I think some men are simply afraid to attend weddings with women they're not already planning to marry because girls can get so wrapped up in the event that they lose perspective. Any man who accepts the "+1" invitation has a total right to the irrational fear that their date for the night has long-term hopes, dreams and expectations that include her own perfect wedding day at some point in the future. That doesn't mean just attending a wedding as a single woman's date puts you in the line of fire, but it certainly puts some men on high alert.
Your job, as the date in question, is to demonstrate that he's just there to dance and gossip with -- you have no designs on the future (even if you do) -- you're just there to have fun together. Try the following tips to ensure a successful evening:
1) Don't talk about the wedding too much. To a man, it's just another party but it starts with a boring ceremony first. Especially if your date doesn't know the bride and groom and is just there filling a space next to you because you don't have a boyfriend. Odds are, he doesn't really care how they met or how their romance progressed. And odds are he's going to learn all about it anyway during the toasts, so you don't have to give him the full primer unless he asks for it.
2) Try not to talk too much about the details of the wedding, what you helped plan, or anything else that makes you sound wedding obsessed or you may have to hit the child locks on your car doors. Even though you're just making idle chit-chat, if he's suspicious, you're sunk even if you didn't mean it that way. So talk about safe things -- weather, sports, work, upcoming concerts. Be really safe and just ask him a lot of questions so he can direct the conversation pre-ceremony.
3) Do not get wasted, even if your date does (and let's hope he's well-bred enough to behave himself as your guest). Alcohol and weddings often lead to teary romantic confessions and other embarrassing behavior.
4) Don't go after the bouquet like it's the Hope Diamond. It's okay to join the other "single ladies" for the toss, but stand in the back like you don't care and don't try to wrestle the bridesmaids for the flowers. Diving into the fray says you REALLY REALLY want to be the next one down the aisle. If you overdo it, you may not be able to find your date when the toss is over.
5) Don't become overly sexual or physically aggressive with your date -- he might really like you but be taking things slow because of the environment. If it's your second date, don't try to suck face on the dance floor with him amidst all the other happy couples. You may get some kisses then, but you're not going to get the phone call you're hoping for the next day after you've scared the be-jesus out of him.
Maybe it isn't fair that men sometimes feel trapped at weddings, but often, it's our behavior (as wedding-obsessed females) that causes their anxiety. Make being your "+1" a pleasure by treating it like any other night out with friends and it could lead to much bigger, better things down the road. You have no idea how many couples met at other friends' weddings. It's a great opportunity to grow the dating relationship if you have a good time together.
Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques and Weddings in Culebra!