Going to a wedding alone can feel a bit daunting. There may be some people there whom you’ll know, but whom you perhaps don’t like. There will be a lot of couples, and you know they’ll stick to themselves. Who do you dance with once the dancing starts? Who do you look at in a meaningful way during the speeches? Weddings feel like they’re made for couples, but there are a lot of people who go stag to them. If the couple is working with a limited budget, they may just not be able to afford to give everyone a plus one. Perhaps only couples who are married or living together got invited together, and individuals who are mostly unattached didn’t get to bring a date. Or maybe you could have brought a date and really couldn’t think of anyone you’d want to bring along. So it’s just you, yourself, and…you. But you can have fun going stag to a wedding like this.
Get a makeover
This is a chance to buy a fabulous outfit, get your hair and makeup done, get a manicure and pedicure, and really treat yourself to some pampering. Who doesn’t love that? You’ll go looking so gorgeous that you’ll get a lot of attention (just don’t out-shine the bride).
Find other stags
Locate the other stags. They may be easy to find since you’re likely all seated at the same table. Or you may identify them as a rag tag group standing by the bar, not holding hands with anybody. These are your people. You can retreat to them when the DJ plays slow songs or things become overly sentimental.
Being friends with couples is actually a lot of fun. The woman knows you aren’t after her man because she’s clearly there. He knows you’re not after him. It just becomes this easy friendship where everyone is very open—because couples area already inherently open. And, you never know—they may try to set you up with someone they know there.
You’re unattached, and that’s kind of the fun of it. You can go wherever you want, whenever you want. You can wander the grounds of the venue, just checking out the scenery. You can talk to whomever you want and not worry that your date isn’t having a good time. You can also leave a conversation whenever you want.
Start the dance off
You know that awkward moment when the DJ invites everyone to the dance floor and nobody goes? Be the first one that goes. Grab the group of other stags and start the dance off.
Be the star of your table
Be the life of the party at your table. Get drinking games going. Tell great stories. Make everyone laugh. It may feel like work at first, but you’ll actually realize it feels really good to be the reason all the other singles are having a great time.
Embrace the freedom
It’s actually quite liberating to go to a wedding alone. You can be whoever you want to be. You don’t have someone by your side monitoring the stories you tell and the way you behave. It’s almost like going to an event incognito. Few people know you there. You can create an identity, just for that night.
Flirt with a caterer/bartender
Develop a flirtation with a cute bartender or caterer. This will give you something to focus on—a goal—for the night. You can dance with other men, knowing that cute bartender is watching you, and wander over for witty banter when you feel like it. It’s like having a date…but not.
Play with the kids
Playing with kids at a wedding is great because you just get to enjoy them but you don’t have to take care of them. You can dance with them, feed them cake, and take funny pictures with them, and then send them to their parents when you’re tired of being a babysitter.
Take the chance to network
People like to work with individuals who have been vetted. That’s you! You’re at this wedding, so the bride and groom have vetted you. Sniff out the crowd. Maybe there is some networking to be done here. Of course, just be subtle about it since this isn’t technically a place of business. But it wouldn’t hurt to hand out a card or two.
Catch up with old acquaintances
There are probably some acquaintances there whom you haven’t seen in years. Though it can feel overwhelming at first to ask that person, “So, what have you been up to since I last saw you ten years ago?” But, it can actually be very refreshing to see how much people change, what they’ve accomplished, and the endearing ways they’ve stayed the same.
Give a toast (if you’re allowed)
If the speech hour is open to anyone, prepare a little toast. Make sure it’s full of jokes and a heartwarming ending. You’ll be a little star after that, and everyone will have a natural opening to come up and talk to you—to comment on your nice speech.
Focus on celebrating the couple
Remember what you’re there for: to celebrate the couple. Think about their love story. If it’s the bride with whom you’re friends, think of all she went through to meet this person. Focus on how happy you are for her. It really is a special day and it’s special that she wanted you there.
Helping out can actually be fun. Maybe the photo booth isn’t getting enough love. Grab some groups and outfit them in the ridiculous costumes to get that photo booth more active. Ask the DJ if you can pick a few songs. Make sure those disposable cameras the bride and groom left on the tables are being used.
Get ideas for your own wedding
You can always do your own research, too. Maybe this couple found creative ways to save money on the wedding. Make notes. Collect the cards of the caterer or band if you liked them. Take some photos of centerpieces and flower girl dresses you like.