The Etiquette on Plus Ones

You’re on your way to marriage, and you’ll never receive an invitation to you “and guest” again! (Congratulations!) But what about your guest list? Do you have to invite dates for every single guy and gal? The answer is “not if you don’t want to,” but let’s break the decision down a bit. 

Look at Your Venue – and Your Budget

When you start to make up your guest list, make sure you’re aware of the capacity of the venue and then give a little wiggle room. If the venue holds 200 guests and adding plus ones will bring the guest count to 190, keep in mind that it may get a bit tight. (Nothing wrong with a crowded dance floor, though!) And don’t forget your budget. Extra guests can significantly increase your food and beverage line items on your budget spreadsheet. 

What Do YOU Want? 

Remember that this is your wedding! Do you want to offer plus ones to your unmarried guests? There’s no right or wrong answer here! I have very good friends whose first “fancy outing” was my own wedding – and now they’re married. But going into the invite process, I wanted my friend to have the option to bring a date if she chose to, we had room, and my husband and I were very much “the more, the merrier” types. On the flip side, I know a bride who intentionally wanted to keep her wedding intimate with family and friends she knew well. Either way is the perfect choice for you. 

Make a “Plus One Guideline” if You Need Help Deciding

Married couples? They should both come. Your cousin who has been dating her girlfriend for six years? She should be invited. Your college roommate who has been dating her boyfriend for three months? Maybe? You can always set your own guidelines. Perhaps family members get plus ones. Or couples who have been dating for over a year get a plus one. Or every single gal and guy gets one. Having a guideline to follow makes the decision-making process just a little easier. 

How Do I Address the Invitation? 

Ms. Peggy Hamilton and Guest would be on the outer envelope; Peggy and Guest would be on the inner envelope. Peggy would indicate her guest’s name (and their meal choice!) when she sends her RSVP. 

In the end, it’s your decision, but be consistent. If two of your friends have been casually dating someone, you don’t want one to get a plus one, and the other has to fly solo. And you never know – two of your single friends could hit it off at your wedding! 

Photo Credit:

Emily Blumberg

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