I spoke to a bride recently who said she cut the guest list at the reception by almost 25% by nixing plus 1’s. Her future hubby was not happy to have people at the reception he didn’t know.
On a tight budget? Should everyone get a “plus one?” For the bride and groom it often comes down to cost and shelling out extra money for someone they might not know very well, if at all. A plus-one is a must for anyone who is married, engaged, or in a long-term relationship. No exceptions there! If a guest would rather not attend without a date, they have the prerogative to decline the invitation. Family should always come before friends. After that, it gets a little less clear-cut.
As for long-term boyfriends and girlfriends, it’s more or less up to you, but it’s smart to go with a hard-and-fast rule – all or none – to keep things fair across the board. Some couples give a plus one to singles over 18. Others decide to include dates for anyone in a relationship, while others draw the line at just couples who have been together for a year or more.
How do you make it clear to people that they do not get a plus one? If a guest is invited with a plus one, the invitation will state that explicitly: Jane Doe and Guest. Don’t see those words? Sorry, they are just going to have to make friends at the reception. On invitations to guests without plus 1s try “_____ of 1 guests will attend. That’s pretty clear. Wedding websites can be incredibly useful too – 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. Make it very clear, “Sorry, we just don’t have room for extras – if we allow Plus 1s, we have family members who won’t be able to come.” Consider seating singles thoughtfully with other singles. Let your whiny friends know that sometimes fabulous meet-ups can happen at a terrific wedding.
Whatever you decide, consistency is the key. The exception is your bridal party members – if you can swing it, allow your single bridesmaids and groomsmen to invite dates if they choose to do so.
If there is no plus one but your guest wants to bring someone, they could politely telephone asking if they can bring a guest and must be okay with the answer. However, etiquette guide Debrett’s (the trusted source on “British” social skills – keep in mind they do things different there), says asking is always a no no. As Anna Post writes in the Emily Post etiquette guidelines and agrees, “It’s not okay for guests to ask you to make exceptions, so it won’t be rude in the least to stand by your guest list.”
You also may have guests assume they can bring a date, despite your clearly addressed invitation to the contrary. You may need to pick up that phone. Emphasize the fact that it was clearly a misunderstanding and apologize, but make it clear that you won’t be able to accommodate extra guests, and stand firm.
Response cards are one of those notoriously painful tasks in planning your wedding. Not only will you need to chase a few people down when they respond late, but decipher chicken scratch and missing names. TIP: number each response card in pencil and keep a personal list of which numbered response is for which guest.
Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.
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