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I want a plus-one

Posted by Meredith Goldstein  March 7, 2013 09:23 AM

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This is barely a Love Letter, but it's save-the-date season so I'm getting a lot of these. Let's discuss and get it over with.

I actually have a date with Miss Conduct tonight. I'm sure we'll debate this issue. (Yes, we hang out and talk about you.)


Q: Dear Meredith,

I'm writing this letter as wedding season approaches and invitations are starting to be sent out. I guess I just want to get awareness out there, as well as hear your feedback and the feedback of the readers.

To give a little bit of background about myself, I am a single female in my late 20s. I am of the age where all of my friends are either married or engaged. I have been in a multiple weddings in past years, and this year I am in four weddings, which is what is magnifying this issue.

I would like to review the plus-one wedding guest policy. As weddings have become more and more expensive, guests are no longer given plus ones. Most couples create a cut-off time frame, such as six months. If you have been dating for less than six months, then no plus one. This helps keep costs of the wedding down and allows the reception to be more intimate.

As a single member of the wedding party, I almost never receive a plus-one. It's something that is very disappointing, because although I don't have a significant other, it doesn't mean that I wouldn't enjoy having a date to the wedding.

Most people’s advice would be, "Go, enjoy yourself, and you never know who you are going to meet." The weddings that I am a part of are all close friends. Close friends that can't understand why I'm still single. Close friends that have set me up with any possible single acquaintance they have because they don't like to see me alone. So it's not a matter of maybe I'll meet someone at the wedding. I know everyone attending. And thanks to not being able to invite a date, I get faced with uncomfortable situations like being the only other single person in addition to the person I was set up with awkwardly a year ago.

Everyone claims cost as a major issue. But what about the cost that I've spent? Realistically, being in a wedding costs on average $1,000. Between all of the gifts, the hair, the nails, the dress, the Bachelorette party. If you are the one throwing the shower, or if any travel is involved, these are additional costs. So I don't know if it's just me, but I find it a little insulting when I'm told I don't know how much weddings cost. I have a pretty good idea if I'm spending $1000-$2000, and it's not my wedding. I also find it a little disappointing that I am spending that kind of money to be in the wedding, and I don't even get to bring a guest.

The other argument that people make against plus-ones are that people don't want people at their wedding that they don't know. I can understand this to a certain extent, but at the same time, how much do you value and respect your guests, their judgement, and their enjoyment of your big day?

I know most people will tell me that the real issue is that I am not okay with being single. I would obviously like to meet someone and have taken multiple steps in an effort to meet new people both in a relationship sense and as friends. I've accepted the fact that I will meet someone when I meet someone, and it's not something to rush or stress over. But just because I'm OK with being single, doesn't mean that I wouldn't enjoy having a friend to get dressed up and share a special occasion with.

I guess I'm just looking for feedback as well as to get my voice heard, because I can only imagine that others out there can relate.

– 8 Dresses and Counting, Boston


A: Trust me, I understand all sides of this debate (she says, standing in front of a closet of dresses). But you can't have a plus-one just because you want company. You've been invited to someone else's party. The hosts make the rules. It's their day. I like the six-month policy.

Keep in mind that it's just one night. And if this is really about money, please know that you have every right to say no to bridesmaid duties or going to a wedding at all if you can't afford it. That's in your control.

I know it's tough to be the odd man out, but you must understand that couples often have to invite a list of unknown guests to please family members. Sometimes these couples are barely in charge of making their own guest lists.

I promise you -- this phase of life will pass. And I'm with you -- it seems unfair to have to be alone. Just remember what's up to you. You don't have to do things you can't afford, and you can always treat yourself well when you're at these events. Once you get there, it's free food, time with close friends, and a night of memories. Focus on that if you can.

I'm sorry. No plus-one for you.

Readers? Am I right? How do you deal with weddings alone? Should the plus-one policy change? Can she say no to some of these expenses? Is this just about her being sad because she's single? Any advice for single people during wedding season? Discuss.

– Meredith



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ABOUT LOVE LETTERS: Welcome to Love Letters, the place for love advice (giving and getting). Globe relationship columnist Meredith Goldstein and Boston.com readers are ready to take your letters and tell you what's what. Have a question? Click here to submit or email us at loveletters@boston.com.
Blogger Meredith Goldstein

Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith at www.meredithgoldstein.netand on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.

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