12 Tips For Being The +1 At A Wedding, “Almost” Doc Style

It’s spring, and you know what that means … wedding season! Being a “plus-one,” aka the unspecified date that wedding guests are often allowed to bring, can be an anxious experience. You probably won’t know very many people, yet you will be expected to eat, drink, and be merry. You’ll be introduced to dozens of new people whose names you’ll be expected to remember, even though you’ve already made six trips to the open bar. However, if you follow these tips, you can be sure that you’ll be the perfect plus-one: anonymous, meek, and instantly forgettable.

1. Know your role: think of a wedding as being made up of a series of tiers. Think of how the tiers work in the medical field and where you stand as an “almost” doc, and you’ll catch on quick. In descending order of importance: attending physician, fellow, chief resident, senior resident, junior resident, intern, and medical student. As an “almost” doc you’re probably low on the totem pole. No different as a +1 at a wedding. There is the bride and groom, their parents, the bridal party, invited guests, hired staff, the hors d’oeuvres, and then you. You’re like a wedding peasant.

2. Speaking of the hors d’oeuvres, show some self respect. Sure, you’ll probably never see most of these people again in your life, but try to keep them from remembering you as “that guy that went up to the mashed potato bar four times and then threw up in the chocolate fountain.” We know that free food is as tempting as ever when you’re paying off med school debt, but put in a solid effort to not let it get to this point.

Flickr | David Stanley

Flickr | David Stanley

3. However, since you’ll never see most of these people again, feel free to play it loose with your name/background/etc. Of course, you have to let your date know first to avoid a potentially awkward situation. But once you’ve given them the heads up, you are freed from the monotony of having to be yourself. Now you can be Otis Baldwin, the rarely mentioned fifth Baldwin brother! With a severe case of head trauma! And a Jamaican accent!

4. You should, at the very least, know the bride and groom’s names. Since you’re smart enough to be an “almost” doc, this should not be exceedingly difficult. And, hopefully they won’t have gender-neutral names like Jessie and Casey, because then you’ll also have to memorize who’s who, and at that point you’ll be all like, “Geeze, weddings really are a lot of work!”

5. Rule #4 is also important because it would be a nice gesture if, at some point, you went up to the bride and groom and congratulated them on their marriage/thanked them for “inviting” you. Extra credit: Shake the groom’s hand firmly, holding on to it for at least six or seven seconds too long. Stare into his eyes with a look that communicates joy, gratitude, and a psychotic break with reality. Lean into him and whisper something really, really weird in his ear, like “I bet she still has that ‘New Wife’ smell.”

6. Dance enough to seem like you’re having a good time, but don’t go crazy or anything. You can put your left foot in; you can put your left foot out. But think twice before you go shaking it all about.

Flickr | David (Davo) Smith

Flickr | David (Davo) Smith

7. Avoid eye contact: anyone looking at you is probably just trying to figure out if you’re their second cousin who recently got out of prison or something.

8. Apparently, the vast majority of wedding ceremonies do not actually feature the whole “If anyone objects to the union of these two people, speak now or forever hold your peace” thing, so you can just forget about that hilarious prank you had planned.

9. Dress nicely, but don’t try and steal the show. Just because you don’t have many opportunities to dress up doesn’t mean you have to go crazy. In a sense, you’re like the wallpaper of the wedding — you should look comely, but in a mild way that allows you to fade quietly into the background. Actually, since you’re already standing by the wall anyway, do you mind if we hang this picture frame over your face? Okay, great. Remember, don’t talk to anybody.

10. Don’t go catching the bouquet or the garter — the bride and groom would probably prefer that their wedding memories consist of people that they’ve known for longer than 45 minutes.

Flickr | George Pankewytch

Flickr | George Pankewytch

11. As you’ve probably noticed from the previous rules, a big part of being a plus-one is enjoying yourself in moderation. Of course, the same rule applies to drinking.

12. Psyche lol, you should get drunk as all hell. A social gathering filled with strangers and stocked with an open bar? I’m getting the DTs just thinking about it. This may or may not screw up your ability to follow the rest of these tips, but, as a very wise man once said, “YOLO, bitches.” I’m pretty sure it was Jesus, or maybe Wilson from Home Improvement.

 

Featured image from Flickr |Libeweb
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Ted Pillow

Ted Pillow is a regular contributor to Thought Catalog, and has written for The Awl, PopMatters, and Slacktory. His collected writing can be found at Fanny Pack Spectacular! He tweets @TedPillow.