How to tell your guests they don't get a +1

Updated Nov 6 2019
These RSVP cards are start of the Wisteria invite suite from Minted.
These RSVP cards are start of the Wisteria invite suite from Minted.

Hi, Offbeat Bride!We're trying to keep our wedding guest list below 150 people — which turns out is really difficult.

Do you think not giving my single friends a plus one is tacky?


Ok, so first thing's first: yes, it's tacky. IT'S ALL TACKY! Whatever you do for your wedding, someone will judge it, someone will think it's tacky, and someone will be upset. You can't avoid it, so just be accountable for your choices, and accept that you're doing the best you can.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, let's get to your issue: how can you tell your beloved friends that you really want THEM there, but don't have the space to accommodate them bringing a guest? How can you politely tell guests they don't get a +1 — this isn't just about single guests! For some couples, this can even mean that their married guests can't bring a spouse. This issue could get a lot of push-back — again, you need to hold yourself accountable for push-back if you choose not to let married guests bring a spouse.

I want to first touch on the fact that, depending on the specific guest and your community of friends, single friends not being able to bring a guest may not be a big deal. If you've got an "urban tribe" of local single folks who all know each other, it's all good. If you're inviting friends to come across the country, not bring a guest, and they won't know anyone at the wedding except you? That's gonna be more of a big deal. If you can, allow guests for those traveling from afar.

But if you've factored in all these issues, here are a few angles to try:

Word & address your invitations and RSVPs clearly

You can try your best to make your point on your invitations. Here are a couple example invitation wordings for when you are inviting someone who cannt bring a guest:

  • On your RSVP cards: "__ of [insert number here] guests will attend."
    Invitations to guests who could not bring a +1 read "__ of 1 guests will attend."
  • On your invitation: "We have reserved ____ seat(s) for you at our celebratory dinner."
    Invitations for only one guest would then read: We have reserved one seat(s) for you at our celebratory dinner.

Use a wedsite to help you make your point

Even clearly written Invitations can be misunderstood, and while you can make a point to have the invitations addressed only to your friends (with no "…and guest" included on the envelope) many people assume they can bring a guest unless told otherwise.

That's why having a wedding website can be so incredibly useful — it gives you the room to explain what's going on, including that there are firm limitations on how many people you can have at the wedding.

Offbeat Bride reader Amanda Soto used this language:

Can I bring a date? We have worked really hard to create an intimate celebration that includes all of our closest family members and friends so we ask that you come solo unless we know your other half well. We will specify all guests on your invitation and of course will seat our attractive single friends together so perhaps you'll go home with a date. We also ask that you make other arrangements for your children, as this is an adult affair. Thanks for understanding, and if you have any concerns about this please contact us directly.

Offbeat Bride Reader STL-Keri suggested this language:

"With all the craziness that comes with a wedding, we would love to spend as much time as possible with our closest and dearest — thank you for not bringing a guest."

Focus on venue size

In your conversations with your friends, emphasize the limitations of the venue. That way, it's not about you being a meany, it's about very clear limitations on how many people your venue space can accommodate. Make it clear, "We just don't have room for extras — if we allow +1s, we have family members who won't be able to come."

Emphasize the community

In your conversations before the wedding, make it clear that you want the day to be about your community celebrating together. Emphasize that you want your nearest and dearest around you, and that by not having +1 guests, it allows you invite more members of your community to share the day together.

Split your wedding

This was my solution: the wedding ceremony and dinner had a pretty tight guestlist, right around 100 people. But afterwards the reception was essentially an open invitation. This meant that we had only our closest friends and family with us during the sacred/expensive part of the day, but then could have our whole extended community of beloved folks with us for the FUN part of the day. This option won't work for everyone, of course. But it worked great for us.

I'd also love to hear from Offbeat Brides — what are YOU doing to deal with this pesky situation?

  1. We have very few single guests (like, 5?) and the venue is small.. At this point, I'm going on a case-by-case basis. My best guy friend has been single for ages and now has a g/f. I'm happy for him about this and I want to meet her.. so, she's been invited. Another friend is local, his family and friends will be there… so unless he wants to bring a guest we know (at least in passing), it'll probably just be explained that the venue is small and we can't accommodate +1's.

    • That's kind of where we are. I'm kind of looking at it as, if you are in a relationship when I send out invites, you'll get the plus one WITH THE PARTNER'S NAME ON IT. If not, and you call me and ask nicely? I may still consider it. The non-family singles are few and far between, but our guest list is already a lot higher than I wanted it to be, so I'm not just going to give out free plus ones.

      • I like this policy. I've heard the "no ring no bring" policy, which I'm not as big a fan of as it excludes long-time partners.

  2. We just flat out told people who assumed they could bring their new girlfriend or a date that we don't have room because our venue is small and that I have a big family. End of story. We also put it on our site and our RSVPs had every invitee's name on it where they could check "yes" or "no".

  3. We have been thinking about this a little bit, but I feel in the next few months, this will become an issue.
    Our concern is that our location is kind of a destination.. its our old college town where we met which is no where close to family (family is from oposite locations and this was kind of in the middle). All of our friends are with in a relatively close distence. Our venue is plenty big, but our budget is tiny! We want to include everyone and I think if we invited everyone, they would come the distence.. And I have never been strict about who comes to my parties before. I am just having a hard time trying to understand how I feel about keeping the list small.. but we have to… And how do I say no to a close friend or family member who wants to bring someone who Im sure is an amazing person?! I will deffinently keep my eyes open for more advice on this subject! Thanks for what has been said thus far!!

    • Hi kt. You may not like this idea but my original plan due to a much smaller budget was to invite everyone who wanted to come, find a big location and instead of having a wedding list of items I didn't want, I would ask everyone to bring along different items that were needed e.g. the people who can't cook provide drinks, and the people who can cook bring along the food and add it to a big buffet. We live in Italy so most people can cook really well and enjoy showing off their grandma's recipes. If people are expecting something more formal it may not go down well but I think that folk would go out of their way to bring fancy food so show they care if it was an alternative to a present. Or you could just set a price limit on presents and have both e.g. $20 present + 2 bottles of good wine.

      • Thanks! we will keep this idea in mind. Originally we were thinking something similar, but the travel distence is the big issue. Everyone will be driving between 4 and 10 hours to come to the wedding. I'm sure it will all work out somehow! lol

  4. We did the split wedding invite like you did, Ariel, and it worked GREAT! My mom could invite all her co-workers to the bash, but we could still have a more intimate ceremony and dinner with our nearest and dearest.

    • We're thinking about doing this with an afterparty type deal. It's CRAZY how all of the traditional wedding sites make this a HUGE NO-NO. Up there with a cash bar (which all of us offbeat brides know is a matter of personal opinion, thank you very much). Again, brides get accused of being gift-grubbers, which is so cliche and mean.
      I'm glad to hear that it worked great for a couple of weddings at least, because we have a huge number of acquaintances we'd love to celebrate with.

