Why I’m giving all my wedding guests +1s

Guest post by Shortkaik
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Whether or not to give your guests a “+1” seems to be the most complicated and controversial issue when it comes to wedding planning. Right now, we're at the point where we're addressing and sending out our Save the Dates. I was trying to figure out the best way to include “and Guest” on the envelope, so I searched around. You know what the answer I got everywhere was? “Ask your guest their partner's name!” and “Guess what! You don't HAVE to invite people to bring a guest you don't know! Yay!”

Not helpful.

Believe it or not, we decided way early on in our planning that we are totally excited for guests to bring people we don't yet know to our wedding.

Yes, we're including +1s for people who are not currently in any sort of a relationship. There's still seven months until our wedding — a serious relationship can certainly develop in that time. (I met and moved in with my future husband in about that amount of time!)

We also agreed as such socially-challenged people, we would both appreciate being able to bring someone, even if it's just a super-close friend, to another person's wedding. We've made so many new friends by meeting new people at a party, whether it's been a party we've thrown or someone else's party. Yes, a wedding is different, but I don't want to pass up the chance to make a new friend or the chance for my friends to make new friends.

I know +1s aren't for everyone. Some people are uncomfortable inviting people they don't know — they feel like they are strangers. Some people can't incur the extra cost. Some people want a small and intimate wedding. I can understand all of that! But to us, we never thought of +1s as strangers; we thought of them as “friends we haven't met yet,” and that made the cost seem less-different from all the “friends we've already met.”

What are you doing about YOUR +1s?

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Comments on Why I’m giving all my wedding guests +1s

  1. I agree with this! We’re lucky enough to be not paying for each individual guest for anything but catering, so since we’re already having a large wedding it’s really the more the merrier. I know I wouldn’t go to a wedding if I didn’t know anyone there and couldn’t bring someone (even a same-gender friend if I didn’t have a date!) so I want my friends to have the same opportunity if it would make them feel more comfortable. However, I ran into the same problem as you…how the heck to put it on the invites? I actually ended up just inviting them (I didn’t want to write “plus one” or “and guest” on the envelopes, just seemed really weird to me!) but we’re encouraging them in person to bring guests, on the wedding website, and on the RSVP cards!

    • Same! I wrote the guest’s name if I knew who it was, otherwise I just addressed the invite to the single person, but put two reply lines on their reply card, and told them personally that they could bring a friend.

    • I actually ended up putting “and Guest” on our envelopes (for any unknowns, I did my best to gather names where there were names to gather). I agree, it’s kind of tough. I don’t want people to feel obligated to bring someone, as well. I think as long as you make it clear on the RSVP/website that guests are welcome, that will be enough!

  2. If it’s helpful, I’ll share the following…

    I was invited many years ago to a dear friend’s daughter’s wedding. I very much wanted to go, and RSVP’d for myself and a +1 because that’s the accepted social convention. I was politely told that I could come, but I had to come on my own. As a single woman, I didn’t feel comfortable at all going to a social function on my own. To make matters more complicated, my ex-fiance was going to be there (he was a mutual friend) and I definitely didn’t want to show up alone to see him.

    She wouldn’t budge. So I said no. I felt she was being insensitive with regard to my situation. It ended our friendship.

    I think that in general, there’s a social obligation to allow single women in particular to bring a date. And at the very least, to be sensitive to your single guests who may feel particularly uncomfortable being there on their own.

    Hope that’s helpful.

    • It seems to me that by assuming rather than asking you hit a nerve with your friend. I had one friend assume she would be able to bring her boyfriend of <1mo and I said I would get back to her and see if we had space (I actually did end up telling her we had space but by that point he had made other plans). I had another friend ASK if she could bring a guest other than her long time S.O. and I said YES. Asking is polite – assuming is rude. It really isn't the "accepted social convention" unless everyone accepts it. And clearly everyone does not.

      • I don’t want to start another debate but I just want to point out the irony that we are shedding social convention by not inviting a +1 (so it’s not rude because social convention = whatever!) but it is rude to assume that you should be able to bring one. Why? Because of social conventions? I agree that it’s not the best way to go about it and can lead to awkwardness; but the bride should not be somehow exempt from social convention (because she’s busy, on a budget, whatever) while everyone else (her supposed friends and loved ones) is supposed to suck it up and be polite.

