7 Ways to Be a Great Wedding Date

(Note: This is a post for guys. Ladies, all you have to do is look pretty, introduce us to your friends, and remember that we’re there…for you.)

Having attended a whopping 13 weddings over the last 15 months, all but one of them with a date, and most of them as the date, I feel I can speak as somewhat of an expert on this subject. I’m sure I still have plenty to learn, but for the most part I’ve become a damn good wedding date. Here’s how you can be one too:

  1. weddingDance. This is the number one thing to do to be a great wedding date. In a survey that I just made up in my head, 9 out of 10 women love weddings because they get to dance. Weddings are a safe dancing environment, a place where a woman doesn’t have to fear some creepy dude coming up behind her and grinding against her jeans. She’ll have a good time dancing with her lady friends, but what she really wants is for you to dance with her. Don’t put up a fight or bargain with her. Just stand up when she starts to sing “Livin’ on a Prayer” under her breath and let her lead you to the dance floor. Keep it fun and playful. Bonus Points: When you find yourself back at your table, wait for a slow song, take her by the hand, and lead her to the dance floor. She will love that she didn’t have to initiate for the first time that night. General Tip: Don’t dance with your drink. You will spill, you look silly, and if you break that glass on the dance floor, the 20 girls who left their high heels at their table will want to hit you in the face.
  2. Tell Her She Looks Beautiful. This may seem obvious, but sometimes you have to do the obvious things. Don’t compare her to anyone else (it’s not a compliment for a woman to hear you say, “You look better than that bridesmaid,” because then she thinks that you’ve been checking out a bridesmaid, and she’ll wonder about all the other woman that you didn’t say she’s prettier than). The only other person in the room that you can compliment to your date is the bride. Bonus Points: Look damn good yourself. It’s not that hard–clean shirt, clean suit, non-novelty tie. You’re good to go.
  3. Mingle. Your date doesn’t want to have to take care of you all night. Yes, she wants you by her side at the right times–meeting the friends, greeting the bride and groom, the aforementioned dancing–but just as much, she wants you to be independent of her. She probably has people to catch up with. So go talk with the other dates. You’ll find them in the vicinity of the bar. Bonus Points: Flip things around and introduce your date to someone you met that night. A dude. Not a bridesmaid.
  4. Stay Away from the Bridesmaids. The lure of the bridesmaids is almost impossible to resist. They’re lined up in a neat little row, each dressed to perfection in dresses they want to get out of and slightly tipsy from a long day of champagne toasts. There’s always a hot one, sometimes more than one. Don’t go near them. Don’t even look at them. Focus on your date, who’s much prettier than they are anyway. Bridesmaids are not as pretty up close as they are from far away. Bonus Points: Don’t even think about the bridesmaids.
  5. Don’t Drink Too Much. Yes, open bars are there for you to take advantage of. But don’t go overboard. Fetch drinks for your date and pace yourself. If you’re driving home, you’re the DD unless you’ve arranged otherwise (which is okay–one of the perks of being a wedding date is that you can negotiate out of being the designated driver).
  6. Hold Her Purse. It pains me to type this, but yes, it’s true: One of your main functions as a wedding date is to hold her purse. This is my second least favorite aspect of being a good wedding date, but I suck it up and deal with it. Bonus Points: Offer to hold her purse when she doesn’t realize it’s inconveniencing her. General Tip: Don’t ever, ever open a woman’s purse and go through the contents. It is not funny to her, even when you hold her backup tampon to your lips like a cigar. Trust me. This is up there with telling her that she smells.
  7. Halfheartedly Try to Catch the Garter. Ugh. This is the most morose of wedding traditions. I generally try to time a bathroom trip to the garter toss. However, if you find yourself in the ballroom at the time of this antiquated tradition, follow the advice outlined by Article 79 of Barney’s Bro Code: “At a wedding, Bros shall reluctantly trudge out for the garter toss and feign interest for the benefit of the chicks present. Whichever Bro gets stuck with the garter shall lightheartedly pretend he’s not horrified at the thought of being the next one to drop before scurrying to the bar for a very stiff drink and/or shots.” Bonus Points: Perform a good-natured victory dance after catching the garter.

All of this begs the question: Why would you want to be a good wedding date? There’s the possibility that the night may turn into something more (see my Valentine’s Day article on Gauging Seduction Intent). If you’re already dating and want to take the relationship to the next level someday, being a good wedding date shows that you can handle yourself well in big, huge, potentially awkward social occasions.