Have you ever gone to a wedding, stag? Until recently, I would have answered no. I have been in a relationship for most of my adult life, and the few weddings I’ve gone too as a single lady have been with an escort. I’ve always thought that as far as functions go, a wedding is the one I’d least like to be unaccompanied at. For starters, the entire event is a celebration of coupledom; not only of the couple saying their vows, but of all couples everywhere, especially those surrounding you for the entire event. If you don’t believe me, just look around during the toasts. The day will typically start off as a stoic witnessing of the unalterable tethering of one life to another, then turn into a giddy celebratory atmosphere, but about the time the toasts are being offered to the bride, the groom, the bridesmaids, the groomsmen, the parents…every couple in the room gets very squishy and cuddly. You’ll catch them giving each other meaningful looks, moving their chairs closer to one another to allow awkward public cuddling, and sometimes even going as far as kissing. In the past, I have never been one to cuddle publicly even while in a relationship. Even so, there is something comforting about having a date by your side…it makes ignoring the other couples that much easier.
This being one of the first years ever that I find myself truly single and unencumbered, I decided not to chicken out, but to brave this event solo.It started by zipping up my dress on my own (no easy feat, I assure you), mapquesting the location and driving myself there. I got to listen to my own music on the drive there, and park underground for $7, even though I knew that if I drove around for half an hour I could probably find free parking. When I went to the machine to pay, a very handsome man told me I looked great…also something that wouldn’t have happened had I brought a date!
The ceremony was lovely, and I sat with some single girl aquaintances who were also without dates. I didn’t count on the company, so it was great! Really though, the ceremony wasn’t what I was worried about. You can sit in any church anywhere alone and feel perfectly comfortable. When I travel to Europe or even the US, my favourite places are often big old churches…no matter what’s going on in them I always feel welcome. So the ceremony was beautiful and anxiety free, just as I’d anticipated. The real test was going to be the reception.
We started with drinks and appetizers at the Vancouver Club, which was lovely and dignified and fun. I chatted with the girls I’d sat with at the ceremony, some other friends of friends, and everyone was perfectly lovely and had great conversational skills. The thing that always helps when you’re a stranger is the social skills of the people around you. Since most of the other guests knew each other well, it mattered a lot. Fortunately, everyone there was incredibly gracious and made me feel quite welcome.
After cocktail hour we all went upstairs for dinner. I was seated at a table where I didn’t know anyone. They all knew each other well and included me in their conversations, which I really appreciated. Dinner was amazing, dessert was even better…and the toasts were indeed cuddly. Instead of cringing like I thought I would when the guests I was seated with (who were all coupled up) started to cozy up to one another, I just smiled to myself. I had known what to expect, and this really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I wasn’t seen as a pariah or an exile, I was just Brianna. It was kind of special being on my own, and I enjoyed getting to leave when I wanted to (right after the bouquet throw), boogie with the ladies on the dance floor, and never have to worry that my date was enjoying himself.
This has made me wonder; has being single been such a feared destination in my mind that I haven’t seen it for what it really is? It’s not a destination at all, just a stop along the way. On the way to what you ask? Heck if I know! But here’s what I do know: My good friend just married the man of her dreams, and it’s so important for them to enjoy each other, especially right now. And me? I just realized how glorious my own company can be, and I need to enjoy THAT right now.
Bring on the special events!