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How to navigate plus ones at your wedding

Updated: May 18, 2022

To invite or not to invite – that is always the question.

Guest lists can be tricky.

From your childhood friends to your extended family to your parents’ lifelong coworkers, there can be a lot of moving pieces when it comes to deciding who does and who doesn’t get an invite. However, nothing causes more second-guessing than plus ones.

Giving your guests the option of bringing someone with them can wreak havoc on things like your floor plan, seating chart, and the cost of catering – especially when those plus ones are confirmed last minute or think it’s the perfect opportunity to take advantage of an open bar.

That’s why our team of coordinators have put their heads together to come up with a few ways to determine whether someone deserves an extra invite or not.


Guests who need a plus one

Married couples or serious relationships → if someone is married or in a long-term relationship, they absolutely should be given a plus one! This is even more important if both you and your spouse have met the guest’s partner. Chances are that you were already planning to invite them anyway but just in case you were on the fence about it, take our advice and make sure they know their partner is welcome!

That being said, be sure to put both names on the invite. Otherwise, you might end up with a friend of a cousin who is looking for something fun to do on a Saturday night if the husband comes down with the flu.

Out-of-towners → oftentimes some of your closest friends and family are coming from out town to help celebrate your wedding day. If that’s the case, these guests should most definitely be given the chance to bring someone with them. This goes for guests who either moved away from the area or never lived here to begin with. In both cases, they won’t know anyone but you and your spouse, so give them the option of bringing someone who can keep them company and ensure they have the best time possible celebrating your big day.

Our only exception to this rule would be a family of out-of-towners. If they’re all traveling together, they can do without plus ones.

Lone wolves → sometimes you might have a close friend, family member, co-worker, or yoga buddy who lives nearby but doesn’t necessarily know anyone else at your wedding. In that case, the same rules apply as for the out-of-towners! Make it possible for these guests to truly enjoy themselves by creating space for them to bring a friend. Who knows? You might just end up making a new friend yourself!

A couple dancing at a wedding reception

Photo by The Collectiv

Guests who don’t need a plus one

Casual daters → sometimes your friends are just having fun and meeting lots of people. However, at the end of the day you don’t owe them a plus one just because they’re seeing someone new. If a casual dater also happens to fall into one of the previous categories, then it is totally your call on whether you’d like to extend them a plus one invite.

Last minute invites → listen, we get it – sometimes you end up inviting a couple of people who didn’t make the A list because other people couldn't make it. In these cases, they’re just lucky to be invited themselves and have no business expecting a plus one from you. (And if they try to bring one, I’m sure your wedding party would love to talk to them for you.)


At the end of the day, it’s your wedding

Whether you heed our advice or not, the most important thing to remember is that your wedding day is all about you, your partner, and what you both want. This includes who is sitting where at dinner and who gets an invite.

So if you don’t want someone there? Don’t invite them! It’s as simple as that.

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