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Dating & Relationships

It’s still wedding season, isn’t it? It must be, because I’ve been to two weddings so far and have another one coming up.

One of the weddings I’d been to this summer was for a family friend. I brought my mother as my plus one, and we both had a blast.

The last wedding I’d attended before that was on New Years’ Eve. The Mass was absolutely beautiful as well as the venue, cake, flower choices and all those superficial aspects of a wedding. It was also fun because my “plus one” for the wedding was a good girlfriend, a fellow writer whose talent I admire.

What wasn’t fun was the quizzical looks directed at my friend and I. The bride and groom were in a huge circle of friends, a fair amount of whom knew me. They did not stop asking me why I didn’t bring a date. They knew I was seeing someone and they didn’t understand why I brought a woman as my “plus one” instead of him. I could have brought him, so why didn’t I do that? I responded that I wanted to be with my friend, with whom I always have a great time.

Another reason why I didn’t bring my boyfriend was because the relationship was far too new. We had only been dating a couple of months. Normally I would never consider asking a date to a wedding for at least the first year. But after a while, I started to reconsider that.

We can discover many things about someone by how they behave at a wedding. Are you subjected to constant gossip about the bride or groom? Does the bridesmaids’ gowns dominate the conversation? Is there a tone of bitterness about weddings in general? Does your date take advantage of the open bar a little too much? Is your plus one dancing in a less than modest way? Are you introduced as a “friend” to the guests? How does your plus one respond to the seating arrangement? What kinds of formalities are observed? How well-mannered is your date? And most of all, how does your date act during the wedding Mass? This is crucial.

These are the things that matter. It is important to recognize how your date treats you one-on-one as well as in a group. Maybe you don’t have an opportunity to go to a wedding, but you could get some information at a party or a barbeque. The sooner you find out, the better off you’ll be.

If you’re marriage minded, and I can safely presume you are, it is important to discover if your chosen date is on the same page. Of course it is important to also talk about values, but it’s not the same thing as experiencing it for yourself. Talk is cheap, as they say, and actions speak louder than words.

So what do you think? When is it too soon to ask the person you’re dating to a wedding? Is it okay to bring a friend or family member as your plus one? What does your wedding guest etiquette involve? What would you do if your date turned out to be an embarrassment at the wedding ?

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11 Comments

  1. Carolyn-764114 July 30, 2013

    So much to think about. Before I read the article, I thought, of course you don’t bring
    someone you just started dating. After I read it, however, I think I changed my mind. How else do you really get to know a person? It’s a good idea to expose them to all the things in your life to see how they handle it. If they do something that is bothersome to you, it’s better to find out sooner than later. At first I thought the same way, to wait at least a year. Now I agree that a couple of months seems right. But, any sooner would certainly be too soon, for sure. They might get scared away, thinking you’re trying to hint at something they’re just not ready for just yet. If my date turned out to be an embarrassment at a gathering, I would come up with a reason why we should leave right away, offering my apologies to the host, and depending how horrible it was, they should understand exactly what you mean. Thank you, Cate Perry for this thought-provoking article.

  2. Ebimoebore Enovwo O. July 30, 2013

    Hello, I’m Ebi from Nigeria, I think its a better idea to go with ur boyfriend to a wedding not to make him think that u are in a hurry to marry him but its a way for you to study and get to know each other well. So don’t be embarrased to invite ur friend for a wedding.

  3. MaryBeth-367029 July 30, 2013

    This is great. I love how perfect timing this was posted, because I just started seeing this guy this week, so I mean JUST, and when we were out with friends about a week and a half ago, before we were actually a couple, our friends that are getting married invited him to their wedding, hinting that he could be my date and knowing that I didn’t have a +1. Our friends that we met through, still can’t get over how much we have in common. So, I’m anxious to see how, not only how he acts, but how we are together at the wedding, especially now after reading this article. THANKS!

