Although weddings are meant to be happy occasions, seeing a wedding invitation in the mailbox can trigger a sense of dread in the hearts of a few of your guests – namely, the singles.
Any event that celebrates two people who found love is bound to cause some awkwardness for guests who haven't met that special someone yet. If you're deep in love, you may have forgotten what's like to be single at a wedding and inadvertently make your single guests feel like third wheels. Follow these seven rules to ensure that guests flying solo still have an amazing time on your big day.
1. Forget the singles' table.
Don't assume that singles will automatically feel more comfortable corralled to a singles' table. It can actually make them feel even more stigmatized and awkward – like they're "leftover" guests you don't have anywhere else to put. If these guests know other people at the wedding, they would probably prefer to sit with them, even if they're surrounded by couples. Instead of herding your single friends to a designated table, simply assign seats based on who would enjoy talking together the most: college friends, work colleagues, and extended family members, for example. Or, save everyone the stress and don't assign any seats at all!
2. Don't pressure guests to find dates.
To a singleton, there's nothing worse than being nagged about if they have a date to bring to the wedding. If your budget allows you to offer singles a date, great – but don't constantly follow up with questions about who they're inviting, or worse, try to set them up with another single friend or family member (no, your sorority sister does not want to go with your second cousin). Focusing too much on their dates, or lack thereof, only makes them think you're embarrassed for them and don't trust that they'll be able to have a good time solo.
3. Send out some fun facts about the other guests.
Many couples are now opting to distribute information about each guest before the wedding through services like Guesterly, allowing everyone to get a sneak peek of who will be attending. Singles can discover which other guests might be fun to strike up a conversation with, or even take mental notes about who else is single and ready to mingle.
4. Skip the bouquet toss.
The best way to make singles feel awkward about their relationship status: Force them to the center of the dance floor to fight over your bouquet while everyone else watches. Most women who do participate in the bouquet toss are just trying to be polite, and many find the tradition to be outdated and silly. Gift your bouquet to a special woman in your life instead.
5. Allow newly single guests to opt out.
If your sister just finalized her divorce, she may not feel up for planning your shower or doing a romantic reading at the ceremony. And that's okay. Feel free to ask anyway (after all, she might be thrilled to participate), but tell her that you understand if she's not ready. Weddings can be a difficult reminder that singles are, well, single, so be sensitive about what you're asking them to do.
6. Be mindful of how much you're talking about wedding planning.
Your world no doubt revolves around wedding planning now, and any good friend will be happy to hear about the latest developments. Just don't forget to ask her about what's going on in her life, too. Even if her promotion at work or weekend plans sound like small potatoes compared to the amazing venue you just scored for the reception, show some respect for whatever's important to her right now. Save the detailed wedding talks for your mom, maid of honor, or wedding planner!
7. Remember: Singles are people, too!
As long as you don't fixate on their relationship status and make sure to give them plenty of opportunities to mingle with other guests, your single friends and family members are bound to have a great time – just like any other guest!