What to do when your guests ask if they can bring a +1 to your wedding

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You’ve worked out your guest numbers, worked within the venue limitations and your budget and your invitations have been sent out to all those you really want to attend your wedding. The RSVP’s come back and some guests are either adding extra names to the list of those attending or they’re calling you to ask if they can bring other people, +1’s and guests to your wedding. What do you do .. aside from this!

wedding issues with guestsI once had a work colleague ask if her four children (who I had never laid eyes on) could come to my wedding. The invitation was initially for her and her husband. I agreed (£35 per head added to budget for this family of 6) and on the day (no notice given) only she attended. Thanks Carol!

This is all too common. How to avoid it?

What’s the +1 etiquette?

I would always allow adult guests a +1 as weddings can be very scary affairs when they’re filled with cliquey groups and couples. And yes I know it is YOUR day and it’s all about you, but ensuring guest comfort is part of the wedding planning process. You are enabling all those you want there to be there. And if this means having extras you’ve never laid eyes on before .. so be it.

Although the etiquette for bringing a plus one to a wedding means you would ideally have met them before and they will be dating or in a relationship as oppose to just being friends of your guest. I had a female guest of mine bring her boy mate which wasn’t great as he didn’t have the respect and regard for me and my other guests that he might have had for someone he knew better. Had he been her beau he’d have had different qualities (quite strict quality test as she was fussy) and been better behaved I am sure.

So – if you are bringing a plus one, YOU need to be responsible for your choice. Choose wisely and make sure you know they will behave appropriately. Introduce them to the bride and groom and then move on. Re sharing cost of the gift with +1’s – I have always bought a small gift when attending a party for the host whether I knew them or not, so yes your plus one should contribute something however small as a matter of good manners.

Forget that – no plus ones!

If however the numbers aren’t working in your favor and you can’t make room (or don’t want to) for plus ones and guests then having something on your invitation may release you from awkward refusals later down the line.

A short note to the effect

  • No +1’s

You could elaborate with:

“We’re seated to capacity but we are doing our best to ensure guests are seated next to familiar faces as well as having a chance to mingle with new ones. Thank you for understanding “

You may still have those who think this doesn’t apply to them and they’ll bring an extra person, with or without asking you first. However, as some guests will say they’re coming only to not attend, it may be the case, things work out just fine re the numbers.

What to do if you have extras and no room

I haven’t heard of an actual situation where extra guests were actually denied entry or couldn’t be accommodated and as such don’t how this would best be handled. If however you have had this experience please do let us know what happened and how things worked out.


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