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Wedding Plus Ones: How To Navigate Who Gets One

Wedding Reception Dancing

Who Gets a Wedding Plus One | Who Doesn't Need One | Tips for Inviting Plus Ones | Plus One Invitation Wording | Etiquette for Plus Ones

Everything to Know About Wedding Plus-Ones (& Being A Plus One)

Plus ones don’t need to be a tricky subject at your wedding. As long as you’re fair about who gets a plus one and who doesn’t, you won’t have trouble deciding. Use some traditional wedding plus one etiquette and adapt it to how you’ve envisioned your guest list. We created this guide to help you narrow down who gets a plus one to your wedding as well as some etiquette for how to invite them. We even added a few tips for plus ones at a wedding! 

Plus One At A Wedding: Who Should Get to Bring a Date

You’re not obligated to give everyone at your wedding a plus one but there is a small list of people for whom it’s traditional to offer an extra invite. In all of these cases, there’s a good reason why these people should be able to bring a date. We strongly recommend you offer the following people a plus one:

1) Must-Invite: Long Term Partners, Spouses, & Partners Living Together

Bridesmaid and Groomsman Posing Together

Anyone who is in a serious relationship should be able to bring a plus one. You’ll avoid a lot of disagreements and hurt feelings by not snubbing anyone’s long-term partner. We’re not talking about a friend in a new relationship or a casual fling. Someone’s spouse or long-term partner is a big part of their life and it’s considerate to extend the invite to them (even if they aren’t your favorite person). 

2) Must-Invite: Everyone In Your Wedding Party Gets A Plus-One

Your wedding party are some of your closest friends and family members. They’ve also done a lot to make sure you’re ready for this big day. Thank them for their effort throughout your engagement and wedding prep by giving them a plus one. Letting them bring a date is the perfect token of appreciation for your favorite people.

3) Should Get A Plus One: Your Immediate Family Should Get to Bring a Date

Bridesmaid and Groomsman Entering Wedding Reception Dancing

You probably can’t afford to let every single guest bring a plus-one but you can at least extend the opportunity to your closest family. Your siblings, parents, and grown children may want to bring a friend or significant other. If you’re close with your family, you’ll likely already be familiar with the person they choose to invite and it will be a very welcome addition to the guest list.

4) Should Get A Plus One: A Guest Who Otherwise Doesn’t Know Anyone Else

There are going to be a few guests who don’t actually know any of your other friends or family. Your bestie from college out of state, the friend you backpacked Europe with, your spouse’s favorite coworker, etc. Consider giving these guests a plus one so they don’t have to mingle with strangers the entire day. 

Who Shouldn’t Expect A Plus One (But Will Always Appreciate If They Do Receive One)

If you have some extra room in your budget and some extra space at your venue there’s a few more people you should offer a plus one to. Everyone on your guest list would appreciate an extra invite, but you’ll have to find ways to narrow it down. Below are some of our suggestions for additional guests to offer a plus one:

1) Plus-One Not Necessary: Those Who Are Casually Dating

Your friend who just started dating a new person would love to bring them along. This is a great way for them to see how their potential partner fits in with the group. Letting people bring a casual boyfriend/girlfriend is also kind because it gives them someone to dance with and talk to throughout the night.

2) Plus-One Not Necessary: Those Who Extended A Plus One to You/Your Partner

Wedding Party

It’s always nice when we can return a favor to a friend. If you were given a plus-one in the past from someone, this is the perfect opportunity to give them the same opportunity. In the rare cases where this happens, this is a great opportunity to repay a friend.

3) Plus-One Not Necessary: Coworkers or Those Who Are Not Close to You

Your coworkers and some of your other friends are a great group to extend a plus one to. The people you’re a little less close with probably won’t be familiar with your guests. You don’t have to give them a plus one but they will feel more comfortable with a friend.

4) If You Give Plus-Ones to Single Guest, You Should Give a Plus-One to Everyone

Try to have one set policy for all of your guests. If you don’t have room to give plus ones to all your single friends, try not to do it at all. If you do have the space, go ahead and give all your single friends a plus one. They’ll certainly appreciate it.

Tips for Inviting Plus Ones to Your Wedding

Figuring out how to present plus ones to your future wedding guests is simple once you know how! As long as you’re clear about who’s invited and prepared to host them, you’ll be fine. Below are some tips for including everyone’s dates in your wedding guest list!

1) Take Time to Consider the Seating Chart (Especially if Their Partner Is In the Bridal Party)

The seating chart is always a tricky step on the wedding planning checklist. Adding in plus ones can make this task a little more complex. Make sure there’s room for every plus one next to the person who brought them. You’ll also want to consider the plus ones whose partners are in the wedding party. Try not to have them sitting completely alone while their partner is doing photos and entrances.

2) Be Clear About Who’s Invited On the Invitation / RSVP

Wedding Invitation

You should try to list everyone by name on the invitations. This provides clarity so no one is confused about who is invited or not. If you don’t know the name of the plus one, you can write “and guest” but you still need to make sure they’re noted. If your guest is not getting a plus one, only write their name. 

