The Joy of Being Single at a Wedding

As another wedding season is in full swing, single people everywhere are sobbing into their soup-for-one.

Hollywood films such as the cult-favourite Wedding Crashers give the impression that a single person to a wedding is as a dog to a bone; chewed for a bit and then buried in the backyard. Wait I think I messed that up… something about a bone anyways.

My point is there is a common misconception that weddings are great places for single people to meet. And that it is happening all the time; probably right now at a wedding near you! This isn’t true. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

Being single at a wedding sucks.

From the wedding service to the final dance, weddings can be an emotional minefield for a single guy or girl.

If the wedding is religious, readings and homilies may take jibes at the single person. For example, this is a reading commonly found in a Christian order of service:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:

If one falls down, his friend can help him up.

But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.

But how can one keep warm alone?

If I fall down and can’t get up, it’s probably because when I heard this I drank enough for two and decided to show-off my ‘Twist and Shout’ skills at the reception. As for how can one be warm alone? I’ll get an electric blanket, that’s how.

Once at the reception the alienation worsens. Like outcasts, those without partners are often relegated to a ‘singles table’. This is usually a mishmash of single colleagues, awkward cousins and random friends that don’t know each other. What happens if after initial introduction you discover your neighbour isn’t keen to trade your chicken breast for a piece of their beef cheek? Things could get awkward.

I don’t mean to sound like a bitter and twisted single person (however if you like that you should read my rant on Valentine’s Day!), but I just wish this celebration of two people’s love didn’t involve putting down those who are single. Their single status may be by choice, or not so much, but either way weddings aren’t always the easiest events to attend solo. I don’t think that in order celebrate a relationship you have to put down those without one. We get enough of that from our own families anway.

Merely a few hours after my brother tied the knot last year one of my uncles merrily commented “so there’s just you now!” referring to the fact both my siblings were now hitched. That’s the great thing about relatives: you can always count on them to give you that confidence boost you need when you need it most.

The worst part of the reception comes as half-eaten bits of cake pile the tables and abandoned high-heels crowd the edge of the dance-floor. When the DJ hits play on Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ you know it’s time for the throwing of the bouquet.

Luckily for the single lady, this tradition includes women who are in relationships, but are unmarried. Among these women, there is usually at least one or two who are keen to catch this wilted posy. And while the truly single ladies hover anxiously at the back of the crowd praying the drunk brides bouquet won’t reach them, these women will shamelessly scramble for it, the winner holding it up in glory. I think only someone in an unhappy relationship could have invented this ritual.

So after looking at the evidence I have no idea why people think weddings are the perfect place for single people to meet. More likely than not you won’t be taking anyone home. It is more realistic to hope to make it home with your bonbonniere (and 10 other pilfered one’s); the memory of winning the dance-off with your robot skills; and both shoes.

I know people do occasionally meet their long-term (or very very short term) partners at a wedding, but if you are single at the start of a wedding usually you will still be single at the end of the night.

I guess it’s lucky I have that electric blanket after all.

20 thoughts on “The Joy of Being Single at a Wedding

  1. Being single at family weddings is horrible, because it leads to awkward questions and comments like:

    “When’s it your turn?”
    You’re the only one left.”
    “I thought you would have been married long before [insert random bride/groom name].”
    “Is there something wrong with you? Don’t you like love?”
    “Doesn’t this just make you want to go out and find someone?”

    • Exactly! And don’t forget when they give you a knowing/patronising smile and say “You’ll find someone… one day”.

      Where is the ‘congratulations for not marrying the wrong guy’? 😉

  2. ah yeah. i’m dreading wedding season. i love the invites addressed to “Megan Nyberg and guest.” there is no guest, so it was a waste of ink to even write it on the envelope.

    and yes, the ever so awkward “singles table” where everyone there knows why they are there.
    thankfully, the last wedding i went to was for a good friend who completely understood the awkwardness I experience as a single person at weddings.

    she seated me next to one of her friends – a witty and fun single girl who I became fast friends with! it was an outdoor barn wedding complete with unlit biffs, so we carried candles from the tables (otherwise known as the centerpieces) to the bathroom and helped each other maneuver the dark and dangerous world of peeing at a farm. Best wedding I’ve been to in a long time!

  3. Try attending an Indian wedding. If you’re well into your twenties – or worse, in your thirties – and are still unmarried (boyfriend doesn’t count; fiancée may just be your saving grace, but only barely) then the wedding becomes rather a tedious experience. I won’t say unpleasant, because nobody can really ruin an occasion for me if I truly wish to enjoy myself.

  4. I firmly believe the bouquet toss should be stricken from the ceremony all together – especially for people getting married in their 30s. It just feels like you are being stuck with a scarlet letter! I find hiding in the bathroom an effective technique for avoiding it.

  5. Ahh, yes, the awkward relative exchange. Uncle Phil with video camera in hand: “So, cousin Jeremy earlier this summer and now cousin Becky today. I figure Deena will be next, Tina is a wreck so I figure you will pass her and be next after that, don’t you think?” Me: “I am 16 years old”

  6. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who feels this way. I’m about to be the Maid of Honor in my best friend’s wedding, which means that in a month and a half, I’ll be the only one of my friends who is not only unmarried, but still entirely single. I hate going to weddings because I’m always alone. *sigh*

    Great post! 🙂

  7. People always say that you can meet your future husband at a wedding. I’ve been working weddings part time on weekend for 3 years and I haven’t met anyone yet. Then again, the only good looking ones are ususally the grooms, and well…

  8. See, this is why every wedding needs an open bar! Anyway, I think people would have better luck finding their future partner in the grocery store than a wedding. Honestly, I find that for me the most exciting part about a wedding is when we get to eat cake 🙂

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