  4. Lisa-933589 July 30, 2013

    Great topic. I just attended a wedding in July here in NJ, will be attending another in Colorado this weekend, AND another in September in Chicago!! I went solo to the first had a blessed and great time–did not feel awkward at all–it was a warm wedding-had contemplated bringing a date–but in my heart I knew it was not the right time-. This weekend I am flying solo to CO —I have been on dates etc during this summer and have often thought it may be fun to invite a date to any of the three-and have had the bride/groom want to “set me up”, as all of these weddings are truly Catholic- the bride & grooms faithful, practicing Catholics—I think it is important to witness good holy marriages–and sacraments at any time–I think with the right spirit and discussion if its truly a blessed occasion bringing a date can be ok if understood & discussed with the right spirit. I also think on the other hand that if you are in the midst of discerning a deeper relationship–you need to think about the implications….and going solo or bringing a friend can also open doors to other friendships and give you another opportunity to think about your relationship as it grows- and he/she is absent etc. It’s also good to see each other in as many situations as possible as it can only help you to learn more about each other–and how you respond as a couple in different scenerios. Sharing any of the amazing sacraments in our church is a blessing-baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders etc–it is the fullness of the church and reminds us of how each sacrament builds on the next-and we renew our vows–Lisa

  5. Albert-146514 July 30, 2013

    The forth-coming wedding offers a choice opprotunity for you to “evaluate” the quality of the person you are interested in.It’s the many nuances and aspects of a wedding that can be very revealing about a person’s comportment and behavior among a gathering of people in a setting where being well-dressed ,polite , friendly , sauve and gracious is de riguer, and where a faux pas can be extremely embarrassing.

    My advise- “Go for it!”

  6. William-607613 July 30, 2013

    If this person is the only one you are seeing (and vice versa), then no time is too soon for an event like this.

  7. Chad-988613 July 31, 2013

    Thank you for the article Cate-

    There is a Native American quote: “tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are”. Weddings are great opportunities to learn about one’s date and see the truth of the above saying.

    I was recently invited by a lady friend of mine to attend her friend’s wedding. Though the setting was something to behold, (on top of a mountain with a great view) I was all too glad to leave before the night had fully concluded. Part of it was that there was no acknowledgment of God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit during any part of the vows/ceremony! (It was not a Catholic wedding.) The other part that sealed the deal for me was how close friends of my date (a married couple) exhibited no willingness to acknowledge or conversate with me and even gave my date –their friend- the cold shoulder?! Apparently some people don’t mature beyond that of elementary/middle school drama queen and bully. And this was the same couple that my date had recently flown across country to see and by weekends/end my date had driven over 200miles/4hrs round trip to pick up/drop off from the airport for the wedding weekend?! It wasn’t just my date that I felt for though… I really felt for modesty –because my date’s friend gave modesty a solid beating on the dance floor.

    Ironically, one of my favorite parts of the night was the conversation my date and I had with a random couple (neither one of us had ever met before) at the dinner table. As I drove home, I thought about a lot of things and especially the Native American quote.

  8. Bertha-811213 August 5, 2013

    If the man even accepts the invitation , then he must be serious.
    I would not invite a date to a wedding, he might presume I am hinting .
    And if you broke up , what do you reply to those who might ask “how is that guy you took to the wedding”?
    But I am old fashioned. ;-)

  9. BIll-154597 August 19, 2013

    Any idea of the man liked weddings or formal events? Many men only go as an obligation to family. I guess I could have been a way to learn about compatibility.

  10. Emilie-1019256 June 4, 2014

    If you already get along outside of the wedding context and you think it’s the right time…why not? It’s just another way to get to know people. No pressure.

    • Emilie-1019256 June 4, 2014

      There’s also a grammatical error. Please get a second pair of eyes and provide a good example “What wasn’t fun was the quizzical looks directed at my friend and I. ” Think of the parallel construction. What wasn’t fun was the quizzical looks directed at my friend. AND what wasn’t fun was the quizzical looks directed at I. <—-Does that sound weird to you? It should because it's wrong. Correct= What wasn't fun was the quizzical looks directed at …me.

      Thanks to my Catholic education…the Catholic Grammarian is ubiquitous.

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