        I think that BECAUSE it has been social convention in the past, it is totally understandable that someone would make that assumption – kind of like assuming you will have cake – and that if it’s not the case the couple needs to be understanding that that will be a surprise/disappointment to some people. Just because we are offbeat, doesn’t mean that all of our guests will be up to speed.

      • In my experience people assume that you automatically get a plus 1 (unless you say otherwise) because as another poster stated, it had been a pretty typical social convention in that past. I don’t think it’s rude to assume you get a plus 1, any more than it is to say only invited guests are allowed. It’s just tricky social navigating that needs to be done with tact in either case.

        For my upcoming wedding we included the names of significant others on the invitation and kindly told our friends that “casual dates” were not invited (via word of mouth & our wed-site). Our rationale was that we are fairly private people, who are keeping our wedding small & that everyone invited knew at least several other people at the wedding. We only had two people challenge this, and both of them were single men. Hopefully, neither one was offended when we told them no, but ultimately I feel like it’s our wedding and our prerogative. That being said, if someone wants a big wedding with “friends you haven’t met yet”, more power to them!

      • Interesting that you say that asking is polite. You would think that asking would be considered polite. But I just got a Save the Date card which included the wedsite and on it there was a FAQ section which addressed the question of “Can I bring a guest?” She says:
        “Short answer: No. Whoever is listed on the envelope (Save the Date) is who is invited.
        Long answer: Maybe (but don’t be tacky and ask)… ” and she goes on.
        It is totally understandable if she wants to keep the guest list under control, but I was a little bit shocked by the bluntness. It was off-putting and that along with a few other quips on her site made me less and less excited about getting invited. Anyway, there are more tactful ways of telling your guests they can’t have a plus one. In fact, Off-Beat even has an article about it, http://offbeatwed.com/2010/07/wedding-invite-no-plus-1.

    • I think it was your prerogative not to attend, and I don’t think it was fair of her to hold that against you. I also don’t think it’s fair to expect a +1. Weddings are *expensive,* and the cost of a +1 might mean I cam’t invite someone else–someone I know and love. The reason I love OBB is because it acknowledges the fact that “accepted social conventions” are, by and large, bunk, and do not need to be followed unless they fit your circumstances, needs, and wallet.

    • If I were single I would not be offended to be invited alone, it would be expected, and I’d accept as long as I expected to know at least one or two other people there. (This can be said for every person invited to my wedding, as it’s very small.) Were I single, I’d have no qualms with making smalltalk with others, both known and unknown, and don’t get why people think it’s so awkward. It’s just a few hours, and who knows, you might make friends.

      It just reminds me of someone I know who will literally not go to the bathroom unless someone goes with her. She’ll announce she’s going to go, and if no other ladies stand up to accompany her, she’ll either just stay in her seat or pick one of us and ask if we want to go with her. Should we say no, she’ll stay in her seat.

      Isn’t attending social fuctions alone sometimes just part of life? And why single women, specifically?

      • I wouldn’t be offended to not be allowed to bring a guest, but I do appreciate it when I can.

        But I don’t really understand the thought that you can’t socialize with anyone else if you’re partner is there. I don’t stop making friends when I’m in a relationship – we just start making new friends together.

        Personally, I’m better at socializing with strangers when I have someone with me. It helps keep the conversation flowing. If I went to a wedding with a date, I would socialize as much or more with other people than if I went alone!

    • “As a single woman, I didn’t feel comfortable at all going to a social function on my own.”

      No disrespect intended, but I always find it odd that we women say things like “I won’t go to a party alone” or “I won’t eat at a restaurant alone.” Imagine how we’d react if a man ever said that! We’d tell him to seek help or something

      • This times infinity.

        I assume women to be every bit as social (or anti-social), and capable as men, so I’m really uncomfortable with the idea that we should be privileging “single women” for +1s.

        Frankly, I would be crazy offended if someone gave me a +1 just because of my gender and marital status, as it implies I’d not be capable of conducting myself unchaperoned.

        Which I think just reinforces the comment above that “accepted social convention” really isn’t anymore.

    • I’m not intending any offense, but I must respectfully disagree that because a woman is single she cannot attend a social function on her own. I was single until I was twenty nine and if I had refused to attend social functions I wouldn’t have had any of the fabulous experiences I had as a single woman – going to university on the other side of the country, living and working abroad, and backpacking in Europe and Asia, all of which I did by myself. I’ve attended many weddings on my own too, and understand that bringing someone meant that the couple would have to shell out money to feed a stranger, which not everyone can afford to do. Sometimes it sucked to be so much on my own, but it was just a fact of life for me. I didn’t want to make that worse by missing out on stuff I wanted to do.

