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Tips For Offering And Dealing With “Plus Ones” At Your Wedding

The worst part of wedding planning just got easier.

Weddings can be expensive. Plain and simple.  It can be hard enough to narrow down a guest list, so when the topic enters of when to offer your guests a chance to bring another guest along, it can get complicated.  If you have unlimited resources then ideally everyone would get to bring a plus one guest.  Being a single guest attending a wedding can be awkward and just not as fun.

But what do you do if you don’t have an endless supply of money as most people don’t? Who do you offer plus ones too and who gets left out?  I’ve  put together some plus one basic etiquette here.

A Guest Who Is Married

If you have a friend or family member who is married, both should automatically be invited.  There is no question about this. It is basic wedding etiquette to invite married couples to attend together.

A Friend Who Has Been In A Steady Relationship

If your friend has been in a steady relationship for a while, regardless of whether he or she is engaged yet, it’s only proper to invite both.  Think about how you’d feel attending without your significant other.  That person probably wouldn’t attend or would feel left out if they couldn’t bring their partner.

Be Specific On Your Wedding Invitations

If you are allowing a person a plus one, then be clear and write plus one guest.  But if you do not want someone to bring a guest, then write only that person’s name.  Say that one seat has been reserved for them as your special guest on your wedding day.

Call The Person Who Adds One

While this is going to be awkward, it’s ok to call the person who adds a guest onto the invitation.  Make sure to be polite and clear in saying that you only had so many reserved seats for the wedding and weren’t able to let people add on guests.

What To Do If You Feel Bad About Saying No

If you are having a hard time saying no to a friend that wants to bring a plus one guest, here are some suggestions.  Emphasize the limitation of the venue. Tell them how you tried really hard not to cut out any family or friends, so you really can’t fit in the plus ones. Tell them that others will be upset if you allow some plus ones and not others.  Or simply explain that planning a wedding is hard and how you’d like to invite everyone and their guests, but you just can’t afford it.

Get Creative

I’ve heard of newlyweds inviting just close friends and relatives to the ceremony and reception and then setting a time when all plus ones could join in.  Ok, is this tacky?  Yes, but let’s face it, this whole topic is tacky and hard.  If you are truly trying to please everyone by allowing plus ones, this option might be better than no option.

I’ve covered some basic etiquette in this article, but there are no hard and fast rules. This is your wedding, and you get to decide how you want to handle this topic.  Good luck!


For tips on being single at a wedding, check out our article here. 



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