I’ve been on sort of an unplanned hiatus from the blog, but life has been a little bit out of control lately. However, I did have the opportunity to cross another item off my Single Girl’s Checklist in the most joyous of circumstances.
I’ve told you about my friends Liana and Steve before – about the epic bachelorette partyand how excited I was for their wedding. Well all the excitement and anticipation finally came to fruition this past Saturday. After more than a week of rain and horrendous weather, Liana and Steve had a picture-perfect day – 80 degrees, bright blue skies and not a cloud to be seen.
#23 – Attend a wedding (or 15) alone.
The positive: The pressure of a “plus one” avoided
This is the third wedding I’ve been to in the past 12 months. I have not received a “plus one” on any of these wedding invitations. And I’ve gotta say, I don’t think I mind it. With a “plus one” comes a lot of pressure, especially when you’re single. Who do you take? Who is going to fit in with the friends and/or family who will be there? What if you don’t take anyone? Will you be judged?
For the second wedding I went to last summer, I did have to bring a date last minute because my brother-in-law couldn’t go and we had a seat to be filled for my cousin’s wedding. I took my friend Matt, and it really just complicated things. I had to deal with the questioning glances all day and the inquisition during and after the event about how we met and whether he was a boyfriend. There’s a lot of grey area with wedding dates that I’m not sure I like.
So not having that pressure for bringing a guest is kind of nice. You don’t have to worry about introducing someone or making sure they’re entertained. You can focus on your own good time without worrying about that other person.
That said, I’m already trying to figure out who I am going to take to my friends’ wedding next June because I’ve been informed I have a +1 next to my name on the guest list. Hmm…currently accepting applications. 😉
The negative: Being the only one “alone”
The one wedding that I felt truly “alone” at was the first one I went to last summer. It was for two college friends and the only other people I knew were the bridesmaids and Claire and Kyle. I was an “honorary attendant” for the day, but I wasn’t sitting with the bridesmaids, so I sat instead with Claire and Kyle. Third wheel status. While the bridesmaids were off getting photos taken and performing other official bridal party duties, I sat with my soon-to-be-engaged friends.
I didn’t feel like I fit in at that wedding. The bridesmaids all had each other and Claire and Kyle had each other. I wished I had gotten a “plus one” on my invitation so that I’d at least have had someone to talk to. Of course, I have no idea who I’d have brought if I had gotten one.
The lesson: “Alone” is a matter of perspective
Something I learned at Liana and Steve’s wedding this weekend was that being “alone” is all a matter of perspective. Did I have a date? No.
Instead, I had 15 or more dates. I was surrounded by friends I adore the entire day. I was never “alone.”
We had the Hootenanny girls at Liana’s for the bridal brunch / getting ready / dance party. We had three rows of our friends at the ceremony. At the family-style dinner table, I saw people I loved at least four or five seats away to both my right and my left on each side of the table.
Once the music started, I could barely get off the dancefloor long enough to get another drink before a friend was pulling me back to dance, jump and sing. And at the end of the night, a group of about 15 of us were left waiting for the last shuttle – all people I adore and cannot imagine my life without – swatting at mosquitos, playing ring toss with glow stick necklaces, and leaning on one another for support of our tired little heads.
Technically, I attended this wedding “alone.” I did not have a date. I did not have a significant other to slow dance with. (Thankfully, there was only one slow song played the whole night other than the bride and groom’s first dance and the father-daughter dance.) I did not take couple-y pictures with anyone other than my roommate.
But I didn’t want anyone else there with me. It was perfect exactly as it was. I had people by my side to laugh with, talk to, dance with and hug. When I took a break from dancing, the groom caught my eye, smiled and waved me over to the dancefloor. When I wanted a drink, a friend looped her arm through mine and we went to the bar together. When that one slow song played, I sat with a girlfriend and we looked on at the couples among our group of friends, and I smiled, knowing how happy they all are, and feeling genuinely happy for them.
I wasn’t alone after all. I had everyone I needed and wanted there with me and it was the best wedding I’ve ever been to, by far. I felt loved and appreciated the entire day. And while the day certainly was not about me, it taught me a lot. About love, about friendship, and about myself. About what I need and want in my life. About the fact that I’m OK with being “alone” right now, because I’m holding out for the kind of love that Liana and Steve have, where you can’t wipe that smile off your face all day.
And for that, among many other things, I will be eternally grateful to Liana and Steve. A well-deserved beautiful day for a beautiful couple.