    • I would always think the same. But being that know planning a wedding paying $100.00 per guest and keeping it as intimate as possible, I kind of understand why some people don’t offer the +1. But the there is the Girl code and at that moment if the ex is invited, you plus one your girlfriend and help her find a hot date ???? lol.

  3. We only gave plus ones to those who had a significant other. We had a hard limit on how many people we could seat in the venue, so we had to cut out the “drum up a date” folks. I still feel bad about it to this day! But it was necessary to fit all of our actual friends and family. :-/

    • When we started our guest list, we automatically put each person as 2 guests. It made it easier to just assume everyone was 2 people, even if we didn’t know if they were – then we didn’t have to go back and try to shift people around when we discovered someone had a significant other we didn’t know about!

      • We’re in the process of working on our guest list right now, and this is exactly what my dad made me do. I was irritated at first, because “I *told* him I wanted to invite single people as singles”…but like you said, it makes it sooo much easier as things change in people’s lives, and if worst comes to worst, and we’re really cutting it close right before we send out invites, that gives us an easier way to cut down on some of the numbers.

  4. I think this is a great attitude. Also, I know people spend so much time trying to figure out how not to include 1+ at their wedding. The truth is people will probably bring them anyway. I don’t think most young people who haven’t gotten married are familiar with wedding etiquette.

  5. If we thot there were people who really wouldn’t know anyone else at our wedding & they didn’t have a sig.other, we gave them a +1. But a lot of our single friends knew other friends who would be attending & were from the same social groups (either coworkers or from the same school year, etc.). That’s another thing to take into account. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing for every guest.

    • This is true! Maybe I’m just bad at drawing lines. I thought about who we would include/exclude based on the common “married/living together/engaged” rule, and I thought about the social circles, but there were just too many variables for me to handle. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, but that can certainly make it simpler! 🙂

  6. We can’t afford to feed +1s and our budget is so tight that we can’t even invite all the people we’d like. We only invited couples that are married, living together, or we are friends with both of them. We have invited people to invite a date to come later in the evening for drinks and dancing. To me the most awkward part about going stag to a wedding would be the dancing part, most people can make polite chit chat with strangers during dinner and have their dates join later.

  7. I never understood why single guests couldn’t bring a date. I get that there’s the cost thing, but if I were a single lady being invited to a wedding, there’s no way I would want to go by myself. I would never expect my single guests to show up solo. How awkward for them. I’m a firm believer in the idea that the wedding is as much for the guests as it is for the bride and groom. I would want everyone to have a good time, and like you, I enjoy meeting new people, so really, the more the merrier.

      • If you’re an extreme introvert, or somebody with social anxiety, being in a room full of people you don’t know well can be one of the most excruciatingly awkward things ever.
        Still, if somebody likes you enough to invite you to their wedding, and you like them enough to go, it’s unlikely to be fatal. I think it would be more awkward to be at a wedding when you don’t know either the bride or groom so that your friend can have a ‘date’.

        • I guess I just don’t understand the leap in logic from “single” to “extreme introvert.” For one thing, it implies that single people are only single because they are/feel incapable of talking to other people, which, no.

          I can understand concerning yourself with the feelings of your extremely introverted friends, but given how rare it is to have an introverted friend who ALSO is not friends with anyone else you know AND is a good enough friend to invite to your wedding, it seems like there wouldn’t be a social convention to consider because it would come up so rarely.

          So yeah, I’m still confused why being single automatically means awkward and sad and not having a good time. I also don’t know why there should be a gender difference in how awkward it is to show up single. Like, does it relate to the trope of women pining over their lack of wedding to plan, and men just wanting to score with a bridesmaid?

    • I must ask, how do people who can’t handle going alone to weddings deal with things like the first day at a new school, first day at a new job, etc ? You (general you) can’t take a pal along to those

      • As an introvert with anxiety issues and chronic illness, living with all these things individually is all about picking your battles. Not going to events alone if you don’t have to (but “alone” is relative, not having a date doesn’t mean you’re going alone), picking which functions you’re most comfortable attending and passing on the rest, so that you aren’t burnt out when it comes to those first days and such where you can’t bring a friend.

