6 calming mantras for the introverted plus-one who’d rather give a wedding toast than make small talk


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Hot take: Every gilded-bordered, eggshell-white wedding invitation should come with a wedding-guest etiquette and survival guide. I, for one, could have used one while my boyfriend was busy with groomsmen duties for six hours (SIX. HOURS.) on his friend’s wedding day, while I, his aimless and introverted plus-one, read Sylvia Plath in the hotel room in the interest of avoiding other stranded guests.

I’m aware that Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson made going to a wedding without knowing anyone appear like barrel of sexy fun in Wedding Crashers. It is, spoiler alert, not so in real life. If you’re a textbook introvert stranded at Table 19 or even a bridesmaid on the dais (JK no one does a dais), being in this situation is destined to leave you internally screaming in formal wear. Those screams are only momentarily drowned out by the disorienting blare of “I Gotta Feeling” and the skin-crawling come-ons of someone’s drunk uncle.

I’m not here to offer tips for breaking out of your shell or to provide ice-breakers for engaging in small talk. Rather, my love, I’ve collected few mantras that you can use to soften the internal screaming—and hopefully, put your socially anxious mind at ease the next time you find yourself in this situation.

Below find 6 mantras to self-soothe when you’re the introverted plus-one.

1. “There’s at least one person who has my back here”

Barring a, say, co-worker’s wedding, where you’re flying solo (godspeed), this is almost always true. Every family wedding has a sardonic cousin you can chill with. Every bridal party has a Megan Price. And if you are someone’s date, the good news is they can literally and metaphorically hold your hand through some of of this. You know, bridal-party obligations aside.

2. “I’m allowed to take a breather if I need it”

If it’s your high-school friend’s or, like, second cousin’s wedding, you may not know anyone else…but the bride knows you and your personality. “They likely know and understand that you’re introverted and facing a lot more ‘people time’ than you’d usually choose to be a part of,” says Allison Davis, wedding planner and event producer. “They’ll also appreciate that you’re trying your best to stay present and calm in what is a scenario built for extroverts.”

You don’t have to shut the party down. Be there for what’s most important, but don’t be afraid to step out here and there for quiet time or leave before the last song.” —Allison Davis, wedding planner

Whatever the case, remember your obligation is not to MC the whole event.You don’t have to shut the party down. Be there for what’s most important, but don’t be afraid to step out here and there for quiet time or leave before the last song,” says Davis.

3. “I don’t have to explain myself for leaving or taking breaks”

Val Nelson, a coach and mentor who specifically caters to introverted women, tells me she relies on this mantra when she finds herself alone in a social situation. And, if you’re pretty non-essential to this wedding, it’s a really good one to apply. In the case of the wedding I recently attended, for example, it didn’t really matter whether I was taking 10 minutes in the bathroom to “freshen up” or had retreated to the library for an SSR session while everyone else smoked cigars outside. As a plus-one, you don’t owe anyone anything except polite manners and general graciousness.

4. “Don’t worry, the spotlight isn’t on you”

Unless you get wasted and then try to bogart a wedding toast, it’s likely no one will even notice if you’re a little sulky.

Unless you get wasted and then try to bogart a wedding toast, it’s likely no one will even notice if you’re a little sulky.

“It may feel like you are giving off sour or antisocial vibes, but chances are very likely that no one is paying attention,” Davis says. “You were invited to share in the moment, and that can sometimes feel like you’re part of a spectacle, but in reality all eyes are on the couple.”

5. “I’m a good person no matter what happens”

Nelson recommends this as a good mantra to get introverts through pretty much every social endeavor, and I’m here for it. When you’re thrust into a hyper-social setting like a wedding, it’s easy to fall down a guilt spiral for pairing a resting bitch face with stilettos (although, that combination arguably does go hand in hand). My advice? You probably already went into debt celebrating someone’s special day—you’re fine.

6. “There has to be an open bar”

This last mantra’s from me, and for real: Know that there’s usually a river of rosé at the end of this waking nightmare. Cheers.

If you need some ideas for your own nuptials, check out this celestial wedding trend. And if you’re feeling brave, learn about how the unplugged wedding is getting big—and not just for celebs.

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