Things To Do At A Wedding Reception When You Don’t Know Anyone

Talk to your champagne flute. Find out where it’s from, what its family is like, what its hopes and dreams are. Refill it often.

Dance. Dance like a maniac. Do Hava Negilah, aka the “This is the Song That Never Ends” in Hebrew. Do the YMCA. Do the Twist and pretend you’re Matthew Broderick on top of a parade float. Find the two types of people that always want to dance at weddings: old people and babies. Grab a grandparent and slow dance to a Sinatra song with your arms up, hands clasped. Grab the 3-year-old ring bearer and lean down to “Shout.” Hold a baby wearing a lacey headband and spin to “Always Be My Baby.” Get it?

Walk around. Make your way up the big staircase in front. Open some curtains. Is there an Eyes Wide Shut orgy going on in one of the other banquet halls? Take your champagne glass with you. Walk along the tennis courts outside. Ride the elevator up to the roof. Explore all the pretty places. Wonder if one of these doors leads to Narnia or to a really cute guy in a suit playing piano by himself because he’s bashful about people hearing him even though he’s really good. Think about your own wedding to piano guy at this venue. You’d always kind of wanted to do the courthouse thing but you could see maybe having a small party here. Never find piano guy. Feel really cold when you get back to the reception.

Request songs. Tell the singer her hair looks “like, soooo pretty like Liv Tyler’s.” Tell her she sings like Mariah Carey and Edith Piaf birthed Cyndi Lauper. Request “all of Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday.” Request “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion. Request Quad City DJs. Request “Big Pimpin’”. Feel badly because it’s a wedding. Request “White Wedding” by Billy Idol to make up for it. Tell them if they do anything they sang on Glee, you’ll totally freak out.

Step outside. Outside is where all the cool college friends and cousins are smoking cigarettes or spliffs. Outside is where someone’s dad or uncle will come up to those college friends and cousins and ask for a hit because they “haven’t done this since the ‘70s. Don’t any of you tell Jessica or my wife about this.” Assure him you won’t because you don’t know who Jessica is; you only know the bride… from work. Joke that you’re “the only two in the office under 50,” before you realize he is probably 65. Bum a cigarette. Take the spliff when it’s passed to you. Say, “Thank you.” Wonder if your dad’s ever been that dad. How would you ever know?

Talk to the people at your table. They don’t know anyone either. Ask the girl sitting next to you where she got her dress. Tell her you work for NASA and are writing a screenplay based on the arcade game ‘Galaga.’ Talk shit on the bridesmaids with her. Observe the wedding party, bet on who will sleep with who. Be bummed when she dances to “Only Wanna Be With You” by Hootie and the Blowfish with the one groomsman you thought kind of looked like a young Paul Rudd.

Eat tons of food. Eat like you’re about to enter The Hunger Games. Eat like it’s your first dinner at Hogwarts. Eat like you’re a Top Model and you just remembered that donuts > Tyra. If it’s a buffet, pile it all on and take some of everything. If it’s being served to you, clean your plate and then when the cater-waiter comes by, tell them to “box the rest of this up for me, will ya?” Are we having fun yet?

Take pictures. Grab one of those disposable cameras off the centerpieces and snap away. Pose people who don’t know each other together at each table. Get the two moms and the two dads together. Make some of the bridesmaids hold up their flowers with one hand and a peace sign with the other. Have two little kids hug. Get a great one of the bride and groom smearing cake on each other’s faces, mouths open, laughing and in love. Feel like your presence has been worth it. TC mark

image – Mossimo


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  • Mauricio

    “Do Hava Negilah, aka the “This is the Song That Never Ends” in Hebrew.” This is all sorts of amazing.

    • Tau Zaman

      I was laughing to the point of tears. And it was only the second paragraph.

  • Alexandrea

    Thanks for the advice. I have to attend a wedding on a tropical island next summer , and I don’t now anyone else who’ll be going. I was planning to get totally plastered and then have a grand time making a fool of myself because no one’s gonna know me … ’til I remembered that it still won’t stop people from posting a video of me on YouTube.

  • Leanne Stearns

    sooo, I’m going to my step-sister’s wedding in a week with my real sister. this just made me all sorts of excited to go

  • Tony Jiang

    I had a similar moment last night when I went to an event and didn’t know anyone. 

    For the first half hour I couldn’t stand still without feeling incredibly self conscious and awkward.

    I actually relished it a little. It’s been a while since I felt that awkward. Just remember, you’re awesome, and this awkwardness will pass. It always does. 

  • Michael Koh

    Open bar? Then everyone is my friend. 

  • Michael Koh

    Open bar? Then everyone is my friend. 

  • Jordan

    Bahaha Hunger Games reference, good stuff.

    And yeah, drink.  A LOT.

  • Tau Zaman

    I eat everyday like I’m about to enter the Hunger Games.

  • ANG

    “Make some of the bridesmaids hold up their flowers with one hand and a peace sign with the other.” …come to think of it, those pictures alwaaays end up happening.

    This article is so fucking great. I wish I had a wedding to go to!

  • Matisse Jenkins

    Hunger Games AND a Harry Potter reference? Well done. 



    This is my one and only wedding strategy.

  • Gregory Costa

    I managed to hold off getting trashed until I was 23. Of course, I had to have my first experience at a wedding…I got kicked out by a police officer because I threw up in the flower garden at the reception. I can still remember poking my foamy vomit with a stick–I looked up and saw a blue light shining in my face. “I’m sorry, officer,” I said…my pleas were of no use. I was escorted to my parents. My parents drove me home. My father asked if we needed to pull over so I could vomit more. “No,” I said…10 seconds later, I puked all over my new Ralph Lauren suit. 
    What I learned is not to mix red wine, white wine, champagne, and mixed drinks.  Getting drunk at a wedding, however, is a must. 

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