Wednesday, June 30

Should Guests Get a Plus-One?

Imagine you’re planning to attend a wedding for a couple that you know quite well, but you have never actually met their other friends or family. You’re looking forward to sharing their big day with them and have spoken with the couple on several occasions about how excited you are to attend their event. Then the invitation comes in the mail, and you can’t wait to open it up. But slowly you notice that there’s no indication of being allowed to bring your significant other as your date. Assuming it was nothing more than a mistake - you’ve been with your partner for a year now, after all - you RSVP for yourself and your significant other to attend.  Days later, you receive a telephone call informing you that absolutely NO guest dates are being invited. How excited would you be about attending the wedding by yourself, without knowing many other people there, while you’re boyfriend or girlfriend just sits at home?

I read an interesting article this morning from the perspective of a wedding guest that wasn’t permitted to bring a date with him on not only one, but on two different occasions. The first situation was almost exactly like the scenario described above. The second wedding was for his own brother in which he was even IN the wedding party, yet still not allowed to bring a date to the reception. If you’re not cringing with horror yet, you should be. Sure, weddings are expensive and a bride and groom often has to cut costs somewhere within the budget, but that means exploring possibilities of cheaper centerpieces or a less extravagant venue, NOT jeopardizing the entertainment and comfort of the guests. Yes, the day is “all about the bride and the groom”, but unless you’re running off to Vegas for an Elvis-officiated wedding, you really need to take into consideration what guests will experience at your event. No one is forcing you to invite your old roommate from college or the pen-pal you’ve had since you were ten; you are inviting these people for a reason.  Hopefully the reason isn’t to squeeze in another gift, but instead is because you want those people to celebrate your new marriage with you, and to have a blast doing it. What could be more fun than celebrating the wedding with their own  dancing partner?
poorlittlerichgirls 300x224 Guarantee Fun by Allowing a Plus One
Every well-versed bride and wedding planner knows the first three steps in wedding planning are to decide on the budget, create a guest list, and choose the venue. (All three pretty much go hand-in-hand since one affects the other.) This is the best way to really evaluate who should make your “A” list, or the people you absolutely cannot imagine the day without. It’s okay to also have a “B” list, or a group of invitees you would love to have present if there is enough money leftover in the budget. My feeling is that if someone is good enough to make your “A” list, they are good enough to be allowed a plus-one. It’s true that this might mean you have to cut corners such as not inviting children, not inviting cousins, or having a smaller guest list, but so be it! You might be thinking, “But if I allow ten of our guests to bring dates, then that’s ten other people that I want to invite but won’t be able to.” Look – I’m not claiming that creating the guest list is easy. It’s one of the hardest things you will do in the planning process. But think about it: Would you really want to sit by yourself, or even next to a group of couples, feeling like the odd man out? Weddings can sometimes be a source of anxiety for someone who is newly (or even usually) single, and you definitely wouldn’t want to amplify their discomfort by broadcasting that they had to come by themselves because they aren’t officially “taken”. My advice? If you want to invite those ten extra people so badly, then do it! But just plan to order less expensive flowers or opt for DIY projects that will allow more leeway with the guest-list portion of the budget. Or try what my fiance and I did, and extend the length of your engagement so you can save more money to spend on things like the head count. Bottom line: If you want to save on costs, sacrifice elsewhere in the budget and at least give your guests the option to bring a date if they want to. It’s the best way to make sure a good time is had by all… and isn’t that what celebrations are all about?
What are your thoughts on inviting plus-ones? Would you ever expect a guest to come to your wedding alone when they already have a date they want to bring? Click here to read the article for yourself.


  1. So funny! I totally just wrote about this subject on my blog. I hated being invited to weddings without a date. I absolutely feel like everyone, regardless of whether or not they are in a serious relationship, should have the option to bring a plus one to a wedding.

  2. Honestly, I think there is no right or wrong answer to this. There are just way too many circumstances, specifics and details that will affect the decision. I think it's obvious that married people get to bring their spouses. For us, anyone who was not dating someone for at least 6 months was not given an invite with their new flavor of the month. And we did not have anyone who did not know absolutely no one else at the wedding...if we had, we definitely would have allowed them a guest. Mr Fix It invited 2 co workers without a plus one and we sat the two of them right next to each other.

    I think at the minimum, if you're going to go the no plus one route, you need to have assigned seating with specific places where you know the guests will know someone else or will at least have things in common with those they are sitting with.

    I also think that guests need to consider all that goes into a wedding - budget, venue, etc. It's an *honor* to be invited to someone's wedding...not a privilege or a right (even for family). So if you truly feel you would be uncomfortable having to attend a wedding by yourself, then you should discuss it with the bride/groom.

    It really comes down to communication. I have a group of 6 girlfriends in a bible study who are all about 25 years old. All are either married, engaged or in serious long term relationships except for one single girl. I told her, I hate to do this, but you won't have a guest invited since you're not dating anyone right now. But I will absolutely seat you with the other girls you know and are friends with. She had no problem with it. I think that's what a true friend (guest) does when they are excited to attend another person's wedding. :)