The Wedding Guest Checklist: Everything you need to know (and avoid) if you’re going to a wedding without a plus one

No plus one, no problem

The Wedding Guest Checklist
(Image credit: Universal)

Your Wedding Guest Checklist: here’s what a therapist says you should do (and avoid) if you’re going to a wedding without a plus one.

Going to weddings (or any event for that matter) alone can be both a blessing and a curse. To paraphrase Dickens, ‘It can be the best of times, it can be the worst of times’. Recently, I attended a dinner with 100 other guests with the ironic ambition of combating loneliness (ironic because when I arrived, I’d never felt lonelier), which so inspired me; I went on to interview my tablemate—the riotously funny Laura Smyth—about how she overcomes pre-event anxiety. I’ve also gone to events where I’ve crumbled into a husk of my former self upon entry.

Ahead of wedding season, I decided to devise a fool-proof action plan for attending any event alone. But then, I reasoned, best leave that up to the experts. Fortunately, Jodie Cariss, founder of Self Space, agreed to compile a checklist for what to do (and what not to do) when going to events where you don’t know anyone. Here’s what she wants you to know ahead of your next invite.

Jodie Cariss’ checklist for going to weddings alone

The Wedding Guest Checklist

(Image credit: Jodie Cariss by Nadia Meli)

What to do

Firstly, check in with yourself beforehand. How do you feel about going alone? If it's a hard ‘not good’ and it feels too much, make sure you honour that for yourself. If you feel ready to push on, then check in with what you might need from a self-care point of view to get you there—that might be…

  • A comfortable but confidence-building outfit - there’s nothing worse than being on your own and stumbling around in too-high heels or feeling like you can’t sit down comfortably in your trousers.
  • Work out beforehand how you’ll get there and back, so you aren’t worrying about that on the day.
  • Give yourself plenty of time; arriving alone is stressful, so there is no need to add to it.
  • Think about whether there is anyone else you know going that you can reach out to before with a little disclosure about how you are feeling.
  • Have some topics you feel confident chatting about up your sleeve.
  • Remember this: almost everyone feels a bit nervous at events, and most people can relate to what it feels like to be alone, so be as authentic as you can when you are there, and you will draw people in.
  • Say hi, join groups, be bold, and remember that it’s just people.
  • Channel some joy. You are there; make the most of it. It’s your time and your experience; don’t let the anxiety of people alone dominate it.
  • I would also suggest not drinking too much for yourself. Honestly, I don’t think it ever really adds to your experience.
  • Know that you are an amazing human, and people will be lucky to join you.

What not to do

  • Drink too much booze.
  • Stay longer than you want because you feel you should.
  • Hide away in the corner.
  • Avoid sharing with friends; have someone on speed dial if needed.
  • Wear something that inhibits you.
  • Pretend you are totally fine if you aren’t - be honest and honour your feelings.
  • Run late - don’t add to already heightened stress or anxiety.
  • Avoid processing how you are feeling before you get there - give yourself some time and space to connect with how you feel and what you need before rushing in.
Mischa Anouk Smith
News and Features Editor

Mischa Anouk Smith is the News and Features Editor of Marie Claire UK.

From personal essays to purpose-driven stories, reported studies, and interviews with celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and designers including Dries Van Noten, Mischa has been featured in publications such as Refinery29, Stylist and Dazed. Her work explores what it means to be a woman today and sits at the intersection of culture and style, though, in the spirit of eclecticism, she has also written about NFTs, mental health and the rise of AI bands.