Wedding Game

The ultimate wedding pick-up movie
I went to a wedding this past weekend. It was awesome. I had such a good time that it got me thinking about how weddings are incredible events to meet new people.

A wedding is, outside of college, the best social venue to find a life partner. First of all, it's a celebration. Everyone looks good and wants to have a good time. Second, you have a high probability of meeting someone of similar background and values. I know a dozen or so people who started dating as a result of meeting (or reconnecting many years later) at a wedding. Four of them are now married to each other. 

Part of my calling as a pastor is to help people in their life journey. I love to see the people that I shepherd get married and live happily ever after. Therefore this post is dedicated to helping single adults meet and mingle at weddings. It's mostly for guys but I hope some of it is helpful for women as well. 

1) Prepare in advance: Table seating is crucial. If appropriate, tell the bride and groom in advance that you would appreciate being seated with single people of the opposite sex. And embrace your status by not being defensive about it and going with the flow if people want to set you up. You don't have to take them seriously but don't blow them off either because you never know. Do some research on the couple and the wedding. Find out interesting details and trivia. This is key for starting conversations (ex. "Hey, check out the lights in the reception room - the groom's mom spent six hours decorating it. And the dad did nothing except watch"). Lastly, get plenty of sleep the night before and hydrate. Talking to people requires energy.

2) Dress well: Guys: personal hygiene is paramount. Wear deodorant and go easy on the cologne. Wear something that fits you. Most guys I saw at this wedding looked good. My bar is pretty low since I wore a suit that is 17 years old and don't own any skinny ties or pants. Some guys got away without wearing suits. I liked that. There's a sense of style there. It helps guys stand out. I have no advice for women other than look good but not skanky. 

3) Make new friends: Whether married or single, you should always have conversation goals when attending a social event. This past weekend, there were five or six people I wanted to catch up with. I missed out on talking to a few people that I hadn't seen in a long time because I was tired (that's why it's important to get plenty of rest). On Saturday I met an unemployed dance choreographer and had a great conversation.

Men, initiate conversations. Take some risks like approaching a group of people not just solo women. Talk to a woman who's taller than you. Don't be afraid to talk to other guys too. You don't know who they might introduce you too and it makes you look much less creepy. If you're worried that a girl has a boyfriend - remember "no ring, no thing." Don't cut off an opportunity prematurely. If you find out she does, exit graciously and be thankful for the experience. Lastly, you don't have to talk to everyone. Don't be afraid to hone in on certain people. But be willing to let go.  

Women, enjoy yourself. Smiling and laughter goes a long way in being approachable. Think of some questions to ask guys who talk to you. Make comments about what's going on. 

4) Fully engage in the events: Tap your glass for the couple to kiss. Take advantage of the photo booth and take a picture with someone you met. Check out the wedding favors. Try all the different hor d'ouevres. Get out there for the bouquet and garter toss. Watch the slide show. Get to know the bartender, photographer, and DJ. Especially the DJ. I make it a habit to make song requests to the DJ. I don't want to dance to U2 or Beetles. I ask for recent and classic hip hop. That's the good stuff.

Once the dancing starts, get out on the floor and invite someone to dance with you. I love to dance. I get disgustingly sweaty but I don't care. If you're like me and you don't want people to be repulsed by your soaked-through shirt, bring an extra. Brides shouldn't be the only ones who get to change outfits.  On Saturday, young single women stood around waiting for someone to ask them to dance while clusters of guys clustered near the walls. Appalling.

Women, eat food. A woman who likes to eat is someone who knows how to enjoy herself. And of course, dance. Don't wait to be asked as you might be waiting all night. As a traditionalist, I would not be turned on by a girl who asked me to dance. But that's just me.

5) Follow up: Guys, go get some numbers. Adding someone directly to your Facebook seems presumptive to me but that may reflect my popular culture irrelevance.  After the wedding, write down the names of the interesting people you met (it's easier if you keep a journal). Woman, you don't have to ask but get at least try to get the guy's full name. 

6) It's all practice: Have fun because it's all practice. You probably won't meet the person of your dreams. So look at every experience and conversation you have as practice. 

Wedding Game FAQ

Isn't being strategic and intentional about meeting people at weddings take the romance out of finding your soul mate? 

First of all, stop with the soul mate business. Life does not work like a romantic comedy.  Second, think of it this way: I invest all kinds of time planning what type of $60 sneaker to buy - checking reviews, waiting for deals, shopping at outlets - and the shoes last six months and one pair is 95% identical to any other. How could not invest at least some amount of time on planning one of the most important decision of your life? Lastly, I get that you want God to make a cool story out of how you met your spouse. But most people don't have realistic expectations of what they want in a potential spouse because they're not getting to know any new people. Give God something work with! 

You're advocating pick-up strategies that are unsavory and decidedly un-Christian. How can you advocate turning a couple's holy and sacred union into your personal meat market?

There's nothing I've written that's immoral. The problem is we as Christians have an aversion to male dominance and confidence. We see these godly attributes abused for selfish purposes (exhibit A: Wedding Crashers). But think about it. What better way to honor marriage and a newlywed couple than to seek after a marriage partner? At this past Saturday's wedding, one of the bridesmaids, who has been in a prolonged dating relationship, caught the wedding bouquet. The bride was ecstatic and the resulting applause was deafening. You would have thought Jesus had come back. This may be hard to understand but what married people want most for their single friends is for them to get married themselves. We want others to share in our misery happiness.

What if you're older than 30? How does the mindset change?

Nothing changes except you may want to be even more strategic and intentional since your dating pool may be narrower depending on the wedding demographic.

So it's all about being yourself right? That's what I was taught. Be yourself, right?

No. If you're an introvert, you must work at putting yourself out there. People won't appreciate you unless you share your thoughts and feelings. You need to accelerate that process. If you're an extrovert, you may need to tone down your extra-version. For me, it means restricting myself to fewer, higher-quality conversations and restraining my instincts to be a social butterfly and attention whore. If you have poor social skills and have no social awareness, you need to start interacting with people and observing how they respond to you.

What if the person you're interested in is sitting at another table?

Find an excuse to go over there to approach the person. Being fully engaged in the events means getting up often to do different activities and moving around.

If the rest of the world can use pick-up artistry for selfish purposes, why can't we as Christians redeem those principles to bless others? We can. The next time someone gets married, get your mack on.

Comments

  1. This was thoroughly entertaining to read, Freddy. I'm glad to hear that Jen and Sanyo's wedding was such a joyous occasion to celebrate! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jason. I look forward to rocking the dance floor with you again. Keep looking sharp in skinny ties.

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  2. I don't own skinny ties and also sweat profusely while dancing. Fred, we're twins!

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