There’s nothing like the start of a new relationship. You’re both dreaming about what the future could bring, holding your breath between text messages and counting down until your next date. But there’s one area of your dynamic duo that’s often forgotten about though: weddings. And nope, not your own—but the ones you’re invited to and you’re not sure if you should or shouldn’t bring along a plus-one to a wedding.
It’s a tough question to navigate, not only for the budding relationship but the message it sends to your larger community. “For most people, bringing a plus-ne to a wedding signifies they hold a level of importance in your life that is more than just the average fling. Thus, if you are going to a wedding where you will know a lot of the guests, it’s important you are there with someone you are proud to represent as your partner,” explains couples psychologist Dr. Sarah Schewitz. “You will likely be introducing your date to a lot of your friends and family and it might feel a bit premature to do that with someone you’ve only been seeing for a short while.”
If you’re in this predicament now, experts share the signals it’s likely not time to include your new boo as a plus-one to a wedding.
It’s too soon if you aren’t exclusive.
Your Aunt Jo can’t wait to meet your date (since you’re #singleforever) but you’re not calling this could-be-something your boyfriend or girlfriend… yet. How awkward will that conversation be? Psychologist Dr. Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D., explains if you aren’t exclusive with your partner, it’s far too early to ask ‘em to tag along to a wedding. “You and that potential plus-one should know if both of you are feeling similarly enough about each other instead of just assuming something as important as this,” she explains.
After all, if you just started dating, you’re in the getting-to-know-you stage, which isn’t always the strongest platform. Putting the added pressure of presenting yourself as a couple isn’t necessary or recommended. “It isn't fair to you and this new person to attend a wedding as a couple if the relationship has barely gotten started and it isn't fair to whomever is paying for the wedding to foot the bill for someone who isn't—and may never be—that relevant,” Dr. Thomas adds.
It’s too soon if you aren’t sure about the relationship.
Before you start to think about bringing this new person as your date, think about where your headspace is at. As Dr. Thomas explains, if you’re on the mend from a heartbreak and rebounding without admitting it to yourself, it’s time for a gut check. “In these types of situations, you may not be that clear as to your feelings about this new person since you still may be getting over your previous significant other and your feelings may be all mixed up together,” she continues. “Consequently, bringing this new person as your plus-one to a wedding may be coming from an insecurity of attending the wedding alone or consciously and/or subconsciously may be done as a way to avoid feeling loss or upset regarding your previous partner since you may be filling in the void with this new person.”
It’s too soon if you’re not sure how they are in social settings.
Even if you aren’t super close to the bride or the groom, weddings evoke a lot of emotions for most people. And Dr. Schewitz says not everyone handles those the same way. When a relationship is new, you might not fully understand how they react to social settings, and you don't’ want to find out on someone else’s special day. “Even if you know everyone there, it can be overwhelming and exhausting. Imagine having to attend to a date that feels uncomfortable and doesn’t know anyone in addition to having to have those awkward conversations with relatives you hardly know or remember,” she explains.
And while it might not be an initial consideration, psychologist and author Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell warns against bringing someone to a wedding who you’ve never witnessed in an open bar setting. “Seriously, some people cannot resist the temptation to overindulge when someone else is paying the tab. And some people can't hold their liquor,” she stresses. If you haven't had the chance to see how your date responds when alcohol is in abundance, you may want to think twice about bringing him/her along. If someone's drunken antics end up ruining a wedding, you don't want that someone to be your date!”