      • I stopped talking on many of those sites for just this reason. I kept getting into arguments with married women on how if a bride had a reception after a JOP wedding (because her husband shipped off to Iraq) or how if they DARED suggest someone not have a plus 1 or their children how the bride was just being greedy and selfish and made all the other brides look bad.
        Well I'm sorry other brides, but two points:
        1. Your marriage does not hinge on the weddings of others
        2. NO ONE needs the big party and the fun, or deserves it any more than another.

      • Im from australia but my good friends are irish and they have it sorted over there! they have their close friends and family to the church and dinner then the have "the afters" where about 200-300 people are invited! basically anyone in their village!! but the afters is just dancing and everyone buys their own drinks- the couple might pay for some cheap finger food for later on when everyones had too many drinks and this party often ends at 4 or 5am!!! great plan I say!

      • Splitting the wedding is really common in the UK. It's a great idea but if you invite people just to the evening who have to travel I think they would be less likely to come.

        • I wish we could do the small ceremony+huge cheap party after, but in Brooklyn (anywhere in NYC, really), the issue is space — any space that could hold 150 or more people is massively exhaustedly expensive. Even hosting the after party in raw space lofts can be anywhere from $3,000 to $11,000, before you pay for lighting, wifi, tables, dishware, silverware, linens, decor, usually a several hundred dollars insurance policy for the space, and all the extras associated with making a huge empty very plain space into a party room — and that doesn't even account for the cost of booze. It can mean that you are spending $20K or more before you even buy food or beverages.

          So, if you want a big party in NYC, you are always spending a lot — here, the ceremony itself is the cheap part. You can find many places to have an outdoor ceremony for a couple/few hundred bucks, but everything after that is just a budgetary nightmare.

          And so many of our large-capacity venues don't allow you to bring ANY food, ANY drinks, of your own — sometimes they don't even let you bring your own cake to save money. Yet inclusive packages end up not being all that much more expensive than when you price out every single item you will have to rent, plus staffing.

          I am at the very beginning of planning (we want to get married in summer 2020, although we aren't officially engaged yet, but we have to start venue searching now because the "cheaper" (still astronomical) venues book up 18months to two years ahead here.


  5. Miss Manners says it's rude to put "and guest" on an invitation. So. Unless I know my friend's significant other personally and can put their name on the invite, they don't get a plus one. Most of my friends know that I have a gigantic family and there's just no room. This is also the reason no kids can come to the wedding because there just isn't room.

    I was worried about some of my out of town friends, but since they'll be around the whole crew from college I don't think the lack of date is going to be an issue. They'll have plenty of people they haven't seen in a while to hang out with.

    When I was single, that "and guest" always made me feel pressured to come up with some random person to take with me. I felt like it was required of me to find someone, anyone with a pulse, even if I didn't want to bring anything but myself and a gift.

    • I just wanted to add that during my work at a university library in the shelving department, I found out we have several manners guides. They all have pretty much the same view of the +1 as Miss Manners: a wedding is not just some house party, but rather a gathering of people who support the bride and groom. Not only can this be uncomfortable for the couple, but for the guest who only knows one person and doesn't know the couple.

    • incidentally, how did you word it so that people were discouraged from bringing their kids? I know that's going to be an issue for us…

      • You might not see this because, well, it's August, but I am not having kids at ours. At all.

        Similar to the lack of "and guest" the invitations will clearly state the name of adults only and I'll have it mentioned on the wedding website. Parents who I think may not grock it I will try to talk to about it directly.

      • We added an insert with a map in our invitation envelopes, where we added a couple of notes, including 'children and partners by invitation only'.

        My first cousins who are kids and we're close to are coming to our wedding, but I don't want random people's kids coming along, or screaming babies. Sorry, but no.

      • Oh, and incidentally, we STILL had people saying 'I know you said no, but can I bring my kid?' Which I think is pretty damn rude. You shouldn't have to explain yourself…

        • Please clarify? How can anyone be expected to leave their kids behind, especially when they're 'screaming babies' or really young kids who are sure to get underfoot. Some of the parents may be traveling 100s of miles to get to your wedding & have no other back up for Kiddie care. So the next option would be not to come- so why invite them at all and waste the cost of an invitation card (if you're doing it the old-fashioned way)?

          Or better still send them an announcement of your wedding

          • If you cannot find childcare for an event, then it's is totally 100% okay to graciously decline the invitation. Most of the people I grew up with have 2-4 children. If I invite 5 of my girlfriends (with an average of 3 kids to each) plus their significant others, that is 25 people. (we only have room and money for 130) Now imagine if I did that with every single guest–everyone from work invites their 2-3 kids, and so on. There would be no way we could financially or physically (due to venue size) accommodate them. Not to mention, there is an open pool in the back of my venue, and I feel it's risky to have a bunch of kids running around. I would never forgive myself if someone's kid drowned in the pool. This is why weddings end up being 20, 40, 50k celebrations because if you are on a certain budget, at some point you have to say NO. Yes, it's hard to say no, but in the end, you have to be realistic. And PARENTS have to be realistic that part of being a parent is having to say no to going to things because you don't have childcare. The couple wants you to share the day with them. The might have invited those people because they felt that those people were close to them and they wanted to invite them, but cannot accommodate their family of 5 or 6. There's nothing wrong with declining and saying, "I'm sorry I can't make it! Childcare for the night will be difficult. I wish you all the best." and send a thank you card for being invited or a gift if you feel that bad. People cannot be everyone to everybody.

        • My friends all came to my wedding one year ago. They made the trip two hours away to be there now I am having my 50th birthday party and feel uncomfortable asking them all to make the two hour trip. I dont have the funds to cater or rent a space so I have decided on a restuaratn closer to my friends, that serve Meals at reasonable prices, but somehow I feel like I am settling for less on my big day. Any suggestions?

          • You fell uncomfortable asking them to travel 2 hours?!??! If I get engaged, I will give my friends a year to sort their stuff to travel the 7,400km…. If someone doesn't think I'm worth traveling 2 hours – I'm sorry, they are not a friend. (Keeping in mind all my friends are in their late twenties, early thirties and have parents who are healthy (in their 60s) and have no kids).

        • Yup. I have close friends and one of them is really close so invited her, her hubby and a 6 year old daughter. another one is a fair weather friend and she goes out clubbing leaving the 6 year old with her eldest son at home and sometimes at her daughter's house who lives close to her. So I did not intend to include her children. Today she called to ask what about her 6 year old? can she bring him? I told her I thought she is going to leave him with her eldest so I did not include him in the guest list. I have limited guest number so not possible. But I did feel awful afterwards for being rude. Although I believe she is the one being rude to ask obvious question to put me through the dilemma. But the whole evening after the conversation with her I felt really bad.

  6. I'm just saying "No". It sounds mean, and maybe I'm a bridezilla (and John a Groomzilla?), but I have 12 Aunts & Uncles on my dad's side and a ridiculous number of first cousins (who are mostly my parents age) and second cousins (whom I actually grew up with).

    It's more important to John and myself that the community we've actively invested our lives in (for us, this is our Church community, Numinous) to be a part of the day. My family? I haven't seen most of them in 6+ years, they all live over 1,000 miles away. Sure, I'd love to come up north for a second reception to see everyone, that'd be great. That's the option they have.

