We’re in the thick of wedding season, a time when love and lust feel almost contagious—unless you’re single. If that’s the case, you’re probably spending an excess amount of money at Crate and Barrel and staring down a mailbox delivering invites like Hogwarts delivers its acceptance letters, all of which crudely leave you without the option of bringing a plus-one. According to The Knot’s annual “Real Weddings” study, September and October are the two most popular months for weddings, so guess what? We’re just getting started. How many have you attended so far?
The upside of all this celebrating and shalom-ing is that it gives single people plenty of opportunities to meet new people. During the summer, an open bar at a wedding is more lit than happy hour at your local dive that pushes $3 you-call-its. In fact, dating site Plenty Of Fish reports that one in five wedding guests have hooked up with someone in a wedding party. That’s a confoundedly high figure when you consider that it’s just accounting for bridesmaids and groosmen. This figure doesn’t even take into account hookups between guests.
Earlier this summer, we provided a more general guide to wedding season, “How to Be a Kickass Wedding Guest This Summer”, advising on everything from finding the perfect suit to nailing down your toast. But with 2005’s Wedding Crashers, the original, broey ode to wedding hookups, having aged quite poorly, there aren’t too many manuals on the topic. So we asked Playboy Contributing Writer Bobby Box, with the help of dating and relationship coach Deanna Cobden, to research the do’s and don'ts of hooking up at weddings in a time when one-night stands seem to be more popular than monogamy. Trust us when we say this: the knowledge contained herein will have you tackling the season like Kris Jenner tackles a Kardashian controversy.
PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
More than half of online daters believe weddings are a perfect time to hook up because the setting makes it easy to cultivate conversation through amiable connections. But weddings can be short and receptions even shorter, which means there’s little margin for error.
To ensure you don’t fuck up things from the get-go, Cobden recommends honing your conversational skills the week before. “Nerves are completely normal,” she says. “The more you build your everyday communication skills, the more confident and natural you’ll be when you approach a beautiful woman.” For prep, Cobden suggests striking up conversations with strangers, like the woman next to you in line at Starbucks or someone casually walking his or her dog at your dog park. Keep it simple. Practice makes perfect.
Weddings are hectic whether you’re a groomsman or a guest, so lay some groundwork beforehand, if possible. There’s usually plenty of time between the engagement and the big day—and plenty of social opportunities between—to get acquainted with the couple’s single friends. Make yourself known at the engagement party and, provided he or she is receptive, continue communications through the rehearsal dinner. Facebook her or follow her on Instagram. At cocktail hour, if you notice she’s empty-handed or stuck taking pictures with the bride, offer to bring her a beverage—and then make plans to meet at the dance floor.
Out-of-towners are more likely to take the situation for what it is: no strings attached.
When in doubt, asking anyone how he or she knows the couple of the hour is a perfect icebreaker. The question comes from a genuine place and won’t feel forced. It also opens the conversation to discussing your relationship with the newlyweds. Most importantly, choose wisely. “Hitting on every girl will make you look desperate,” Cobden says. “Instead, pick one woman to focus on; if she doesn’t appear interested, you’re free to move on to someone else.”
Weddings include family, which means the cute bridesmaid you already know is single could have a relative sitting in th next pew. Her dad might even be at your table. If you master your gentlemanly charm, her relative might end up being the one making the introduction. (It’s more common than you’d think—at weddings, parents become more aware of their children’s singledom.)
This was actually the case for my cousin. A random guy at a wedding several years back approcahed her after having asked a broad man, whom he thought was her father, for permission to dance with her. That older man was actually my father, her uncle. “I thought it was so cute of him to even consider asking for permission,” she tells me. “We had a good laugh about it, but him being so considerate was endearing.” That guy is now her husband. Moral of the story: Make a good impression on every attendee.
One friend of mine is so damn charming tha women fawn over him constantly. What’s his secret? He’s funny as hell. According to research published in Evolutionary Psychology, humor is the key factor in “human sexual selection,” especially for men. Research found that the more times a man attempts to be funny and a woman laughs, the more likely she’’ll be interested in him. Based on trials, 10 minutes is all the time you need to intrigue. Cobden says the best strategy for winning her over with wit is having no strategy at all. “Instead, go for honest connection. Women love confidence and man that can make them laugh. Be curious, playful, interesting and interested,” she says.
CUT A RUG
Get over yourself and get out there on the dance floor. Research published in Biology Letters asserts that one’s ability to dance can signal a mate’s quality of character. Add to that the undeniable fact that women are more attracted to a guy having a good time than a too-cool-for-school wallflower (unless you’re a leather-wearing, new-to-town outcast on a CW show, of course). Speaking of those types, research has found that men who cut a rug actually fend off male observers. According to the study, women are particularly attracted to dance moves that showcase “greater hip swing, more asymmetric movements of the thighs and intermediate levels of asymmetric movements of the arms.” So, uh, good luck with that.
DON’T OVERSERVE YOURSELF
Liquid confidence can definitely be an asset, but don’t befall the open bar’s shimmering charms. Aside from acting like an idiot, over-consumption can impact sexual performance, provided you get any. Researchers have proved that alcohol impedes sexual performance—we know this as whiskey dick—though most have concluded this has nothing to do with your penis. Instead, you’re just too drunk to maintain a necessary level of arousal.
“Nobody’s going home with the sloppy drunk guy.”
But the bar is great place to display your charms (if you have any). If you’ve secured a good spot in the bar line (because the best weddings brim with boozers), be a gentleman and offer to grab her a drink. Not only does a shot of booze make you look better in her eyes, but it does in yours as well. A French study found that “alcohol-related expectancy” makes people feel more confident. Other research reported that even one beer will loosen up things and make you more comfortable. Quantity is key. “Nobody’s going home with the sloppy drunk guy,” Cobden says. “A good rule of thumb is to drink one glass of water for every drink you have.”
Weddings bring together people from all over, and Cobden says your odds of getting laid are better with out-of-towners. “Sometimes people feel like it’s okay to be a bit wilder and less serious when they are on vacation,” she says. In fact, a survey by Expedia of 31 million found that people’s sex drives are increased during and after a vacation. Cobden says non-locals tend to have different expectations and are more likely to take the situation for what it is: you find this person attractive and you want to hook up, no strings attached.
HAVE A CONDOM—AND A SAFE RIDE HOME
Because unprotected sex is reckless and so is drunk driving, it’s important to make sure you have a condom and have money for a cab in case your designated ride heads home before you do. When storing a condom, avoid the wallet; heat can disintegrate condoms and compromise their quality. Condoms stored in a pocket or wallet may also tear due to friction caused from sitting and walking. Place one behind your pocket square or in your jacket pocket instead.
We’ll leave you with this: the aforementioned Plenty of Fish study found that 16 percent of people have met someone at a wedding and went out “at least” several times later. According to The Knot, four percent of hookups have led to committed relationships. So even if you walk into a wedding completely single and hungry for a hookup, who knows? You could be walking out with your future spouse. Cheers.