people at the wedding. Naturally you would prefer to sit with your friends. A mix of friends and cute guys would be ideal.

4. Prepare your Getaway Hideout. You will need cab fare, a delicious snack, a new DVD you have been longing to see, warm slippers and a dressing gown. Feel free to buy new slippers and dressing gown, if you can afford them. Alternatively, plan to go to a friend's house or alternative party after the wedding reception. The important thing is to have somewhere much nicer than the wedding reception to go, should the wedding reception suddenly resemble the sixth circle of hell.

5. Dress to kill. Nothing kills your self-esteem stone dead at a wedding like realizing you look dowdy.  Go to the hairdresser or to the manicurist or to both, depending on your cash flow, and wear a great dress. Wear great shoes. Look utterly fabulous. I never looked more utterly fabulous than at the first wedding I went to after my divorce. I looked so fabulous, I confused myself with Mae West.

"I'm a doctor," said one of Single men at my table.

"Well," I said. "My mother would want me to sit next to you."

6. Carry a snack. Sometimes it takes them an hour to get dinner on the table, or the photographs take forever. If your blood sugar drops, your mood will also drop. If you carry many snacks, you can offer them secretly to famished-looking cute guys. I'd go with almonds. Peanuts are too smelly.

7. Singles' Wedding Angst happens to almost everyone. If suddenly your heart drops to your stomach, which is most likely to happen when dinner is over and the married people are groping each other on the dance floor, do not think you are weird. You are just having Singles' Wedding Angst. It's as common as a hangover.

8. But do not cry. It's the bride and groom's day. The bride is happy (I hope). She wants everyone to be happy too. Be happy. If you can't be happy, fake happy. If you can't fake happy any longer, go home. Brides are like precious baby kittens and must be protected from all unpleasantness. I'm serious. Whatever happens on a woman's wedding day, she will remember f-o-r-e-v-e-r.

8. Make your getaway.  If, during the reception, you are hit with a wave of Singles' Wedding Angst and you think you will cry or go insane, run away. Paste a smile on your face, say good-bye and thank you and congrats/best wishes to whomever you must say that too, and then get in a cab.

Once upon a time nobody was allowed to leave before the bride and groom. However, the bride and groom now often stay until 2 AM. The wedding was expensive; they want to be there for all of it. However, it is outrageous to expect absolutely everyone to stay until 2 AM. Therefore, if you do not think you can stick it out anymore, perhaps an hour after the cake cutting, say all the pretty things you must say, and flee. Don't make it look like fleeing. Walk, don't run. Smile, don't weep.

9. Don't forget you look fabulous. There you are in your cab. Do you want to go straight to your cozy hideout, or do you want to visit friends? Is there an alternative party that you know about where friends are hanging out? Are your friends out bowling? I personally find it amusing to go to bowling alleys, etc., dressed to the nines.

10. But don't be stupid.  However, if there's nothing going on, don't for heavens sake go to a bar or something like that by yourself, as if you were a jazz singer who has just been dumped by her coke-dealing boyfriend. Go home to the snack, DVD and fuzzy slippers.

IF YOU ARE THE BRIDE. Don't think too much about whether your Single friends are enjoying themselves. Put them at tables with each other and cute guys and then stop worrying. I really mean that. I drove myself crazy worrying about my Single friends and if they would come down with Singles Wedding Angst at my wedding.  It is their job, not yours, to manage their Singles Wedding Angst. Saying, "Oh my goodness, I love your dress" would be thoughtful, though. "Did you wear that for ME?"

Don't forget that my baby Graham Greenesque novel is due in July! Pre-order here or, if you seriously can't afford the shipping, you can get it from your nation's Amazon. Alternatively, you could go to your nearest bookshop and demand that they order it for you from Ignatius. Bookshops want to see you, and Ignatius has distributors in Canada and various EU countries.


Sophie Miriam said...

And, to lay on a little Catholic guilt, at least you get to go celebrate with your friends! (Says the girl who is missing the wedding of one of her oldest friends because she and the wedding are on different continents.)

No, but seriously, at times like this I find it helpful to repeat, "Stacy's wedding is not about me or the fact I'm not engaged." It works for all sorts of other things too. "Peter's new job is not about me and the fact I hate my job." "Clare's new dress is not about me and my weight."

urszula said...

It took me a summer of 5 weddings (2 of which I flew in from another country for) to realize the simple wisdom in point 1, Now that my roommate is panicking as to who to bring as a plus one to the 5 weddings she is invited to, I reminder her that she really doesn't have to go to any of them. I think its infinitely preferable to miss a wedding, say some prayers on the wedding day for the couple's happiness to having a meltdown in a combination of jealousy and loneliness.

I do have a question though. What about those weddings where the couple have a destructive relationship (you have seen her crying more often than not, he has thrown her out of the apartment where they live together, he's been abusive etc). Since you can't stop the girl (usually) from what you think is a horrible idea, what can you do? I had a few weddings like this that I felt obliged to attend but I was miserable contemplating their future life together.

Seraphic said...

Don't go, but send ginormous present she will love and take with her when they split up.

Katy said...