    My mom and I had the conversation – she started it with "So dad said just invite all his brothers and sisters, and most of the first cousins." and I said "No." She said "Excuse me? It's your family" and I said "I know mom, but we're really limited, and I'm not cutting out friends for family". It was harsh, she was ticked, but it leaves no gray area or wiggle room. Family will budge in where they can!

    With friends, I'm stating very clearly – 100 people. Small venue. 1/3 of that is going to be the Church community we're very close with. My future mother in law, God bless her, is being great about this, and clarifying with people on John's side who may not make the guest list. Take support where you can get it!

    • I've been in the same boat with a large extended family. I originally put my foot down and said "no" to my dad's family (13 aunts and uncles on his side) but I came around thinking it would be fun to see all of my aunts and uncles. We recently moved so we don't have many friends in the area anyways. We don't have any friends who are being left out because of the large family. I refuse to invite all of my cousins though (tons!). I invited 3 of the cousins I'm closest to. If any of the other cousins have a problem with it…. well… screw em.

    • i'm having this dilemma myself…. invite family (who i literally haven't seen or spoke to in 5 years) or invite friends (who i am very close to and speak to almost daily) i'm pretty sure i will get the "but its family guilt trip" from my mum, especially as we will prob invite some family but not all….. but our budget is tight…..

  7. We were trying to be nice and all-inclusive and thought we'd appease all our single friends by giving them an "and guest." But, when it came down to it, almost none of them brought a date, and we had pretty much wasted about 50 spots that could've been used for friends we actually KNEW. I wish we had thought of Ariel's point above, that our group is tightknit and most people wouldn't come without knowing anyone else. Also, I had never thought about Jaime's point that sometimes the "and guest" can actually be a slap in the face to singles… Oh well, live and learn. Learn from me!

  8. I disagree that it's a given unless otherwise stated; I've always thought that the people listed on the invitation are the ONLY people invited. My default in dealing with anything people don't like is to say it's because it's a French thing & my fiance is telling any of his family/friends who don't like anything that it's an American thing. Luckily, not having +1 really is!

    • That's cool, I'm French too and although I lived in the US for a couple years, I'm not really familiar with the wedding protocol. Here in France, traditionally you would get married in a a townhouse or church(outdoor weddings are uncommon because not "legal") and have an "aperitif" or simple cocktail to sociailze right after. Afterwards, selected guests are invited to the dinner and party.

      Here's the invitation trick: everyone gets an invite stating "please join us or pray for us during the ceremony", which only allows you to come to the townhouse or church and acts more as an annoucement of your wedding than an invite. The French name for it is "faire-part", or annoucement, the same kind you would send for a baby's birth.

      Then closer guests get an extra card inviting them to the cocktail after the ceremony, and an even smaller group gets another card for dinner.

      Here's the thing though, to announce my wedding to old friends in the States, my parents sent them the first type of invite and we were all surprised when a couple of them flew in for the wedding! Obviously we adapted our plans and invited them to the whole event, dinner and party.

  9. We have had to be ruthless. No plus ones.
    It is frustrating because my dad keeps harping about it being a time for the parents to show me off and it is not my day! (I know right)I have over 40 cousins! I wanted no more then 50 perple and that is at 80 with no cousins.
    I put it is simplet terms for everyone
    a/ Did they congratulate us on the engagement?
    b/ have we seen them in the last 3 years?
    c/ would I want to pay $50+ to eat dinner with them.
    We had a huge engagement party and if they could not be bothered to come or make contact after the invite to let us know they were not coming, well why would we invite them to the wedding.
    I have had to cull some of my workmate which have assisted me more then anyone else because I don't have space.

    • We created a checklist too. And generally it worked. My now husband and I got engaged quickly (at the 6 month mark) and had a short engagement (only a few months). We decided that only people that knew us as a couple were invited to the wedding. We wanted to limit the wedding to the people who contributed to our relationship.
      a. did you attend (or call during) our surprise engagement party?
      b. Did you get to know us as a couple (dinners, trips, phone calls, etc)?

    • That is clever. If I went by every person I haven't seen in that time and every person who didn't congratulate us, I sure would have a smaller guest list!
      Of course, my dad wouldn't be on that list, so maybe that's a no.

  10. We both have huge families–the list of family members we are both close to and really want to be there is literally pushing 100–and that is after cutting lots of family off the list! We also have a large group of very wonderful friends who have been in our lives for years and years. We simply couldn't afford +1s, and that is what we have said.

    • That's exactly the position we are in. And I don't feel particularly bad about it. I think it's fair. We also split our day into 3 portions, and are inviting everyone to the party afterward. But the dinner is small and intimate, and we invited exactly who we wanted to be there.

  11. I am so glad you posted about this issue! This has been SUCH an awkward thing for us to deal with, since our wedding 'reception' is anything but- it's actually just a dinner at a local restaurant where we have 51 seats exactly for guests. That's it- 51, not 52, not 55, we have 51 seats and that means only the people we explicitly can invite can come.

    We've dealt with it in the following ways.
    1) On the response cards in the invites, we wrote "We have reserved you ____ seat(s) at our celebratory dinner" to show people explicitly how many are invited.
    2) We’ve relied on verbally telling people who ask/imply they’re bringing a +1 that isn’t invited. In that case, we've basically just told them outright that we're just inviting them. We've apologized and basically used all the 'reasons' (how I wish 'because it's our wedding and it's just what we're doing, capisce' could be reason enough) listed in this post, but we've mostly emphasized the fact that the restaurant has 51 seats and that we're really trying to keep things small, intimate, and simple. Reiterating we're not having a reception (and then reiterating it about 100 more times) has also helped convince people that we’re not trying to snub them and deny them their extra spot at our 300-person-ballroom-shindig and that we really are very limited on space and funds.
    3) We’ve tried to make up for the small dinner list by inviting as many other people (with real invites, just no card inserts with dinner/registry information) to our ceremony as possible. It’s in a church and we've been telling people we know who we just don't have space for at dinner that we'd love for them to see our ceremony (the most important part to us, which we let them know) and we hope they'll be there. We've told those people we're simply having a family-only dinner after, so there is no reception, but we hope they'll come to church anyway if they're in the area.
    4) Ultimately we’ve not cared what people have thought or if we’ve being judged. Have we probably made some people grumpy by not being able to have +1s? Yes. Do we feel bad we can't invite everybody's spouse/date/partner and that we've had to exclude people? Yes. But are we worried enough to change our plans, go above our budget, and do something we would not enjoy (having a more mainstream style reception)? No. This is our wedding and we're doing what we can realistically afford and what we want to do to celebrate. If people are SO offended at this, they are welcome to donate to the 'host a conventional 300 person ballroom reception for us' fund and we can invite +3s for all I care.

    • I like the idea: "we have reserved ___ seats for you." So straightforward and polite. I think i will steal that language.

    • I'm a 52 yr old first time bride. We were adamant to keep the ceremony and reception small. Immediate friends, close family (no distant cousins, as a matter of fact not even ALL my first cousins) and immediate business partners-2/very best clients-4. A long time friend assumed she could bring her 18 year old son, because she knew we are close. Without even asking me first if he was invited, she asked him if he was coming to my wedding. I had to tell her there are no plus +1's, and even some spouses i dont know at all wont be named on the invite. There are 69 total invited and really only room for 48. I have already conceded i will have to set up differently.

