Weddings are beautiful occasions. Seeing people you care about and love get married to their best friend and soul mate is so special. The food, the music, the wedding cake, the speeches, the dress, the confetti and the drunk dancing are all that make a wedding special. More often than not, you often see guests with their plus ones sitting together at tables during the wedding breakfast. But what about those who are at a wedding solo as a single guest?

Recently, I went to a close friend's wedding, a friend who has been in my life for 12 years and who I adore. Beforehand, I was a little nervous about going. Not only was I going to be going as a single guest - but I only knew the bride, groom and the bride's parents. That's it. The other 76 guests were complete strangers to me. It's actually more frightening than it sounds. 

A woman taking a selfie in front of a mirror.

Like I said, prior to the wedding, I was a little anxious. Surprisingly, when I got there and after the ceremony, I felt a lot less nervous than when I arrived. I started talking to other guests, becoming acquainted with them and I instantly relaxed. I started to feel less awkward around others and just wanted to enjoy the occasion rather than fret over my self-consciousness. After all, a wedding is about the bride and groom, my best friend and her new husband, not myself. 

I won't lie, if you are ever going to attend a wedding solo, it's a nerve-wracking experience at first. It's anxiety-inducing, but please don't let that stop you. 

Here, I'll share some tips I have learned from attending a wedding solo:

1) Do your research

I literally don't mean stalk the guest list on Facebook by finding out if they're dog lovers or how good they are at Wordle. Sometimes, you may know somebody mutually and you may be able to befriend them at the wedding. For example, I knew the names of the maid of honour and bridesmaids, so I knew them on a first-name basis prior to the big day. That was a massive help to start a conversation at the wedding breakfast.

A wedding table setting

2) Befriend the older generation

The best tip I can offer you here. I spoke and sat with my friend's parents friend's for most of the day and I enjoyed their company the most. As I was feeling a little unsure about myself, they made me feel at ease which helped massively. They told me the names of other guests and they were happy to chit-chat with me (I hope!).

3) Dress the part

I'm all for sustainability guys. However, I bought a new dress for the wedding as the other one I usually wear for weddings was a bit tatty and I needed something new. Sorry. But buying a new dress, and doing my hair and makeup to precision made me feel ready and raring to get to the wedding. Dressing up always makes me feel better, and it's always vital to dress the part for a wedding! Walking into the wedding venue feeling fabulous helped me conquer my nerves and also allowed me to admire everybody else's wedding attire. 

A woman taking a selfie in front of a mirror.

4) Seek the bar

Always know where the bar is. There are always people at the bar. An ideal way to make conversation with someone while you're waiting for your drinks order to be taken. Also having an alcoholic drink or two can help ease the nerves. I'm not saying get bladdered, not by any means!

5) Keep an open mind and remain positive

Try not to feel negative thoughts about attending a wedding solo. I think that experiencing positive thoughts really helped me throughout the day. It's not easy to walk into a room full of strangers. But one thing I kept in mind is that everyone is connected to the newlyweds somehow and that's the common ground right there. A positive thought can make the world of difference.

6) Don't resort to scrolling on your phone

Scrolling on your phone puts other guests off from talking to you. I made sure my phone stayed in my clutch bag for the majority of the day. Phones can seem like a comfort blanket to some, but keep it hidden. The only time I had my phone in my hand was when I took photos during the day. 

Pear Tree at Purton wedding venue

7) Just enjoy it

Enjoy celebrating the love of the newlyweds. It's their day. The most special day of their lives and you've been given the honour of being a part of it. So feel proud of them and enjoy the occasion!

I'd love to know if any of you have ever attended a wedding solo - let me know!

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The list of topics that do need talking about in 2022 and beyond is just huge. Literally. So many topics go undiscussed when they shouldn't. Topics that go undiscussed because they are seen as taboo or too awkward to talk about. There are topics that have an unwanted stigma attached to them thanks to some ignorant people in society who choose to ridicule the topic. Are people afraid to discuss some subjects because they're afraid of what other people will think? Quite possibly.

I know that years ago, I would never discuss a topic like mental health or smear tests. I just felt that those sort of things was private and should not be talked about with others. Sometimes people want to keep it private. Nowadays, I'm happy to talk about stigmatised topics. It's a great way for me to let people know that it's more than ok to talk about that subject. Only if you feel confident enough to of course. 

A flatlay of a notebook and white mug.

