Creating your guest list is probably one of the most difficult wedding planning tasks you’ll face. Besides thinking of all the friends, family members, distant relatives, neighbors, and coworkers who might want to share this day with you, you also have to consider the extra guests— the “plus-ones.” Review these guidelines to determine when not to permit a plus-one, and when to extend the courtesy.
Who Gets a Plus One?
First, let’s talk about who definitely gets a plus-one. There are certain situations in which a plus one is appropriate, even essential.
Anyone in the Wedding Party
Each of your bridesmaids, groomsmen, and other wedding party members should be given the courtesy of a plus-one. If they don’t want to bring a date, that’s perfectly fine— but they should be allowed the option. After all, they are giving up time, energy, and resources to help you celebrate on your big day.
Married couples should be invited to the wedding together. If you’re good friends with one and not the other spouse, you still need to invite both of them.
Engaged, Cohabiting, or Long-Term Couples
Anyone who is engaged, living with a significant other, or engaged in a long-term relationship (more than a year) should be able to bring their special someone to your wedding. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never met the other individual— it’s still a matter of politeness, thoughtfulness, and respect. By extending a extra guest invitation, you’re recognizing their commitment to each other.
Who Doesn’t Get a Plus One?
Some of your guests don’t technically need a plus-one, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about refraining from giving them the option. If your budget is tight or you simply don’t want a lot of people you don’t know at your wedding, you can tighten your extra guest guidelines even further than this.
People Dating Casually
When it comes to friends and relatives, it can be tough to keep track of who’s in a serious relationship and who isn’t. If you know for a fact that someone you plan to invite is only dating casually, there’s no need to offer that person a plus-one.
This is especially true if the single person is familiar with some of the other guests at the wedding. As long as your single guests will have social options, you’re not obligated to extend a plus-one.
People You Work With
You don’t have to invite your coworkers to your wedding. In fact, inviting people from work can get tricky and expensive very quickly. At the same time, you do spend hours every week with these folks, and it’s likely that you have some good friends among them.
If you’re inviting friends from work, apply the same rule to the entire group. You don’t have to give any of them a plus-one, but if you decide to do it for one coworker, extend the courtesy to all of them to avoid hard feelings. If you’re inviting your boss, it’s advisable but not essential to offer him or her a plus-one.
If possible, try to identify the plus-ones ahead of time so you can put their names on the RSVP card. That way, the limits of the invitation are clear, and none of your guests can try to squeeze in multiple “plus-ones.”