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Perspective: What kind of person uses Tinder to find a plus one to take to a wedding?

A very smart person, it turns out

The icon for the Tinder dating app on a device in New York.
The icon for the Tinder dating app on a device in New York. The app just announced a new feature that would help users find dates to take to events, such as a wedding.
Patrick Sison, Associated Press

Have you recently been invited to a post-pandemic wedding? It’s time to get back into the swing of things. Find some nice looking clothes that fit. Pick out an item from the couple’s registry. Send in proof of vaccination. But what about a date? Don’t worry. Tinder has got you covered. The dating app recently announced it will be teaming up with a wedding planning site to help find you a companion for the upcoming nuptials of your friend from college or your favorite cousin.

“We know many of our members are looking for a Plus One for their next wedding and we’re excited to now give them a way to do exactly that on Tinder,” Kyle Miller, the company’s vice president for innovation, said in a statement.

The idea has been met with some skepticism. As one user tweeted, “I just want to know what kind of person is going to invite a stranger to a wedding as their first date.” A very smart one, frankly. Inviting someone to a wedding signals that weddings are on your radar screen. You might not want to get married next week or next year but in an era when fewer people are tying the knot, it tells people that you have friends and family who get married and maybe someday you’ll do it, too.

Taking a date to a wedding can prompt some very useful conversations — conversations that too many people put off until they are waist-deep in a relationship. For example, what is your religious background? Would you want to get married in a church or synagogue? Or on a beach somewhere? When I wrote a book on interfaith marriage I found that fewer than half of people talked about what religion they wanted to raise their kids in before they got married. Why not start those conversations early?

OK, I hear you say, this is someone you just met. Do you really want to get that serious? If it’s someone who has agreed to attend a wedding with you, he or she will presumably realize that they are signing up for a pretty long date, not just a drunken hookup. The wedding day from ceremony to the end of the reception will provide a lot of opportunities for conversation. Have you been married before? Are your parents married or divorced? Do you want a big family?

In addition to these chats — about marriage, family and faith — your date will get to see you in context. At some weddings that will mean he or she will get to meet your friends. You’ll be surrounded by people who care about you and your date will more easily see your good qualities. If all these people like you, surely you must have something to recommend you. Your date will probably get to hear some old stories about you so probably best to take a bit of the embarrassment in stride.

Attending a wedding with a date means that you will be around different generations of people, too. Maybe your date will get to see how you interact with children or grandparents. This, too, can be quite endearing — or, if those interactions don’t go well, it can be a sign that this person is not going to be the best partner to start a family with.

Of course, weddings bring the opportunity for people to witness us making much more mundane but also important decisions. Do we dance well? How much do we drink? What’s our idea of dressing up? How late do we stay at parties? How much drama do our friends and family bring? These are all useful things that typically take a lot more time to discover in the course of a typical relationship. So why not get a head start? The next time an invitation comes, feel free to swipe right.

Naomi Schaefer Riley is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Deseret News contributor and the author of “No Way to Treat a Child: How the Foster Care System, Family Courts, and Racial Activists Are Wrecking Young Lives.”