These are great tips, Seraphic. Engaged at 40, and having lived in the same town my whole adult life, I am incredibly blessed to have scads of wonderful, long friendships and many, many great friends from various jobs. And so is my fiance. That means we have a serious invite list problem. So let me reiterate #1. If you don't come, honestly, tell the couple early enough so they can invite someone in your place and they'll be thrilled (not because you're not coming - they'll miss you - but because they feel TERRIBLE about the people that they had to leave off the list, and now will be able to invite one of them if you send your regrets early!

Seraphic said...

Great point, Katy!

Urszula, I had a rethink, and if it's one of your very best pals who's getting married, you sort of have to be there for her. Pray your heart out during the wedding mass, sit with friends and leave when it wouldn't be rude to do so.

Personally I think the person to tell you are leaving is not the bride but the bride's mother. The bride might not want poople to leave--"Is there something WRONG?" But readers differ with me on this.

Rosemary said...

I'm an older single now (mid-forties), and don't really mind at all being single at this point. So much so, that I've become involved in the wedding coordinating committee in my parish. For those really yearning to be married, this might be quite painful. But, it takes the focus off me and allows me to be a part of someone's wedding in a meaningful way. I play a role in preparing the wedding party for the ceremony itself, but do not participate in any after-wedding celebrations.

Every now and then, I do feel somewhat wistful thinking "what if?" But overall, I have found it to be an uplifting experience.

Kate P said...

Good timing--my sister just got engaged. YOUNGER sister. I'm thrilled for her and I adore her fiance. The coming year is going to be very interesting!

Elisabeth said...

I'll second Kate's comment! I was just feeling guilty about not attending the wedding of a family friend who was married today. I'm off the hook :)

I would like to for you ladies to weigh in on this predicament:

I am a bridesmaids in a couple weddings this summer. All the other bridesmaids are either married or engaged. All my other close friends attending are either married or engaged. This crowd of people does not generally share my faith or values, and I am quite certain there will not be any respectable single men in attendance. Most of them will not dance or be too inebriated to care.

I LOVE to be out on the dance floor with my girlfriends, but what do I do during the slow dances?

Marisstella said...

You have more cake! Yum.

Ramona said...

Oh goodness. I am getting to the point where I hate weddings and going to them by myself. I dread them. I want to see my friends and celebrate, but I don't have it in my heart lately. I'm actually really really grateful no one is getting married this year. I realize this is not the healthiest place to be with this. Should I just become a wedding hermit until I can get some more perspective/maturity (or at least a boyfriend)? I guess cutting out early is a good middle ground, but I feel like everyone will know why.

thepinkeminence said...

I am with Ramona. I have been quite miserable at the last weddings I attended. I don't like to dance and the entire "entertainment" of most weddings now is incredibly loud and raucous dancing. I am happy to come and chat with your great aunts, but I can't do that if it's too noisy to hear! I just say no as a default now, unless extraordinary circumstances demand I go.

Allamanda said...

One of the benefits of coming from a big family is that you get to send representatives to most weddings and can then enjoy the feeling that you've participated, even without going.

Seraphic said...

Ramona, there is nothing wrong with you. Imagine having to celebrate Christmas again and again, several times a year, with no presents for you, and in some occasions, none of your own family around and few of your friends, your only contribution (besides a present)to Christmas being to show, smile and up and eat.

Nobody should have to go to a wedding except of close family and her very best friends.

Embrace your wedding-free summer and after that, go only to weddings you very much want to attend.

As a happily married woman, I now very much enjoy seeing weddings or photos of weddings because (in part) they remind me of my wedding. Weddings carry huge emotional symbolism, often driving the lonely--men and women--to overindulge in alcohol and make fools of themselves---that is, in my culture. I do not claim any kind of universality in this, as in some cultures, the "village wedding" is unadulterated joy and a not-to-be-missed opportunity to eat a big supper at someone else's expense.

This reminds me of a wonderful Polish co-worker of many years ago, who told me that in her village, all brides wore the same wedding dress from the same rental shop. Although clearly this was because of communism and poverty, I love that there was a village wedding dress.

MaryJane said...

@Elisabeth: I think situations like that are the reason the phrase "I must go powder my nose" was invented! :) Besides, if you don't get cornered by a nosy great-aunt, there's a good chance you'll find other women in the powder room who also want to avoid slow dances, for whatever reason. (And if it's a married woman in a rotten marriage, it's a great opportunity to offer a listening ear to someone who quite possibly might be having a worse time than you are.)

Jessica said...

If your friends are mostly married, do any of them have cute babies you can sway with? You could even arrange it with the parents before hand - they get a child-free dance, and you get a cute dance partner who will attract more attention than you yourself will. Otherwise, go "powder your nose," sign the guestbook, help prepare the couple's getaway car, look at any pictures, etc. For me, I wouldn't want go eat cake or something if I were feeling particularly lonely, as sitting alone eating cake and not dancing would just encourage those feelings. The point is to do something entertaining/useful that's usually done alone anyway.

Urszula said...

Thanks for the tip on toxic relationship marriages! I've been to a few and personally I just don't think I can be made to go through with smiling and pretending my support and subscribing to all the hope and good cheer.

To somewhat brighten up this topic, it may help readers to know that statistically there is very little correlation between marriage and more satisfaction from life. Apparently the data show that 'on average' people are happier after they marry, but the skewed 'average' comes from the happiness bump severely depressed people get when they marry. To all the rest of us, pretty much however happy you were before marriage is going to be how happy you are after marriage. There's a thought to sustain us during wedding season!