You Don’t Have To Go To The F*cking Wedding
If you’re so afraid to go alone that you’ll resort to crowdsourcing company, it is entirely okay to stay home.
In fresh hells, because there aren’t enough, did you know you can scoop up a date to your next wedding right inside your dating app? There’s even a cute little badge bat signal for you to deploy. It’s effortless! You’re not asking someone to like you, call you again, even remember your personal details apart from “I’m here with Stacey, she went to college with the bride.” Genius! Or…and I’m just spitballing here, we could acknowledge that weddings have become social pageantry that negatively impacts singles to the point of needing this kind of last resort in order to simply attend, and are therefore no longer obligatory events.
Single people, I’m no fan of dating apps. I don’t trust them not to abuse me significantly within an hour’s worth of use, much less pair me with the love of my actual life, but this little internet yawlp is not about the apps themselves—it’s about the app’s latest reminder that weddings are hard, much harder for singles than the people who throw weddings remember, and if you’re at the point where you don’t think you can physically attend a wedding without a complete stranger on your arm, I am giving you permission to stay home.
Social anxiety is real. Single social anxiety is worse. On top of just existing and having to make small talk with a room full of wedding attendees, which no one loves whether you’re alone or celebrating your silver anniversary next week, singles also have the added layer of shame-centric conversation slathered on top that no one else in the room has to field.
“Still single? Maybe one of the groomsmen will dance with you!”
“How are you still single, you’re so great!”
“What about you, hows YOUR love life going?”
“Becca’s married, yay! I guess it’s your turn next!”
“Have you tried those dating apps? My niece met someone on there!”
Nobody’s interrogating the coupled people on the happiness of their marriage, suggesting good therapists loud enough for the next table to hear. Nobody’s asking people how often they have sex in their relationship while plates of steak or fish are being dolled out. Partnered people get things like dignity, privacy, and respect in social settings. Single people get roasted on a spit.
It’s actually not shocking to me that a piece of technology that “matches” people together would create a feature that connects humans for this purpose. A wedding date isn’t is a date, it’s armor—and attending a wedding alone is an assault to the mental health and nervous system of single people that was well worth the time it took the dev team to come up with this one. I’ve had to walk out of weddings after being shoved solo onto a dance floors and seated at a full table of complete strangers because that’s where I “fit.”
Here’s the thing: You don’t have to go to the fucking wedding. Ever. You’re not missing out on the social event of the century, because when has a wedding ever actually been more fun than like a group vacation with your friends? You’re not being rude, because anyone who needs you to put your wellbeing at risk just so they can have the knowledge that you were sitting in a plastic chair in the July sun fanning yourself with a wedding program isn’t someone you need to mind your manners for at all. Does that not make anyone else chafe? All the time, money, and vacation days guests put into attending weddings just for the bride and groom to do one two-minute table drive by during the salad course? And now we’re supposed to spend time swiping for someone to wear as a shield, too? I can’t with this shit.
The harsher reality is that singles don’t even get plus ones at most weddings anymore. (Too expensive! But you’re flying to Cabo, right? We thought a destination wedding would be so FUN!) So singles are basically going into these things naked anyway.
I would like to remind us all that wedding invitations are just that—invitations. They are not commands or requirements, you haven’t been summoned by royalty nor have you received a bill from the IRS. It’s just an invitation to a multi-stage party so that two people who have been living together for two years can celebrate the fact that they’ve decided to keep doing that, only now the other one gets her health insurance. Oh and there’s a 50/50 shot these two people will still be receiving mail at the same address ten years from now.
Sound cynical? Bitchy, even? Well friends let me tell ya, it ain’t. The tone and subject matter contained here are actually just the end result of a logic puzzle. A lifetime of singlehood shaming and presumed obligation throughout an entire global population of single people goes in, and out comes ONE person on the internet not buying into the bullshit of wedding culture. I don’t know, I think y’all can handle it. Heaven knows singles have been handling the shame spotlight at weddings for generations now.
You don’t have to simply accept the social demands placed upon you by weddings. They’re just weddings. Any friendship or family relationship that cannot survive you prioritizing your emotional wellbeing on a day that they prioritize their romantic luck can go ahead and fizzle out, I don’t think you’ll actually miss it.
A complete stranger isn’t your solution to the social anxiety generated by wedding culture. Please do not feed into these tired narratives. If you’re at the point where you fear or dread attending a wedding so much that you’ll ask strangers on the internet to pretend to be bodyguards, I think the best, kindest thing you can do for yourself is simply stay home.
If you liked this essay, you’ll also enjoy my book, A Single Revolution: Don’t look for a match. Light one. Book link is affiliate link.