Here comes the date

With the right strategy, the chick in the poofy white dress won't be the only one getting lucky.


Like in that movie when ...
Kat (Debra Messing) took a blind date—who just happened to be a male escort—to her sister’s nuptials in The Wedding Date.

Outcome: You’re thinking of having your first date in the presence of a priest, several grandmothers and the words as long as you both shall live? Um, can you say “pressure”? Manhattan copywriter J.D. saw one first date take a turn for the cringe-worthy when he got an invite to be a last-minute date. “I say yes and proceed to play stand-in for her boyfriend. It really was like homecoming—they took our pictures and I wondered if I was sweating too much.” And it only went downhill from there: “I’m trying to figure out if she wants to be with me, or if I want to be with her. But with an audience. An audience comprised of those who share her DNA.” Let’s just say it didn’t last.


Like in that movie when ...
horn-dog Wedding Crashers buddies, played by Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, remind the world that showing up single to a wedding is license to score.

Outcome: The flowers, the romance, the celebration of coupledom—how could you not get in the mood at a wedding? “Max and I wound up dating for 6 months,” says New Jersey resident Cristin, a sales manager, who met a fellow singleton thanks to fortuitous seating arrangements—and the wedding booze. “It was a beautiful event, but I’ve since realized that I’m more susceptible to open bars than I am to weddings.” Since you didn’t show up together, there’s no pressure, just starry eyes, the glow of the candlelit centerpiece and champagne.


Like in that movie when ...
C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant) popped up at his ex-wife’s (Katharine Hepburn) blue-blood wedding in rom-com classic The Philadelphia Story.

Outcome: If looking good is the best revenge, then bringing a good-looking date to your ex’s wedding is worth at least a couple points. For Manhattan editor Alexis, traveling to a different continent for an ex’s wedding was doubly rewarding. “I was a bit surprised to get an e-mail invitation to an ex-boyfriend’s wedding. We’d been very casual,” she says. Alexis planned a trip with one of the groom’s friends, only to end up dating the buddy for ten months and counting. “Traveling through Third World countries could be a make-it-or-break-it experience,” she says. Just like surviving an ex’s wedding—it shows you what you’re made of.


Like in that movie when ...
Gareth (Simon Callow) and Matthew (John Hannah) attend weddings together as a favorite pastime in Four Weddings and a Funeral. That is, until one of them croaks.

Outcome: Sure, established couples may feel pressure from all the tulle and toasts, prompting a “that could be us” fight between the rubber chicken and cake. For Manhattan publicist Justine, her own wedding seems to have been, ahem, inspirational. “About three months after our wedding, my husband and I both started getting ‘we have big news’ e-mails. As the ‘we’re expecting’ announcements started piling up, it didn’t take a math genius to work out when they all had a big night.” Yep, turns out romance was really, really in the air the night they tied the knot: “Nine months after our wedding, four babies will be born to four different couples who attended. Three of them have the same exact due date.”


Like in that movie when ...
ugly duckling Sam (Molly Ringwald) finally manages to snag her high school’s Big Man on Campus when she plays bridesmaid in her sister’s wedding in Sixteen Candles.

Outcome: Bridesmaids and groomsmen are the special prizes in the nutty Cracker Jack box that is a wedding: they’ve got matching outfits, faithful friendship and access to the extra champagne. When Manhattan archaeologist Annie threw on a bridesmaid’s dress, she hit the jackpot. “The bridesmaids had been joking about how, at every wedding, there’s a bridesmaid who hooks up, a groomsman who hooks up, and a groomsman who gets sick.” Cut to the reception: “I hit it off with one of them, and let’s just say that he wasn’t the groomsman who got sick.” Three years later, the pair is still together. Hooking up with pre-vetted friends in a safe environment? Good idea, as long as it’s not with one who’s green around the gills.


Like in that movie when ...
Matthew McConaughey romanced the wedding planner (Jennifer Lopez) behind his own damn ceremony in The Wedding Planner or cover band frontman Robbie (Adam Sandler) got it on with a waitress (Drew Barrymore) in The Wedding Singer.

Outcome: What, you really wanna get that cute cater-waiter fired? The staff working the wedding may be prohibited from taking you up on your offer. “I often see the musicians I hire entertaining offers, which, of course, I must break up,” says Jonathan, founder of band the Funk Junkeez, which plays weddings. “For me, the owner of the band, it’s bad. For me, the musician, it’s great.” Except when it isn’t: “It can get embarrassing when a drunk guest is dancing in a raunchy way to get your attention while you’re trying to do your job,” he says. “And it happens quite often.” Lesson: Don’t be that girl, or that guy.