It’s wedding season! You know what that means. Time to feel an uncomfortable mix of weird emotions!!
When you’re single and weddings abound, it can be a bit of a mixed bag, emotionally speaking. On the one hand, you’re happy for your friends who are getting married. On the other hand, you might feel any number of not-so-warm and fuzzy things. Anxiety about how this change might affect the friendship. Envy about their happiness/chosenness. Fear over feeling left behind. There might even be some resentment over the expense of attending (flight plus solo hotel room, rental car, outfit(s), a gift from the registry, food whilst traveling, etc.).
This year is set to be one for the books, wedding-wise. As in, there are projected to be a ton. The most since 1984, in fact. If you’re like me, it can be tricky to navigate. Balancing the expense with not hurting your friends’ feelings. Managing your own feelings about going to these shindigs solo. As much as I love my friends and a good party, these factors mean that, sometimes, I’d rather shower with a bear than have to do the mental calculus involved in making it through wedding season without losing my mind.
However, if you’re like me, you want to find a way to do it. As a single person who has navigated many-a wedding season solo, here are 5 tips that have saved my life.
Don’t be afraid to say no.
I’m not indiscriminately declining everything that comes my way. But I know what situations I’m willing to put myself in, and which I’m not. Factors I consider when making this call: how far away it is, how close I am with the person, how many people I will know there, and if I’ll need to take time off of work. As much as I’d love to be the kind of person who attends every event no matter what, it’s just not feasible for me. Know your limits and honor them.
Coordinate with friends.
Don’t be shy about asking people if they want to split a room, or if they at least want to get ready together and carpool. There are lots of creative ways to not feel totally alone and save some money. Figure out when people are arriving, if they want to split a rental car, if they can pick you up (if they’re driving and you’re flying). This is another area to know yourself. If you think it’s worth it to pay a little extra for your own space or transportation, listen to that instinct.
Think about what you’ll need.
Beyond what you’re going to shove into a suitcase (the night before or the day of if you’re like me), what do you need in order to set yourself up for maximum enjoyment? For me, I know I can’t wake up at 4:30 to catch a flight and expect myself to be a functional human person. It’s a recipe for a panic attack at some point. Think about how you’re scheduling your days immediately before and after, to the extent you can control them. Will you need to store up some social energy or build in a few recovery days after? Think about your triggers and what’s going to help you move through them. With a bit of foresight, a few small choices could make all the difference.
Let yourself let loose.
At the end of the day, a wedding is a celebration. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get that many opportunities to throw down on the dance floor with my pals. It’s something I enjoy doing a couple of times per year. I’m not saying you should get blackout drunk or hook up with a stranger. I just mean weddings are a good opportunity to not take ourselves so seriously. Sometimes, it’s good for us to just have fun.
Acknowledge your feelings.
At the same time, you’re probably going to have feelings. One thing I’ve learned from my years of attending weddings and feeling a lot is that “should-ing” my way out does not help. What’s been helpful for me is to accept that, for better or worse, these feelings happen. With a bit of prayerful honesty, some planning, and heeps of compassion for myself, they don’t have to send me spiraling about what a bad friend I must be or come out sideways (i.e. excessive drinking, isolating, passive aggression, etc.).
If you’re struggling with this, I just created a free download called My Friend’s Wedding: A pre-wedding guided reflection for single Christians.
This guide empowers you to prayerfully wade through your feelings and brainstorm some strategies for how you’d like to respond to them. When we put words to our feelings, they go from being this big, scary, amorphous thing to something we can understand and work with. If you’re like me, this kind of work helps us not be blindsided by our feelings.
The goal isn’t to get it perfect or never feel uncomfortable feelings. The goal is to let those feelings drive us into deeper love and intimacy with ourselves, God, and others. Click here to get your copy.
It can be hard to be single during wedding season, when everything around us is driving home the narrative that romantic love is everything. I hope you find ways to remember that our lives are filled with many different kinds of loving relationships. I hope you are able to hold onto the truth of your worth in spite of all the messages that are trying to convince you otherwise.
I’d love to know what helps you find your way through wedding season. Leave a comment below and let me know!