      But why should I have too. i have waited for this man and this day my whole life (and for most brides, DOUBLE TIME). It is about us, and to be included in our quaint guest list should be a joy. I dont care about gifts, we have two of everything already. I just want those closest to us to witness a long awaited day.

      For someone to just assume they get a plus one, no matter who the 1 is, without even asking me is rude. Weddings cost alot of money – even just for BRUNCH. And frankly we have a budget to stay as close to as possible.

      My reply has been, "our wedding is small and just immediate family and friends; but i hope you will join us at our celebration at our house this summer." PERIOD

      I have learned that I really dont have to justify, apologize, defend or explain myself to anyone. Just want to add my 2cents here, for others.

      • If I got a wedding invitation that excluded my spouse I would be highly insulted. I'm happy that you found true love but I hope that it doesn't make you thoughtless or careless with the other important relationships in your life.

        • She's not being thoughtless, she is trying to stick to a small budget and a small space. Should she only have 25 friends and family there just so that all those people can get +1s, when +1s (even spouses) are often people we don't know well, and not be able to invite the other 25 of their truly near-and-dear family and friends?

          I think it is more thoughtless for people to assume their preferences for attending a party are more important than allowing the engaged couple to have the wedding the want at the budget they can afford, without getting mad at them for not inviting their family members.

          I could be biased here because I live in NYC, the single most expensive place to get married in America, where even majorly DIY'd weddings can — if you have a 100+ guest list — cost more thab $30K ***on the low end*** and two times that at average, and three times that on the high end. So I am really not looking forward to having to offer +1s to all my out of state friends whosr spouses ai have never had the chance to meet.

    • I'm a 52 yr old first time bride. We were adamant to keep the ceremony and reception small. Immediate friends, close family (no distant cousins, as a matter of fact not even ALL my first cousins) and immediate business partners-2/very best clients-4. A long time friend assumed she could bring her 18 year old son, because she knew we are close. Without even asking me first if he was invited, she asked him if he was coming to my wedding. I had to tell her there are no plus +1's, and even some spouses i dont know at all will be named on the invite. There are 69 total invited and really only room for 48. I have already conceded i will have to set up differently.

      But why should I have too. i have waited for this man and this day my whole life (and for most brides, DOUBLE TIME). It is about us, and to be included in our quaint guest list should be a joy. I dont care about gifts, we have two of everything already. I just want those closest to us to witness a long awaited day.

      For someone to just assume they get a plus one, no matter who the 1 is, without even asking me is rude. Weddings cost alot of money – even just for BRUNCH. And frankly we have a budget to stay as close to as possible.

      My reply has been, "our wedding is small and just immediate family and friends; but i hope you will join us at our celebration at our house this summer." PERIOD

      I have learned that I really dont have to justify, apologize, defend or explain myself to anyone. Just want to add my 2cents here, for others.

      • I am just starting to plan a wedding for the summer of 2020. At that point I will be a 46yo 1st-time bride. I get you…

  12. I have a friend who sent out temporary tattoos with her invitations and said only guests who showed up with the tattoo on where allowed in the wedding. She sent only the amount of people she wanted to come from each invitation 🙂

    • We're doing something similar by including "tickets" to the venue in the invitations. When I first started gathering up addresses, I made it clear that I needed to know up front who all was coming because the tickets were coming with the invitations. I also explained that due to the size of the venue, we have three lists. One list of people we definately want to come, one list of people we'd like to invite if the people on the first list can't make it, and Everyone Else.

  13. We printed our invitations ourselves, and so each response card had the exact names printed on them. Next to each name was a box they could check for "accepts" or "regrets". That way we knew EXACTLY who our guests would be. For the people who we deemed to bring a guest (the friend who created our slideshow, for example), we just put a blank line for him to fill in if he wanted to bring a date. Then, just to be sure, at the bottom of the card we printed, "total number of guests attending: _____ ".

    This worked really well. The only hitch we had was my husband's brother (who is single) RSVPing for 8 people. We just had to make a phone call to find out what was going through his head.

    • I haven't sent out invites yet and am inviting +1s, but was wondering if leaving the # of guests blank would result in people thinking they can invite their whole posse. I'll choose my words carefully after reading this.

    • I think specifically naming each guest on the return cards is a perfect idea if you need to limit the number of guests. Great thinking!

      • Still, be prepared for awkward questions even if you do this. We did exactly that, and I still have people asking if they can bring a guest. I've told them that they might be able to based on the number of RSVPs that we get.

      • We are planning to have ceremony during the day and reception in the evening. for those who we want for both events we sent out invitation card with the slip and a cover letter giving information about the wedding programme, car parks and let us know about dietary requirements if they have any (like nut/milk/cheese allergies or vegetarian etc). out of 75 invites Only 3 sensible invitee send us the acknowledgement and info… For others we are texting them if they got the card or not. is there any dietary requirements? and also explaining and apologising can't include their extended family or children because it is a small event with limited reserved seat. I still feel mean after saying all that but I got to be assertive and letting them know what I want on my wedding day.
        They have not told me on my face but if they feel I am being ruthless … I agree but I don't want to know. I felt like the whole planning and invitation is already putting me off and might not enjoy my wedding day 100% on the day. Will see.

        Before sending out invitation I texted most of my guest saying we are having a wedding and sending out our invitation so need their address if they don't mind. most of them replied back saying congratulations … and looking forward to it. 1 couple did not even acknowledge the receipt of the text and that made it easier for me. I did not hesitate to cross them out from my guest list 🙂

  14. I'm having an entirely separate party for the friend we can't afford to have at the wedding.It will be a come one come all bash, as opposed to the formal reception.

  15. We're doing two things. First, We're including a non-response card with the instructions for RSVP on our website, along with the statement, "We have reserved you ____ seat(s) in your name" to show people explicitly how many are invited.

    On the website, we are setting up an RSVP system with individual logins and passwords. Once they have logged in, the RSVP system will ask them to select the number of people they are bringing using a drop down menu specific to that guest. (Thus, for example, if we are inviting a family of 4, the max number of people that can rsvp using that login and password will be 4; if the invitee is single, the max number of people will be 1.)

  16. I am single and at the age (26) where I am going to LOTS of weddings. All of the wedding I have been to are friend weddings where I know lots of people. I have three anecdotes that illustrate good and bad ways of handling this issue.

    1. In the case of my college roommates who I do not see often, the bride has e-mailed the group of us and along with asking for current addresses, asked if we are seriously dating someone and for the correct spelling of their name. The invite is then sent to the friend's address with the name of the s.o. on it. That way girls who have someone important in their life feel encouraged bring him and the single ones like me don't feel the need to invite a random.

    2. My friend was invited to a family wedding on New Year's Eve that was no guest unless married. He is one of four and all four of the brothers had serious girlfriends. One had been dating his gf for 5 years! They were put in a tough spot having to choose between the family wedding and not leaving their loves alone on NYE. Two brothers decided to skip the wedding b/c their girls could not go. Be ready to accept this if you do not invite people to bring the other important people in their lives.

