30 May, 2019

The wedding season is here, and according to Andrew Dickens, there’s no reason you can’t make each couple’s special day your special day, too

We at Flash Pack are encouraging people to be more selfish. We’re not talking about bad selfish here: this is no campaign for tax avoidance, queue-jumping and overloading your plate at a buffet.

This is about putting yourself first in a positive way (hence we’re calling it Positively Selfish). It’s about doing things that make you happy, because when you’re happy then it makes you nicer, which makes other people happy and the world generally a better place to be in.

With spring here and summer not far behind, we are about to hit peak wedding season. Weddings are all about the people getting married, right? Right. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use wedding season to make you happy. Because, as mentioned, a happy you means happy others – and who doesn’t want a wedding day to be happy? So here’s a guide to being positively selfish this wedding season.

Go on, you deserve it.

Just go on the hen/stag do

Unless you had the foresight to plant a magic money tree a few years back, your fun funds will be limited, so you need to make choices. Most people, if invited to a wedding and a hen/stag do, opt for the ‘special day’, but who’s to say you have to do that?

If the pre-wedding party is three nights tearing it up on a Balearic island or hiking across Scotland, and that’s very much your bag, then why not just do that instead? Most couples will be grateful for the extra seat at dinner and only the most highly-strung of friends will have a hissy fit about it.

Turn weddings into a holiday

Unless all the weddings you attend this year are in your home town (an unlikely event, even if you’re from Gretna Green or a priest or even a priest from Gretna Green), you will be required to travel and, most likely, stay in a hotel or AirBnB or homestay or tent.

So, if you’re forking out for a train, plane, boat or a fuel bill, why not make a week or weekend of it? I’ve just got back from a wedding in Stockholm which we turned into a four-night Swedish cultural experience (we visited the Abba museum, paid £14 for a beer and ate several ‘Ikea-style’ hot dogs).

Read more: Reclaim your single life by travelling with strangers

Use it as an excuse to shop for clothes

The above wedding was ‘white tie’ which, if you’re unaware, is basically what you wear if you have a banquet with the queen. There’s about as much flexibility in the rules of this dress code as there are in the laws of physics. However…

… most weddings do not have a dress code beyond ‘not looking like you’ve removed yourself from society for six years’ aka ‘smart casual’. This means they are an excellent excuse to spunk a load of your hard-earned wedge on some swanky gear for the summer. Clothes maketh the (wo)man and buying clothes maketh the (wo)man happy.

Use it as an excuse to stay in shape

Of course, you want those clothes to hang on a healthy frame. You’re also going to be photographed, often unaware, from every conceivable angle at these weddings, so why not use this as motivation to ditch the pie-eating, telly-watching winter ways and embrace long summer runs and salad?

Leave when you want

I am married and I can confirm without a shadow of a doubt that the married couple will not notice you leave (unless you make a big effort to say goodbye or enough of a scene to get thrown out), nor care what time you do it. This may come as a terrible shock, but their wedding is not about you.

If you’re going solo, insist on a plus one

If you know lots of people going to the wedding, this is less relevant and possibly less advisable, because – take it from me – weddings cost a fortune and each place at a table is very precious.

However, no matter how sociable you are, being the only person you know at a wedding outside of the bride and/or groom sucks big ones, running a powerful risk of getting stuck chatting to a faintly whiffy and racist great aunt all night. So if you know no-one, or are just going to the evening bit, it is perfectly reasonable to ask if you can bring a friend (or even a date if you’re feeling confident – it’s a free meal after all).

And also insist on being in the best hotel

Wedding reception venues can be rather remote and if you’re off to a fancy country wedding, there is a very real chance that you’ll end up in a hotel 17 miles from the venue and with Uber replaced by ‘Dave’s Taxis’, which should actually be called ‘Dave’s Taxi’ because it’s just Dave and his one taxi – though it is a seven-seater.

This, if you are alone, is not cool, so it’s ok to demand that you get a room at the venue (if it’s a hotel) or at the same hotel as the wedding party, so you can at very least cadge a lift.

View wedding season as mating season

If you are single and other people at these weddings are single, and everyone’s in a good mood and looking their best and maybe feeling romantic, and you’ve all got hotel rooms, then there is absolutely nothing wrong with using this perfect storm for a bit of sexy fun and/or potential-partner-hunting.

Read more: 6 ways solo travel can re-balance your online dating gloom

Get out of your comfort zone

If you’re travelling by yourself and don’t know many people at the wedding, treat it as a mini solo holiday, a short adventure. Think of it as a chance to meet new people, even if it’s just for a few hours, to be a bit braver socially and to experience new cultures.

That Swedish wedding had 17 speeches during the meal. Seventeen. Most in Swedish and all followed by a toast with a schnapps that tasted like it had leaked from under a car. But I embraced it, asked the lovely Swedes next to me what was happening, drank the brake fluid and had a great time.

Use it to plan your own future/imaginary wedding

If you have even the slightest inkling that you might hitched in the future, start taking mental notes now on what you like and don’t like. Because when it does happen and you actually have to plan the biggest party of your life, faced with a blank canvas and no ideas on how to fill it, you will want to curl up into a tiny ball and ask your mummy to make it go away.

Relish in having not spent several grand

If you really don’t think you’ll get married, then you can play this fun game at the wedding reception: try to work out how much the couple have spent and then think of all the non-wedding stuff you can spend that money on instead.

Read more: Women are happiest without marriage or children, data shows

Say no

Going to a wedding is expensive and you might want to spend that money elsewhere. You might simply not be in the mood for a wedding. You might not want to hang out with strangers. No matter how much you like the people getting married, you might have a very good reason for not wanting to go.

If that’s the case, say no thank you. Send a really nice email or letter explaining why and wishing them the best. Maybe send them a gift. Definitely send them a card on the day, perhaps even a video message like those people who don’t turn up at awards ceremonies. But never feel obliged and never feel guilty about being positively selfish.

This article is part of our summer content series celebrating the concept of being ‘positively selfish’. To recognise that your friends, family and work pals are all important – but that you are too. And that, sometimes, being a little selfish can be an entirely positive thing. Spend time, money and energy on yourself and not only will everyone around you benefit from a happier you, but you’ll become the best version of yourself possible. Think this is a movement you can get behind? Check out the mantra here.

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