        Also, those kinds of hard days typically come with a LOT of self-care, both preparatory and afterward. Resting up, eating the right foods, taking the right medications at just the right times, and mentally gearing up; then taking some time afterward to rest well (because the mental gymnastics and prep work is exhausting), de-stress in whatever ways are most conducive to the situation, and generally give myself time to recuperate. The first “day” of school was a 5-day process for me every single semester, and that’s not even including the two days in the middle that were actually the first days of the respective classes. My sister-in-law’s wedding was a week of emotional prep and another 3 days afterward to calm back down again. But then, I was in it. Other weddings aren’t so bad.

        • I think the thing is, for my friends who would be uncomfortable attending my wedding alone for whatever reason– be it social anxiety or overt sensitivity about being single or traveling long distances to the wedding–I’m giving those guests a plus one. But my good friend who will know about 20 other people there and has known all of those people for many years, but happens to be single? I’m not giving them a plus one.

          I would hope if you are close enough to someone to invite them to your wedding, you know their level of comfort.

    • Some women feel uncomfortable going to big events where there will be alcohol and groomsmen without a date or a friend to check in with. They just don’t feel safe otherwise. I think this is different than the whole “can’t even go pee alone” thing. I’ve never had this problem, but I had a friend in college who literally couldn’t leave our apartment alone without one of the neighbors hooting at her. I would happily walk to class or the library and go out at night alone, but she would not for this reason. (Guess who was the skinny blonde in our duo.)

  8. We are inviting everyone with a +1. Our wedding has 100-ish people–since we are mid-30s, most of our friends are married/partnered. There is nothing more irritating than going to an event with almost everyone else as part of a pair. We had to pare down our guest list to accommodate the venue–and make sure no one had to come alone. It’s different if you are in your 20s and have loads of friends from college all coming stag–but in our case we felt it was unfair to guests.

  9. I’ve been invited to so many weddings where I was invited “+1” and didn’t bring a date even though I was dating–even engaged to!–someone. I just don’t find it awkward if there are people that I know there, and if I don’t, I probably don’t know the couple well enough to be attending their wedding.

    I was also (sort of) invited to a wedding once, because I was sort-of-seeing (non-committed) one of the groomsmen; when he received the invitation, he also received a call from the groom informing him in no uncertain terms that while his invitation said “and guest,” they were expecting me to be his guest. I know they would have fit me in if for some reason he chose to take someone else, and we were still seeing each other come the wedding so it was all OK, but I can’t help but wonder sometimes, how awkward if they had said that and we either broke up or he took someone else anyway? In that case as the couple in question I think I would have just either confirmed I could put the “girlfriend’s” name on the invite and make it clear to begin with (since it’s not like I hadn’t known these people for years!), or send us each an invite separately with no “and guest.”

    When it boils down to it, though, the people who are invited to my wedding are pretty cool cats. Anyone they like well enough to bring them to J-Random-Friend’s wedding is probably cool enough to be welcomed into our friendship circle anyway. And because both my partner and I are social people with big friend groups, we are planning big wedding receptions anyway. Nothing that can’t squeeze in a few “more the merrier” party crashers.

    • My attitude is the same – you worded it so well:

      “Anyone they like well enough to bring them to J-Random-Friend’s wedding is probably cool enough to be welcomed into our friendship circle anyway”

      I figure any plus ones my guests bring are people I want to meet anyway!

  10. My partner of 4.5 years was recently invited to a wedding, and I wasn’t included on the invitation. He assumes that I’m invited, but I figure that not specifically named or “and guest” means not invited. I want him to ask his friend what the case is, but he’s so sure it’s fine – I really don’t want to turn up and be unwelcome!

    • Lena – your partner is absolutely wrong. If your name is not on the invitation, and there is no “and guest” or mention that two seats are reserved for him, then you have not been invited.

      It’s entirely possible that the couple doesn’t know the proper etiquette, meant to invite you, and didn’t realize that by leaving your name off the invitation, you are not invited. If your partner is close enough to the couple to ask, then the best thing would be for him to call the bride or groom and confirm whether he is invited with a guest.

    • Lena, I definitely agree with you and Menley here – if the invite doesn’t say anything about guests and is just addressed to him, then it’s just him that’s invited. If either of you know the couple well enough to ask, I would get your partner to confirm exactly what is going on. But I definitely wouldn’t just turn up without any sort of confirmation (can you imagine how awful it we would be all round if they hadn’t meant to invite you?!)

