Wedding Plus One Etiquette You Should Know


One of the first questions you will ponder when receiving a wedding invitation addressed with just your name on it is if you can bring a guest or not. As the bride and groom, you may be wondering who should be able to bring a guest. Whether you’re the pondering guest or wondering couple, you should be aware of the wedding plus one etiquette for both scenarios and that’s exactly what this article will let you in on.

Wedding Plus One Etiquette You Need to Know

If You’re the Bride/Groom:

  • It is your choice

Whether for financial or personal reasons, you can simply leave off the ‘plus one’ from your invitations. You are going to have to cap your guest list off at some point and your friends and family should understand if the invitation doesn’t say ‘and guest’ or ‘plus one’ when they cannot bring their own guest.

  • Guests in a committed relationship will already assume they can bring a plus one

Whether you put it on the invitation or not, your friends and family who are married, engaged or have been in a long term relationship and are living with their significant other will automatically assume they can bring them. It is poor etiquette not to allow those with long-term significant others have their partners attend the wedding celebration.

  • Not everyone in a relationship needs a plus one

While your guests who you know have been in long term relationship should be given an automatic plus one, those who casually date or have just gotten into a new relationship do not need to be given a plus one. Even if it is you friend since high school, if they haven’t been dating the same person for at least a year, then you do not have to allow them to bring a guest.

  • Be flexible

There are a number of things that can suddenly happen with someone’s significant other. From illnesses to business travel to last minute cancellations, don’t anticipate having to follow the wedding plus one etiquette too strictly and within reason. Be prepared to make some adjustments and open to switching around who can have a plus one, but do so within reason.

If You’re a Guest:

  • Don’t assume you can bring someone

Unless you are given permission by the bride and groom personally to bring a guest, if the invitations do not state that you can bring a guest, then you simply cannot bring someone as a plus one. If you think you are misunderstanding the wording on the invitation, then you can ask the couple for clarification. Chances are it doesn’t say ‘and guest’ or ‘plus one’ on the invite, then you do not need to find a date to escort you.

  • Even if you have a significant other, don’t assume you can bring them

While it would be nice for you to bring your significant other to your friend’s wedding if the invitation doesn’t say you can, that doesn’t mean to call up the bride and groom to ask for special permission to do so. Respect the couple’s decision to not allow everyone to bring a plus one, asking them if you will only put them in an awkward position and it is their day, not yours.

  • Be considerate of your plus one

If the invitation does say you can bring a guest, wedding plus one etiquette suggests this primarily means your significant other. Avoid asking your roommate, friends or siblings to attend the wedding with you, and do not consider asking someone you know will either be disrespectful or may not be able to attend.

  • Don’t be offended

If you're single or just got into a new relationship, do not be offended if the couples didn't include a plus one for you. Weddings are a great expense and you should be understanding that you being able to bring someone so that you don’t feel alone or uncomfortable is absurd. You are there to celebrate the couple’s big day, so you will want to put your ego aside and not make big or even small deal about it.

  • The RSVP

Do not RSVP with a plus one if you are unsure if your date can make it. You should always RSVP with the name of the guest you are bringing, so they are certain that you are bringing a guest. This also gives the couple a bit of relief in knowing they are not just paying for a stranger to attend their big day.

  • Don’t fill in with another guest

If you receive an invitation and it is addressed to you and a specific guests name, most likely your significant other, and they can’t make it, this is not a free pass to invite someone else. The invitation was addressed to you and that person who is the couples want in attendance. If the other person cannot make it, then you will have to go alone.

  • If your name was on the invitation, the gift is your responsibility

You should not ask your date to pitch in for the wedding gift, especially if they barely know the couple. You can add their name to the gift if you choose, but it is tacky and improper wedding plus one etiquette to invite someone to a wedding and then ask them to help out with the gift.

  • Introduce your plus one

The couple is paying for your plus one to be there, so it is polite that you introduce them to one another at some point during the reception. But, remember this is a special day for the bride and groom, if they aren’t paying enough attention to you and your date, don’t take it personally or make the night about you.