I know it's hip these days to hate weddings, the same way you might hate "So You Think You Can Dance," Instagram photos of fried avocado tacos, public Spotify playlists called "me and the bae," and anything else that evokes how beautiful the world is for some people and not, at this particular moment, for you.
I will posit, however, that it is probably not the ceremonies themselves we hate, or even the inherent reminder that our most meaningful relationship thus far has been with a particularly firm IKEA pillow, while our high school frenemy just forever-bonded to a guy she met at a Dunkin'. It's the fact that, at their worst, weddings make everyone but the happy couple feel awkward and uncomfortable in their own skin.
Fear not, friends, for I have gone to approximately one frillion weddings this summer alone, and I have developed some foolproof strategies for being the coolest guest at any matrimonial affair:
If you didn't bring backup, create your own.
This one's a no-brainer. Unless it's your closest girlfriend's wedding and you want to spend the whole reception reminiscing about your college dorm's Jar-o-Beer Jager party, always opt for the plus-one for a guaranteed conversation partner. If you can't sucker any of your single buddies into coming along, just pick out the 20-something with the most asymmetrical haircut and befriend her instead. Bonus points if you lead with a self-deprecating, "So I'm about to cry into my cleavage at the toast, and yourself?"
Dance with a mothertruckin' stranger.
Far too often, I see people at weddings sticking to their own clans like scared semiformal barnacles. Listen: The bride and groom have forcibly smushed together all the most important people in their lives, and they want to see the inevitable hilarity of the intersection. Also, forget being aloof. You have literally nothing to lose by elbowing your way into some randoms' circle and making eager faces at them, and you'll make everyone else feel at ease, too.
Pad that belly, darlin'.
Not getting too drunk too quickly is of the utmost importance, and riding the line between gently sloshed and tipping-into-the-cake is a tricky endeavor. Pairing each glass of champagne with at least one bread roll will help to ensure that you don't wake up the next morning dreading what else you caught along with the bouquet.
Small talk is for rookies.
If you get bored talking about your real life, as far as these strangers are concerned, you can be a fisherwoman from Saskatchewan whose only love is the reclusive ice bass. They'll meet too many other people to remember you tomorrow, and you can practice your improv skills.
Your makeup looks great. You're charming as hell. Banging a groomsman is something that only happens in movies. It's five hours of character-building, and even if it really sucks, you can go home and watch "She's All That" and eat tacos. Be grateful you were invited.
Kate Conway is a RedEye special contributor. Invite her to your weddings, she cannot get enough.
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