It’s wedding season! Last weekend, I attended the nuptials of a couple who I had never met, with a girl I hadn’t seen in six months, with whom I had no chance of sleeping. My date was in the bridal party, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t her first choice. Bridesmaids know about the engagement seconds after it happens, and I got a text message invite the Thursday before the ceremony, so no shit. It’s tough not having religious or in-love friends, because my wedding experience to this point has been practically zero. Nevertheless, we had a great time, and since the last wedding I attended was during the W. Bush presidency, all I possibly knew to expect could have been summed up by “venture capitalists,” Katherine Heigl, and wedding pictures on my newsfeed. Here’s what I found out as I attended the joining of two young souls who just publicly announced their intentions never to sleep with anyone but each other ever again.
1. Try not to show up with too big of a buzz.
2. Arrive early. Don’t pull a Michael Scott by attempting to become a really good friend, but showing up ten to fifteen minutes before the main crowd gives you a chance to “draw attention to yourself, but on your own terms.”
3. Tell everyone who asks what you do that you’re Hank’s business partner. If there is not a Hank at the wedding, simply say that you’re undercover as private security. If this continues to unravel, start handing out shots until people believe you.
4. Say thank you. It’s time to be a gentleman. Before you get (more) drunk for free, find the respective fathers of the happy couple, shake their hands, offer congratulations, and thank them for having everyone here today at the expense of retiring two years later.
5. No one will take you seriously if you reference 27 Dresses.
6. Victoria’s Secret gift card for the bride. Victoria’s Secret gift cards are to girls what Sports Authority gift cards are to guys: you can always find something cool to buy. Write something classy, but why not stand out from the usual plethora of Bed Bath and Beyond, restaurant, and iTunes gift cards?
7. If you don’t have the stones to drop a VS gift card, a $50 Chipotle gift card is worth its emotional weight in gold.
8. Comment to all older women what an awesome location the bride picked for her wedding. They will immediately play back the memories of their own weddings long ago. Nothing is more powerful than nostalgia when hitting on cougars.
9. Learn everyone’s name at your table as soon as possible. The best way to be memorable is to remember someone else’s name when they’ve forgotten yours.
10. Utilize your date’s purse with a flask, mints, and some eye drops. If the flask doesn’t fit, find a potted plant or something.
11. Do NOT spill food or drink on your clothes. Napkin in the lap. Grow the fuck up.
12. Dance with a mom or two. Once you win over the mother or aunt of your date, it’s pretty much a done deal as long as your date somewhat likes you.
13. Do not dance with children. This looks cheesy at best, and creepy at worst. As a matter of fact, don’t dance with anyone under the legal drinking age; you don’t need any drama or police questioning.
14. If you have dated one of the bridesmaids, be on your best behavior. Guaranteed the bride has threatened to cross your name off the invite list at least twice.
15. Befriend the staff. Tipping discreetly helps. So does holding doors while they’re pushing carts or carrying trays. This makes it easier to have shots delivered directly to your table, round after round.
16. Try not to ask for anyone’s phone number. If a girl wants you to have her number, she will make it crystal clear, even to the point of actually giving you her number. Don’t be a tool by putting her on the spot when she’s surrounded by family and friends.
17. Watch your hydration. Johnnie Walker alternating with champagne and wedding cake for hours on end will leave you feeling awful right as your date is fumbling with her hotel room key. Finish strong.
18. If your date doesn’t want to dance, ask the band for “Shout,” “Baby Got Back,” or anything Beyoncé. Tip them up to $20.
19. Empty your pockets before you step out onto the dance floor.
20. Do not get seconds. If the food is even halfway decent, it cost around forty dollars a plate, probably more. Whatever is not eaten at the reception will be the happy couple’s lunch for the next three weeks.
21. Everything revolves around your date. Make sure she approves of your color coordination, and don’t leave her alone or embarrass her in any way. Her entire family is judging her choice to bring you along. Don’t mess it up..
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