    3. I was invited to a wedding by a guy I went out with once! After an ok first date he asked me to be his +1 for his best friend's wedding, in which he was a groomsman!! The wedding was 2 months away. I felt bad saying no but I also felt bad that he felt so much pressure to have a date to the wedding that he would invite someone he barely knew.

    In summary: Invite important significant others to show your friends that you value their bonds of love or don't expect them to value yours. If they are single I believe it is perfectly ok to invite them alone and it takes the pressure off to find a date.

    • We basically did #1 and it worked well.

      In the case of most of my friends and family members, it wasn't an issue, because I know their significant others and I addressed the invite to both of them.

      At that point, I realized that I was planning to invite about 10 people who were either single or were dating someone I didn't know. I reached out to them individually and asked if they would like to bring someone important to them to the wedding, if they were able to make it. Six said they'd like to bring their SOs. One said her SO would be out of the country at the time of our wedding, but asked if it would be OK if she brought a close friend instead; I said yes. The other three said they had no interest in bringing anyone. I told them to let me know if they changed their mind and we'd see if we could work something out.

      Now I know this could have been a lot more difficult if we'd had more single friends.

      But I like the personal touch of reaching out to people to gauge their situations individually. I don't like those across-the-board rules for who gets a date and who doesn't, as I've had my now-husband left out of invitations twice when we were just living together, because +1s were only extended to married couples (even though we'd been together longer than several of the marrieds there).

      For example, my cousin had just started dating his girlfriend when I was sending out our postcards. By a more traditional breakdown, I would have invited him without a plus one. But he told me that he really liked her and I'd never seen him so serious about a girl before. So I made the executive decision to include her name and I'm so glad I did. They're still going strong and making plans to move in together next year. I would have felt so awful if she hadn't been at the wedding now that we've spent a lot of time together and she's really becoming a part of our extended family.

      • I know this is about a year out, but I wish more people had responded to you! It's flat out awkward when people "decide" who is a valuable plus 1… and then those people end up getting married, getting close to you, etc. I know it's often difficult in small settings or price constraints, but inviting someone who has been dating or living with the person you wish to invite makes a lot more sense than NOT doing so and possibly straining ties with that person.

    • Number 2 is my problem all over. I have a wedding in two days, and it is the second of my close friend's weddings in the last 12 months that my boyfriend of 3 years has not been invited to.

      One of my friends has decided not to attend the reception, and is bringing her partner to the ceremony, because he wasn't invited. I am attending without my boyfriend, but it is a frustrating trend. I don't think it is fair to pick and choose partners, either none or all.

      If I get married and don't invite my two friend's husbands, I think they would be incredibly hurt.

      At the end of the day, it's her wedding and she chooses the guests, so I can't decide if I'm being selfish or not.

    • For No. 2 – Sad two brothers decided not to go. Their brother hopefully only get married once, and it would be a one day affair. Plus it was his wedding, therefore his decision as to who comes. I think either my partner comes or you wont see me at your wedding is emotional blackmail. The day was not about the two brothers and their partners – however long they have lived with each other, it was about celebrating the bride and groom's love. Hopefully the two brothers and their partners will one day have their own day and then they can set their own rules.

      • Well, I think the main dealbreaker here was probably that it was New Year's. If it had been on a radom day they'd probably have come. But on a day where you're probably planning on going to a party with your partner, to say nothing of the "kiss at midnight" thing…

    • I would really hate this. I was single for 7 years, and if I had been invited to a wedding where ALL my girlfriends from university had brought a s.o. and I was there alone – I would have been bitter, and hated everything about the wedding, and thought it was lousy that I couldn't even bring a friend just because I was single.

  17. Ugh. I've created a wedsite and included the no plus ones info on the site, just figuring out how to do it on a tiny RSVP card without going into a rant is a bit difficult. I don't want to come off as sounding bitchy but it's my GD wedding dammit. I know how crazy that night's going to be, and I don't want to waste any time meeting my hoe bag cousin's flavor of the week (she's shown up with a different guy at the last 3 family weddings without alerting anyone about it beforehand).

    Our guest list is awesome, and everyone knows AT LEAST 2 other people at the wedding well. I'm just worried because most of my family is out of state and what if one of my relatives brings someone all the way from california that we didnt invite? I mean… we're having a Halloween themed reception and I'm all about horror, but I don't want any real blood shed on my wedding day.

    • This makes me feel better! I am feeling very horrible about not inviting a couple of significant others, (though they are sisters and have invited their entire immediate family). They are old school friends and I do not know their boyfriend, just their family. They got offended by me asking people not to bring extras because we have a 40 MAX guest list, and I have a big family. Another forum on a wedding website made me feel like a total b**** for this!

  18. We have an RSVP form on our wedsite ( that functions to keep numbers down two ways – 1) one of the fields is "I am RSVPing for" and has a drop down menu that only offer choices 1 or 2 (this is intended to eliminate the horror stories i've heard about blank spaces filled in with 4s and 5s) and 2) we have a nice little paragraph at the top restating that our venue is tight and limited, so we ask that you be respectful of the number of places we've reserved for you (names on the envelope – intended to take care of the +1-that-wasn't-invited problem

    Ultimately, if people want to be rude and bring their 3 kids/boyfriend of a week/whomever, they will, no matter what you tell or ask of them. We're hoping that asking nicely, and then restricting options to back it up will work…

  19. We are going the "There are _____ seats reserved in your honor" route. Our venue holds 130 people and not a single person more. I have three large families, FH has two tiny families and we have friends and co-workers so 2nd cousins are not being invited UNLESS we have interacted with them in the course of our relationship, which eliminates most of them. If their parents (my cousins) get upset about it, too bad.

  20. We are having a reception of around 120 people on the actual 'getting married' day, and the next day will be an open invite wedding regatta at the lake, with boats and a potluck picnic. Can't wait!!

  21. We didn't have +1's. The only ones who got +1's were the single members of our wedding party, and that's it. It's just too much money and personally there were alot of people my husband and I wanted to invite. We wanted to use that space for family and friends. Not strangers. It bothers me when people don't get this concept and get bent out of shape if you don't include +1's on invitations.

  22. This is a great thread! I just wrote for advice on our just us ceremony and how to let people know they weren't actually invited (though we still want their gifts! ha)… the website sounds great.

    thanks ofb!

  23. I stumbled by as my original image from Flickr was getting lots of views and I was wondering why! Nice to see the image getting used as the lead to this article. I've always thought that there were a few in that image who looked either like they shouldn't be there, or at least that they didn't really want to be!

    Click on my name above, or visit to see more of my vintage wedding photographs, and also some of my own wedding photography!

  24. We are having a small wedding. My friends are all married and there is only one husband I don't know well (but who I am inviting anyway in case he would like to attend), so among my friends it is not an issue because I'd invite them all anyway. My FH's friends are all single, or at most dating, but nothing too serious. So we may offer his friends a +1 option, especially since most of the guests will be people I know. Luckily most of his list are coworkers who work with one of my friends. We will, however, make it clear that if they bring someone that someone does not bring drama.

