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Is it Time to Ditch the Plus One Rule?


In this new era of streamlined weddings and micro-ceremonies, we ask: Do you HAVE to give everyone a plus-one?

It’s got to be one of the most difficult things about wedding planning! Every bride ends up writing and rewriting their guest list over and over again, desperately trying to pare it down to manageable proportions. You tend to forget how many plus ones you will need to add to your wedding numbers!

Sooner or later, you are going to ask yourself WHY exactly are you having to invite all these plus-ones to your wedding! They tend to be people who you don’t know and who will take up much-needed table space, particularly at a time when wedding sizes could be constrained. You can’t help but wonder if your plus ones particularly want to be there.

Usually, if a guest is offered a plus-one to a wedding, they will bring a spouse or partner. If they aren’t seeing anyone, they might bring a friend along.

In days gone by, the traditional rule of thumb was that if the bride’s mother didn’t know you, you didn’t get a wedding invitation – but these days it’s more about what the bride and groom want to do.

It might not be realistic to give everyone a plus-one, but we have heard of some couples who don’t allow any plus-ones at all – and that will be a recipe for offending a lot of friends and family.

So should you invite plus-ones that you don’t know? Plus-ones of friends? Plus-ones who have only been dating for a short time?

It’s a no-brainer that married and engaged couples should always benefit from a plus-one invitation, even if you don’t know their other half.

And most of the time you don’t really have to offer single friends a plus-one, unless they don’t know anyone else there.

You really should invite couples who are in a serious relationship – but how do you decide what that is?

We did a quick straw poll of some of our readers and many felt that couples should only get a plus-one if they’ve been seeing each other for a year or more.

A few felt they shouldn’t have to pay for the meal of someone they don’t know. But most don’t mind throwing open the doors to lots of strangers even if they have to pay extra – the consensus from our Wedding Journal brides is that guests should have a friend with them in case they don’t know anyone there!

So get back to that wedding list – it looks like you will have to add on a few more covers!

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