I knew about this wedding since last year, but because my luck with finding a romantic kind of date has had a 0% success rate, I had no doubt in my mind about who my plus one would be. I knew that it had to be my best friend. I asked her before the invites were sent out. I figured, it’s not my family, I don’t really know anyone, why not invite the person I’m most comfortable around?*
Karishma: Karishma feels super honored at this revelation, and reminds herself it’s less a revelation as just the logical progression of a 15+ year friendship.
Being a plus one at a wedding is a weird, strange, and liberating place to be. You keep telling yourself, no one here really knows me except my date.
Again, if your date is your best friend from childhood and has known you for 16 years, then there is no check for how much you can really test the bounds of social acceptability.
The following is a guide of what to do, or not do, at/before a wedding.
1. Panic over your clothing.
Karishma: Dressing for a wedding is hard. Dressing for a wedding that you have almost no details about is even harder. Your eyeliner will break in your eye. You will sweat through the dress before you even get picked up. You will not have enough time to do something with your hair, so just pass a brush through it and pretend it’s okay. Remember: who cares? It’s not your wedding, and no one will be looking at you.
Jazmin: Oddly fitting rule if you’re the one inviting as well. I panicked over my dress a month in advance. I was told my original choice wasn’t good enough by the Maid of Honor. In her defense, she was stressed because she was the MoH. It still hurt, though. Having my dress ready, I got to panic over makeup and hair. Just because I wouldn’t know very many people didn’t mean I didn’t want to look my best. I blame my mother for this.
Also, word to the wise, don’t promise to do face-painting at a work Fall Festival and then not have enough time to make it to the mass. I hear it was a lovely ceremony. Sadly, my face-painting skills were not transferring over to my makeup skills (I mentioned it in that nail how-to). It’s not the time to be adventurous with eyeliner either. Test run that the night before. Not an hour before picking up your date.
2. Make sure you’re in the right place
K: Seriously. In all likelihood, the wedding venue in Queens is packed with at least one other wedding. Maybe six others. Entertain the idea of crashing all the weddings and freeloading, but you should probably not do that. I mean it will all come together in the shared bathrooms when there are crying drunk women fighting for chairs/mirror space, so you’ll be able to see how similar all the weddings really were.
J: No, seriously. Make sure. Chances are that you’ll panic about being over-dressed because there are an awful lot of people walking around in jeans. And chances are you might discuss cannibalism with another guest in the elevator. Make sure he’s not going to the same party before you tell him you’d gladly get him first so that you and your date can survive.
3. Hit the bar.
K: Cocktail hour is great. Open bar at cocktail hour is even better. Make friends with the bartender, because you will be back no fewer than five times, not including the wine with dinner. Or the champagne for speeches.
J: And don’t worry about being judged by the people forced to sit at your table for six when everything else is taken. So what if you’re two pretty ladies drinking Jack and Cokes? Remember that they haven’t seen you during game day at your favorite sports bar nor have they witnessed your drunk brunches, they don’t know anything. It’s the patriarchy that tells them you shouldn’t be enjoying a few cocktails. And it’s your charming wit that will get them to loosen up and have inside jokes after the wife knocks over her cocktail to the floor. When all else fails, smile because at least you can handle your liquor better.
K: When the bride and groom dance their first dance, you may feel weird about public crying. Remember, public crying is acceptable at weddings, and again, no one there really knows you. If you cry even harder at the bride dancing with her grandfather to a song you grew up with, that’s even more okay. If the groom cries, take a drink and then cry with him.
J: Take pride that while you may not be amazing at makeup, but at least you primed that makeup and have excellent waterproof mascara. So what if you cried harder during the fun dance, some of us have grandfather feelings we don’t express very often. It’s a wedding. Everyone will cry at some point during the night.
5. Befriend the people at your table. Or not.
K: The people at your table may be awesome and want to dance the whole night. They may also just sit at the table, play on Twitter and count calories, so you are under no obligation to befriend them. Courtesy only goes so far. J: (If you’re wondering, most of them were terrible and maybe a little put off that my date was a lady.)
6. Refuse to participate in the bouquet toss, even when the people at your table look up from their cell phones long enough to sprint to the bouquet huddle.
K: Because fuck the patriarchy. J: No seriously, fuck it.
7. Take bathroom selfies.
K: Everyone does it and you look great, so why the hell not?
8. Dance all night.
K: Dance by yourself. Dance in the center of a group. Dance because it’s hilarious that they’re playing “La Camisa Negra.”
Start a kick line during “New York, New York.” J: Be super excited that the guy with the luscious hair that danced with boys and girls all night wanted to end the dance with you because of your kick line. K: Dance because someone asked you to, but the second they get too pushy, run the hell away. You can call in reinforcements if needed. Public shaming will work long enough for you to escape into the night, like Batman in a cocktail dress.
9. Remember to be thankful.
J: Be thankful that it wasn’t your wedding, and that you didn’t have to put any of this together. Nor do you have to clean any of this up. But remember that at the end of the night, you had a great time and two people wanted you to be a part of their special day for whatever reason. Thank them. Chances are they’ll thank you as well. And maybe they’ll be even more thankful for that skimpy hot pink lace outfit you gave the bride.
10. Grab anything that isn’t nailed down.
K: When the night is over, and everyone is heading home, this is when the freeloading plus one really shines. It’s time for you to snatch up everything that hasn’t yet been claimed. Grab those candle holders. Shout at anyone approaching your table that those are your flowers, you have claimed them, go look at another table. If the wedding favors are excellent (like tiny honey pots with honey!), this is when you volunteer to take them off the bride and groom’s hands. You will have to keep your eye on other scavengers, but surely you’ve played enough Oregon Trail growing up, to know where this goes. Circle your wagons around those flowers and candles, and never surrender. You are drunk and the night is over; you are invincible. J: And remember your date was the best.