If you’re planning a wedding, you’re bound to come up against this common challenge: plus ones. Plus ones can be tricky. You may have a set budget, which could mean a limited amount of guests. However, you don’t want to be rude to your guests’ significant others. How do you deal with plus ones? Read on to find out.
Plus One FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
What’s the rule of thumb with plus ones?Generally, it’s only expected that you allow a plus one if the couple has been together long-term. But how long is long-term? It’s not always black and white—some couples can date for years before considering themselves “serious,” while other couples are engaged after less than a year of dating! Use your judgement on a case-by-case basis when it comes to guests in relationships. One year is a good rule of thumb to determine who should be included if you’re unsure. If your guest is engaged, living with their partner, or would consider themselves in a long-term relationship, you should probably invite their significant other. If your 17-year-old cousin wants to bring her boyfriend of three weeks, it’s okay to politely say no. And this may go without saying, but it is generally expected that you invite both halves of a married couple!
Should I mention plus ones in my save the dates or invitations?Yes. If you’re not planning on inviting plus ones, make that very clear on your save the dates and invitations. If you will be allowing plus ones, it might be a good idea to include an RSVP card with your invitations. This way, you can leave a space for your guest to write the names of who will be attending with him or her. When you get your RSVPs back, keep an eye on who is planning on bringing a guest. You’ll want to make sure you have everyone’s name (and look out for anyone who tries to cram two or three extra names on their RSVP card)!
What language can I use on the save the dates or invitations?In addition to including an RSVP card with room for two, you should also be intentional about whom you address the invitation to. If the invitation is addressed to “Jen Smith and Steven Jones” or “Jen Smith and Guest” it’s clear that the couple is being invited. However, if it’s only addressed to “Jen Smith,” that’s one more respectful clue to your guest that her plus one is not included.
What about parents with kids?This is a somewhat separate issue, but you don’t have to invite children just because you’re inviting the parent. While it’s nice to be able to include the kids, it’s not uncommon to invite the adults only. Be clear in your save the dates and invitations if you want to invite children or not. An invitation for “The Smith Family” clearly includes everyone, but if you only want to invite Mr. and Mrs. Smith, it might be a good idea to include some text that says “adults only” clearly on the invitation.
What if I’m unsure of whether someone will bring a plus one?
Unfortunately, you can’t control everyone and may need to be prepared for some surprises. However, if there’s someone you think may try to bring a date, try to talk to your guest ahead of time to clearly communicate what you’re thinking. Again, we can’t stress enough how important it is to include your plus one policy on your invitations and save the dates. This will help set the right expectation.
What are some good reasons not to invite plus ones?If you’re getting caught in a guilt trap because you feel like you “have to” invite someone’s plus one, try to remind yourself of valid reasons not to:
- Your venue has a maximum capacity that you need to stay within.
- You have a set budget, and every extra head means extra money on your bill. In some cases, keeping the guest list small can literally save you thousands of dollars!
- If the couple has not been together long-term, it’s not required.
- If everyone has a plus one, it may be harder for the single people to mingle and enjoy themselves.
- Just because you were invited as a plus one to someone’s wedding does not mean you have to return the favor.
What are some other circumstances where you should invite a plus one?There are a few circumstances where you may want to consider bending the rules a bit to allow your guest to bring another guest. Here are a few reasons:
- If your guest is from out of town or doesn’t know many people at the wedding, it may make him or her more comfortable to bring a friend.
- Your wedding party generally gets a pass to bring a plus one, regardless of their relationship statuses.
- If you get a few people who RSVP “no,” this can open up your guest list to allow a few extra people. If you don’t have a dedicated B-list, you can allow a few extra plus ones.
- If your wedding is outdoors where there are no capacity limits (and having extra guests doesn’t cost you anything more), you may want to consider being more lenient with your plus one policy.