Guest Guide

The 6 Types of Weddings Everyone Attends at Some Point

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In a lifetime, chances are, you will go to weddings. A whole lot of them. They will take place near and far, across the country and maybe across the world, and sometimes right in your own backyard. Though each wedding is the same in some ways -- each one at heart a celebration of a couple getting married -- they will all be different, not only because of what they are, but also for who you are at each event. Here are six that you’re likely to encounter, and how you might approach them.

The Hometown Return.

If you're like me, you left the town you grew up in after graduating high school, and maybe your parents moved, too, which means you really haven't been back in quite a while. Then your dear friend announces she's engaged, and the wedding will be back home. There, you'll awkwardly refer to her mom and dad by their first names, and you'll reminisce fondly about that high school boyfriend who isn't there at all, having recently eloped to Hawaii. Good for him, you will think, toasting everyone yet again. And you'll mean it.

The First One to Which You Bring a Love Interest.

Taking a date to a wedding, whether you're just starting out in a relationship or have been together for years, carries its own emotional weight. We tend to look at the marrying couple, all that joy and love surrounding them, and measure ourselves and our relationship against theirs. "Will we be next?" you may think. Stop thinking that! You're simply bringing a date to a wedding; no measurements are truly needed, other than those that occur organically. Trust that they will.

The Destination.

Here's a question for our wedding-going times: What truly constitutes a "destination"? Never mind -- you're headed to a gorgeous, possibly sandy but maybe grassy or even mountainous, effortlessly sunny (fingers crossed the weather holds!) spot a decent number of miles from your home -- maybe you need a passport, maybe you don't! Once there, you and the other guests will bond while drinking from coconuts full of rum or cool, tall glasses of frozen goodness and dance freely among the wild palms of a meticulously managed resort. You can balance your checkbook when you get back home. For now, have fun.

The One to Which You Are the Date.

The day will come in which your boyfriend or girlfriend or maybe that person you've promised to marry if you both turn 30 and still haven't found "the one" (hint: don't marry this person!) looks at you, possibly with a stunned expression, and says, "I just got invited to a wedding." You will look back comfortingly and say, "OK, we got this." Note, however, that it will be different this time, being the one who is connected via another and therefore a little bit separate. This is a good thing. It's your chance to support your date in the ways that date has previously supported you, and you will learn a few things about the both of you.

The Wedding You Regret.

Chances are, you're not regretting this wedding because it happened. You're regretting your behavior there...whether you drank too much, flirted with the wrong person, fell into a cake, arrived late, brought a date who wore the wrong thing, or said you couldn't go and then later wished you had. On the plus side, sometimes the mistakes you make, and the apologies and heartfelt conversations that follow, bring you closer than ever -- and frequently, they make for the best stories.

The One to Which You Go (Happily) Alone.

Going to a wedding by yourself can feel a bit like going to the airport alone, in the best way possible. You're about to set off on an adventure, and you can do it your way: Speed through crowds and security at your own pace, while away the hours at your leisure. At this wedding, you can weave from crowd to crowd seamlessly, at your own volition and discretion; if there are attractive strangers, you can flirt. If you feel like leaving, you can leave. You report to no one! So, if you're single, why bring along a date you don't really know all that well, or even like, if you can go with your own wonderful self? I have no idea. 
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