If you’re over 40, aren’t engaged or married and wish to be, chances are there’s a slightly bitter feeling in the air when it comes to going to your friend’s wedding: “Is something wrong with me for not finding love?“
Yes, those invitations can trigger a myriad of feelings, including anger, jealousy, and resentment. But before getting too anxious, it’s worth reminding yourself that while comparing might be a natural way of looking at the world, there’s no reason for you to be uncomfortable as we are all on our own unique and personal journeys.
Of course, attending a wedding as a single woman over 40 is not usually someone’s first choice, especially if you don’t know many people at the reception, however, there is always a chance to enjoy these beautiful celebrations regardless of whether you have a partner with you or not.
In the end, nobody is there to entertain you, so you have to accept responsibility for your own happiness. So, before you start inventing excuses as to why you can’t attend, here’s how to survive the wedding season with the right mindset – no matter what your current dating status is – and still have a great time.
Dress the part
Take extra steps to ensure that you feel good about yourself—whether that means investing in a fantastic hairstyle, buying a new dress, or wearing those statement shoes you never have an occasion for. If you’re radiating confidence, you’ll be sure to carry yourself stronger with more positivity and attract more people towards you. You’ll also be more inclined to move forward and approach others if you’re not feeling insecure about the way you look. So, walk into the wedding with purpose and self-assurance like you don’t really need a partner to enjoy the party.
Keep an open mind
Have fun and really believe that you’ll have a good time. If you go in feeling nervous and expecting a boring time then that bad attitude will direct you towards the road to failure. Instead, arrive early and mingle with people.
Arrive at the wedding with an upbeat and positive attitude – says Certified Life Coach Michelle Fraley – If your energy is welcoming and fun, you will be more likely to attract others. Remind yourself that you were invited for a reason: your presence matters to the bride and groom. Be sure to keep your body language relaxed and open and don’t forget that smile. Before you know it, you’ll be making all sorts of new friends. Also, be sure to have a funny or charming anecdote to share as to your connection to the new couple. Going that extra step in sharing will be helpful in making you seem approachable, fun and memorable.
At the end of the day, try to remember that you’re there for an important reason and that the day isn’t really about you and how you feel: it’s about celebrating the wedding of people you care about.
If the idea of mingling makes you uncomfortable, ask your host if you can make yourself useful. Everyone appreciates some assistance, especially on a day as stressful as your wedding. In this way, you will meet new people without even realizing it.
Put your phone away
It’s easy to scroll social media or text friends you wish were there whenever you feel lonely or awkward at a wedding, but if you put your phone away that will certainly force you to interact with the other wedding guests, as well as make you seem more approachable. Don’t forget that the people at the wedding are probably friends of friends, so you’re likely to meet at least one person you know. And even if you’re more of an introvert, hiding out at a wedding might actually make you feel even lonelier and uncomfortable. So, challenge yourself to stay out of your comfort zone by sitting next to someone you don’t know and you’ll thank yourself later when there’s another friendly face at the reception.
Hang out at the buffet
People usually get friendly when they are waiting in long lines. You can start a conversation with the person behind you and make a point of using open-ended questions to get the ball rolling. Then circle back around later now that you’ve broken the ice. Just be wary of drinking too much. The last thing you want to do is be sloppy at a wedding when no one is there to have your back.
Have a break
If small talk is becoming insufferable or you just need a minute to yourself, it’s okay to take a few minutes to recompose yourself. Take a walk, re-apply your lipstick, recite your favourite mantra, or do whatever you need to do to come back and finish the night. Just be aware of attempts by others to pair you off with another single wedding guest.
Most importantly of all, try and enjoy the moment as best as you can. It may be the last time you attend a wedding as a single 40+ year old, and remember that you are there to support and celebrate the bride and groom, so enjoy your slice of cake.