Plus One Etiquette: How to Choose Who Gets a Date
Creating a guest list for your wedding is one of the most exciting parts of wedding planning. You get to choose who you want by your side as you make one of the most important and wonderful decisions of your life. However, it can also be one of the more stressful wedding planning tasks. Your wedding budget only allows for a certain number of guests, which means you have to choose who gets an invite and who doesn’t. You also have to choose out of those who do get an invite, who gets a plus-one. Your wedding venue can only hold a certain number of people, and the more you invite, the more costly your wedding becomes. So, follow these plus one etiquette tips for how to choose who gets a date for your wedding and who has to go it alone (they’ll be ok, we promise).
In the wedding industry, a plus one refers to a person who attends your wedding as a guest of your guest. Rather than receiving a direct invitation from you, they are invited by one of your guests to attend, often as a date.
Now, you may be wondering, “do I have to give everyone a plus one?” Absolutely not! Not every guest should have the freedom to bring whoever they want. Following the plus one etiquette tips is key to not having too many random people showing up at your wedding (and eating all your food).
Here is plus one etiquette for who should receive a plus one invite on their wedding invitation and who can go without one.
Anyone who is married should receive a plus one to bring their spouse with them to your wedding. This is true even if you are closer to one person or haven’t even met their spouse. It is a nice gesture to show that you respect their union. Plus, think about it… aren’t you excited to attend weddings with your new spouse (to be)?
If you know someone is in a serious relationship–engaged, living together, or in a long-term commitment–it is kind to offer them a plus one to your wedding. Again, this is true even if you don’t know the person well or haven’t met them. If you’re trying to determine whether or not the relationship is “serious,” consider the one-year rule. If they’ve been together for at least a year, err on the side of caution and give them a plus one to your wedding.
If a guest has just started casually seeing someone or seems to have a new fling every few weeks, don’t feel obligated to give them a plus one. Make sure to offer the extra invites to those in more serious relationships first.
If you’re super close to some of your co-workers and decide to invite them to your wedding, first things first: don’t do it at work. You don’t want any of your other co-workers to feel left out. When it comes to plus one etiquette for co-workers, because people talk, whatever decision you make, make sure it is the same for all co-workers. So, if you decide to give a plus-one to Sherry because you know her husband, be sure to give one to Shawn too, even though you’ve never met his wife.
If you invite an out-of-town guest, your childhood best friend, or someone else who doesn’t know your current friends or family well, it’s nice to offer a plus one. Because you won’t have much time to spend with just them, a plus one is a good way to ensure they feel comfortable and have at least one person they know and can spend time with during your wedding.
Whether you want to admit it or not, some guests are getting an invite to your wedding out of obligation. (Don’t worry, we won’t make you name any names.) However, if your aunt insists your cousin Derek come to the wedding even though you haven’t seen him since you were kids, it’s ok to invite him but not give a plus one if he isn’t in a serious relationship. Since he is family, he’ll likely know plenty of people at your wedding and can socialize with them.
Last but not least is your wedding party. Plus one etiquette is to give a plus one to everyone in your wedding party. While not everyone needs to bring a date, it is a kind gesture to offer the option to those who have been by your side throughout the entire wedding planning process. They definitely deserve a plus one!
Now, you may be looking at this list and wondering whether or not not giving a plus one is rude and inconsiderate. The plus one etiquette we mentioned isn’t a hard rule. If there is someone on your guest list who fits into the “No” category but you feel like giving them a plus one is the right thing to do, do it! And if your budget allows you to give everyone a plus one, go for it! The more the merrier, right? The most important thing is that you don’t feel obligated to increase your budget and guest count just so everyone has the option to bring a date. That’s what the plus one etiquette guidelines are here for… to help you make hard decisions and feel ok about them.
If you have any questions about budgeting for your wedding, defining your guest list, or wedding planning in general, let us know! We are here to help you make the hard decisions so your entire wedding planning process is more fun and less stressful. Contact us to learn more about our services today!