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Ask a Bride: What is the Etiquette for Plus-Ones?

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Q: Do I have to let all of my guests bring a plus-one? How do I decide who gets to bring someone?

A: The short answer is no. Plus-one invitations are tricky and each situation is different. Guests who are married, engaged or living together should definitely be invited as a pair, but even then the rules aren’t entirely rigid.

Start by taking an inventory of your proposed guest list and calculate the total head count both with plus-ones and without. Extra guests means more money is going into the wedding, so if your budget is tight, it will pay to closely examine any plus-ones you have listed.

I have personally debated the plus-one question regarding single friends with my fiancé, and while I think we’ll end up giving people at least the option of bringing someone (though it’s unlikely everyone will take the offer), my gut reaction was thinking I didn’t want to have a bunch of complete strangers at our wedding.

Whatever your strategy may be, be consistent – either give every person a plus-one, or have guidelines. Perhaps plus-ones are only given to close family members or members of the bridal party. Or maybe you break it down to age groups, like plus-ones only for those over 18, for example.

Also consider that without a plus-one, some guests may not know anyone else at the party, which can happen if you’re inviting an old childhood friend or a co-worker from years ago. For me, many of my single friends are already friends with a number of other guests, so I know they’ll still have fun going solo.

Overall, there are no hard and fast rules about plus-ones. Just be sure to be clear with your guests in the invitation if they’re allowed to bring someone.

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Tags: advice, faq, guests