  25. My boyfriend recently was invited to a friend's wedding and it was only addressed to him. I felt a little hurt because we live together, are are having a baby this year, and the freind knows this. Also it was a weekend camping fun fest with performers and smores! I think that he will decline. Maybe he on the "b" list anyway.

    • Yes, this I think is really awkward. My feelings would be hurt too. If someone is an established couple (dating for years and years, having a baby!), I do not see this as a +1. If someone is single or has been dating someone for a handful of months, then their date is a +1.

      • I see it that way too rainyday. My man and I have been dating for almost 3 years, we live together and even have a puppy together…. I don't see this changing because we've had our big arguments and are still together… I have friends who are in the same boat so of course I'll invite their SOs!

    • You're not a plus one, you're a very significant other!! A plus one is someone who is just a date.

      My fiance's cousin left me off the invitation. He called her and she was like "Oh shit. I was printing those things out at 3 in the morning and I knew I was going to make a mistake."

    • That is ridiculous. I understand when people can't allow their friends to bring random dates to a wedding. But you are not a random. You are an established part of his life. Obnoxious!

      This is one of the reasons I really hate the rule many stick to that if you're not married or engaged, no +1. It completely leaves out committed couples who have chose not to get married, either at the moment or ever.

      Twice before my husband and I were married I had friends invite just me to their weddings, even though we were living together and had been for years. It really pissed me off and hurt my feelings, like they thought our relationship wasn't a important because we hadn't joined their marriage club yet.

      Also, obnoxious is when an invitation is addressed to one member of an established, non-married, couple and then has "and guest" added. What the heck? If you know both people by name then they both get invited by name.

      To me "and guest" should only ever be used when you're inviting a single person and telling them that they can bring a random date, if they want.

    • Sometimes when my cousins invite me for dinner but does not include my fiance I make an excuse not to go. But only if my fiance is with me. but when he is working and I know he definitely cannot make it to the dinner I accept the invitation and go alone.

      Now, one of my dear girlfriend got a boyfriend recently. When I was talking about my wedding plans and telling her about having limited seat and going through dilemma cause I have my family and close cousins. Nevertheless she asked me to invite her boyfriend as she wanted to introduce him to other girl friends (8 of us) during my wedding day. I felt annoyed cause here I am telling her about my dilemma about not having enough seat for every guest I wanted to invite and she asking me to invite her boyfriend.
      I send out the invitation only addressing her. Cause I felt that since she started going out with him she has never bothered to introduced him to us. I am glad she is happy in her relationship but I don't think its my duty to create opportunity for her to introduce her boyfriend to us. So I left him out from my invitation. Besides I have never met him and I don't know him at all. And I want only dear and close people who I know to be at my wedding ceremony. I still feel bad so texted her to explain that we don't have enough seat as its reserved with limited number. if some invitee send RSVP and there is a seat available even if his name is not on the invitation she can bring him at the last minute and hope she is not offended by it. She texted back 'no worries' … but I still feel mean and bad.

  26. We had very few +1s, but what we were really worried about was certain extended family members bringing their kids (which they've done at other weddings). To take care of both, we did the "__ of __ will attend" (filling out the 2nd blank) on our response cards, and listed everyone specifically (using "and guest" if we didn't know) when we addressed the envelopes.

  27. For people who gave me flack, I sent a link to a wedding etiquette FAQ page about it, and also mentioned that there were space constraints because of my large family. Well, ahem, Emily Post says you're the tactless one, so there!!! And I did get a lot of flack, since we were the first of our generation, among ALL of our family or friends, to get married, and no one knew/remembered any wedding etiquette whatsoever! GAH!

  28. We've had serious constraints thanks to the absolutely rigid limit of our venue and our massive families (my fiance's family are having a separate party for those in his family who we can't invite – there are 200 people on their invite list and 120 max for the entire wedding…).

    We decided to invite long-term significant others and those who we'd met and liked, but just to be honest with the others and explain to them individually, and there was actually hardly any complaint. Most people seem to understand ultimately that there's enough stress in planning a wedding as it is.

    We also told people that if space became available we would invite plus-ones wherever possible, and as it's happened we've ended up getting everyone's partners in after all! Try not to let yourself freak out over it too much in advance; the solution might just present itself in time!

  29. Wow hehe i actually have the opposite problem lol most of the 30 people on my list are in relationships and their partner is being counted… hoping FH's single friends bring dates or they will be dancing alone lol

  30. To be honest, I am paying for my wedding subsequently cannot afford extra expenditures and simulataneously did not want a room half-full of strangers who weren't and couldn't possibly be there to celebrate with us. I wanted the atmosphere to be instantaneously family-like, warm, and comfortable for everyone. To the couples in which both individuals are friends of ours, we sent individual or dually addressed invites. I wracked my brain to figure a way to politely say,"no plus ones, please". This is what I finally came up with:

    "Because this is a close family and friends event, we do ask that only those addressed on the invitation attend. While we are asking this; we guarantee you will know someone else who is attending and will do our absolute best to craft the seating chart accordingly. If you have any questions or concerns about the possibility of bringing a date, please contact us. With any luck, you may even leave with one!!! ;)"

  31. we are letting friends with serious significant others bring dates because we know their significant other. just to make it clear to everyone, we put a line on our rsvp card that says "we have saved __ seat(s) just for you!" and then another line for them to fill out how many are attending. I think this will help make everything crystal clear for our loved ones.

  32. Our evites were pretty informal and had a humorous tone, so I just addressed it in the faq:

    Q. Can I invite my husband/wife/girlfriend/boyfriend/cousin/sister?

    A. Significant others and children are invited but lets leave it at that. If your cousin IS your significant other, please seek counseling.

    Q.But you forgot to invite so-and-so!

    A. No we didn't. If we wanted them here, we would have invited them. If you really think I just totally forgot someone who should be included, let one of us know (PRIVATELY) and we'll deal with it on a case-by-case basis.

  33. I know that the point of this post is for people to share their experiences in dealing with "this pesky situation", and I'm sure everyone's aware that single people may be offended- hence the need for this post. But I do want to throw in my two cents from the other side. As a single person (who reads this site and offbeatmama because I like to plan and dream about love too), yes, I would be very hurt to not have the option of bringing along someone whom I could count on to be with me at a celebration where, let's be honest, the majority of attendees will be (often older) family of the bride and groom, and/or married/in a couple. In my experience it's not often that there is a large group of single people, and they're usually the "dregs" of a group anyway- largely unconnected with each other. At a celebration that's entirely centered around the love and future happiness of a couple, it can feel like a bitter reminder of what you don't have, at a time when you just want to be able to wish the couple all the happiness in the world- and yes, it still feels that way even if they're your best of friends, or closest of family.

    For those saying "I want to be able to spend time with the people I like, not someone I don't know", or "I don't want to be in a room half-filled with people I don't know", how many people are actually going to be at your wedding? Realistically, even if it's only 50, you probably aren't going to have the time or the inclination to spend more than a few minutes with each guest, because you'll be caught up in the celebration- while your guests will have the other 2.9 hours to themselves. Who would really lose out in this situation? I understand about the space constraints and budget worries, because if you're funding it yourself each place is naturally going to feel more precious. But if this scenario were presented to me, the couple would most likely be saving themselves an extra place in my stead; it would be highly unlikely that I would feel comfortable enough to attend alone or to stay for much longer than a congratulations and best wishes before departing. Even for the best of friends.

