The smell of wet calligraphy ink on place cards can only mean one thing: it's wedding season in San Francisco. Roughly May through November, wedding season seems to get longer every year as peers pair off like passengers on Noah's Ark. In spite of statements comparing my friends' unions to survivors of a biblical flood, I really do enjoy weddings. In our overly casual society, weddings are one of the few occasions where we get to dress up, observe a schedule for the evening and try to present ourselves as slightly more sophisticated versions of the messy people we are.
That said, as a single, I know that weddings can be festivals of awkward. Sometimes you're the ninth person at a table of ten, other times an enterprising host or hostess will try and pair you off with a potential love match. And (I'll say it) sometimes, amid all the over-the-top displays of eternal affection, you can just find the bride and groom insufferable. But worry not; just remember the following tips when adventures in the table-chartlandia of wedding receptions seem to be going amiss.
1) First, you must Find The Widow Table. You know the one I'm talking about: there's one at every family event. It's the table with all the blue hairs that survived their husbands and are happily spending the inherited pensions on bingo cruises. Make friends with these ladies: not only are they usually the most fun members of any family but they have pills and that makes them talk very freely about the other people at the wedding. After cha-cha-ing a few Aunt Trudis and Cousin Dots, you'll have learned that the bride's third cousin Irving isn't actually under the weather; he and his wife Sheila haven't spoken to this side of the family in years. Marcia isn't a dental hygienist; she makes "internet movies," but no one talks about it. And so on. If family gossip isn't your thing, they usually have hard candy.
2) Open bars are nice, but nothing makes a bad wedding worse for a single than ODing on shots without a buddy there to keep you vertical. Sure, I'll have a couple drinks at a wedding, but what I really love about an open bar is that it's an opportunity to Have As Many Shirley Temples As You Want. Think about it: how often do you get to order a Shirley Temple as an adult? As my twenties get on, drinking carbonated sugar now holds the forbidden allure of...well come on, carbonated sugar is pretty forbidden in its own right. One part ginger ale, a splash of grenadine and a whisk of happy. Extra maraschino cherries, please. If I'm feeling really naughty, I'll have half a Roy Rogers.
3) If you want to feel like you're helping, tell the couple you're officially Live Instagramming their reception and then take nothing but detail photos of everything from the buffet service to the napkin folds. That's only part of the fun. Be sure to include popular but completely unrelated hashtags like #ratchedstyle #mustbemonday and #superbowl2014. After the wedding, print out the photos and bind them for the happy couple with a note saying how many likes and comments each photo got. I'm sure they'll be thrilled their centerpieces marked #prettyflyforawhiteguy got 12 likes!