A single's guide to weddings

Wednesday 31st May, 2023

Summer is coming around again, which means one thing: wedding season. If you are single like me this is probably a time of dread for you. Let me paint you a picture: you are sitting in a blue lace dress, at a table with five strangers (who usually consist of a relative not relative of the groom, a creepy relative of the bride, the photographer, and whoever the bride and groom have chosen to set you up with that night), and you are holding a glass of prosecco while the bride and groom cut the cake. If this is relatable then you must know what it is like to be single at a wedding all too well. As grim as the above sounds going to weddings isn't all doom and gloom, as luckily I have created the below guide to help get you through it.

Single Sigma

Let's get this one out of the way first, as there always appears to be a look of disappointment in people's eyes when they find out you aren't bringing a date to their wedding. To handle this I recommended telling the bride or groom (whichever you are affiliated with) that a partner is not a priority for you right now but something else is. Then give a couple of lines on whatever your priority is. I find this works as a perfect deflection to let the wedding party know that you are happy and for you to be left in peace happily single.


This one can be tricky depending on the bride and groom's organisation skills, so let's break it down into the three most common types: money, an online list created, and nothing said or organised.

I'll say it as no-one else will, the bride and groom that ask for money just come across as greedy. Yes, I appreciate that this wedding cost you a lot of money but that was your choice and this is your special day, whereas I have had to use my precious annual leave, buy an outfit, book a hotel and commute here all for a couple of hours of dancing and maybe a buffet; as I'm a good friend. Then on top of all of this, you now expect £50-£100 in the card? Depending on location this has cost me £200-£500 all in (same as a holiday to Spain), not to mention the time that I would rather be doing other things with. So I'm now meant to go okay and just put my hard-earned cash in a card? Unfortunately, the only solution to this is to put money in a card. However, you can save on other expenses. For example, do you need to drink and stay over? If you drive back you can leave early and save hotel and alcohol money which more than makes up for the 'gift'.

The next type of wedding people we will discuss are the disorganised ones. These people are infuriating as they will state things like, don't worry about it, don't get me anything, or get me a token present. Well, what am I meant to do with that direction? I don't know whether or not you need a new blender Deborah. The easy option here is gift cards or money, but as explained above I'm kind of against doing this. Plus I love giving gifts so would rather gift something personal. My normal go-to is a household item that is slightly luxurious that I don't think they have or they could use a new one of, which is normally a smoothie maker or coffee maker. How did I get to this? Most people either drink coffee or make smoothies/ protein shakes/ blend things, therefore these are the two most logical options in my humble opinion. Also, there are always deals on these items meaning you can get one worth £100 for £50 and they won't know. Think about the state of your coffee maker and smoothie maker, you could probably use a new one, right? Well so could most brides and grooms. So, in this case, I go out and buy one from somewhere reputable and get a receipt (so they can return it if they do hate it), and the job is done. They are normally quite grateful. If you know your happy couple does not like coffee or smoothies then any kitchen appliance along the theme of just luxury will work well too.

Finally, we have the best people, the ones who provide a wedding list. Bonus points if it allows you to select what you buy and cross it off so that gifts are not doubled up. These people are the best as the lists let you see the items available to purchase and their value so you can pick what you like for them and how much you want to spend, with the knowledge that it is something they want.

Picking an outfit

This can be a hidden wedding expense for a woman as you can't wear the same dress to multiple weddings, but also nice women's dresses are £50 to £100 so this can add up quickly. Personally, my go-to is anything formal already in my wardrobe that I haven't yet worn to a wedding, or something I have previously worn to a wedding just styled differently. Trust me the money this saves you is unreal, and because everyone is looking at the bride no one notices if you are being an outfit repeater, so you get away with it. Your other option of course is to buy a dress, in which case at least use a coupon code or go sale shopping.

How to have a good night

I'm going to split this into two as normally most people at weddings fall into one of these two categories: staying over and drinking or driving back sober.

Let's do staying over and drinking first as it is easier. First of all, when you are a bit tipsy from the couple of glasses of wine you had with dinner, go and find the bride and groom and congratulate them and highlight your gift. This way you have done your obligatory social bit and can get on with your evening. At which point if you don't have friends or a friend at a party you need to make one fast. I pick anyone who always looks a bit bored and is a similar age. Then you and your friends can just get drunk and dance the night away. This will normally only go on to midnight anyway and then you can return to your room.

If you are driving back, your one advantage is that you can get away with leaving at 10/11 pm, as most people will be drunk by then or have already left to take their kids to bed. This is a great advantage, as it means you'll be home before midnight and you don't start tomorrow at the wedding location but instead in your bed. My advice to you is to chill out, enjoy the evening and capitalise on the free food. The first dance is normally 8.30 pm ish so enjoy watching that, then work the room for an hour or two. This includes going up to the bride and the groom and congratulating them. I would also mention at this point how lovely the wedding has been but that you need to leave slightly early due to whatever commitment you have or choose to make up. You have to be careful with this conversation as you need to have it about an hour before you leave, as when the bride and groom see you are after you have said you are leaving they will think that you have stayed later than expected as you are having a lovely time. The other thing to mention for this approach is pictures. Get in as many pictures as possible as it gives the illusion that you have stayed later than you have.

Overall, weddings are beautiful and magical times celebrating love and are incredible when it is your special day. However, as a guest you just have to suck it up now and again to make a loved one feel special; so use my tips above and make it the best night possible for yourself. The upside is you will get it back one day, and also they sometimes have a free bar.

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