Wedding Etiquette for a Plus One

Updated July 19, 2017

Weddings can include social situations not normally encountered in everyday life. Knowing the proper etiquette can help people navigate through tedious social situations with ease and poise. A bride and groom must decide early in the early stages of wedding planning who they want to invite. The etiquette question about whether to allow a guest to bring someone with him is something that most brides and grooms encounter.

Plus One Wording

Some modern couples write "and Guest" on their wedding invitations, indicating that the guest they are inviting is allowed to bring someone. This is not considered to be proper, according to Miss Manners. If you want to include someone's significant other or want to allow them the option to bring a guest, call them and ask for your friend's guest's name. Then, send a separate invitation to that person.

Who Should Get a Plus One Invitation

A bride and groom are under no obligation to allow their guests a "plus one." Weddings should be a time of celebration between the bride, groom and their closest friends. They are not obligated to invite someone they barely know or don't know at all to share in their special day. It is considered proper to invite a guest's fiancé or fiancée or live-in partner. If a guest is just dating someone or is single, a bride and groom can decide if they do or do not want to allow that guest to bring someone.

If You Do Not Get a Plus One

If a guest in a long-term relationship and does not get an invitation for her partner, the solution is debatable among experts. Liz Brewer, etiquette expert, says that it is OK to call the bride or groom and politely ask to bring a significant other. Perhaps the bride and groom were not aware that the guest was in a relationship, or perhaps they merely forgot to include a "plus one." Always be understanding if the bride or groom does not allow for an additional guest. David Miller, director of the etiquette guide Debrett's, disagrees with Brewer. He says that asking to bring a guest is always in bad taste and should not be done.

Other Etiquette for a Plus One

A bride or groom should be understanding if a guest calls to request an additional invitation for a guest. It is the bride's or groom's decision as to whether or not to allow an additional guest. If budget or venue space is an issue, politely explain the situation to the guest. It is a delicate situation and in most cases, though the bridal couple is not obligated to allow additional guests, it is likely to be better for the relationship with the guests if they are allowed to bring someone to the event.

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About the Author

Stephanie Kelley has been writing articles and columns online for SGM Radio and SGN Scoops Digital since 2005. She has a Bachelor of Arts in art history/anthropology from Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wash. and writes on a number of topics including art, frugal living, children and travel.