From previous experience, I have been afraid to talk about my mental health status, in total paralysed fear that I would be laughed at or scoffed at for being so open. Believe me, I no longer fear that ridicule. Because I know full well that there are other people in the same boat as myself. 

What I have learnt in recent years as there's nothing to be ashamed of when talking about things like my mental health. Smear tests are another huge example. When the actual flying f*ck did that become an awkward subject?! It's a lifesaving test for women. It's so vital for women to have their smear test when it's due. 

Talking about supposed sensitive or awkward topics can be inspirational for some. It can give them the push to talk about the subject with others. I know it is a little easier to talk about subjects so openly online (for some anyway) but it's a whole kettle of fish talking about it publicly in person. This is something I am trying to promote. Not just talk online but talk in person too. The more we talk, the more stigmas fade away.

A flatlay of a notebook and white mug.

Here are some of the topics that need to be discussed more often (in no particular order):

1) Mental health

*Trigger warning* Hell yes. This has to be number one for me. From anxiety to eating disorders to depression, some of us will experience some effects of mental health. As I said earlier, I used to struggle to speak about my own mental health status. Some days, I keep it to myself and then I'll talk when I'm ready. But I don't mind being open about it, as I know that there's someone out there experiencing something similar to what I'm feeling. There's always someone out there who understands and can empathise with how I'm feeling. Please, if you are struggling, please reach out. Whether it's someone professional or a close family member or friend, reach out. Don't keep feelings to yourself, you'll only end up hurting yourself mentally. If you're struggling, get in touch with a charity such as The Samaritans, whose helplines are open 24/7. 

2) Smear tests

Yes ladies, when you get the letter from your GP telling you that you're due for your smear test, book the appointment. I remember when I went for my first smear test, I was nervous. As much as the first one was awkward, I knew it was well worth it to make sure everything "down there" was ok. Smear tests and women's intimate health should not be a stigmatised topic. End of. 

3) Periods

My first period was at aged 14. I've had about 180 periods (I think) since I started. Why is this topic still so sensitive for some? I know that when it's my 'time of the month', I need some me-time as my hormones can go haywire for days. They're not fun and it's important to fit in some self-care during your menstrual cycle. Look after yourself and don't be scared to admit that you need that bit of time for yourself.

A white notebook

4) Health anxiety

I know this should come under mental health, but I felt this needed to be talked about separately. In recent times, as we all know, we've been through an unbearable pandemic and life has been so up and down because of that. Sorry to touch on the subject that's dominated our lives in the last couple of years! However, now with restrictions lifted and almost non-existent now, health anxiety has well and truly kicked in. It's ok to admit if you're feeling wary too. Don't be afraid to admit that. Health anxiety should be talked about more than ever. 

5) Financial matters

Oh goodness me, the cost of living has increased, hasn't it? It's quite scary and worrying how much everything is costing these days. I know that when I was in school, the topic of money, mortgages, saving money and anything relating to finance didn't get taught in lessons. Which is quite sad and slightly frustrating. I don't have a scooby how mortgages work and I'm almost 29. That's worrying for me. I know I need to learn, which I will do I promise!  

6) Body confidence & body hang-ups

Nobody is perfect. It's important to talk about that, especially for girls that are growing up seeing so many things on social media. If you're a teenager, here's a lesson for you - social media is the BIGGEST highlight reel and some photos are photoshopped. We need to talk about how it is wrong for photos to be photoshopped and send out the wrong message to all of us. I have never photoshopped any photos of myself to make myself look better. Lightroom presets are different as it just enhances the brightness, contrast and temperature. But I've never used an app like Facetune, there's just no need for it. Be confident in yourself, you're beautiful as you are, even if you don't see that within yourself - others will.

A flatlay of a white notebook and white mug

7) Abortion

The long and short of it is that women should be able to decide what they want to do with their bodies. Obviously, there are people out there who are going to disagree, unfortunately. What is it that Rachel says in Friends? - "No uterus, no opinion" It's horrifically mind-blowing that it is illegal in some US states and other countries to have an abortion, it really sickens me. 

8) Racism 

A topic which should never go off the table. Racism still exists in 2022, in the twenty-first century and that is incredibly disheartening. People pretending that racism isn't a thing are a huge part of the problem. Just because it's not mentioned or discussed enough, it doesn't mean it's gone away. There is no room for racism in society - end of. Keep talking about it.

There are a bunch of other topics that don't get discussed enough. 

I won't mention them in case they are triggers for those who read this post. I have mentioned some trigger subjects here and I am available on my DM's if you ever need a chat. 

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