How to survive a wedding as an introverted guest

introverted wedding guest

There comes an age at which all of your friends are suddenly getting married. And for some reason, I was always looking forward to that. Dressing up, witnessing your friends tie a bond for life, the whole party that comes with it… Since my family is really small and I don’t have cousins, this all seemed so exciting to me. And it never, ever occurred to me that I might have trouble surviving a wedding as an introverted guest.

But now, after my third wedding in a row, I’m fairly sure about one thing: weddings are not made for introverts. Especially those that start in the morning and last until the middle of the night.

So, how can an introverted guest survive a wedding? To answer this question, I will go over aspects that make weddings hard for introverts and suggest solutions that might help. If you’re interested, just keep reading!

Finding your people

Let’s face it: you probably won’t get to spend much time with the bride and groom. They have to take care of an entire room full of people, the organisation of it all, and of course, they’ll spend most of the time with each other.

If you’re lucky, you’re attending a wedding with a solid group of people that you know. When you can simply stick to the tribe you’re comfortable with, you avoid a whole lot of awkward conversations with strangers and can instead focus on actually having fun.

However, this ideal situation doesn’t always happen. Most of the times at weddings, I only know a handful of people, and not very well. This means that most interactions consist of small talk. And oh boy, does small talk drain my energy!

Even if you’re attending with someone, you shouldn’t solely rely on their company. Otherwise you risk following them around like a dog – which is something I’ve been guilty of in the past.

In order to avoid social burnout caused by too much meaningless small talk, I suggest finding one or two people you like. Once you did, just stick with them for the rest of the day. Whether they’re people you’ve seen before or people who don’t seem to know anyone either: just approach them and see how it goes.

Getting to know one or two people not only makes the social part of weddings seem more manageable, but it also allows you to eventually get past the initial small talk and maybe have a real conversation

The art of taking breaks

No matter how many wedding tips for introverted guests I’ve read, they always suggest taking breaks. Sure, I thought. I’ll do that.

But the reality doesn’t always look as easy. Walking around the venue by yourself seems like a great idea until you realise that you’re constantly running into people who look at you funny. Hiding in the bathroom seems fine unless it’s filled with girls discussing their boy problems. Worse comes to worst when you don’t have a private room at the venue and your car is parked at a visible spot that makes it impossible to hide inside.

Taking breaks at a wedding is more of an art rather than a solution. And yet, it can truly help you survive a wedding as an introverted guest. So, here’s what I suggest:

If the venue does not provide you with enough privacy to actually be by yourself without feeling other people’s stares on you, you need to find a way to seem occupied. And the easiest way to do so is to take out your phone.

If you’re like me and don’t want to be caught on Instagram while at a wedding, try finding articles or other texts you’re interested in beforehand and send them to yourself by email. This will make sure that you have something to do while staring at your phone. Plus, reading actually makes for the best breaks when it comes to social interactions!

At my last wedding, I ended up reading about other introvert’s wedding experiences and it made me feel so much better about myself.

Another advantage of using your phone to take breaks is that people are less likely to come talk to you when they see that you’re by yourself. Or worse, ask if you’re okay! Does anyone else get so much anxiety over this?

Always have a plan

Nothing gives me as much anxiety as not knowing what to expect. I like to have a plan. And as an introverted wedding guest, I need to know at least where I’ll be spending the night.

Contrary to me, my boyfriend likes to be flexible and decide everything at the last minute. At our last wedding, he convinced me to maybe sleep at the venue if the conditions were right (more on that later), maybe leave by myself, and maybe go home together if we got tired at the same time. Of course, the sleeping conditions weren’t right. I did not want to leave alone because it felt weird. I ended up staying until the middle of the night, leading to the type of social overstimulation where your brain can’t even manage the smallest social interaction anymore.

My tip: don’t do that. If you’re attending with or as a plus one, make sure you’re on the same page about where you’re going to spend the night. At what time you can expect to be leaving. What reason you will give in case you want to leave early.

Having a plan will take away from any anxiety you might get whenever you’re just done with the world. And it will also prevent you from fighting with your significant other if you end up not being on the same page.

