Dear Uncommon Courtesy,
I have a two part question about plus one’s at a wedding. 1) Can you bring a platonic +1 to a wedding? 2) Can you bring someone as your +1 who the bride and groom are friends with but didn’t invite to the wedding?
Lonely Wedding Guest
Couples should never issue a plus one as “Your Name +1”. It leads to exactly these type of situations. Instead, the couple should call up their single guest and inquire if there is anyone in particular they would like to bring to the wedding. Then they should issue the invitation as “Your Name and Your Guest’s Name.”
Victoria: Ooooh that’s a tricky one. I think a platonic +1 is fine. Although it does seem like a lot of people think you should only bring a “date” and like, bringing your mom would be weird.
Jaya: Yeah, the whole point is it’s up to the guest to decide. People should get over the “date” thing. Unless there’s a name on the invite, if it just says +1 you’re leaving it up to them to decide.
Victoria: Yeah, I mean that’s why you shouldn’t give a generic +1, you should ask if there is anyone they would like to bring to the wedding and then send an invitation with their name.
Jaya: Yeah, you can’t just assume they’ll bring their boyfriend or something. Maybe they want to bring their plumber.
Victoria: Although, I suppose then you put yourself in an awkward situation if they say, yes, I want to bring my mom and you’re like errr. And to the second part, I think it way trickier, because it can kind of feel like, okay, the bride and groom made a decision not to invite this person, and now I’m going to sneak them in with my +1. It’s way weird.
Jaya: Absolutely, and you never really know what the thing is. Like maybe they just ran out of room and are really upset they couldn’t invite this person, and are going to be super excited that they can do it. Or maybe it was for a reason and they wanted to send a clear message and now that’s messed up.
Victoria: Yeah, I do think if you are going to do something like that, you should run it by the bride and groom first. Be like, “I know you didn’t invite [NAME[ but I’d like to bring him as my plus one, but of course I understand if you would rather I pick someone else.” Although, you are still putting the couple on the spot. And if they don’t want to explain why they didn’t invite the person, then they are going to be really uncomfortable.
Jaya: Yeah, but like, as the couple you’re gonna have to deal with that. That’s what you get for +1s.
Victoria: Haha yeah, +1s are a weird thing anyway. Like it assumes that grown adults can’t be in public without a romantic “date.” Like it kind of reminds me of when my parents were young and like, you HAD to take a date to everything so you would scrounge up whoever was available. For me, people should only really do +1s for guests who are not going to know anyone at the wedding but the one or both members of the couple. (Definitely check to find out if anyone is in a relationship you didn’t know about though!)
Jaya: Yeah! It really is a relic. And I think people think they’re being nice by including a +1 but so often it can just be a source of stress. Either you feel like now you have to find a date or it’s like, the person you are dating isn’t considered seriously enough to get invited on their own.
Victoria: Yeah! The pressure to find a date is crazy. Like, why would I want to hang out with someone I’m going to have to entertain rather than just hang out with all the friends I have who are already at the wedding? And there’s nothing more annoying than that friend who you never get to see who brings a date to the wedding and spends the whole time with the date instead of catching up with everyone. I mean, choose your choices, but still.
Jaya: Yesssss, like, now you gotta make sure this person is having a good time, and you feel like a babysitter.
Victoria: Yep, just go and be freeeee. not to mention what if your date gets drunk and obnoxious?!?!
Jaya: Omgggggg, and you’re that person who brought that asshole.
Victoria: I brought a relative stranger to a sorority formal once and he got drunk and obnoxious and I almost DIED of embarrassment. That was freshman year and I never brought a date-date again. You were my date one year and you were a lovely date!
Jaya: I feel like I’m a pretty chill date.
What if you’re inviting someone to your wedding who doesn’t really know the rest of your guests? I figure it’s considerate to at least let that person bring a date (or a friend, or whatever), so they don’t have to be sipping their drink in the corner alone.
Totally in agreement otherwise, though–I felt kind of weird adding +1s to the wedding invitations I sent out to my single friends, like I should have added a “PS, I’m not saying you have to bring a romantical person, but if you do that’s fine, but I don’t care either way!”
I was once invited to a wedding where my boyfriend at the time was on the invitation as “and guest.” The weird and confusing thing about it (besides that he and I were also living together) was that the boyfriend and I were both friends with the couple, and to be honest, I considered him to be closer to them than I was. It was kind of off-putting and a bit insulting for him.