    So, if you're really set on a particular budget or space constraint, or looking for a particular "atmosphere" at your wedding, it's absolutely your prerogative- but perhaps consider adding a clause for people concerned about dates to contact you privately as they RSVP, giving a few of your more shy and uncomfortable unattached friends the option to bring a +1. You could even set a cap on it- say, no more than 5 people could even have that option- as I can almost guarantee only those most afraid of being alone will even bother to bring it up. But you should also prepare yourself for the possibility that some people you love will choose not to attend solo, and try not to be offended.

    • That's kind of why I'm handling it the way I am. I'm not "officially" inviting the singles with "plus ones", but if I know they're in a relationship of any substance at all (i.e., my BM has been dating a guy for about six months, and he's in), I'm inviting them. Because, I don't care if you've only been dating a few months and some don't see that as "serious" – if you're in a committed relationship (even if it is new), it sucks to leave your SO home.

      With the truly singles, as I said, I'm not putting it on the invite. However, if the person asks me about it and seems concerned, I'll consider it on a case-by-case basis, particularly if we get a lot of regrets. We budgeted for about 110 guests (and were hoping for less), and our list is over 130. It's the only place we've gone "over budget," and it's DEFINITELY my fault, not FH's (or his family, or my family), but unfortunately it's also the most expensive place.

    • I'm with you, Megan. I know that we all have budgets, etc, but realistically you are not going to be able to spend a ton of quality time with most people at your wedding. So for the four hours that you are NOT talking to a particular friend, I think it is fair for them to have someone there with them (IF they want to) that they can hang out with.

      I got married last year at almost 29 years old, and I gave a guest to all of my friends who are single (I addressed the invitation to "Friend's Name and fabulous date of your choice!" to add a bit of levity). Granted, there weren't many, so it wasn't a huge financial deal, but mostly I just felt that if someone was almost 30 they should be allowed to bring a freaking date if they wanted to, and not be expected to hang out with a bunch of married people.

      I think there are different circumstances (i.e. large groups of friends who already know each other) but I would urge you to really consider the enjoyment of the single people at your wedding- if they are the only ones, they should have the option.

    • This was the reason that everyone at my wedding was allowed to bring a guest, if they so wanted. I would never, ever want someone to feel alone or abandoned at my wedding.

      But on the flip side, I have to say that when I was single I never, ever brought a date to a wedding, because I wanted to spend all my time catching up with friends and relatives I had in common with the bride or groom.

      I guess so much of the thinking on this depends on the types of weddings you attend. I've never been invited to a wedding where I knew fewer than 10 other guests. So it didn't really matter to me if I was the only single person there or not, because there were people I knew would be interested in hanging out with me, and vice versa.

      If I were invited to a random co-workers wedding without a date, I might choose not to attend or go but tell myself it is OK to sneak out after dinner. But, honestly, that situation has never come up.

      I guess my point is that someone with my type of wedding experiences might have a hard time understanding why one of their friends might feel alone at a wedding if they weren't allowed to bring a date.

    • I completely agree! Having been a single person for so long, I was invited to my cousin's wedding a couple years ago. The bride was obviously too busy to hang out with me on the day, and her sisters and parents (the ONLY) people I knew, were too busy…. I was bored, lonely, and felt resentful that I had paid so much money to travel the 6 hours up to the wedding (and bachelorette party months before). I didn't feel I could decline as there would be all sorts of questions.

  34. We had a very small wedding and a friend and her husband brought their small child even after I had explicitly told her 'no kids' 2 weeks prior. No 'sorry' or explanation- I was and am pretty angry about their rudeness.
    It seems even when you are clear some people will do as they please. I just had to get over it but won't be contacting them anytime soon.

  35. I think there's not a way to handle the question of dates without some small measure of awkwardness. I was recently invited to an old friend's sprawling potluck-style casual park wedding, and I asked if I could bring my other half, because I knew literally two people at the wedding besides the couple. The bride said guests were welcome if we brought enough food to share at the reception. Apparently the bride's mom (who was *not* paying for the whole shebang) didn't know that we had been given that reply, and said something snotty about it to Other Half at the reception. Of course, Other Half would have been fine being left at home, as she knows that crew somewhat less than I do — we just wanted clarification, not to wrangle another invite from the couple.

  36. It was mostly painless for us since there were only 29 guests: no one got a plus one. Husbands and boyfriends and wives and girlfriends were invited, but in almost all cases they were people we'd known for years. There was only one person we didn't know, an old friend's new wife. Our ceremony was intimate and personal, and it wouldn't have worked if everyone there wasn't familiar with us. I think one aunt may not have come because I wouldn't let her transfer her boyfriend's invite to her best friend, and an acquaintance tried to push her way in as the date of a mutual friend, but mostly everyone got what we were going for. After the ceremony and official reception we had an after party at a local bar and tons more friends came to that (or our earlier engagement party). Everyone who wanted to celebrate with us got the chance.

  37. My best piece of advice on this subject is to stay flexible. We intended to have a firm "no +1" policy because the budget and guest list was fairly tight. There certainly wasn't any "plus guest" on the invites, and we sent named invitations to friends' significant others who had been dating for a long time. BUT, things always come up. What about the wedding party member who was recently messily divorced and felt a personal need to bring a date? Or the good friend who had only dated a girl for a month before the invitations were sent out, but was already convinced he was going to marry her? Our "no guest" policy ended up being far more fluid in order to account for some of these unexpected questions. They were all dealt with on an individual basis, and in the end we had space because a lot more family members declined (or were no-shows) than we had originally expected.

  38. When sending out invites, I freaked out about plus ones since I've been living abroad for a few years and havent been able to keep track of local wedding customs/expectations/people's relationships…Thankgoodness a friend gave me great reassurance. She said people won't think you're cheap if you don't give everyone a plus one (only people in serious relationships)and that if you do give people the opportunity, they will bring someone…random. which is ok cause most people 'pad the envelope' and cover the extra person's dinner, but it lead's to a less intimate/cosy feel. I would recommend asking around to see who is in a relationship or not…

    • I think my rule will be the following:
      – plus ones if you're married (and I've been to the wedding)
      – plus ones if you're in a serious relationship (and I've met the person)
      – plus ones if you are a single friend and likely won't know more than two other people at the wedding.

  39. Ah, this is so interesting and understandable. I once got offended when a work colleague said no to me bringing my long-term boyfriend (I ended up changing my RSVP from yes to no). Later, I completely understood the flip side of this: boyfriend and I feel that for our wedding we'll invite our immediate families plus 12 guests apiece, leaving NO room for plus-ones. Also, I regret to say, a few partners of my friends are people who grate on me, and so I'd most defintely like to see the friend, but not the lovair.

