An Expert's Tips For Mastering Wedding Season As A Single Guest

It's that time of year: Spring is on its way, which means wedding season is approaching. Most couples choose to have their weddings between late spring and late fall, so you can expect the invitations to start rolling into your mailbox any time. For some, this is anxiety-inducing, but for others, it's the best time of the year. No matter your feeling, it's nice to know you were invited!


As a wedding guest, you not only celebrate the marrying couple's love but the romance in your life too. Rituals like the bride's bouquet toss or a slow dance as the day winds down are opportunities to reflect on your own love life and connect with your significant other. But what if you're attending a wedding without a plus one? Just because you're not paired up doesn't mean you can't attend — and enjoy — the big day. Katie Brownstein, resident wedding expert at the wedding planning platform Joy, shares how to confidently navigate the upcoming wedding season as a single guest.

Plan ahead

Saying "I do" is one of life's biggest milestones for many people, so it's no surprise that couples are often willing to shell out a small fortune to pay for their big day. However, guests, too, must set aside money in their budgets to watch their loved ones get married. A 2018 Bankrate survey discovered that people spend $627 on average for a friend or close family member's wedding, while the average cost to attend a casual friend or distant relative's ceremony is around $370 (though the numbers are likely much higher when it comes to destination weddings).


To avoid being the cash-strapped single at the event, Katie Brownstein suggests planning and RSVPing as soon as possible. "This will help you avoid last-minute expenses and allow you to plan your travel and accommodations well in advance," she explains. However, be mindful of your financial limits. Brownstein notes, "If you're on a tight budget, consider attending weddings that are closer to home and offer more affordable lodging options." If the nuptials are set to take place in a faraway or pricey locale, it's okay to decline and have a smaller celebration (say, a dinner) with the couple once they return.

Connect with other single guests

You may not have a plus one to tag along with you during the wedding season, but you can still show up with backup support, even when you're flying solo. "Reach out to other single guests attending the wedding and see if you can split the cost of lodging or transportation. This will help you save money and possibly make new friends," Katie Brownstein shares with Glam. This tip is especially helpful for introverts who tend to feel overwhelmed at parties and in big crowds. Connecting with other singles, even before arriving at the wedding, can offer a sense of much-needed comfort and camaraderie.


If you're not sure how to start building your squad of singles, ask the marrying couple to link you up with other solo guests. Then, fire up a group chat and see who's game for booking a shared hotel room or carpooling to the venue together.

Focus on the couple

There are upsides to embracing your single girl era: you can experience more freedom, an improved relationship with yourself, and all the unattached fun you crave. But if you notice you're not feeling so great about showing up to your BFF or second cousin's wedding unaccompanied, see it as a chance to stop ruminating over your relationship status and instead focus on the couple getting married.


One way to do this is by handpicking a thoughtful gift. "Even if you're not in a relationship, it's important to show your support and love for the couple on their special day," says Katie Brownstein. "Consider giving a thoughtful, personalized gift that will be appreciated and remembered." Brownstein adds that Joy offers an all-in-one wedding registry that accommodates cash funds, charity donations, and gifts from retailers. If you're ever in doubt, choose an item on the registry and include a sweet message for a personal touch.

Don't be afraid to socialize

One silver lining of being single while others are busy tying the knot is that you're free to mix and mingle as you please. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that single people are better at creating and nurturing social connections compared to married folks. Translation: Make the most of your singlehood this wedding season and chat up anyone who catches your eye, whether romantically or platonically.


"Strike up a conversation with other guests during the reception or cocktail hour. This will help you feel less awkward and may even lead to new friendships or networking opportunities," explains Katie Brownstein. There's no shortage of conversation icebreakers at weddings. Play it safe with wedding-related topics (comment on the decorations or ask another guest what drink they ordered at the bar, for example), ask your seatmate how they know the couple, or pay someone a friendly compliment about their outfit.

Let loose

If you start to feel shy or a little lonely during the wedding festivities, resist the urge to sit on the sidelines with your face buried in your phone. Instead, join in on the action, especially at the reception and after-parties when the atmosphere starts to loosen up.


When your favorite songs start playing, kick off those trendy heels and join the other guests on the dance floor, even if you start off dancing alone. "Weddings are meant to be fun and celebratory, so let loose and have a good time on the dance floor," advises Katie Brownstein. "You never know who you might meet or what kind of memories you'll create!" Being confidently independent will encourage others to do the same, and it might even attract another fun and flirty single who could be your plus one in the future — but only if that's what you're looking for, of course.