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Wedding Plus One Etiquette: Everything You Need to Know

If you’re in the process of planning your wedding, you well know that one of the most stressful aspects is putting together the guest list. With that comes the option for plus ones for your guests.

But if you have a limited guest list, who should you give the option for a plus one? What is the proper plus one etiquette for weddings?

If you’re a guest and are unsure if you’re welcome to bring someone, it can be pretty awkward to have to ask the couple’s permission. And if you are offered a plus one, and don’t know who to bring, that can be pretty stressful!

This article covers wedding plus one etiquette from both perspectives. Learn how to decide who gets a plus one and what to do as a guest if you’re not sure if you can bring a date.

What is a Plus One?

A plus one means that you can bring a date to the wedding. Some couples are invited as a pair, but in some cases, the bride and groom invite their friends with the option to bring anyone as a date.

If you are given a plus one, you can choose to bring a date to the wedding. If you are not, you should not bring a date.


Plus One Etiquette For the Bride and Groom

bride and groom dance

One of the most exciting and important parts of planning your wedding is putting together the guest list. From family members to best friends, picking all the people who you want to share your special day with is a meaningful moment.

However, if you’re trying to limit the guest list, knowing who to give the opportunity to bring a date can be difficult. Without trying to seem rude, it’s understandable to want to keep your private affair small. For more on inviting plus ones to your wedding, read more.


Who Gets a Plus One Invitation?

There are some general guidelines for who to give a plus one. For example, if a friend of yours is married, their spouse should definitely still get an invite, even if you’re not as close with them.

The same goes for friends in serious long-term relationships– if they live together, they should get a plus one.

You can also grant plus ones to important guests, even if they’re a casual dater or a single person. For example, the wedding party should all definitely get a plus one.

It’s also good form to grant a plus one to a friend that may not know a lot of people at the wedding, so they don’t have to fend entirely for themselves.


How to Word Plus One Invitations

wedding invite

When adding a plus one offer to your invitation, be sure to make very clear exactly who is invited. If your invitations are being sent by mail in an envelope, be sure to address it to everyone in the household that you’re inviting– even kids and plus ones.

For example, if you are inviting a friend in a long term relationship, you might address the card: Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Doe. 

If you’re giving a plus one to someone who is not in a serious relationship, you can address it to the person and add “and date“.

On the inside, make sure it’s addressed to all the names as well. If you have a response card for the RSVP and dinner choices, ensure that there is a spot for each person to say if they are coming and what they would like to eat. This will make it abundantly clear who in the household is invited.

Again, if you don’t know who your guest will bring, you should also leave a space for them to write the name of their guest. That way, you can include the date’s name on seating charts and any other personalized touches at the wedding.


Who Doesn’t Need a Plus One

For the rough part– who doesn’t get a plus one? Well, just as important guests who are casual daters may get one, less “important” guests with a similar dating style can be forgone.

Non-bridal party members like old friends and coworkers do not need a plus one offer, though it’s a nice thing to do if it’s within budget.

It’s also important to account for how many other people at the wedding each guest will know. If they’re a member of your larger friend group that will all be at the wedding, then you can presume that they’ll have plenty of fun without a plus one.

If they’re someone with less ties to others in your life, then offering the plus one might make them feel more comfortable.


Plus One Etiquette for Guests

engagement party ideas

If a friend of yours is throwing the wedding bash of the century and you’re prepping to go, you might be more preoccupied with finding the right dress and scheduling travel plans.

However, whether or not you have a plus one, and who to bring if you do, will be instrumental in your experience. Read further if you’re unsure about plus one etiquette as a wedding guest.


Who to Bring as Your Plus One

wedding plus one

So you were offered a plus one– congratulations! This may mean that you’re someone the couple holds close to their hearts. If you’re not married or in a serious relationship, though, you may be wondering who you should bring.

Even though it’s a classic rom-com trope to date around in search of a perfect wedding date, if you just haven’t met the one yet, it shouldn’t be that high pressure. Bring a good friend, or even ask your crush!

Just be sure to bring someone you’ll have fun with and who can be a good sport meeting people they may not know.


How to Ask to Bring a Date

girl on phone

If you’re not sure if you can bring a plus one, the best thing to do is just to be honest with the couple about it. Reach out and politely say that you weren’t sure if a plus one was welcome based on the invitation and that you’re unsure how to RSVP.

Whatever their answer is, be understanding, and know that planning a wedding is full of tough decisions.


How To Decline a Plus One

If you were offered a plus one, but you don’t have a date to bring, it’s perfectly fine to decline your plus one. When you RSVP, simply mark down that your date will not be in attendance.

If there isn’t a spot to notify the couple of that decision, consider giving them a call or emailing to let them know.


Can I Bring a Date Without a Plus One?

No, you should never bring a date to a wedding if you were not offered a plus one. The bride and groom have a limited number of seats, food, and more, and most venues charge a price per head. Bringing a date uninvited is rude!


What to Do If You Don’t have a Plus One

dancing at wedding

If you didn’t get the invitation to bring a plus one, don’t despair! There are plenty of ways to have fun at a wedding solo.

Try to hang out with your mutual friends with the couple and get to know some of the other people in their lives. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet the perfect plus one for the next wedding at the singles table!


More About Wedding Guest Lists

Here at Yeah Weddings, we’re here for all of your wedding planning needs. Use our tips on wedding plus one etiquette to create your guest list or to choose a date for an upcoming wedding!

For more on wedding planning, get started here.

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Katie Sheets

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