While the summer might be winding down (let’s face it: school supplies have replaced pool floaties on the shelves at Target), that doesn’t mean wedding season is coming to an end. There’s still ample time to secure an invite to a romantic, open-bar soirée. But if you get asked to be a plus-one and you’ve never been one before, or you don’t really know the couple, it doesn’t hurt to do a little prepping. Fortunately, there are several ways to be the best wedding date ever, and brushing up on them can be hella useful when it comes time to show up for your date.
Whether your partner invited you to see their college roommate walk down the aisle, or a really promising summer fling wants to take you to their neighbor’s nuptials, it’s normal to be a little apprehensive and not know what to expect (especially when you don’t know anyone). After all, every wedding is different, and every couple getting married has different expectations for their guests. Generally speaking, it’s a good idea to be polite, not get too ~lit~, and definitely not wear a white dress (unless there’s a specific dress code that asks you to!). Other than that, being a great wedding date is all about having a good time, so try to relax.
1. Be smart when it comes to alcohol
Any wedding with an open bar is bound to be a good time, but that doesn’t mean you should go all out, frat-party style. Pace yourself, because you don’t want to end up face-down on your plate of cake.
“The bartender should know and stand by when to cut off service to any particular person that has drank too much," Hollie Starr, of StarrStruck Bartending, LLC in Gainesville, Florida, told Wedding Wire. But, that’s not to say it’s a bad idea to keep an eye on how much you’re drinking anyway. Remember, you’re a guest of a guest, so try to be respectful.
2. Mix and mingle
Talking to other people can be a great way to make sure both you and your date are having the most fun. Get to know the other guests, especially those who already know your date. And if they want to go catch up with some friends from college, for example, try not to be too annoyed at the idea of being left unattended for a few minutes. Instead, look at it as a chance to meet even more new people.
While talking to strangers can be nerve-wracking, you’ve really got nothing to lose in this environment. "It can be difficult to approach a stranger and start a conversation," dating coach Erika Ettin previously told Elite Daily. "Just remember that no one can shame you for trying, even if you don’t get the response you’re looking for."
Go make some new friends — you might just meet your new BFF.
3. Dress to impress
According to The Knot, it’s important to be mindful when picking an outfit to wear to a wedding. Whether or not you know the couple well, you want to find the right look that’ll make you feel both comfortable and confident, without stealing attention away from the happy couple. Additionally, if the couple and the ceremony are religious, it’s important to be respectful and dress accordingly.
4. Of course, be polite
Again, no matter how well you know or don’t know the couple getting married, it doesn’t hurt to be especially polite when you’re someone’s plus-one to a wedding. This might go without saying, but try not to grimace at the food or music selections, even if you don’t like them. Make nice conversation with your table mates, and considering bringing a card signed from you and your date. You don’t have to shell out a lot of money for a gift, but remember: You’re essentially a stranger at one of the biggest days of the couple’s life together, so a card or gift to acknowledge that might be a nice gesture.
5. Remember to enjoy yourself
Finally, if you’re a plus-one at a wedding, have a good time! Attending an event where you don’t know a lot of people can be tons of fun, especially compared to a family wedding where you have to make small talk with relatives you never see (and might not necessarily like). Use this as an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and have fun with someone you enjoy. They’ll appreciate your adaptability, and you’ll get to go home knowing you made their night that much better.
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