Wedding Etiquette: Who Gets A Plus-One?

Wedding Etiquette: Who Gets A Plus-One?

Last week, a reader wrote me a note to ask about the proper etiquette regarding plus ones to a wedding. She and her boyfriend have been together for a long time, but he was invited to a wedding without her, without a plus one. The bride has met her [the reader] in the past, but still did not invite her to the wedding. What's a girl to think? Is the bride just being bitchy? Should her boyfriend not attend the wedding in solidarity? 

For starters, let's just all admit that this is a situation no one wants to find themselves in. Most people would invite all of their friends, AND their loved ones if they could. There are a few things to understand with this precarious situation that will help formulate an answer.

1. A wedding guest list is composed of 3 pairs putting together their friends and family: bride and groom, plus usually, both sets of parents. That is a lot of best friends to account for! 

2. A wedding list grows in size very quickly, sometimes even past the capacity of the venue, so something has to be done to curtail that list. 

3. Weddings are very expensive and again, hosts have to do things to keep their costs in check. Sometimes that means cutting plus ones, or cutting the guest list altogether. 

So, what was my answer to this reader? Don't take it personally. While she may have met the bride a few times, unless they are actively close friends, there is a reason not being stated for why she wasn't invited to the wedding. If you find yourself in these shoes, there isn't much you can do except try to be understanding. If you are truly in a very serious relationship, and can't fathom how your beloved was axed from the list, you can send a very gentle text or e-mail to the bride/groom. Again, I don't recommend this for everyone, only those who are in very serious relationships. In the note, you can simply say "I understand that I wasn't given a plus-one to the wedding and I am not upset. I completely understand how difficult it is to build a guest list, and to plan a wedding overall. However, I'd really love for my girlfriend to also be able to witness your wedding day. If you happen to get a no RSVP, and find there might be 1 extra spot, even if it's more last minute, could we add her to the list?" 

For the bride/groom: if your friend sends you that note, again, be considerate of the circumstance they are in. Don't feel pressure to say yes, but respect that your friend gave it a shot for their partner. If it's possible to wait and see if you get a "no" RSVP, tell them you'll do your best. If you know there is simply no way to make that happen, just respond by saying "I would love for you to bring your gf/bf but this is a very intimate affair, and unfortunately, we cannot make changes to the guest list at this point." 

For the fellow brides out there reading this article, wondering about your own guest list, here is what I did for my wedding. Bridal party gets a plus-one no matter what, that's mandatory. Outside of the bridal party, the rule is very serious partners only, aka you've been together for over a year, maybe you live together, maybe you're the next to get engaged. As I've mentioned before, Brandon and I both come from very large families and are blessed to have a lot of people who want to celebrate with us. The downside of that is we physically don't have enough room at our venue for everyone, so we couldn't provide all of our single friends with +1s. With that being said, my dear friend Jess is in fact in a [newer] serious relationship and when we talked, I let her know that as soon as we get back our RSVPs, I will let her know if we have room to add her love. 

What are your thoughts on plus-ones for a wedding? What did you do for your own wedding? Do you have any other recommendations that brides or guests should keep in mind with the tricky topic of wedding invites? 

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