The Singles’ Table and Other Awkward Wedding Moments

While I am no longer single I spent many years attending weddings solo.  Many were great.  Many were not, including, without exception, every wedding where I was forced to sit at the singles’ table.  Why are guests separated into two categories: couples and singles – where all the singles are seated at the same table?

Every wedding has the tables with the “in” crowd including a mix of cool relatives and fun friends.  While these tables are segregated into fun-family-only and cool-friends-only, occasionally a table will have a mix of both.  Then there are the tables with the “I have to invite them” guests and distant relatives.  Often that mix of B-listers is seated together.  No one cares that these people are here – not even the bride and groom.  Then there are the work friends sprinkled with a college friend or two.

But no table can be more awkward – and more obvious – than the singles’ table.  Eight to ten bored and self-conscious people sitting still and uncomfortable eyeing the tables they were excluded from due to their single status.

I remember those days.  All I wanted to do was sit with my friends, have a few drinks, and celebrate the bride and groom.  I had little interest meeting someone’s cousin who is sort of cute but is “in-between jobs”, drinks too much, and thinks he’s getting lucky with you or some other unfortunate single, obviously lonely (translation: bored) woman stuck at the table of misfit singles. This is the guy who thinks he looks like Tom Cruise when his features more closely resemble Bette Midler.

I recall squirming impatiently at my no-man’s-land table waiting for the newly married couple to emerge from their photo shoot somewhere on the beach, golf course, or field of wild flowers (insert scenic setting here).  I’d wait impatiently for an opening (usually the moment the dinners arrive – women first, then men – heads down inhaling the unremarkable meal) to excuse myself and make a bee-line for the bar, order a vodka-anything, and covet a seat at the fun table.  I scan the room trying to avoid Mr. Bette Midler who’s hitting on another single.  The table also includes two of the groom’s college buddies who are hung over from the night before and don’t talk to anyone.  They just stare with beads of sweat clinging to the edges of their clammy foreheads, hoping the food will coat their stomachs enough so they can start drinking again.

Finally I make my way to my friends’ table slipping into a newly abandoned seat happy to be with people I know.  Then it happens:  The call for the single ladies to gather on the dance floor.  I don’t move refusing to participate in the other most humiliating wedding ritual for single people.  Thankfully I’ve dodged this bullet.  No one is looking in my direction.  I settle in focused on my drink with my back to the dance floor.  The bride steps into position ready to toss her bouquet to the mob of excited women including those who have been forced into the ritual begrudgingly accepting their fate as a non-coupled person.

I’m safe, though, as I have been spared.  Then I hear: “She’s single!”  Mr. Bette Midler is swaying at the bar and pointing in my direction.  The bride screams, runs to my adopted table, drags me to the dance floor, and places me squarely in front of the melee.  All I can think is how much I hate her and Mr. Bette Midler.  The bouquet soars over my head; the women and girls tackle the roses and baby’s breath. I leave the dance floor, retrieve my purse, and leave the wedding.  Thanks for a lovely time.

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