Tales from an eternal gypsy who believes anything can happen

Wedding Etiquette: Plus Ones

I'm totally on the list.

I’m totally on the list.

I seem to be on a roll with the wedding posts, possums. Don’t worry, after October 7th we’ll return to our regular programming. Now that our nuptials are nine weeks away, I’m in the midst of preparing our invites. Invite singular, actually, as we’re doing everything electronically as mentioned in my last matrimonial post. With the creation of said invite comes a lot of etiquette, or so I’ve been told, so I thought I’d publish a helpful post for all you brides out there wondering how the F to approach this.

When should a plus one be permitted?

I’ve always been of the opinion that all spouses, fiancés, live-in partners and long-term boyfriends/girlfriends should be included in the plus one category, for both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. The tricky part is defining what “with guest” means for your single friends when preparing your invites.

How does one clarify this on the invite?

A plus one is someone you’ve been dating for a minimum of three months. Someone you’re legitimately in a relationship with. A plus one is not one of your gal pals or your buddy from work with whom you like to party. I’ve seen single people bring random guests to weddings – people that had no relationship with the bride and groom whatsoever – and get staggering drunk trying to hook up. I’m all for folks hooking up at weddings and having a post-reception romp, but it has to happen organically, i.e. they should be legitimately invited.

So, maintain the “with guest” verbiage on the invite itself. It would be rude to say “with someone you’re legitimately in a relationship with”. However, have the conversation with your single friends ahead of time so there are no surprises.

What if a guest RSVPs for an uninvited plus one?

In this case, you’ll want to buy a big stamp that reads “UNINVITED”, stamp it across the RSVP card, and pop it back in the mail with return to sender scribbled across it. I kid, I kid. Call your friend and explain to them that you’d prefer them to bring a date. Not a wing man.

What about kids?

This is a tough one, speaking from experience, as the HTB and I are having a kid-free wedding. The best thing to do is to be upfront from the beginning, and put the word out so people with kids aren’t taken off guard. Clearly note that your wedding is an “adult only fete” somewhere elegantly on the invite, and don’t make any exceptions. Once you let one guest bring a kidlette, it will look horribly unfair to everyone else.

Any other thoughts or ideas around defining a “plus one”? Post a comment and let me know!

2 Responses to “Wedding Etiquette: Plus Ones”

  1. TanyaT

    It is a tricky situation – it’s so hard to please everyone – but remember it’s your day so whatever you say goes. Our venue had a 150 capacity – so we had an “easy explanation” — we just don’t have physical space. Our plus ones were obviously if you were married, engaged and living together. As for kids, I get it, but as a mom now with two little girls who love to dress up and dance, have never been to a wedding yet and are just dying to go to one – it would be nice every once in a while there was a wedding that invited little ones (5+ yrs would be a good age as long as they are well-behaved).


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