10 Tips Before Attending Your First Wedding

The weeks leading up to the wedding, I was terrified, nervous, panicky. No, it wasn't my own wedding, but it was the first one I'd be attending. Despite having seen hundreds of these ceremonies depicted on TV and film, as well as on the profiles of Facebook friends I can't remember meeting, I had no idea what to expect. Would I cry? Would I accidentally sabotage it? Would I black out and pass out? There seemed to be a lot of possibilities for where the evening could go...too many possibilities.

Yet, against all odds and a beautifully stocked open bar, I survived my first wedding. Here are 10 things you should know before your first.

1. Stuff tissues in your boobs.

OK, I know tissue-stuffed bras are looked down upon in middle school, but you're going to need some easily accessible tissues when you start bawling. And you will cry, even if you are a robot and didn't cry in the first 10 minutes of Up.

2. In fact, wear a dress with pockets, for stuffing lots of things.

You won't want to bring a clunky purse; all you really need at a wedding are essentials, like tissues, lipstick, phone, and a condom, depending on your game plan. Outsmart society and find a cute dress with pockets. Plus, pockets will allow you to store a small snack, like almonds or raisins, in case the ceremony lasts longer than anticipated, or the main course doesn't come out as quickly as you hoped. (Bear in mind: If you bring a loud snack, or a snack that comes in a crinkly package, you'll ruin the wedding and everyone will hate you.)

3. Speaking of everyone hating you, silence your phone.

Especially if your ringtone is an obnoxious song, like "Talk Dirty to Me" or "Shots."

4. Take a cab. Or coerce your parent, boyfriend, stepsister, local butcher, or really any human you can find to drive you.

This is the only way you'll be free to take full advantage of the open bar. By the end of the night, you'll be exhausted and inebriated and driving will just not be a possibility.

5. No one's going to sabotage the wedding, so stop worrying about it.

This isn't a thing that seems to happen in real life. In fact, the vast majorities of weddings are sabotage-, betrayal-, and drama-free. The night before I attended my first wedding, I had a terrible anxiety dream about being left at the altar, and another in which an old flame (Jake Gyllenhaal) rode in on a motorcycle to break up my wedding (to Benedict Cumberbatch.) Surprisingly enough, movies and TV shows disproportionately represent calamities in their portrayals of weddings.

6. Going without a plus one is awesome, not depressing.

At first, I was nervous about attending the wedding alone; being surrounded by happy couples and ostentatious displays of love is typically my idea of a nightmare. Fortunately, weddings are actually happening hotspots for buzzed and dance-y singles who are ready to mingle.

7. Hydrate. And pace yourself.

For every drink you consume, drink a glass of water. I forced myself to do this, and the following morning, I was not hungover (Another factor that mitigated my hangover: four slices of cake, which had miraculous alcohol-absorbing properties). While it's important to monitor your alcohol intake and remain conscious throughout the festivities, also know that there will always, always be someone drunker than you.

8. Bring foldy shoes.

No matter how many times you say, "I am not going to dance," you will dance, even to songs you normally despise. If you feel compelled to wear heals to the wedding (because society has ruined you), pack some flats that fold into your purse. Or not: I had no qualms with dancing barefoot when my feet got tired of being stuffed in their feet prisons. If you do go the barefoot route, make sure to evacuate the dance floor when people start accidentally dropping glasses or bottles. If you get a shard of glass in your foot and have to go to the ER, the bride will hate you forever.

(Here are some top notch ballet flats to fold and stuff in your purse.)

9. Resentment is not necessarily inevitable.

I was prepared to be bitter. Why? I naturally tend towards resentment, jealousy, and self-pity — qualities I suspected would be exacerbated by the sight of such beautiful and committed young love. Yet, I found myself truly, genuinely, not even-a-little-reluctantly happy to see my friend marry the love of her life. It's a beautiful thing to celebrate in the joy of other people. And you will find, no matter how nervous you are about your life and your aloneness and your ticking clock, the day is not about you, and this is liberating; you are left free to bask in the warmth of a couple's declaration of love (and to get wasted for getting-wasted's sake, not because your mom just offered to buy you a J-Date account).

10. Because in the end: CAKE.

Images: Giphy (1, 2, 4, 5, 6), The Mirror (3)