  11. I know it’s not feasible for everyone, but we did give a +1 to everyone over 18, single or paired. Some people brought friends, some people brought dates, some people came alone, but I’m glad we did it. Having strangers at our (smallish, intimate) wedding was part of the fun. It was great to meet people’s friends and some SOs that we hadn’t gotten to meet before.

  12. This reads to me like an interesting case of cultural differences – for our wedding no one even asked whether their partners were invited and I am not sure I was specifically invited at the wedding I went to before we were married.

    • I think you’re right – I think it might be cultural/regional as well. Before I started looking into planning my own wedding, I just assumed that everyone was always allowed to bring a guest because I’d never been to or heard of a wedding where this wasn’t true, but I have only been to a handful.

      But now that cultural and regional lines are blurring so much, all of these things are really becoming a decision we have to all make individually, based on what would be best for us, and also for our guests.

  13. We have a lot of single friends (mostly skater guys, some with girlfriends). Rather than try to find out names and whatnot, I just included “& guest” so they could bring their girlfriends, another friend, whoever.

    On the RSVP, it says:
    Are you coming (circle one):
    Alone, With Spouse, With Friend, With Partner-in-Crime

    I have a strange mix of friends, so I want people to have the option to bring someone they know just in case the mix doesn’t mix very well.

  14. To me, this discussion always seems like Battle of the Entitled.

    In one corner, weighing in at infinity tons of recent anglo tradition, is the Entitled Guest who *knows* that there is just a Way To Do Things and that way includes +1s for everyone because, as a guest, they are entitled to enjoy themselves in the manner most comfortable and least foreign to them. The concept of willingly bowing out of situations in which hospitality has been extended to them, yet with which they may not feel comfortable, has not yet germinated in their worldview.

    And in the other corner, frail and battered by an insane cost-per-head is the Entitled Wedding Thrower who either cannot afford random +1s, or does not want them due to their own social/anxiety issues, or preferences about what they want their wedding to be. Alas, they may be scrawny, and bucking most recent tradition, but they are powerful, as they control the invites! Without this waif, the party does not happen!

    I (pretty clearly) side with the people spending the money and throwing the freaking wedding. They get to throw the party they want. In most instances, I reckon they take guest comfort into consideration, but it always strikes me as absurd when Wedding Throwers are made out to be selfish and declasse BECAUSE THEY WON’T THROW THE WEDDING OF THE GUESTS DREAMS. Quel horreur!

    And then, in the front row, are all the chill people who care naught what other brides do with their guestlist. If you have the money and inclination to throw at +1s, I think that’s awesome. If you’re inviting +1s because people are telling you it’s The Way Things Are Done, I think that’s sad. And I totally wouldn’t be giving those people free cake.

    • I’m not sure if it’s more funny or insulting the misconception that inviting strangers to your wedding is a recent anglo tradition of the entitled. I’m neither anglo nor entitled and I assure you that in my and in many many non anglo cultures weddings are celebrated by the entire town, clan, tribe, or village. In fact sometimes it’s two towns, clans, tribes or villages.

      If anything I think the recent anglo tradition is to exclude people and have small ceremonies. Even after all these years I’m still somewhat taken aback by people who exclude children and other relations from their weddings so that their friends from college can attend.

      I’m not saying that they should exclude their friends. I’m just saying that in many non anglo cultures you invite everyone.

  15. Having been on both sides of this now, I can commiserate with everyone’s feelings. I went to a wedding once where I didn’t have a date and the few people I vaguely knew where seated at a different table. Everyone else at my table knew each other (at least somewhat) already, and they just completely ignored me, making for a really uncomfortable and awkward situation.

    I’m also now throwing a wedding where we have a set limit of people we can invite, a huge cost per head for every person over that limit, and regardless of price a max capacity not too far over that set limit. We’re trying to provide plus ones for everyone we think would desire them, while not giving them to people who would be fine on their own and have to go searching for a date. Ultimately though, we’re not going to reserve a space for a stranger over a space for someone we know and love, and choosing a different venue where we could invite everyone under the sun isn’t feasible or desirable for us for a number of reasons.

    I think the ultimate thing is for both sides to be understanding. If you’re invited to a wedding, you may not be able to bring a plus one. If you’re unsure, ask. (I know some people get upset when people ask, but I’m a firm believer that honest conversation is the only way to solve things.) if the answer’s no, respect that.