And if you’re attending a wedding by yourself, always decide on a time at which you’ll allow yourself to leave without feeling guilty.

The right sleeping arrangements

As an introverted wedding guest and even more as an introverted wedding guest who has IBS, I need to make sure that my sleeping arrangements actually allow me to rest. Especially since weddings in France tend to last 2 days. And I desperately need the energy to survive the second day.

For me, this means having a room to myself (and my boyfriend) with a lock on the door. Sharing a room with other people is an absolute no-go. And I can’t constantly be afraid that someone will walk in by accident! 

I also like to have my own private bathroom. This allows me to get ready at my own pace and without having to talk to anyone. And it prevents people from witnessing my IBS flare-up in case I have one.

Unfortunately, most accommodations at wedding venues don’t seem to check any of these boxes. For some reason, French people seem to love putting multiple people into the same room. With one bathroom per hallway, of course. And even though locks have been invented a couple thousand years ago, they still haven’t made their way into wedding venue accommodations here. 

If you’re dealing with similar camp-like conditions where you live, I have one tip for you: do not let anyone convince you to stay at the venue accommodation. Find a way to get back home if you don’t live too far away (even if that means paying an Uber or watching your alcohol intake), book a hotel or AirBnb nearby, and do whatever it takes to actually get some rest after the wedding celebration.

To drink or not to drink: that is the question

Of course, it’s up to you whether you drink alcohol or not. If you don’t: great! But if you do, here are a couple of tips from my own experience as an introverted wedding guest.

Know your limit.

Not only in terms of quantity, but also in terms of what drinks you can have! For me, Cocktails tend to upset my IBS and beer makes me nauseous because I just can’t bear the taste. So, I stay clear of bot. Even if that means that I won’t be drinking after the last glass of champagne is served during desert. Nothing makes a wedding experience go downhill as quickly as feeling sick! 

And of course, don’t drink too much. Drinking a little can help loosen you up, but getting drunk will just leave you embarrassed and feeling dreadful afterwards.

Know when to drink.

I personally like to have a couple of drinks at the beginning of the wedding party and during the meal. It does help make me feel less awkward and start conversations with the people around me. However, I don’t really drink after the meal. If I haven’t managed to find my place until then, alcohol won’t help. Then, I just have to accept that this might not be my favourite wedding experience. Plus, my introverted brain gets quickly overstimulated by loud music and crowds anyway, and alcohol will only make it worse.

Alcohol is not a solution.

Having two or three drinks might make you feel more at ease in your own skin. It can help you strike up a conversation with someone you would have gotten along with anyway, or participate in discussions that already interest you.

But if you feel like you and the people around you have nothing in common, or like you just don’t belong, alcohol won’t help you with that. It’s important to not rely on drinks to transform you into someone you’re not. That’s just not going to happen.

It’s okay if you don’t have the best time

Surviving a wedding as an introverted guest is sometimes just that: survival. It’s totally possible to have an amazing wedding experience as an introverted guest, but that might not always happen. And that’s totally fine. 

As long as you attend, congratulate the newlyweds and don’t criticise their wedding, it’s okay to know deep down that you didn’t have a good time. After all, it’s just a day, and we all know that not every day is going to be great. And this particular day wasn’t even about you!

Now I’d love to know more about your wedding experiences as an introverted guest! Please tell me about you tips and stories in the comments. And don’t forget to share this post on social media inf you liked it. 🙂

2 Replies to “How to survive a wedding as an introverted guest”

  1. Having a plan makes everything easier. And I love what you said about consuming alcohol. Since I labeled myself as an introvert my whole life, I was relying on alcohol to loosen up and be more open, especially when I was in larger groups of people. That’s definitely not a solution. There were many situations that now make me cringe, haha. Knowing your limit is great advice.

    1. I did that too when I was younger and I don’t even want to think about those cringe-y times, haha! I’ve been to a wedding last year where a friend (who probably was as uncomfortable as I was) got super drunk and ended up throwing up everywhere… not a good way to be more social.

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