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  • Writer's pictureNicolle Weeks

Think in terms of wedded stress, not bliss? This guide is for you

This piece was syndicated across Canada by Canwest News Service and appeared in several newspapers.

A guide for the stressed wedding guest

Yeah, yeah, yeah. Being a bride is stressful. There's so much to plan, do, eat, et cetera. But you know what else is stressful? Being invited to three or four weddings a summer whilst pondering why you (who is, frankly, smarter and hotter than these brides-to-be) are still living single. Or maybe you're not single, but you absolutely hate weddings. Worry not! We've got some tips to get you through the nuptials season. Decline, especially if the happy couple are more acquaintances than good friends. Send a polite response on that little card. You have a prior engagement or a scheduled bladder infection or something. It's polite to send a gift but at least you won't have to waste a weekend on a wedding you don't care about, spend money getting there, scramble to find a date, or sit through a million boring speeches. Find a date. If you can't decline and you're expected to find a date, that's your first concern. If you already have a honey, you're in the clear. If you've just started dating someone, tread lightly. You don't want to scare the guy (or girl). I was once asked to a wedding four months away by a guy I'd been dating for a month and the relationship promptly went sour. Ask yourself; is it worth showing off your new squeeze and risk potentially scaring the bejeebers out of him?

"You're asking a lot of someone to be your date," says Charlene Mendes, a 25-year-old project manager who has no less than five weddings slated this summer. "But the person has to have a sense of humour and be able to hold a conversation while you're not at the table. They can't think they're better than being there or else it won't be fun." If you're without a mate and you absolutely need a date, you can ask a friend, although I would recommend going solo to easier facilitate meeting a potential smooching partner. One thing is for sure: if anyone does you the honour of being your date, you'd better pay for his or her part of the gift. Meet a potential smooching partner. Aside from jerks who just want to hook up, there might actually be a few good single dudes at the wedding. Meaning: look your best, try not to be bitter and make an effort to meet people. It's better than a bar because you have a connection to everyone at the wedding and it's better than a house party because you don't have to bring your own beer. Budget. Between bachelorette parties, wedding and shower gifts, and being part of the bridal party, you can't afford to spend lavishly on every wedding you attend. Go in on gifts with friends and tell the bride if you can't afford something. If she's a good friend, she's sure to understand. Be a good guest. If you decide to go to the wedding, behave yourself. Don't get so drunk that there are embarrassing pictures of you all over the Internet the next day. Don't fall asleep during the aforementioned boring speeches. Don't be late and don't stuff yourself with the free grub and leave immediately. Remember, these people just might attend your "big day," so build up some good karma by being a good guest.

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