How To Decide If A Wedding Guest Gets a Plus One

By Carolyn Stine October 29, 2018 

First comes love, then comes propsal… then comes creating the guest list for your wedding. We’ve been there too, and we feel your pain, brides! After the venue has been chosen and the date selected, the real work of deciding how many guests to invite to your weddings begins. And a big part of that process is the very un-glamorous designation of who gets to bring a plus-one, and who does not. Every wedding, venue, and bride and groom are different, but we put together a cheat sheet for what we view as the universal guidelines to think about when creating the guest list for your big day.

Enter: the relationship funnel. This simple system will be your best friend as you go through your list and need to gut-check which relationships may merit an invite of the other half to your main event. We organized this funnel from most to least important to include a plus one, with our reasoning behind each layer. As always, know that this is your wedding and you can invite as many or as few folks as your heart desires. But if you’ve been where we’ve been and are pulling your hair out trying to decipher “plus-one code,” then this list is definitely for you.

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Married Couples

… Also known as, the MVP of all relationships.

These folks have tied the knot, you’ve most likely been at their wedding where said knot was tied, and their relationship is permanent like a fresh tattoo. This is the most important couple to grant a plus-one to.

Engaged Couples

… Also known as, married couples with training wheels.

These couples are going through the exact same thing as you are at this very moment, and most likely also gathering intel at other weddings as they plan their own. Give them a chance to watch your first dance and look at each other with that knowing “this will be us soon” eyebrow raise. They’re going down the same path you’re on. They’ve made the initial commitment. It would be pretty challenging to deny a fiancee a plus-one.

Couples Who Live Together

… Also known as, they’re serious enough about each other to share a laundry basket and potentially a furry friend.

We’ve been to quite a few weddings where this was the “cut-off” criteria for determining if a guest got to bring a plus-one. Living together shows that these two are quite serious, and have a level of comfort and familiarity with each others’ day-to-day lives that not being able to attend a friend’s wedding together would be a tough break. If you only have a handful of plus-ones left to give out, this is a logical way to weed through couples and determine who gets the coveted invite (boom).

Couples Who’ve Been Dating For Over a Year

… Also known as, they had the DTR convo (define the relationship, duh) and lived to tell the tale.

Hey, you have a few extra headcount, and you really like your friend’s new-ish SO. They’re exclusive and on the path to serious. This is both the bucket to cut SO’s from if you’re over your max, or to add to if you have a little extra love to spread around.

Tinder Dates

… Also known as… seriously?!

Just so you know, you are under zero obligation to grant plus-ones to your single friends who want to bring perfect strangers to your wedding. Unless the budget is unlimited and the venue seats 500 and up, feel free to dismiss any notions that you “owe” single guests a plus-one. This also removes the pressure on your single friends knowing they can bring a date, but don’t have one. We like the idea of introducing some of your friends who are flying solo during the wedding events leading up to the big day, and seating them together for dinner. 

What did you do? Any full-proof methods we missed?

Tell Us What You Think

  • Marie Logan says:

    Back in the day you would never invite a single lady to attend a wedding unescorted. Of course, you also didn't invite casual acquaintances or co-workers. Just my opinion.

  • It's so interesting to see how times change! I also remember my mother telling me that her wedding was full of mostly her parent's friends and only a few of hers, now it seems to be the other way around!

  • Carolyn Stine

    A party without cake is just a meeting.

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