  40. I was invited to a friend's brother's wedding, and my +1 was selected for me already: An old high school friend that the couple also knew! The invite came addressed to both of us, so we played "Swap partners" for the day. Our SOs hung out with one another while we were at the wedding. I thought it was nice of the couple to consider that for us and 'pair us up' that way. We were still at the "OTHER single table" at the back, though. The "cool" single table was next to us.

    For my own wedding I'd like to take it as SOs only, no "dates". And definitely no children: They're bored and cranky at weddings and I don't want to pay $100 for a dinner some 4 year old will only pick at because it's not chicken nuggets.

  41. I am 31 and getting married for the only time, so there are a whole host of people who need to make it on the list (some just to witness hell freezing over since for years I said I'd never get married). My fiance and I have discussed it, and we would rather throw an awesome party with all of our friends than have a super fancy dinner. So we have our 'want' dinner at $50 per person, and then an 'if we need to trim' dinner at $35 per person.

    We are having a good sized out-door wedding and tented reception with an open bar. Space is limited only to the point of how many tents I ask for. I didn't put "and Guest" on any invites. I added each friend's S.O. to the invite, and for all my singles, invited just them.

    None of my singles have asked to bring a date yet – they just keep asking if there are going to be any cute guys/girls there and for me to seat them together. Hee hee. (If anyone does ask… I plan to say 'I was planning on setting you up with one of my friends at the wedding.')

  42. I've heard about this problem so many times and one thing that I really don't understand is why someone would want to bring a random person to a friend's wedding.

    An important significant other who your friend(s) the bride and/or groom just hasn't met yet, because you live far apart? Absolutely. But do people outside of movies really bring random dates to their friend's weddings?

    I mean I guess there isn't anything wrong with that if you want to do so and and the couple invites you to bring a guest. But to me, weddings are about catching up with old friends and family members who I don't get to see very often. When I was single I never even considered bringing a casual date or friend to a wedding with me. I wanted to kick it with my buddies, not be worried about introducing someone all the time.

    Honestly, if I was invited to a random co-worker's wedding and knew I wouldn't know anyone else there, I'd probably just decline and send a nice gift, or else go and be ready to take off right after dinner if my table companions proved lame.

    • I only once brought a random to a friend's wedding. She was a friend from college, I knew a totle of zero other people than the bride, iy was in another state tewuwiring a 2hr road trip, and I was single in my mid-30s. Considering all of that, I would have been awkward and bored and lonely all night if ai had gone alone, so I brought a guy I had only had a few dates with. We had a really fun time, and then only saw each other a couple of times after that because we realized we weren't right for each other.

      But I earned my +1's seat by us being two of the people who really got the dancing going and kept it going, which the bride said helped the party seem more fun than it may have otherwise.

      Meanwhile, I am now (at 43) just starting initial planning on our summer 2020 wedding, which will be BONKERS EXPENSIVE since we live in Brooklyn. We are going to try to limit +1s as much as possible because we have a 130 guest list (down from 166) and holy crap, it is "down payment on an apartment" expensive to get married here unless you do it at City Hall and have no reception.

  43. THANK YOU!!!1!
    My mama, as much as I love her, is turning out to be a COMPLETE CONTROLLER of my wedding (and I don't mean a cool controller like one with arrow buttons and the first 2 letters of the alphabet…). Whether it's the awesome angel food cake that my sister-in-law's gonna make (instead of one with fondant, which I find just plain icky) or who is included in my SMALL guestlist, the answer of "Why not?" is always "It's tacky!" Fortunately, I already had the response of I'm tacky, get over it.

  44. We are having our handfasting in my grandmothers medium sized backyard, we figure we can get about 50 people there for the ceremony and reception potluck and we have already made a no children 1 to 16 allowed, (my two closest cousins have babies under 1 and my uncle is taking them in the house and babysitting for the ceremony)
    We did the guest list and it is at 44 people right now so plus ones are not an option so we are having a bonfire that evening at another friends house that is pretty much an open invitation.
    Which brings up a question, if you are having an open invite party are you having to tell some people not to show due to them not getting along with friends of yours who are closer to you than they are? How would you deal with it? I have decided that the bonfire will be by invite but LOTS of people will be invited

  45. This website is a godsend! As a somewhat-heavily tattooed weirdo in a town full of *normal* people, I feel like my wedding sometimes won't be flashy enough or live up to people's standards — especially some of my old school friends (whom I love dearly, but have actual jobs where the earn proper money, not a waitress&chef like myself & FH). However; when it came to the plus ones, we've been pretty fortuate in the sense that all of the singles are actually said old school friends, so all know each other. Should they feel put out about not having a plus one, I agree with the "welcome to contribute to a fancier reception" suggestion 😛 And just on the tangent of mothers, my normally overbearing mother, who usually hates my tattoos, has been amazing through the whole thing! I think she's come to appreciate that I'm never going to do things the conventional (read:her) way.

  46. Our issue was mostly with people bringing kids. If the single person had no partner in their life, I didn't give them a "guest" as long as they were going to know people at their table. I did have several guests that added on their kids, and I contacted them and said, "We wish we had room for everyone to bring their kids, but we really meant the invite for you and your spouse. I wanted to give you a night on your own where you wouldn't have to cut someone's meat! The only children coming are those in the family or in the wedding." Then I gave them the names of other friends who were coming so they could maybe pool babysitting. Everyone adjusted to not bringing their offspring, and apologized for not getting the hint from their carefully worded invitation.

  47. I have never heard of this before! Perhaps it is becasue I have only been to English and Australian weddings, but it never occured to me that people would just rock up with an extra guest. Oh dear.

    • Same. My wedding is in a couple of weeks (in Australia). I would have never dreamt of asking to bring someone along to a wedding if they're name wasn't on the invite. However, I just had two separate friends if they can bring a +1. Not parters (all partners names were on the invite), but just someone else because they didn't want to go on their own. I found it quite rude they they even asked, and after discussing with my fiance, we decided that we just wanted to share the day with those that were close to us…that's why we chose those people in the first place. Then if they have a partner, they can come too…it's a bit different to bringing a friend i think.
      Anyway, to my shock, my of my 'friends' sent me a really nasty message and seems to have de-friended me over it. Seems they weren't the friend I thought they were…….
      This wasn't a numbers issue at all…more about who we wanted to share the day with.

  48. I find it fascinating that people want to bring small children to a wedding! I have quite a few friends & family attending our wedding with small kids and the resounding answer was "Yay! An excuse for a night without the little ones hanging off me being bored/tired/hyper/cranky/hungry/full/needing the toilet."

  49. Well, we didn't have any issues with +1 at the beginning of the process. We invited guests with long-term partners (married or not, mostly not) together – and our singles alone (they all knew at least a few other people, so no reason to feel awkward). There were only 3 kids to be considered and they were my guy's nephews and niece, so of course they were included.

    Then we got an unexpected +1 request just a week before the wedding – a Jack Russell terrier! Belonging to the nephews and niece. I was taken aback at first, but since that the wedding was a weekend-long cabins-by-the-lake affair and we couldn't expect them to leave the dog at home that whole time, and the family said he'd be fine waiting in the car during the ceremony, we said ok. Lucy turned out to be a real highlight! So I'm all for the case-by-case basis approach to +1 requests 😉

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