Plus ones. They add up don’t they?
Figuring out where to draw the line on guests and plus ones is important to do early on in planning your guest list. You don’t want a guest to feel isolated because they do not have a significant other, yet giving them free rein to invite whoever they want can seem like you’re granting a wild card for a stranger to attend a very personal event.
With younger guests it is often ok to invite them on the same invitation as their parents and siblings (if they are coming too) and therefore they won’t have (the option) to bring a guest, and will still have plenty of people to spend the day with. However with older guests it gets more complicated because a person in their forties or fifties may feel self-conscious about going to a wedding on their own.
It’s important to come up with a blanket rule and stick to it. For example, you could go by how long a couple have been seeing each other, or if they are living together. And if a person is single and they know other guests, it is reasonable not to give them a plus one.
Then there is the question of the partners of the bridesmaids/groomsmen. They may be left on their own all day while their other half is fulfilling their duties. Will they know any of the other guests? Should they have a platonic plus one? This is something you’ll have to discuss with the individual bridesmaid/groomsman and see how you all feel.
This situation arose for me at my brother’s wedding when I was bridesmaid. My brother suggested that my boyfriend (now fiancé) bring another friend along for company, but in the end the man himself decided that he’d probably spend half the day entertaining his friend who knew absolutely no-one, and wouldn’t have the same opportunity to mingle. He ended up being adopted by some of my cousins as an honourary brother and he felt even more part of the family from that day on (hence the ‘now fiancé’).
If you are having a smaller affair with a short guest list, the idea of inviting plus ones seems all the more contentious. In this situation, a couple would have to be very selective inviting the people-they-know-and-love, let alone the people the people-they-know-and-love know-and-love.
At the end of the day there’s no point in running into debt so people you have little or no ties with can celebrate your wedding with you, and your guests have to respect that.
And besides, they say that at each wedding there is the makings of another wedding, as is the case of my friend Ciara who met her husband-to-be at her sister’s wedding. If she was trying to entertain a plus one that day she would have missed out on the One, so you never know what you’re starting when you put together your guest list.