3) Make Sure You Know How to Spell Their Name

Double check the name and spelling of all your guests, including plus ones. You’ll need these for invitations, table escort cards, thank you cards, and more. You may not know the plus one’s name when you send out the invitations, especially if they are just a casual date for one of your friends. Get their name as soon as you can so you can use it for the seating chart and more.

4) How to Respond If Someone Asks for A Plus-One

Kennedy Blue Bridesmaid with Her Date

There’s a pretty high chance that someone who didn’t get a plus one is going to contact you asking about it. Hear them out first. Their relationship status may have changed to be more serious since you last checked. You still don’t have to say yes, especially if you’re running low on space in the seating chart or money in the budget. If you’re maintaining you’re stance, send your friend or family member a polite message to explain why you can’t give them a plus one. Here are some ideas:

  • “We would love for you to be able to bring a date to the wedding. Unfortunately, we already had to narrow down our guest list quite a bit to fit our historic venue. Thank you for understanding!”
  • “We wish we could include everyone in our wedding but our budget only allowed us to invite our closest family and friends. We appreciate your understanding!”
  • “We planned our wedding to be small and intimate. We only invited our family and close friends or else we would have loved to include your date. Thank you for understanding. We can’t wait to see you at the wedding!”

Wedding Invitation Plus One Wording

Not sure how to address the plus one situation on your wedding invitations? You’ll have to keep in mind the guest’s relationship status, how direct you want to be, and what you know about the plus one. Below are some tips for wording your wedding invitations for plus ones.

Wedding Invitation and Stationery

How to Address Plus One on Wedding Invitations

The way you’ll address your wedding invitations depends a lot on your guest’s relationship with their plus one. 

If you’re addressing a…

  • Married couple: you’ll just write one invitation with both of their names on the envelope and inside the invitation. Take note of whether they share a last name or not.
  • Couple that live together: you can write one invitation to their home with both of their names on the envelope and invitation.
  • Couple who doesn’t live together: try to send each of them their own invitation. If you don’t have both of their addresses, send one invite to the primary guest with both of their names on the inside.
  • Couple who you’re unsure about their relationship status: you can avoid some uncomfortable moments by addressing your primary guest with “and Guest” as you would if you didn’t know their name.

Kennedy Blue Bridesmaid Dancing with Her Wedding Date

Addressing a Plus One When You Don’t Know Their Name

Some of your single guests may be bringing a casual date to the wedding or just may not know who they’re bringing yet. In these cases, simply write their full name “and Guest” on the invitations and only write the primary guest’s full name on the outer envelope. For the RSVP card, leave space for them to fill in the name of their guest so you can write their name correctly on the seating chart, place cards, and thank you notes. 

If you don’t like the idea of addressing the invitation to “_____ and Guest” then you could always add a note at the end of the invitation saying, “You are invited to bring a guest.” You could also opt to put this information on the RSVP card.

Polite “No Plus Ones” Wording for Wedding Invitations

Bride and Groom at the Alter

For guests who don’t get a plus one, you’ll simply write the invitation as you normally would. You don’t need to note that they don’t get a plus one. Just make sure the invitation is addressed to only one person. To add extra clarity, you can put the number of people invited on everyone’s RSVP cards: “We have reserved __ seat(s) in your honor.” You can also make sure the RSVP card has their name already filled in so they can’t fill in an extra name.

Etiquette for Plus Ones at a Wedding

If you’ve been invited to a wedding as a plus one, keep some etiquette in mind. You’ll want to make sure you make a good impression on the bride and groom on their special day. Remember, you’re a guest of a guest so try to be extra polite. We’ve got some tips for you to make sure you’re everyone’s favorite plus one!

  1. RSVP properly. The person who invited you needs to RSVP for both of you. Make sure they RSVP as early as they can, spell your name correctly, and choose the correct meal options.
  2. Show up. The bride and groom pay for every seat and meal they reserve at their wedding. Don’t agree to be a plus one if there’s doubt that you’ll make it.
  3. Minimize your phone use. It’s polite to be present when you’re meeting new people. Plus, you wouldn’t want to be the one to post something on your socials that the couple didn’t want online.
  4. Drink in moderation. Have a great time with your new friends at the wedding, just try not to take it too far. Don’t make your first impression being overly intoxicated.
  5. Consider contributing to the gift. If you know the bride and groom or if you’re just feeling generous, you can chip in for the wedding gift. You’re not obligated to do so but it’s a nice gesture!
  6. Dress appropriately. We’re not saying you can’t wear something cute. Just make sure you wear something that fits the designated dress code and isn’t overly revealing or attention-grabbing. 
  7. Introduce yourself. The best way to make friends is to be friendly of course. Don’t feel too much pressure though, your date will likely introduce you to most of the people at the wedding.
Wedding Seating Chart for Guests

Create Your Wedding Plus One Policy

At the end of the day the plus one list is completely up to you and your future spouse. You decide whether your wedding budget allows for your guests to bring plus ones or not. Keep things fair by coming up with a policy. Decide whether your wedding party, close friends, single friends, or only married friends get a plus one and use that policy for everyone invited. After that, inviting plus ones will be a breeze.

Still struggling with your wedding invitations? Check out our guide to everything you need to know about writing wedding invitations.

Wedding Invitation Etiquette Blog

Important Wedding Invitation Etiquette You Need To Know

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