Hooking Up Or Happily Ever After?

Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
By Sarah Fox

I was at a wedding when I fell in love with my friend. We road tripped to another state for our mutual friend Mary’s wedding and were going to share a double room at the hotel. Things had never been anything but platonic between us, so when we arrived and the hotel only had a king bed suite left, I thought nothing of it.

Then came the emotional ceremony, the flowers, the music. The bride was twirling around the dance floor in her gorgeous white dress. Oh, and booze. So much booze. Suddenly, David and I were dancing. I was in his arms and somehow, in the dim light of the hotel ballroom, he started to look so much more appealing. We ended the night at a nearby Waffle House with the rest of the bridal party, but then we were alone in the elevator, on the way back up to our king-sized bed, staring at each other and realizing that we were no longer just friends.

Even though mine didn’t work out, all this emotion and sweetness floating around means weddings can be a great place to meet potential romantic partners. The best thing about meeting someone at a wedding is that they are already vouched for — the sheer fact they made it on the guest list must be some kind of endorsement. Of course, the downside is that the reason you’re both linked to the couple but haven’t connected yet is most likely because you don’t live in the same place.

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Many wedding day connections will last just one night, and others will fizzle because of distance. But this doesn’t mean they aren’t still a lot of fun. Julia P. had had a crush on a guy since she was 16; when she was 24, they ended up at a wedding together. After spending the night drinking and dancing, she said it was easy to make her move. She spent the night with the guy she’d been lusting after since before she had a driver’s license.

Tom M. told me that weddings are the best place to meet women. “It’s all in the mindset,” he said, referring to the open bar, danceable oldies, and the fact that, once that first dance has been politely clapped at, there’s not much to do besides hit on the other guests. Tom told me that the key to finding a wedding fling was to figure out where the party after the reception was, because that’s where the hookups go down. Unlike a night out at a bar, where new people are always coming and going, there is a limited pool at a wedding, so you are more likely to be someone’s choice. “Small pond, big chances,” is what he told me. 

Tom met a girl that he really liked at a friend’s wedding a few summers ago. He was in New York City and she was in Philadelphia, but they kept up their connection after the wedding. Unfortunately, like so many of these stories I heard, things fizzled because of the distance. The same thing happened with David and me. Although we started out with long international phone calls and pricing flights to Africa, it died out quickly. I met the man who would become my boyfriend in Berlin, and David met his future wife in one of his classes.
Illustrated By Mallory Heyer.
But, meeting someone at a wedding isn’t some type of curse. I spoke with Anita D., who has been married to her husband Gerry for 31 years. They both attended Gerry’s cousin’s wedding. She didn’t have a date, and the bride was trying to set her up with Gerry’s brother, who was not her type. Gerry did have a date, but couldn’t help but notice Anita singing at the wedding and was taken with her from a distance. However, it wasn’t until the same couple had a baby shower a year later that he approached her and asked her out on a date. They were engaged three months later.

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“Weddings are a great place to meet,” Anita says. “Unlike a bar, where you don’t know the people. You don’t know if they’re married or single. It’s great to have fun at a bar, but you often meet someone of substance somewhere else.”

Kaitlin H., a newlywed, met her husband Ben at his brother’s wedding. Kaitlin was the bride’s best friend and a bridesmaid, and met Ben for the first time at the rehearsal dinner. They immediately hit it off, and apparently the rest of the wedding party noticed too. The other bridesmaids and groomsmen started to conspire to get the two of them alone together.  One of the members snuck into the reception early and switched the place cards to make sure the two of them were seated together, and another came up with a task that required Kaitlin and Ben to make a car trip apart from the rest of the bridal party.

“We were in Arizona, it was really pretty and the wedding was beautiful. It was the perfect set up, because, well, love. You know,” she says. “Ben was living in Minnesota, and I was living in Chicago, so I probably normally wouldn’t have pursued it further, but because he was my best friend’s husband’s brother, I had confirmation that he was worth it.”  Eight months after the wedding where they met, Kaitlin moved to Minneapolis, and they’ve now been married for just over a year.

If you’re single and dreading being dateless for the upcoming season of weddings, remember that most of the time there will be other singles there too. Even if you ask your friend getting married and he or she says there’s not really anyone they’d set you up with, there can still be options. Maybe you’ll fall for the bride’s gorgeous second cousin who she hasn’t seen since he was 10, or the groom’s brother’s smoking hot female friend he brought because he needed a date. Add in formal clothes, beautiful setting, talk of love and an open bar, and you have a recipe for romantic connections on the dance floor. Just be careful that you don’t make any rash promises until the glow of the wedding wears off and you can see the true potential in your partner.

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