1. A wave of fear that washes over your entire body as you know that not only do you have months of wedding updates and wedding-related photos to be inundating your Facebook, but that you may be expected to participate in the wedding party.
2. Minor existential crisis over the cost of a bridesmaid dress and how you can gently tell someone you grew up with that “Frosted Peach” is not a color that will ever look good on you.
3. A strange moment of reflection over whether or not you actually want to get married yourself, with a focus on how much of your desire for marriage — should you possess it — is driven from a feeling of “not wanting to be left out.”
4. Burning jealousy, especially once you see that the location is both secular and not completely tacky like some tropical beach while both the bride and groom are barefoot and wearing leis.
5. Tense realization that there is, in fact, a palpable divide amongst your friends between “those who are engaged/married/part of the club” and those who are not. Though you feel that you are still in the majority with your singledom, each friend announcing his/her upcoming nuptials puts the noose a little tighter around your own neck.
6. A feeling of vague judgment from said married friends that you are not displaying any overt interest in having a ring put on it/putting a ring on it with anyone in particular.
7. Genuine support and happiness, including moments on the verge of happy-tears, because a friend you’ve always loved and wanted the best for seems finally to have found someone who is not only their ideal mate, but who seems to want to give them everything they deserve.
8. Utter revulsion at the realization that, not only is your friend marrying an utter toad who is so clearly wrong for them, but everything you could ever say against this new engagement would only serve to alienate you further from your friend. (Or, worse, it would be perceived as you being “jealous.”)
9. A decent session of mocking cheesy engagement photos by yourself in your room while you drink wine and feel slightly sad.
10. A mental list-making of all of the things you may no longer be able to do with each other now that one of you is in “a different stage of life” and “is not a kid anymore.” Being offhandedly put-down by comments referring to how much better it feels to not be “playing games anymore.”
11. Surging joy at the reminder that you are still free to seek out and meet and go on fun dates with new potential romantic interests, even if they are not guaranteed to end in happily ever after. A bit of nervous excitement at the prospect of never knowing when you might meet a new person who could change your life.
12. If you are in a relationship yourself, a fear that there is now even more palpable pressure to “tie things up” if you two are really so in love, and a dreading of the awkward questioning at the wedding from older people who think they’re being charming when they repeatedly ask you and your significant other when you two are finally going to “get married already,” as though it were akin to going to the dentist for an overdue cleaning.
13. Quietly suppressing several people from your news feed who are, without a doubt, about to devolve into a human Pinterest board, showing off all the adorable shapes you can bend fondant into and put on top of various pastries.
14. Genuine surprise that your friend decided to get married, as they were always the person who so adamantly positioned themselves against the idea — especially while young. Remember that you thought of one’s mid-20s as being an appropriate age for marriage when you were a teenager, but now realizing it seems like an infant agreeing to a lifelong contract when it’s actually happening around you.
15. A strong wish that you could go back to your first days of dating, when anything as complicated and serious as lifelong commitment was laughed off with youthful judgment.
16. Remembering the person with whom you were once sure you would end up, and imagining this whole spectacle as possibly being the two of you, unsure of whether or not that would actually have been a desirable outcome. Reflect on how much more appealing and charming marriage seems when it’s not actually happening close to you.
17. A dodging of the more pointed questions from your immediate family members who seem to have taken this opportunity to put more expectations on your already well-planned-out-by-everyone-but-you future.
18. A moment of sincere confusion over why the concept of being “married” to your career or personal pursuits is automatically perceived as being so sad in society today, especially if you’re a woman.
19. A recurring anxiousness that things will not work out for your friend, a concern that is not at all based in schadenfreude or jealousy, but in real knowledge that these things often don’t work out — despite our intentions or great beginnings. Sincerely wanting to do more to comfort or ensure this decision, but knowing that this is a part of their life which they will have to go alone.