Love, joy, and plus-ones may not seem like the traditional trio—but the great plus-one wedding etiquette debate may be unavoidable during the wedding planning process. Most couples often find themselves at odds when it comes to tackling their wedding guest list. Beyond figuring out who gets the golden ticket, the underlying discussion of which guests can and can't bring a plus-one to your wedding can be the source of major fall out between family and friends. So, to help you out, here are the five rules to follow when navigating plus-one wedding etiquette.
Figure out who’s a must for a plus-one—and who’s not.
Granting plus-ones to your wedding is not a first amendment right. Plus-ones are in fact, at the couple’s will pending your relationship with them. “Many couples lose sleep over who to invite and who to cut from their invite list,” explains Amy Greenberg of Amy Greenberg Events in Los Angeles, California. “Ultimately, the couple should not feel pressure to invite people they potentially don't know over people that they do,” shares Greenberg. “Plus-ones should simply be invited on a case by case basis as determined by the couple."
Old school wedding “rules” don’t always apply.
While adhering to certain wedding guest etiquette rules feels outdated, the “no ring, no bring” mandate is one way of vetting out attendees with partners—but not yet wed themselves. But, how fair is it to quantifying another’s relationship status?
“It's not really about fair. [We live] In a world where people are getting married later, living together before a ring, and having children together without feeling the need to get married,” explains Greenberg. “A blanket one-size-fits-all rule doesn't really fit anyone. You need to do what is right for you and your wedding.”
Be direct and honest if drama arises.
It’s no surprise that certain guests might feel miffed they’re asked to attend solo and not given a plus-one for your wedding. According to celebrity wedding planner, Mindy Weiss, it’s a best to be direct but honest during the difficult convo. “Try not to budge—trust me, that will open a can of worms with other dateless guests who might feel scorned!” Whether it’s a budget or venue restriction or simply a preference, calmly explain your reasoning and that, while you’d be honored by their presence at your wedding, a plus-one won’t be possible.”
Your wedding party (and couples) get special treatment and should all get plus-ones.
But when it comes to your wedding party, skimping on the plus-ones at your wedding is a 100 percent no go. “Unless things are really tight, I do think the wedding party should get the courtesy of a plus one—regardless of their relationship status,” adds Weiss, whose clients include Ellen DeGeneres and Portia DeRossi, Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello, as well as Ciara and Russell Wilson.
“They’ve likely spent lots of time and money to be there with you and make your day as perfect as possible and allotting them a plus one is a small gesture of appreciation for all their hard work.” Another deal breaker? Married guests. “Husbands and wives are a package deal, regardless of your level of familiarity with a spouse,” adds Weiss.
Skip the singles-only table.
Another issue might arise as planning is underway—what exactly do you “do” with your single guests? Both of our experts agree that nixing the singles table is the best bet for solo guest.
“Single friends should be seated the same way you seat your other guests,” explains Greenberg. “With their friends or your friends/people who you think they would have the best time with!”