The details that go into a wedding are endless, and some newly engaged people could be a little overwhelmed. One big stressor that I’ve received complaints about is planning a guest list. Some couples have huge families who all expect to be invited, others have tight budgets and need to be cautious about how many guests they have in attendance. The best way to manipulate your guest list by following plus-one etiquette.
photo by Secret Garden
Eliminate Guest List Stress with Plus-One Etiquette Rules
While it is ultimately a personal decision when creating a rule, you can use the traditional guest etiquette to create your plus-one rule. Here are the guests who should, according to plus-one etiquette, receive an invitation for an additional guest.
It is polite to invite the spouse even if you don’t have a close relationship with them, or even if you’ve never met them. Just think ahead to after your wedding. Wouldn’t you wish to dance the night away with your spouse? Including a plus-one is respectful of their relationship.
Again, it is a thoughtful gesture to include a plus-one when someone is in a serious relationship. Everyone’s relationship is a little different, so they could be just as committed as a married couple minus a ring.
If you choose to have a wedding party, it is important to give them the opportunity to bring a guest. Wedding parties often put forward a lot of time and money to be included in your wedding. Pay a part of that forward by giving them the choice to bring a guest.
Have someone who isn’t familiar with your other guests? Provide them with a plus-one. This will keep them from feeling awkward or leaving earlier than the rest of your guests.
photo by Emma Bauso
It is inevitable that someone will reach out to you if they did not get the opportunity to bring a guest and wish to have one. By making a clear plus-one rule, you can respond politely with a reason why you did not allow an additional guest. “Only family and the wedding party is receiving a plus-one,” or “I’m sorry, we only gave a plus-one to people who are married or in a serious relationship.”
Be realistic about your guest list when deciding who gets a plus-one. Remember, each plate has a price tag, so your budget needs to accommodate for everyone that attends. Trimming the fat from the guests of invitees will be the easiest way to get your guest list down if you’ve gone over. Change your rule and remove whomever you can if you have gone too far over your intended number of people to invite.
Make sure you include either the name of a plus-one on the invitation or write “Guest” with the person you are inviting. Including the name of a plus-one will help reduce the amount of invitation-swapping and reduce the cost of your wedding if that specific guest cannot attend. If names are printed on response cards, it will serve as a helpful reminder that only those people are invited. Many wedding guests are not aware of the etiquette they need to follow when receiving an invitation or attending a wedding, so the more clear you can be, the better.
This may be a big forward, but avoid drama when choosing who gets a plus-one. If you have a friend who has a rowdy boyfriend, only give your friend the invitation. You may need to have a slightly delicate conversation with why they did not get a plus-one, but it will save you a big headache by being prudent.
Alli Dillenbeckis a wedding coordinator and marketing manager in Upstate NY. When she is not planning events, she is often tending to her large collection of plants.