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“Planning a wedding is so stressful!” If you’ve never planned one, it’s easy to scoff at this statement. But if you’re newly engaged, you’re probably understanding it for the very first time. You’re probably understanding it because you’ve gotten to one of the earliest stresses in the game: crafting your guest list. Between family, friends, obligatory second-cousins, and plus-ones, keeping your wedding smaller than your high school graduating class is hard. You’re probably looking to hand out as few additional invites as possible. So who should get a plus-one? What are the rules?
Your wedding is a special day for you, and you probably want to spend it with people you actually know. Remember that it’s also an important day for your family and friends. Many of them will be traveling to celebrate you, and most of them will be investing some sort of money in your future. You definitely shouldn’t feel obligated to invite anyone you despise, nor should you feel obligated to give everyone a plus-one. Etiquette says that both parties of a married couple should be invited to your wedding no matter what, but there are people in long-term relationships and even single friends you might want to give a plus-one to.
If you’re struggling to sort out who does and does not get a plus-one to a wedding, here are some guidelines to help you out.
1. Married, Engaged, And Cohabitating Couples
Traditionally, any married, engaged, or cohabitating couples receive a plus-one to a wedding. Both of these peoples’ names should be on the envelope, even if you have to do a little Instagram research to see who your long-lost college roomie is actually living with these days.
2. Your Bridesmaids Or Groomsmen
It doesn’t matter if your friend and bridesmaid is serially single — after all she has done for you, it’s only right to give her a plus-one. It’s a great way to show your appreciation. Plus, your super single bridesmaid probably won’t subject a random Tinder date to hanging alone while you all take picture together. It’s all about the gesture.
3. Singles Who Won’t Know A Single Soul
Maybe you lived in Paris for a while — lucky you — and you made a great friend who’s flying to the States for your wedding. Give her a plus-one. Think about which singles you are inviting to your wedding won’t have anyone they know to meet up with. How would you feel in their shoes? Pretty darn awkward. It’s kind to offer some singles a plus-one, especially if you’re having a destination wedding that requires they get a hotel.
But at the end of the day, you don’t have to go overboard on the plus-ones. You aren’t obligated to give everyone who gave you a plus-one to their wedding a plus-one to your wedding. You aren’t even obligated to give your friend’s non-live-in boyfriend a plus one. That said, if it’s possible for you to add “and Guest” to the front of an adult invitee’s envelope, do it, if only as a courtesy. It’s 2018, “no ring, no bring” is v. passé. Remember that most of your single guests will appreciate your offer of a plus-one enormously, but won’t just bring someone random to fill a seat. Cheers!
Written by: Kimmy Foskett