Your Guide To Flying Solo During Wedding Season (It Doesn't Have To Be Painful)

Whether you're single and don't have a backup plus one, or the marrying couple are strict on no plus ones for people without long-term significant partners, you don't have to skip a wedding just because you're going dateless. In fact, we think going solo could actually be fun if you approach it the right way. While it can be awkward to show up alone and uncomfortable watching others with their dates, you can embrace this "you" time by building up your confidence beforehand, having a plan in place for any "couples-only" moments, and seeing this experience as a fun opportunity, rather than hiding in a corner until the thing is over.


We want to help you make the most of this experience, and be social, rather than being a bump on a log. And while we know it's scary, especially if you have anxiety about such things, with the right tips you just might end up owning your single-person status, enjoying the wedding, and may even make some new friends while you're there. So, before you check the "no" box on that RSVP, here are our suggestions.

Find out if anyone you know will be there

Don't be afraid to inquire from the marrying couple who else is coming that you may know, whether they're coming solo or not. This opens up a few opportunities. You could ask to be seated with people you know, making things a little less awkward during the reception. You could also reach out to one or more other friends attending and make a plan to show up at the same time — that way, you don't have to worry about any anxiety over showing up alone.


You may find that there are people going you've only met once or twice, or perhaps some friends from college or high school who you haven't even spoken with in years — even they can offer a little more comfort. You'll surely have plenty to catch up on while sitting together, chatting about all of the things each of you has done in the years since you last saw one another. Plus, it offers you an opportunity to make old friends new again.

Look at it as an opportunity

If there won't be anyone you know to hang out with, that doesn't mean you shouldn't go. This is an excellent opportunity to make new friends, or perhaps even meet a special someone. There's a good chance you won't be the only single person at the wedding (and you can even ask the marrying couple if they may be able to seat you at a table with other singles).


Use this time to brush up on your talking skills and get to know the people you're seated with. Small talk, even if you're not a fan, will go a long way in this situation. Find out where people work, what their favorite hobbies are, why they're at the single's table too, and, of course, how they know the newlyweds. If you sit there not saying a word, you could come off as snobbish, and this opinion could get to the ears of the newlyweds. Even if you're not one for starting conversations, it doesn't hurt to participate in them.

Build up your confidence ahead of time

Before the wedding day approaches, prepare some talking points, and start doing things that help build up your confidence. President and CEO of The Energy Project, Tony Schwartz told Harvard Business Review "The best way to build confidence in a given area is to invest energy in it and work hard at it." He added that, "Practice can be very useful, and is highly recommended because in addition to building confidence, it also tends to improve quality." While you're not practicing for a big presentation, you are working on being more comfortable talking to strangers and attending an event alone — so spend some time in the mirror smiling and talking to yourself. When you go to the coffee shop, chat up the person in line with you.


Another confidence booster can be picking out what to wear to the wedding. You want something that makes you feel like you're on top of the world. If it takes trying everything in your closet on or buying a whole new outfit, so be it. The one thing we highly recommend you don't do is rely on liquid courage to get you through the night. While a small tipple is fine, fully imbibing just to ease your nerves could lead to some embarrassing moments that may be hard to live down.

Know what you'll do when a slow song plays

One rough moment for a solo wedding guest is the slow dance. While it can be fun fast dancing on the floor alone or in groups, those slow dances can be uncomfortable of you don't have a plus one. Fortunately, you have a few options, depending on how forward you are.


You can ask a stranger to dance — anyone who catches your eye and doesn't appear to be with a date. Of course, you run the risk of them saying no, but if you've built up your confidence ahead of time, even that shouldn't shake you. You could dance with a family member of the newlyweds if you know them. Or, you can hang out on your own — don't sulk at the table, but go for a walk to check out the wedding venue, freshen up in the bathroom, or hit up the bar for a fresh drink.

Leave early if you want to

There are no rules that say you have to stay at a wedding reception until the venue starts kicking people out. You were invited to see the married couple say "I do" to one another, so you could leave from there. Of course, if you want to stick around for the reception food and drinks, you can always head out after dinner or after the cake is cut. While you may not like the idea of dining and dashing, there's no sense in sticking around if you're feeling uncomfortable.


The most important thing we want to stress is being polite to the newlyweds — when you're ready to head out, be sure to find at least one of them to let them know it was a fantastic time, they looked wonderful, and now you must head out for whatever reason you feel like giving.