By Katherine Brown*
1. When you first arrive, it's awkward. Where do you stand? Who do you talk to? Should you go find a seat or wander around? The only person who you know for sure will be there is the bride, and she's still in hiding at this point. Eventually you make a friend or find some people you kind of know.
2. Those people will feel sorry for you. Your high school chorus teacher will wait with you in line for punch. The dad of a kid who lived in your neighborhood will save you a seat for dinner. And you aren't even mad about being pitied, because you're too busy being grateful to be rid of the awkwardness.... Temporarily.
3. You will make at least one social blunder. In an attempt to make conversation, you might joke about how sad you were to see that the local KFC had closed. Listeners will not pick up on your sarcastic humor. They seem legitimately upset by the loss of the KFC. You will flee to the bathroom.
4. There will not be enough alcohol to make you feel better about your social blunders. In fact, there will be no alcohol.
5. There will be sweet tea.
6. You will drink the sweet tea and not even feel bad about it. That is until you scroll through pics of yourself with the bride and note how slim her upper arms are compared to yours. Oh well - hand on hip hides all flaws.
7. You will be glad you are not a vegetarian, because you'd be going hungry otherwise.
8. The Old Testament-y language at the ceremony will awaken your inner feminist. You'll feel a small burst of pride in the statement you're making by being there without a man.
9. You will dance only the line dances because you don't need a partner for those. And because Cotton-Eye Joe.
10. You will be glad you got to be there for your friend on her special day. She'll look so happy, she and her husband will renew your belief in true love, and it will be well worth the drive.
*Katherine is a twenty-something schoolteacher and a former Southern small town girl.