Ah, Summertime. The air is sweet, the grass is a yellowy-browny colour - and suddenly you find yourself racing back in your head to 6 months ago when you first received a wedding invitation in the mail for your boyfriend/girlfriend/well-connected dog where you are invited as their plus one at a wedding of their childhood friend, with very few people you know - suddenly next weekend. GULP.
You think of your wardrobe which is covered in - well, disorganised clothes - none of which you like. You think of having to wear high heels on the grass. You think about all the people who’ll be at the wedding AND YOU DON’T KNOW A SINGLE ONE (well, except hopefully the person you are attending with).
We all know it can be HARD WORK being ‘so-and-so’s girlfriend/boyfriend/not-so-well-connected dog’ at a wedding. Being the plus one at a wedding for someone you don't know very well can be incredibly daunting. Not only do you have to talk to people you don't know but you also have to hold up some kind of chat over multiple hours and often alcohol is only available after an extended ceremony. While it maaaay be tempting to feign sickness, or collapse into a tub of Kaffee Eis family serving of gelato, I implore you not to lose hope.
"Being the plus one at a wedding for someone you don't know very well can be incredibly daunting"
If you can nail being an excellent plus one at a wedding, you’ll enjoy the day so much more and be at least 80% more likely not to end up getting into a fight with your partner at some point during/after the wedding. And I think we can all agree, there are few things worse than being trapped in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand at a wedding in a small wooden cabin trying to fight in whispers.
"I think we can all agree, there are few things worse than being trapped in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand at a wedding in a small wooden cabin trying to fight in whispers"
Now first, hear me out. I very much enjoyed the wedding at Riversdale Beach which I so gamely went along and documented in this blog post for you all out of the goodness of my own heart (not because I fit my blog around my life but because now my life IS BLOG - I DO HAVE A LIFE PEOPLE!!!). How then, did I gather these tips?
Some tips are ones which I ACTUALLY did apply at this wedding (especially around the importance of dressing up and treating yo’ self). Some of the others are more generally from event/life experiences, including New Years Eve Parties, Christmas Day gatherings and so forth (i.e. how to survive the first Christmas with your new partners family - now there's a post!). The skills are, however, the same. It is wholly unnatural to be suddenly plonked in a celebratory position when you have a hard trying to remember the host's father's name (Colin, his name is Colin).
"It is wholly unnatural to be suddenly plonked in a celebratory position when you have a hard trying to remember the host's father's name (Colin, his name is Colin)."
But life is short and sometimes you have to adult and put yourself in uncomfortable situations. With a bit of practice, you’ll soon be smashing this wedding shizz out of the ball park and everyone will be like “DAAYMN, MATT - who is that fly senorita you wit??!” (or so I tell myself).
1. Make sure you take care of yourself first
My mother often tells me some story about how she always used to carry some cash with her when she first went out with my father or maybe when she went to a party somewhere to get a cab home so that she always had an exit plan. This is because MY MOTHER IS A SMART LADY.
This is a great rule for anything in life, but especially for weddings where people seem to have them out in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand quite frequently - you should have a plan so that if everything goes pear shaped you can GET THE HELL OUT.
"You should have a plan so that if everything goes pear-shaped you can GET THE HELL OUT"
Work out where you are staying and that you have everything organised in advance. The last thing you want to be doing is working out how to get a cab back from Levin to Wellington on a Saturday night at 11pm. Always do what my mother says and as much as you love someone, have a backup plan (in the instance - I didn’t take my own advice but I knew I could always call my boyfriends parents in Greytown if we’d been attacked by a possum or something). ALSO EAT AT AN APPROPRIATE HOUR - YOU NEED SUSTENANCE TO KEEP GOING OR YOU MIGHT GET HANGRY!
