Wedding Guest Plus-One Invite Rules for Soon-to-be-Married Couples

materials for wedding invite

In the movies, they show a couples’ road to the altar as something fun and full of flutes of champagne. They try on wedding dresses, do cake tasting (which is probably the best part), and go on these wild bachelor and bachelorette parties. And while these things do happen, well, as the aphorism goes, all that glitters is not gold.

Guests and Their Plus-Ones

Behind these exciting events is a ton of planning and perfecting minute details, which result in stress. And, more often than not, ironing out the guest list and figuring out your wedding entourage list is one of the most stressful parts of wedding planning.

Apart from figuring out how (and where!) you should seat your divorced parents and their new significant others, there’s the matter of your guests’ plus-ones to deal with. In a perfect world where you don’t have a limited budget and a specific seating capacity at your wedding reception venue in Salt Lake City to deal with, it would be nice to give everyone on your guest list the option to bring a plus-one.

Alas, weddings are expensive ($30,000 on average, according to The Knot) and one of the best ways to cut costs is to reduce the number of guests. Fewer people means less expense on rental tables and chairs, as well as on food and booze. However, it can be tricky trying to decide who gets a plus-one privilege and who doesn’t. To help you decide, read our plus-one etiquette below.

1. Married, engaged, and seriously-coupled guests can bring a plus-one

As a rule of thumb, your friends who already married, engaged, or in a serious relationship—those already cohabitating or have been together for a long time—should receive a plus-one. Even better if their would-be plus-ones receive their own invitation. Giving them this privilege shows you respect their relationship and commitment.

2. Give the plus-one option to your wedding party

You and your fiancé’s bridesmaids and groomsmen are likely the people who have been supporting you from the start, especially during your wedding planning. Since they’ve given their time, energy, and love for you for however many years, they’ll definitely appreciate the offer of bringing someone with them to your wedding. They can use this special day in your life to spend a romantic evening slow-dancing and drinking wine with their significant other.

3. Offer a plus one to people who won’t know anyone from your guests

Maybe you recently reconnected with a childhood friend or you want to invite a former coworker. Chances are, they won’t know anyone from the wedding party. Social anxiety is a real thing, especially during weddings. So, allowing a plus-one for this type of guest is a generous and thoughtful gesture.

4. Be prepared for people who will ask if they can bring a plus-one

married couple

Typically, the guests are clearly written on wedding invitations. Those who are attending together with someone else will have their names written with “and guest” while others will only see their names. The latter may reach out and ask about bringing a plus-one. If you have the budget or extra space, it’s cool to agree. But also remember that it’s okay to gently but firmly turn them down. Say something along the lines of, “We’d love for you to bring a guest, but we’re hoping for an intimate affair.”

Keep in mind that your wedding is your day. You should be able to celebrate and enjoy it with the people you want there.

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