Should Everyone Get to Bring a Wedding Date?
Everyone wants to bring a date to a wedding. We’ve all been that person, bummed when there was no +1 invite tucked into our gilded wedding invitation. But now that we’re talking about planning and paying for your own wedding - the tables have turned. When budget is a factor, it can be difficult just deciding who gets an invite to your big day in the first place, much less whether they get the privilege of a +1 or not.
Needless to say, there are a lot of factors to consider when deciding who gets the plus 1 status. But here are a few tried and true guidelines that will make your decision a lot easier - while offending as few of your friends as possible!
How long has it been goin’ on?
One important rule of thumb that will actually make your wedding planning life easier is to consider how important the relationship is to the guests you’re inviting.
As in: are they married, engaged, in a long -term relationship? Then it’s a pretty safe to say if you’re giving out the plus one status to anyone, it should be those guests.
If you’re trying to keep the crowd small and the costs down then anyone outside the realm of a long-term relationship can receive a solo invite to the wedding. That means any guests with new or casual relationships, like your teenage cousin’s highschool boyfriend, or just a friend wanting to bring a date, can all come ready to mingle instead.
Who do they know?
The only exception to this rule, would be the out-of-town guests.
Think about how comfortable your out-of-town guests will be at your wedding if they don’t know anybody other than you. And it’s safe to say, you’ll be a bit too buy to entertain. We think it’s a lot to invite a friend from the other side of the country (or even state) to not just travel to your wedding, but then to hang out by the cake all night, hoping to find someone cool to chat with. Talk about social anxiety!
When it comes to inviting guests who aren’t in your neck of the woods -- especially if they’re important to you, make it that much easier for them to say YES to your invite, by giving them special +1 privileges.
How tight is your budget?
Not to be crass, but when it comes to planning a wedding, a lot of your toughest decisions are going to come down to the money.
How many people can you truly afford and how many people does your venue comfortably hold?
People pleasing is one thing, but giving yourself heart palpitations over pleasing every guest who wants to bring a date isn’t worth it. And yes, this means having to be honest with your friends and family that while you love them, you aren’t made of gold. Nobody expects money to grow on trees, and when it comes to wedding planning (and pressure) honesty is the best policy.
Sometimes, you’ll have a guest who really wants to bring a plus one, who will offer to flip the bill for their date’s meal.
Before you turn your nose up at this idea, some people would rather have their date present -- and not care about the extra cost. This option takes a lot of pressure off of you to say yes or no.
Because it is a lot of pressure. Saying yes to friends and their dates sounds so easy, until you add up the cost of those extra “friends.” You have to consider: extra food, drinks, a place at the table, cake, etc. So if your friends offer to pay for their date, and money is the deal breaker. Let them help you!
To invite or not invite -- that is the question?
Between juggling personalities, cost, and not offending anyone - it’s amazing that is why deciding what and who is really important before you before you make that final guest list is going to take so much of the pressure off of your shoulders.
And hey, it’s your wedding -- so at the end of the day you really have to ask yourself and your partner, who do you really want to be there celebrating with you and who isn’t as high up on the list. Because you’re not doing yourself any favors by allowing a bunch of +1’s to your wedding if you can’t afford it or frankly just don’t want them there.
Planning a guest list requires you to get painfully honest and ask yourself: who do I want at my wedding. And from that list decide, which of those guests get a +1. It’s much easier to invite the plus ones, when the people who get to bring them are guests you truly want at the wedding.