The beginning of May means that there’s more in the air than an increase of ragweed and oak pollen. The chirping of birds and wind rustling through the wildflowers slowly begins to mix with the sound of bells ringing, signaling the beginning of another season, one that men and women look forward to with a heady mixture of anticipation and dread: wedding season.
If you’re of a certain age, when spring rolls around, you often find that your social calendar has filled up with friends and relatives racing to tie the knot. Suddenly your weekends are filled with rented tuxes, complaints about bridesmaid’s dresses, rehearsal dinners, awkward toasts and – if you’re especially lucky – an open bar.
For some, weddings are a time for celebration, paying homage to the union of two souls who were lucky to find love. For others, it’s a time to celebrate being single… because weddings can be one of the greatest places to hook up with your fellow young-and-horny types. Weddings get emotions running high… and all sorts of endorphins and hormones that scream “MUST. FIND. SEX. NOW.”
If you know what you’re doing, not only will you have a better time at all of those weddings you have coming up… you’ll get lucky too.
Get There Early.
Forget Wedding Crashers: the ones who do best at weddings are those who do their reconnaissance and lay the groundwork in advance. Weddings are often weekend-long events. Some start as early as Thursday evening with unofficial events for the out-of-towners and members of the wedding party who get in early. The sooner the party starts, the more time you have to not only scope out who’s single (or willing to pretend to be) but also to establish yourself on the scene. Odds are good that you’ll be dealing with people you don’t know and who don’t know you, so getting there early gives you a jump on the competition by establishing a positive first impression and building connections with the other early-bird guests.
Larger weddings – ones that are more than just immediate family and close friends – tend to be a blending of diverse and separate social groups whose only connections to one another are a relationship with the bride and/or groom; large numbers of them will be strangers to one another. People tend to gravitate to the folks that they already know; we’re most comfortable with what’s familiar, after all. Once these groups have been established, it can be difficult to insert yourself into them1 or to extract someone from them when the time comes. Establishing yourself as a friendly face early on will make them hang out with you more, giving you an instant in when the others start arriving. This in turn increases what’s known as your social proof: you have these other people hanging out with you, establishing your bona fides as someone worth getting to know.
Plus: having people to hang out with means you’re going to have more fun at the wedding, regardless of whether you hook up or not.
Obviously, if you’re going to be looking to score, you’re going to have to talk to people, but a wedding is not a singles bar. You don’t want to be prowling the reception like a hyena, looking for someone you can separate from the herd and take down. If you’ve been hanging back only talking to one or two people before circling like a shark, you’re just going to stand out as a creeper – no matter how tight you are with the wedding party. Similarly, you can’t just plant yourself at the bar and wait for people to come to you. Gents, all that will do is get you drunk faster; ladies, this is going to cut the number of quality guys approaching you down significantly.
Similarly, you can’t just focus all of your interest and attention on one person. It’s overly intense – and intimidating! – under the best of circumstances. At a social gathering like a wedding, it’s just weird. It displays lower emotional intelligence – a turn off – and tells everyone that you are there for one thing and one thing only: to fuck somebody. Which, let’s face it, is a pretty shitty reason to go to a wedding.
(Yes, I’m aware of the irony inherent in telling you this in an article about how to score at a wedding. Move along.)
If you want to up the odds of landing that hot bridesmaid or groomsman, you need to be willing to mingle. This means you have to embrace (or, in some cases, invent) your inner social butterfly and start making a point of talking to people, even people you may not be all that interested in or who bore you to tears. Even if Great-Aunt Petunia is bending your ear about her cheese rind collection, you need to smile and take part before making your gracious exit and talking to other people.
You see, you want to be approachable. You want to be seen as having fun. We like fun. We like fun people. Fun people make us feel good, therefore we want to hang out with them. Someone who’s out talking to others, laughing, sharing jokes or fond reminiscences about the groom as a young man is going to be someone who’s worth getting to know because they’re clearly enjoying themselves. Someone sitting at a table by themselves on his or her third vodka soda and staring out with dead eyes on the other hand looks like their pissed off or miserable, no matter how much they may be loving the party on the inside. Standing around like Jimmy O’Sullen will only inspire people to give you all the space you clearly need.
Go Easy on The Booze
Just because there’s an open bar doesn’t mean you need to take that as a challenge. A drink or two to be social and one for the toasts and you should be more than fine. More than that and you start running the risk of serious faux pas. Nobody likes the sloppy drunk at the wedding. Or the belligerent drunk. Or the drunk “baby come back, it’s not too late” guy. For that matter, you want to avoid getting so smashed that you end up going off with someone you wouldn’t hook up with if you were stone-cold sober.
Plus, booze makes you sleepy. You don’t want to miss out on mind-blowing sex because you collapsed into unconsciousness after the reception.
While we’re at it: Gents, don’t hit on anyone who’s clearly drunk. You don’t want to be that guy. Ladies: keep a firm count of the number of drinks you’ve had. You’re far more likely to find dudes trying to ply you with alcohol so they can turn that “no” into a “shurrrrrrreeee.”
- PHRASING! [↩]
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