Navigating the Plus-One Dilemma: Who Should You Invite to Your Wedding?


Your wedding guest list is already going to be dictated by budget, venue size and the family you are obligated to invite. Your parents may want some spaces for their must-have guests, usually people you haven’t seen since you were a child.

But now you have to decide which of your guests can bring a Plus-One as well. That, in case you haven’t got to this point yet, is the extra guest your single friends bring as their date.

There is some general etiquette over which Plus-Ones should be included, but after that, it’s down to who you prefer to invite. It is, as we always say, your wedding, your choice. 

The etiquette of the Plus-One invite

The issue with the Plus-One list is that you may not have met them before your wedding day. When your budget restricts the number of spaces available, having a stranger at your wedding in a place that could have been offered to a friend may feel a little awkward.

However, some Plus-Ones should be invited. Bridesmaids, groomsmen and ushers are all taking time to make your day run smoothly and have likely been involved in a lot of the preparation too. These are the priority for a Plus-One, in appreciation of their help. Besides, if they are close enough to be part of your bridal party, you probably want to get to know their other halves.

Traditional invitations for married couples

Whether you have met them or not, traditionally you would offer a Plus-One to any guest who is married or in a long-term relationship. However, we do believe that this can be separated into degrees of friendship without causing offence.

The thing about planning your guest list is that you do have to separate everyone into groups. Must-have family and close friends are key – the A list. Then you have the slightly-less seen friends, the workmates and the old school friends – the B list.

Family and close friends should be offered a Plus-One if they are married, in a long-term relationship or cohabiting.

Once you’re down to the B list, the work colleagues, and you’re planning to invite the entire office, you can probably get away with setting some limits. But it would be a good idea to set expectations in advance by explaining to your colleagues that due to numbers, you are not inviting Plus-Ones from work.

Plus-One etiquette for single friends

For distant family and friends who are single, the simplest way forward is to set one rule for everyone, although you may choose to tweak this depending on the number of single guests you have. If you’re down to just one or two singletons, allowing them a Plus-One will definitely make their day much more fun. Otherwise, they are left to amuse themselves among all the happy couples.

When you have a larger group of singletons, the important thing to remember is to treat everyone equally. If you allow one person to have a Plus-One, you should allow everyone to have one, and vice-versa.

Writing clear invitations to avoid embarrassment.

The simplest way to avoid any embarrassment on the day is to make sure your invitations are clear. A wedding invitation will name the people invited and clearly state Guest Name Plus One. If you have a wedding website, you can write your Plus One policy down for everyone to see, which helps to avoid anyone contacting you separately to ask if they can bring a guest.

That said, you will likely have someone who asks. If you don’t have the space or inclination, then just politely let them know there won’t be room. 

Another option may be to offer a Plus-One for the evening reception only. At Coton House Farm we can cater to 120 guests if you choose a seated wedding breakfast, but 220 in the evening. Suggesting your work colleagues invite their Plus-Ones to join them for the party means you keep to your budget, while everyone has fun with their loved ones in the evening.

If you’d like more great wedding tips, or to find out just how flexible our venue is for accommodating different-sized weddings, give us a call on 01543 432429. We would love to show you around and discuss how we can make your dream day come true.

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