This is well overdue, for wedding season has been upon us for a month or two. However, it will not be over for some months, and meanwhile weddings keep on happening to other people. They happen to other people with such great frequency that it is easy to assume that they will never happen to us, which is not particularly logical. Not only did I get married within two years of losing all hope, so have umpteen formerly despairing Searching Single readers. So did Trad Bride, earlier this month, at the age of 40. And indeed I told her the only reason she wasn't married was that she never lived in the same place long enough and LO.
However, weddings can be tricky when we are still zigzagging between hope and despair, so here is my handy-dandy guide to surviving them.
1. The wedding is not all about you. It is all about the bride and groom. If you don't want to go, you don't have to go--unless one of them is a close relation or one of your best friends. Then you have to go--if you can afford to go, of course. (Don't beggar yourself because your favourite cousin has decided to have a dream wedding in Tahiti.) Everyone else will rejoice at getting a nice present and crossing your name off the caterer's list. One less mouth to feed.
2. If you want to go, go. Dress to the nines. Look your absolute best. I am still quite pleased thinking about how good I looked at that first wedding I went to after my divorce. I still have the shimmering copper dress. I should ever fit that dress again. Sigh, sigh. Still, I looked fantastic.
3. However, do not be amazed if, halfway through the reception, you suddenly feel an enormous sadness erupting in your chest. I call this phenomenon Single Person's Wedding Angst, and well I remember the first time I got it. It was, in fact, at the first wedding I was ever invited to, and I think I was 20, and even had a boyfriend at the time, and I couldn't imagine why I felt so sad. But I did. Of course, it could have been the gentle whining of the tape player. It gave us nothing but Pachebel's Canon in D and other chestnuts, and when one guest tried to substitute something livelier, the groom stalked over and put Pachebel's Canon in D back on. I was at a table of Protestant cousins still shell-shocked by the priest's homily--requested by bride and groom--against artificial birth control. One of them quite seriously called the oft-repeated tune "Pack on, Belle." Hell is other wedding guests.
3. If you cannot immediately cheer yourself up, go home. Thank the bride's mother or the groom's mother, or both, for the invitation, and get out of Dodge. Her wedding day is one of the most psychologically sensitive times for a woman, and if the bride thinks you were miserable at her wedding, she may brood on it for years. Smile, smile, smile, joke, joke, joke, dance, dance, dance--TAXI!
4. If you aren't driving--and unless this was a dry event, you shouldn't be--take a cab, not the bus. Few wedding things are as depressing as going home from a wedding in all your finery in a bus. The taxi cab should make you feel a bit special, like a film star in a limo, and be cheering in itself.
5. Have a nice treat waiting for you at home. I recommend splurging on some snacky thing, like ice-cream, and a DVD you have long wanted to see. Put on clean pyjamas and a thick pair of clean socks. Settle down with the cat, or if no cat, large pillow.
6. If you are the bride, stop thinking about your Single friends and if they are miserable or not. This is especially important if you have spent the last two or three years blogging endlessly about Single life. As the bride, your job is to be happy and say nice things about your groom at every opportunity, and thank your parents for everything and just generally personify the Church as the Bride of Christ.