    At the same time, there are some people who if they are invited to your wedding but can’t bring a plus one, won’t be able to come. It sucks, but you need to respect their needs, the same way they need to respect yours.

    Look under your chairs! You get respect, and you get respect! Everybody’s getting some respect!

    • I absolutely agree that people should ask if they’re unsure – I know it can be awkward, but it can clear the air so easily. I had a friend who was newly single when we first started planning the guest list and had mentioned she was looking forward to a girls’ night with our mutual friends at the wedding. Fast forward to the wedding, and she was in a new relationship but hadn’t yet said anything to me about it. She didn’t ask me if she could bring him, she just came to the wedding solo. I realized, when I returned from the honeymoon and was checking Facebook, that she was in a relationship and I felt so guilty for not knowing that. If I had, I absolutely would have told her to bring him. She told me that she didn’t want to ask because, being the roommate of two girls planning weddings, she knew how sensitive the +1 issue could be. Luckily she still had a wonderful time with the girls, but I so wish she had called to ask.

      • If she didn’t ask and has assured you that she had a good time, I think you have permission not to feel guilty about it, and to forgive yourself.

        And I’m saying this because if I were in your shoes and it still bothered me, I would definitely be grateful if someone else said the same thing to me. So there you have it, if it’s helpful to you.

  16. We did us one for friends and not cousins. I have had WAY to much fun as a plus one to not give back…. So invites went out “and guest” RSVP’s require a name. Very simple. Either you have a date or you don’t. And part of what solidifies this for me is the changes that have come to our permanent guest list. Divorces, death, international moves, new friends and drama have all happened in the last 10 months of our engagement and changed our guest list.

  17. How have people dealt with +1 s on save the dates? I have simple post-card style save the dates without room for lots of details. In general, I’m just addressing them to the invited guests. Can the fact that +1 s are invited be imparted on the invitation? I’d rather do it this way because I can’t imagine how to include this information just in an address.

    • I think that you definitely don’t need to worry about +1s for save-the-dates. Those are for the people that you definitely want to have enough notice to be able to make plans to attend your wedding. If you don’t know a +1 well enough that they get their own invitation, why should you care if it turns out they are unable to make it? As it turns out, our actual guest list for sending invitations was SLIGHTLY larger than the group of people who got save-the-dates. Which I think is totally, totally acceptable.

      • Comments like this is exactly what inspired me to write this post. Just because I don’t know someone that well doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care if they are able to make it. If my loved one knows them very well, then I do care!

        @dawn: For my Save-the-dates, I put “and Guest” where applicable on the envelope, when I wasn’t sure of the name or if there was yet a person they’d bring. I wanted to make sure everyone was aware they could bring a date, because so many people will be coming from out of town, and it could affect their travel plans/hotel booking.

  18. I’ve been to a LOT of weddings in my life, and was a very single lady for the vast majority of them. I don’t even remember how often I got a +1 on my invitation, because I never felt a need to drag someone else along, as almost all of these weddings were either for a member of my group of friends, or for relatives. In either case, in my experience there was ALWAYS plenty of people to hang out with. Of the few weddings that didn’t fit either of those categories, the only time I ever felt a need to find myself a date was for an ex-boyfriend’s wedding — and not because it would’ve been embarrassing to show up alone, but because I frankly didn’t particularly care for many of his friends and family that I DID know. So in that one situation, it was nice to have an outsider to hang out with.

    For our own wedding, we only included +1 for people that we knew were in relationships, and we included them by name on the “official” guest’s invitation. So I guess technically maybe we didn’t give the “random” kind of +1. Our way kind of implied that these boyfriends/girlfriends were definitely welcome….as long as they were still in a relationship with our friend. And maybe implied to our invited friends that if they weren’t still seeing the person listed, they didn’t get an automatic substitution. Not the MOST generous way of doing it, but we had very legitimate space concerns, in addition to having our wedding at a location that wasn’t particularly local to any of our guests. We only had a couple of people who didn’t get +1 invitations ask if they could bring someone. In our case, we were fine with it once we knew for sure that we were going to have enough room for everyone. And luckily, they understood and were willing to wait for us to give them a yes or no answer (and they both got eventually got a “yes”).

