The Plus One Debate
This topic often makes people feel a little uncomfortable so let’s tackle it head-on. Who should get a plus-one to your wedding?
There are many different ways to approach this, and as usual I will say that there is no right answer. Simply put, the more guests you invite the more money you’re spending, and vice versa. A plus one can often cost the bride and groom an extra £100. So it’s up to you to decide what your budget will be and where to draw the lines in terms of attendance. If you want 1,000 people to attend your big day, and you can afford it, then by all means go right ahead. I may say a silent ‘thank you’ that I won’t be planning it, but I digress.
However, for those of you who are being led by feelings of guilt on this issue because you don’t want to upset any of your friends then that’s a different issue, and one I am here to help you resolve! You’re not alone by the way.... Our very own Kate and Wills faced the same headache for their wedding so you’re in good company.
So, let’s look to the general consensus as to what is considered acceptable. If the friend or family member you are inviting is married, engaged or in a long-term relationship then their partner gets an invite too.
But for guests who just have a fairly new relationship or who would most likely be alone at the wedding without bringing someone along, what’s the 411?
I would advocate viewing the situation on a case-by-case basis and making a decision based on each guest. If your friend you have known since you were 4 is coming to your wedding but doesn’t know your immediate bigger circle of friends then let her invite a date. You want her to feel comfortable at the end of the day. However, your 17 year old cousin who has been dating her boyfriend for 6 months and you’ve never met him does not need the same extension granted.
The one thing I would say, which may prove to be a tad controversial, is that the plus-one invitation should only be extended to partners or dates. I totally get the fact that weddings, being all about love, make people feel a bit romantic, and it can feel a little lonely for a guest to be there without a date when they are surrounded by couples on all sides. I’ve been there, I don’t like it and I wouldn’t want any guests at my wedding feeling the same. But to bring a friend? Weddings, when we’re a guest, rarely make us feel lonely and full of feels because our bestie isn’t sitting beside us. It’s just a bit ridiculous, in my opinion, for someone to need to bring a sidekick along. How old are we? Surely we’re all of the age now where we can turn up to a wedding where we don’t know anyone and have a little mingle.
Stuck for a bit of conversation? Just ask the people you’re talking to how they know the bride and groom. You never know what stories you might hear and after a couple of glasses of champagne you’ll forget that you even felt daunted by the prospect of turning up alone.
As the bride and groom, you can aid your friends who you are not granting a plus-one to, by manipulating the seating plan in their favour. Put them on a table where you know they’ll be with people with common interests, or with people who will make an effort to include them. Up for a little matchmaking? Sit your single friend Susie next to your groom’s hot friend Sam and they’ll both be thanking you for the non-offer of a plus one at the end of the night.
Here is a takeaway check-list of things to take into account when deciding who gets to bring a plus-one:
How far are they travelling? If they are coming to your wedding from another part of the country and are having to stay in a hotel overnight then I would say the nice thing to do is to let them bring a partner to keep them company on the way to-and-fro, even if they’re not in, what you would consider, a long-term relationship.
Is your guest in question likely to be happier if they have a plus-one with them? We don’t want any Debbie Downers at the wedding to distract your attention from all the happiness around you, and so if you think allowing them to bring a date will stop them looking miserable all day, just do it.
How much is the cost of each guest per head? If you genuinely can’t decide whether to allow plus-ones then let this be the deciding factor. Money talks and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t listen. If plus-ones are going to double your catering cost then go for the more intimate option and opt for some entertainment that will keep your guests busy and distracted from feeling alone.
The main thing is to not let anyone make you feel guilty for your decisions. Your guests should be thrilled to be invited to your wedding; end of story, and you have waaaaaay too much to think about to get bogged down worrying about this.
Put your big girl panties on and deal with it!