How To Handle Your First Wedding You’re Invited To

Weddings. Meh. I’ve been through 3 of my own. (yes, 3). Confused since i’ve only been married twice? Well, one was a little celebration across the pond for family and friends after the fact, and they are still stressful whether you’re the one throwing or attending. After a certain age, does anyone really, truly like going to weddings? If you do, please write me. I must know what is so great about these things. If you’re attending a wedding in a non-post divorce time, they can be somewhat fun, despite the cost of potential travel, room and board, wedding gift, and bridesmaids dress (if you’re in the wedding). Single or not, you get to dress up, eat some tasty snacks, have some drinks and celebrate the night away with your friends or family in a happy reunion. However, if this is the first wedding, post divorce, no matter how prepared you think you are, there will be some feelings that probably creep up at the most inopportune time. 

I remember when I went to my first wedding. It was for two of my good friends at the time. Although these were my friends, they were kind enough to invite my parents, as they had known them for awhile too. I was happy to have them as a safety net. I was really nervous because I knew my ex-husband’s best friend was going to be there. He was the best man. I was given a plus one, which was a bonus, however, I wasn’t dating anyone at the time (of all the times to not have a hot boyfriend to show off). I wasn’t able to find anyone to go, so i third wheeled it with my parents like I was 12 all over again (yay). On the outside, I smiled, chatted with the few people I knew. On the inside, I was really happy for my two friends, and… I was super uncomfortable. I didn’t feel like dancing with any of the girls. During the best man’s speech I had to excuse myself to the restroom, and I hid in the corner for the bouquet toss. Although I was there to support my two friends, I don’t think they realized how emotionally uncomfortable this really was for me. I didn’t hate the idea of marriage. I didn’t hate weddings. I just wasn’t ready to be at them. I politely said my goodbyes and made an exit for the hotel bar. I didn’t want to be the party pooper in the corner and figured sulking with a martini and some bar nuts a few feet away was probably the better move. My parents found me later and joined me to complain about the change in music on the dance floor. At least they subtly knew how to cheer me up. 

A few weeks later, while catching up with my friends hearing about their amazing honeymoon to Bora Bora, they asked how I had been doing. They hadn’t realized how hard things had been because they were so wrapped up in the wedding plans. Naively, they didn’t know how a wedding could affect someone emotionally like that, but completely understood why I needed to leave early and were happy that I made the effort to come because it meant a lot to them. Little did they know that I cried getting ready and then returning to the room that evening. But looking back, i’m really glad I went because if I had missed it, I would be sad that I didn’t get to see that moment for them, even if I was hurting inside. 

The pain is real. There’s no denying that. Your friends getting married may never fully understand what you are going through. And I wish I could say that those memories of your own marriage may not come flooding back when you’re at your first wedding. (Wear sunglasses if you need to and say you scratched your cornea to hide the tears) Take some restroom breaks. Have excuses to divert the conversations. Take a friend with you. If your friends that invite you, dont offer a plus one, and you don’t know anyone going, that would be the only reason to decline. Otherwise, go. Enjoy your two friends celebrating this moment. Once you get this first one out of the way, the second will be a piece of cake. 

Stay Strong,

Lauren Peacock

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