  19. After a semester abroad, I came back to share a house with a friend, her partner, and another couple I kind of knew. They were all good friends with another couple who I barely knew, who was getting married just a week or two after I got back to the area, and we had a lot of other mutual friends. On the assumption that I’d be spending a lot of time with them in the future, the bride and groom invited me to the wedding last minute. It was very DIY with a lot of help from friends so I pitched in, and had a blast. Later, when we did in fact become much better friends, they told me how glad they were that they’d invited me. To this day, I’m closer to them than my old housemates and am so happy to have the memory of their wedding. Of course, including +1s isn’t the best thing for everyone, but I can vouch for the fact that sometimes including someone you don’t know in your wedding can be a lovely start to a friendship.

  20. I know my fiancee and I are doing a mix of +1 and not. For example, if we are inviting a bunch of people who know each other (aka my entire work staff) I am not doing +1 except for the engaged/married people. But on the flip side- my other work I am giving them +1 (there are only two people working for my other job), both are recently divorced/single, so I figured they can bring a guest to keep them company. There are few other people we are letting invite a guest, but for the most part not many people are getting it.

  21. I’m having something of a dilemma with this…we had decided to only include plus ones for our friends and family who are engaged or in a very serious relationship/living with their significant other. We’re inviting about 240 people to our wedding, and it would really increase our numbers to give EVERYONE a plus one, so this seemed like a good compromise.

    Enter a family friend, Mrs. X., and her daughter Y. Y and I used to be great friends in middle school. By the end of high school we were kind of friends. Flash forward seven years, and I’ve seen and talked to Y’s mom more than I’ve interacted with Y. I wholeheartedly want Mrs. X at the wedding, but I feel like Y isn’t really a part of my life anymore. My mom and I agreed that I could invite Y without a plus one….but then my mom found out Y is looking to move in with her boyfriend. Y will know a few other people at the wedding, and she is a very outgoing person so I’m not worried about her feeling uncomfortable without a plus one. My mom thinks it’s rude for me to invite other friends (who ARE actually part of my life) with plus ones but not Y.

    Advice on how to handle this please?? I don’t want to give Y a plus one simply because I’m pressured into it or because “that’s what you do”, but I also don’t want to be a bitch. I just feel like I shouldn’t be obligated to give her a plus one when I wouldn’t have invited her to the wedding if our moms didn’t hang out so often.

    • Hey Lauren,

      One thing to keep in mind is that your guests probably won’t know what your criteria was for who was invited and who wasn’t (including plus-ones), unless you tell them. They’re not going to walk around the reception asking relationship statuses, trying to puzzle it together. 🙂

      I think maybe the best option would be to just invite her alone, and let it be up to her. Maybe she’ll ask and say she’d really like to come, but would be more comfortable if she could bring her partner. Hopefully by that point you might know your actual numbers better, and maybe you can squeeze in her guest. Maybe she’d be fine with going by herself. Maybe she won’t be able to go at all!

  22. I am in the midst of planning my wedding and the +1 issue is the one thin that my fiancé and I can not agree on. He very much believes that everyone should be able to bring a guest because as many have said “the more the merrier”. I should add he is very much a social butterfly and would invite our entire town if he could. I, on the other hand am much more reserved and I don’t want strangers at my wedding. I am also opposed to paying $100+ per person for people I don’t know and don’t care what they think. I don’t mind someone bringing a date if it is someone they are actually dating, but my problem is that I don’t want my guests (mostly family who know everyone anyway) to bring some random stranger from work just so they have someone to hang out with or because they want to drink for free all night, especially when I have to pay for it. Basically if I wouldn’t invite you to my home on any given weekend then I don’t want you at my wedding. Really it is a party and I am entitled to invite who I want to that party.

  23. I think this is another ‘whatever works for you’ thing… We’re restricted on budget so casual flings/random dates aren’t invited, but longer relationships are; if anyone gets serious between sending out invites and the two-week cut off for our caterers, we can always add on an extra!
    Re: some people not being comfortable going on their own, if you know you have a super-shy friend, then why not talk to them about it and suggest they bring someone to make it easier?

  24. My biggest concern is several of our single people have very very bad – very very scary choices in people (IE DANGEROUS people who will ruin the event on many levels) they affiliate with and we can’t not invite them….SIL/BM, cousins, BMs, MIL ECT and I’m at a loss… The other problem is people inviting themselves, their family, or their friends SIL/BM wants to invite like 4 friends that her mom knows but neither of us know and they feel it’s fully appropriate for this interaction. Help?

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