The Plus 1 Debate

Indiebride is a blogger that I follow on Twitter and last week she shared this opinion piece by Peg Fisk that was featured in the New York Times. I suggest you give it a quick read before I go on.

OK. For those of you that didn’t read it, the gist of it is Ms. Fisk, who apparently is divorced, is sometimes invited without a guest to weddings. She rants about being the single person, sitting at the “loser” table, forced to make conversation with other singles. Halfway through the article I thought, “Jeeze, if you’re going to be bitter about it, don’t go to the wedding.”

I was relieved when I read the last paragraph.

“So whenever I get invited to a wedding and can’t bring a guest, I send a generous present, show up at the church and then go home to a nice glass of chardonnay. I toast the happy couple, and perhaps do my own version of the hokeypokey in my living room. ’Cause that’s what it’s all about.”

Picture from

I see her point and don’t really disagree with her, but as someone who is planning a wedding this is a decision that we often agonize over. It’s not a decision we make without knowing that it will hurt some people. It’s not a decision that’s often made lightly.

I’ve been to some weddings that invited everyone with a guest regardless of their status. I’ve also been to weddings that didn’t invite guests with a plus one unless that you were married or engaged to that plus one.

Not for nothing but being that this woman lives in New York I can bet that adding a guest so she has someone to talk to would set the couple back a good $200. She does make this point in her piece, but it doesn’t sound like she’s really given the financial implications of inviting guests much thought. $200 per plus one can quickly add up. Just five additional guests adds another grand to the bill.

While our venue isn’t charging us $200 a plate, we decided to keep costs and our guest list down by only adding a plus one for guests who were already in long-term relationships. We also have a limit to the amount of guests our venue can hold so this was a way to keep our guest list down. We made an exception for one guest who wouldn’t know anyone at the wedding aside from Chuck. The rest  of our single guests know enough other guests that finding someone to buddy up with shouldn’t be an issue. I think it is common courtesy to make an exception if your guest won’t know anyone else at the wedding, but you shouldn’t feel obligated to invite everyone with a guest if you can’t afford it.

I’ve told a few of our guests who are in causal relationships that once we find out how many No’s we have, we can open the party up to guests. For a planning bride and groom, this isn’t an easy decision. It’s often an awkward conversation and there is no way you’re going to make everyone happy. If money or space were no object, sure you can bring that guy from accounting that you’ve been chatting up in the lunch room, but money and space is often and object. A line has to be drawn and guests and children are often the first to go.

So, to be blunt, if you’re cranky about being invited sans guest do your friend a favor and check that little “No” box and stay home.


10 thoughts on “The Plus 1 Debate

  1. Debbie and Donovan downers can stay home. Other wise they are more than welcome to put on their big kid undies, get spiffed up, and have a hell of a time. Plus ones arent about you. Just like the wedding isnt about you. Its about them. If you love them, then you want to be there regardless.

    Please note I’m not getting down on people with social anxiety or serious shyness issues. I’m getting down on people that huff and puff and are bitter singles who feel the need to poop on other peoples parade.

    Can I get an AMEN?!!

      • My flavor of the month, lol. I don’t know if I would have even bothered. I know mad people at this wedding, and as you just mentioned both of my dates will be there anyway. I guess the third in line would be Joe. He’s tall, cute, sociable, and will dance.

  2. I agree with you 100%. We only invited “dates” for couples in long term/serious relationships. To be fair- I was super attentive to the single folks when I made the seating chart and was sure to seat them by people they knew. In the end a lot of my girl friends showed up without their Plus Ones because they wouldn’t have known anyone and the girls wanted to have a good time without having to feel like they had to entertain their man. I don’t think we had any circumstances where the person didn’t know anyone else but if we had, I agree I might have budged in that case. In the end it is your wedding (and you are footing the bill) and you get to invite who you want even if that means pissing someone off!

    • Since we’re doing a cocktail party, I don’t have the drama of seating charts. But, I think you did the right thing by putting the singles with other people that they know. I think the single table is sill if those single people know other people at the wedding. Not gonna lie, I am really shy around people I don’t know, but when I do know a bunch of people, sometimes I’d rather leave Chuck at home because he doesn’t dance and I feel bad leaving him at the table by myself ; )

  3. seriously, people need to grow up. it never fails to amaze me how selfish some folks can be when it comes to attending people’s weddings–or worse yet, being in people’s weddings. i had someone tell me right to my face that she thinks it’s completely rude to be invited without a plus one just because she isn’t in a relationship. but, um, being in a relationship is how you become a plus one, so…logic follows that you would be invited alone if single. we wound up inviting her with a guest–she was the ONLY person we broke our rule for (married, engaged, living together, or long-term couples only). fittingly enough, she came alone and today we aren’t even friends anymore.

    i also experienced my cousin-in-law being asked by a mutual family member if that family member could bring a same-sex friend (like, her friend from school, just to hang out with); my BFF having one of our friends ask if he could bring his brand-new girlfriend even though we had never met her and he had moved halfway across the country the year before; and another friend who dealt with a different mutual friend straight-up telling her that if he could not bring his flavor of the week to her wedding that he would not be coming. SO RUDE.

  4. Sometimes I think people want a plus 1 just so they have the option to bring a date if hey happen to find one. But then those same people cry and moan when they can’t find a date. Thankfully, I have yet to encounter any plus 1 problems. I don’t know if people just aren’t saying anything to me or I just have awesome guests. One of my friends did tell me he was bringing his new girlfriends and I replied that he was already invited with a date because if anyone would show up with a random chick, it would be him. Might as well beat him to the punch. He’s special….in that special way.

  5. Everyone who wasn’t engaged or in a relationship was not given a plus one. Unless you count my cousin who invited a guy who wasn’t even her boyfriend that my mom said she’d pay for. If they want to be there for you, they will be no matter if they are invited with a plus one or not. They are going to have fun too. No worries.

  6. Pingback: Weekly Roundup April 23

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