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Dear Inspired: How do I deal with the "plus-one" issue?

Posted by Casey Harrison  April 15, 2013 11:11 AM

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Hello Ladies!

We are inviting about 250 guests to our wedding this year, and are paying for most of the wedding ourselves. Over much debate, we made a financial decision to invite our guests without a + 1 (unless they are engaged/married or we are close friends with both parties).

In good intentions, some of the guests we invited have brought up in conversation: "Hey guys! Your wedding is going to be awesome! My boyfriend/ girlfriend ______ is super excited to come!" Although, on the save the date/invitation, their +1 was not listed. This happens quite often in social settings recently, and to not hurt feelings, our guest list keeps growing.

Is there a tactful way to express that we are not inviting +1's to our wedding when someone brings it up in conversation? Or, should we let more love surround us that day, and move around our budget to accommodate unexpected +1s?

Plus-One Perplexed

Dear Perplexed,

This is a great question - the "and guest" debate can get pretty heated! The standard etiquette is that spouses, fiances, and live-in partners should be invited to attend the wedding. From there, it is up to the discretion of the bride and groom. Long-term boyfriends or girlfriends are up to you, but it's usually a good idea to make one rule and stick with it to keep things fair.

Since it is your wedding (and your budget), you are definitely not being unfair by mentioning it to them. It's possible that they just didn't look closely at the invitation and didn't realize that they weren't asked to bring a date. Anna Post says in the famous Emily Post guidelines, "It's not okay for guests to ask you to make exceptions, so it won't be rude in the least to stand by your guest list." Of course you can do this as politely as possible, simply by letting them know that you wish you could accommodate their date, but your budget simply won't allow for it. As friends of yours, they should understand!

Best of luck!

P.S. It's not an official rule, but I always think it's kind to make an exception for someone who won't know anyone else at the wedding. Receptions can be lonely without a dance partner! :)

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About the Authors

Becca Olcott has a thing for old love letters and good old-fashioned romance. Bringing daily wedding updates and advice is second nature to Becca. She spends her days working with the brides of New England designing tablescapes full of lush florals and antique gems through her business Petal Floral Design.
Casey Harrison is a wedding and portrait photographer in the lovely city of Boston. She spends her days scouting the countryside for beautiful locations for shoots and taking photos of couples in love through her business Hello Love Photography.

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