Who Gets a Plus One For My Wedding?

Who Do I Give A Plus One To My Wedding? Caroline Frost Photography

Oh, the dreaded plus one question. You’ve probably heard it before, and which guests should or should not get to bring a date is a seriously controversial topic on our Etiquette board. In a perfect world, you’d probably let everyone bring someone to your wedding, but budget and space limits mean that you have to make some tough decisions (and the easy way to cut down on wedding costs is limiting your guest list). So what do you do? Not allow single guests to bring someone and risk seriously upsetting them or let them come and shoulder the costs?

Our answer: If a couple is married there’s no question about it, you have to invite their spouse. For everyone else though, instead of making a universal rule (for example, no plus ones for all unmarried people), you’ll want to make this decision on a case-by-case basis for each guest. If your friend has been with her boyfriend forever you should definitely invite him because she’ll be bummed if you don’t take their relationship seriously just because they’re not married yet. On the other hand, your 16-year-old cousin’s high-school boyfriend of two weeks may not need an invite. You should also think about factors like how well your guest knows other people, how far your guest will be traveling and who will be attending and whether or not they started dating before or after invites went out to make your decision. Read more here about how to handle plus ones.

What other brides are saying:

“If they are in a relationship, regardless of length of time, their partner should be invited as well.” – CheleLyn

“‘Plus Ones in general are against formal etiquette. Each and every guest you invite should be treated as your guest and should receive all the courtesies that you extend to every other guest: to be invited by name, in an invitation sent to their own address, and to have the assurance that the people they meet at your party have been pre-vetted and approved by you.” – AroundtheBlock

“I think you have to invite partners of long- term, engaged or married couples (no doubt about it). If you can’t afford to invite everyone with a plus one, it’s fine as long as your fair and even with all couples.” LowerEastSiide

Do you have an opinion about plus ones? If so, weigh in on the conversation here.

Want more? Right here!

> 8 people you don’t want to invite to the wedding (but have to!)

> Top 13 tips for cutting down the guest list

> 6 questions to ask before you an invite your ex

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  • 04/08/14 at 10:42

    this is a hard one! i don’t know what id do!

  • Jessica
    06/15/14 at 04:01

    My soon to be husband’s mother gave everyone a plus one, and I have no clue if they are dating or anything so I went with it. I gave every guest on his side the amount of seats she told me to put. I get all the invitations out and then I receive a call from MY mother telling me HIS MOTHER said the HIS SISTER called asking why she didn’t get a plus one. So HIS MOTHER asks MY MOTHER if it was an oversight. My mother, knowing that I did not give any of my single guests a ‘plus one’ says it’s fine. Now I am in a rock and a hard place. No one else that was single (at least on my side) received an extra seat, but then against my wishes HIS MOTHER gives her a plus one. Urgh. SO much frustration. Any ideas? This is making me crazy enough (40 days and counting) that I really don’t want her there. Help?!

  • 08/29/14 at 03:56

    I would like to know who the plus one is for the couple who are married in the scenario cited above: “If a couple is married there’s no question about it, you have to invite their spouse.” Sounds like a plus two to me!!!

  • 09/28/14 at 07:04

    Small boutiques and dress shops tend to stock dress samples.
    However, you should keep in mind that there will always
    be more than one option to consider. The designer
    also collaborated with a party favor company to create a limited-edition collection of matching wedding invitations.

  • Samantha
    01/17/15 at 01:11

    We have a restraint on number of guests and we don’t want to bump someone we know well. Because of this we decided the wedding party can bring a plus one. Other people we know in long term relationships we know their partner and are adding them to the list personally, no need for a plus one.

  • chann
    06/18/15 at 06:38

    my boyfriend and I have been in a serious relationship for 7 years and have lived together for three. my close cousin moved to another state a few years ago after meeting the love of his life. we recently had a huge family party where I was able to spend some quality time with my cuz. he there share the news with me that he proposed and was getting married four states away in six months. he shared some sadness that his immediate family would not attend due to the irritation of being left out of the decision that was made to require our side to travel 1000 miles. I expressed my condolences and that myself and my boyfriend will always support his choices and relationship. he then explained that he needed my address bc of course we would be invited. mind you, his fiancé was not at this party, so I have yet to meet her. after the party my cuz when back to his home state and we communicated through email when he needed my address, etc. I received a very informal save the date with only my name on it but did not panic. the save the date provided her email so I sent a nice short email introducing myself and thank you for the save the date-I got 0 response. so I finally get a super informal wedding invite with one outside envelope with only my name on it. who asks a female to fly and travel alone to a desolate part of K.C. on a Friday(so I have to take time off). to me its a clear sign that she maybe never intended on inviting me so I should I never been invited in the first place instead of making me feel like she hoped I declined. so I sent them both this email.
    hi Nicholas-Thank you for including me in your wedding. Regretfully, I am unable to attend. we are so happy for you two and are sure that your special day will be awesome. Best wishes for July 17 and endless love to follow!!! lots of love your way:)

    blessings and congrats!!!-channel and matt…AND STILL NO RESPONSE

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Escort cards are extremely easy to personalize and an excellent way to bring in your wedding day colors -- from calligraphed seating cards set atop a textured linen to apples tagged with each guest's name or small personalized bundles of lavender tied off with string. Other ways to display escort cards: Pin them to a clothesline, post them on a board covered in color-coordinated ribbon, or incorporate them into your cocktail hour using personalized stirrers tagged with guests' names.
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