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The "Plus 1" Dilemma - Should Guests Be Invited to Bring a Guest?

You’re looking for ways to save on your wedding budget and one of the most logical places to look is at your guest list. Obviously the number of guests you invite is going to dramatically affect your overall wedding expenses so you are wondering whether it’s necessary to allow single guests to invite a “Plus 1” to your wedding.

The only way to deal with this is to set some hard rules about who gets a “Plus 1” invitation. When you’re juggling the potential implications of a “Plus 1” dilemma, there are ways to keep the peace among family and friends and still hold down your bottom line.

For instance, inviting someone who is married to bring their spouse is a no-brainer.

Think about it. You’re about to be part of a married couple. Would you resent receiving an invitation to an event such as a wedding where your spouse wasn’t invited? Of course you would. And, also, etiquette would dictate that you include the names of both married guests on the invitation or at least to address them as Mr. and Mrs. so technically it’s not a “Plus 1” situation rather than an invitation sent to a couple.

But where do you draw the line with people who aren’t legally bound together without causing hard feelings.

Plus 1 Rules

Here are the most common “Plus 1” rules where a technically single guest should receive an invitation that reads “and Guest.”

1. If the couple is engaged.

2. If the couple is living together.

Additional Plus 1 Possibilities

1. You may have an elderly or disabled guest who routinely needs a nursing aide or a relative to help them in their home or when they are out. You should, of course, allow them to bring a guest to help them if they will require assistance.

2. The person will be the only “single” at your wedding.

Wedding Party Attendant Guests

1. As a courtesy and a “thank you” to your bridal attendants, you should allow them to bring a guest even if they don’t normally fit into the “Plus 1 Rules.”

2. The potential exception to that rule would be when all of your attendants will be sitting together at the dais and they won’t be able to sit with their guest anyway. Of course, if they otherwise fit into the “Plus 1” rules, then whether they will be seated together or not, your attendant should include a “Plus 1” on their invitation.

The Bottom Line

If you are firm with the rules you establish then guests cannot take offense at your inclusion or exclusion of a “Plus 1” invitation. Just make sure that you choose your determining factors carefully and you don’t allow there to be any exceptions because if you allow one guest to bring a “Plus 1” that doesn’t fit into your established rules, you are only asking for resentment and possible confrontations.

Choosing your guest list is one of the more difficult duties a couple must face during their wedding planning especially when they are on a budget. However, with a firm set of guidelines on the “Plus 1” question, you can easily avoid this particular predicament.


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