How to Survive a Wedding when You're Single

Just because you don't have a date on your arm doesn't mean you can't have an amazing time.

By Justine Lorelle Blanchard for

Procopio Photography / The KnotAttending a wedding alone can be rough -- between partner-less slow dances and Aunt Gertie's questions about why you aren't married yet, it can be hard not to feel like a total loner. But the trick to enjoying a wedding while flying solo is as simple as adjusting your mindset -- and following these tips.

Change Your Mindset
"Human beings are, by their very nature, contrary; if you are trapped and told to have a good time, it's highly likely you will not," says Imogen Lloyd Webber, author of The Single Girl's Guide (Summersdale Publishers Ltd.). Basically, if you feel like someone is trying to force you to have fun, you won't. How to deal? Instead of likening a wedding to a Saturday night prison sentence, think of it as a chance for you to enjoy dinner, drinks, and dancing -- all on someone else's dime.

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Stalk the Guest List (a Little Bit)
Just because you don't have a date doesn't mean there won't be anyone to party with. Do your research before the wedding and find out who else is going. Think about how you know the bride or groom -- college? Work? Church? Odds are they invited at least a few other people from that realm of their lives. Connect with some of them beforehand for dinner (you could even ride with them to the wedding). In the very least, do a quick circuit before the ceremony to locate any familiar faces.

Pamper Yourself Beforehand
Self-confidence makes all the difference, so use the wedding as an opportunity to treat yourself. Ladies: Buy a new outfit (or at least a new pair of shoes or earrings), have your hair or makeup professionally done, or get a massage so you're feeling your best from the start. The same goes for guys -- splurge on a barbershop shave, shine those shoes, and iron that shirt. "You have to feel good about yourself, so pull yourself together into a package that will shine, but still be suitable for the event," Webber says. Because when you look good, who cares if no one's on your arm?

Drink Slowly
As soon as the ceremony is over (and you've been not-so-subtly reminded of your single status over and over again), it may be tempting to dive head first into the cocktail hour. Don't. While a martini or two may loosen you up enough to make conversation with total strangers, it'll ruin your chances at getting to really know anyone so pace yourself. "It could also contribute to any 'poor her' whisperings," says Webber.

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Have An Exit Strategy
If the wedding is out of town, Webber recommends booking your own lodging and arranging transportation so that you can make an escape if necessary. Of course, there's a right way to duck out of a wedding early, and there's the wrong way. Before bolting, stick around for at least the first few dances and the cake cutting (which usually signals the end of the formal festivities). Also, make sure you congratulate the bride and groom in person, and leave with as little fanfare as possible.

Don't Be a Downer

This day is not about your troubles so avoid bemoaning your single status. Keep your conversations light (i.e., "How do you know the couple? What do you do? What's that like?") and if you get stuck, chat about how you know the couple. Besides, you'll be so busy looking amazing, enjoying delicious food and drinks, and -- most importantly -- celebrating a good friend's happiness, you might even inspire a little envy from your coupled-up friends.

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