2. Treat yo’ self
Who says brides and bridesmaids get to have all the fun? I was seriously excited to have an excuse to go to somewhere that would let me try something new. I’d never had an up-do before but after seeing it was only $50 at Luca (my hairdresser) I was thrilled to plot a lot of ME TIME to have some FANCY HAIR THINGS DONE!! And boy oh boy was I thrilled with the results.
It was WELL worth the money and really made me feel totally glamorous for the whole day. Plus, I felt (and feeling is more important than reality) that I stood out from the other guests a bit, which made me feel like a total skux.
Luca Hairdressing did an A+ job with my very vague description “I want to look like the flamenco dancer emoji” and showing them the dress I’d bought. It was so lovely to be fussed over and although I had to remove 1000 hair pins later on while slightly (pfft!) pissed, it was an absolute highlight and made this wedding for me.
(I had failed, dear reader, and for the first time in my life I bought a dress from ASOS - I felt very ashamed of the act of mass consumptionism but I actually really like the dress and probably will wear it lots again. Will try and be better and stay off ASOS in the future because ASOS THE PLANET IS DYING BECAUSE YOU SELL TOO MANY CHEAP CLOTHES).
"Why wait for your actual wedding day to feel like Beyonce?"
Why wait for your actual wedding day to feel like Beyonce? I really am so glad I spent a little bit on myself and got one special thing done. As you can see from these photos, it was the definition of a perfect up-do.
3. Get outside your comfort zone & bring the bling to the party
As you see above, I decided to get a new dress. But actually, the dress was based around my accessories - I'd been wanting to try some new hoop earrings I’d been lusting after for a long time. As a young girl, I was firmly banned from hoop earrings and, in fact, this was the first time I had ever worn them (I think my mum had some kind of Karori allergy to anything ‘Jenny from the Block’). I absolutely love the jewellery by Nina Gordon of Flash Jewellery (I know Nina from many years ago and she is a bit of a #girlboss role model - I interviewed her last year here).
I had a little online chat with her where I explained I was ready to take the plunge and she kindly offered to gift me a pair of her Doozie hoops in gold. This, seriously dear reader, was one of the most exciting graduations of my life: the time where I finally felt ready to wear hoop earrings. It was a totally different look for me and might have been more exciting than graduation. Flash your way into that wedding scene - in a good sense.
4. Be confident in who you are, engage and people will love you
Like Elle Woods in the age old classic movie ‘Legally Blonde’ (also a favourite of my dad), sometimes you just have to rock up being who you are. You might be at a beach wedding and you are a super prepster. You may be a bogan at a country club wedding. Regardless of what your jam is, be super friendly to everyone and generally perky, asking questions about their children and how they know the lucky couple. Make an effort.
"Don’t dismiss the older folk..."
This is a case of faking it until you make it. If you find yourself trapped with someone who is snooze-worthy, keep nodding and politely make excuses. Ideally, find one chum who you can pal up with and cause LOL's and mischief for the night. Don’t dismiss the older folk too. Some of the older people at a family wedding have THE BEST chat. Circulate, and take the effort. If all else fails, go and play with the children because people love that shit. Don’t just sit in the corner, looking like a wallflower. Get up there and make the most of things! Which leads too…
"NO one likes slut dancing inappropriately early (well, some weddings may but I am still waiting for my invite to those)"
5. Hit the bar!
Nothing makes being chummy more easily than having a few drinks. Once you’re a few in, you’ll be having the time of your life. MAJOR CAVEAT TO THIS: You need to be responsible and drink heaps of water as well, especially if it is a hot day. NO one likes slut dancing inappropriately early (well, some weddings may but I am still waiting for my invite to those). In all seriousness, having a few drinks is a great way to get chatting to people and you might as well take advantage of the fact someone else is footing the bill. And make sure you DO get out there and hit the dance floor because you should NEVER NEED AN EXCUSE TO DANCE AT A WEDDING! CHEERS!! *hic*
I had an amazing time at our friends wedding the other week and I wish them a happy and long marriage together. Thank you for having us Zane and Chloe.