I have written a lot about love, my future husband, and singleness in general. But what I’ve never written about (which is honestly kind of shocking) is singleness, specifically pertaining to weddings.
And considering its prime-time for wedding season, as Esther said, ‘for such a time as this.
I have been in many weddings – but as an official bridesmaid, 5 – but participating in bridal festivities (bridal showers, bachelorette parties, hostess, etc.) – closer to 12-15. And how many weddings have I been too? Well, my number is somewhere from 40 – 45. And considering I have been single for well – all of those; let’s just say for this blog’s sake, I might know a few things about being single and weddings. I have done THE dress, the other dresses, floral, decor, and even honeymoon shopping (don’t ask). I can run a rehearsal with my eyes closed, calm a mother of the bride and/or groom in five minutes, become a B in less than that (only when necessary), and I can even pinpoint the awkward groomsmen trying to figure out what they heck they are supposed to do.
Over the years, my favorite parts of a wedding have shifted. Now, if I’m honest, it’s not even the wedding ceremony that is my favorite (though I do love the vows) or the cliche watching of the groom’s face when the bride walks down the aisle, or even the first look (though those are my favorite pictures). No, for me, it’s the rehearsal dinner. It’s the close intimate time with friends and family. It’s the peace before the chaos, in the midst of chaos. A time when time for a second – stops. When memories are reflected and the bride and groom truly have time to process the occasion they have been planning months to celebrate. It’s a time when years of waiting for love, the right and wrong choices, the prayers and unanswered prayers, the hopes and wishes of two sets of parents – all collide. It’s official – ‘we’re getting married.’ And it clicks – not just for the bride and groom, but for everyone.
And then there is me. Watching all of this. Though I am a verbal processor, I am an internal observer. I see it all. I see the parents and the flashbacks of memories they are having as the bride laughs at a joke by her dad. I see the mother of the groom wipe away tears as she fixes her son’s tie for, what she might be thinking, the last time. I see the siblings finally appreciating the years of sharing a bathroom. And I see friends wipe tears of joy away as they celebrate the love of their friends. I see it all, and as a single girl, that’s usually when it happens.
“When will it be my turn?”
This thought that you’ve kept buried for months; through all the engagement stories, bridal showers, and shopping adventures. And it creeps up to the surface of your heart and invades your mind like a volcano erupting. You can’t escape it. And you start to tear up – and you walk away to grab your composure and everyone assumes you’re crying over the beautiful occasion, and you smile back awkwardly to give them the comfort that that is truly the case.
But it’s not. The longing of your heart is faced with the physical absence of what you don’t yet have.
I write this blog because I think there are plenty of how-to and DIY blogs for brides and weddings and such – but I’ve never seen one on, “How to Be Single (And Survive) At a Wedding.” You may laugh – and if you’re laughing, you’re married. Or if you’re laughing, it’s the comical relief that you at one point, have been where I am at. Or maybe right now, it’s not so comical. Maybe right now – it’s really hard. The ache of your heart for someone is deeper than you can express – but again, it’s not your time so you stay quiet. Well, my friend – this is your chance to picture me sitting across from you, holding onto your hand and truly understanding your heart.
I write all of this not because I relate to you or I was you but – I am you. I know the pain and the hurt, but I also know the joy of choosing to be present in these moments. To not miss these beautiful memories with friends because I’m too caught up in dreaming of my own ‘one day.’ I pray these tips help spread light, truth, and a bit of humor to the day(s) you’re getting ready to face.
Okay, You’re Single – Deal With It Before
If you don’t read anything else. I’m glad you read this far. You have to deal with the fact you are single before going in. You have to understand where you are. That your heart longs for this – accept that longing, but also, accept the absence of it for now. The beautiful thing about this is that when we are honest with ourselves about where we are, no secret or unknown emotion can pop up when we don’t need it to. We can see it before it happens. Like, let’s just say instead of having a 30 second cry fest hours before the bride wants to take laughing pictures in y’alls matching button-ups – you can have it the week before.
Don’t Get Worried About a Date
I’ve taken dates to weddings and I’ve gone alone. I’ve also recruited friends to go to weddings I really didn’t know anyone else but the bride. But it’s never something I’ve ever fully been worried about. I never wanted to have to fake anything in my life – let alone the pretense that I’m dating someone I’m not. And also, nobody – and I mean nobody – cares about who I bring as a date. The only couple people are paying attention to are the ones all the cameras are facing.
Intercede on Her Behalf
This has become one of my most favorite parts of being in a wedding. Being the prayer warrior. You are an intercessor for one of your best friend’s most special day. And the enemy hates love, so you praying for her and her husband, their life together, and that the AC works and the DJ shows up – well, it’s all so good. Her knowing (or she doesn’t really need to) that you are standing firm praying for protection, provision, and so much joy for her day is one of the best gifts you can give.
Waterproof Mascara, Bobby Bins, Hairspray, and Spanx
The must-have list. If you be single, you can’t have running mascara down your face, and awkward hair sticking up in pictures that will be hung in hallways of homes forever, and especially not awkward bulges in bridesmaid dresses that were only meant to fit a mannequin properly. It’s just a few helpful hints, gals. But good ones.
Pray for Your Future Husband
I use the same tactic when I really want to see a love movie but my hormones have the best of me. I know that I know when I go into that theater the enemy will want to remind me of what I don’t have. It’s the same throughout the wedding weekend. As soon as the enemy throws that thought at me, I now have a comeback; “You’re right. Not now – but also, not never.” And then I begin to pray for my husband – for his heart, his life, his protection, his joy, his peace, his provision. And all during that wedding weekend, I’m reminded to pray for our marriage, our own special day, and our life together. And instantly – the reminder of the absence is replaced with hope in the unseen.
Just do it. Even when you don’t want to. Even when you have smiled for so many selfies in the past few months. Just do it – you will want the same from your bridal party one day. And let me help you out, awkward professional pictures tagged on Facebook are never good.
If It Hurts, Let It – Then Let It Go
It’s my own personal rule. There are a few different moments during the wedding weekend that are especially hard for me. They hurt really badly – and if you knew why, you would understand. But at the same time – again, it’s not my day. So I let it hurt, I absorb it – then I let it go. I choose to enjoy those moments, and trust that God is faithful to redeem. I allow God to take my hurt, and sometimes my tears, and then I smile (#4) and allow the joy of the Lord to be my strength. Because I know, what the enemy intended for evil, God will use for good. (Gen. 50:20)
Eat Lots of Cake
Calories don’t count at weddings. It’s a fact.
Be Reminded of Love
Weddings are a reminder that love exist. In our single minds the enemy constantly tries to make us give up on love. He would like nothing more for us to give up on love, because then we give up on marriages and families and the restoration of families inside the Church. Now wouldn’t he love that? But instead, we have weddings as a beautiful reminder of God’s victorious redemption to us through Jesus Christ. That two broken people can be put together for the good of each other, and the Kingdom of God as a whole. Choose to marinate on love and what it means and on what it signifies for our generation. That love can conquer even the most broken of situations.
Catch the Bouquet
I’m just kidding. But by all means, what do you got to lose? 😉
I pray that as you enter into this special wedding season that you will take these things to heart. I pray you choose joy over sadness, hope over discouragement, and enjoy the time you have to spend with these friends who have honored you the privilege of sharing in their special day.
And then eat cake.