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Invitation Etiquette 101: Addressing the Plus One Dilemma

Are you encountering the dreaded plus one dilemma? Look no further! This comprehensive guide will walk you through the proper plus one etiquette. You'll be ready to navigate the sometimes-tricky world of wedding invitation wording and ensure a smoother wedding experience for everyone involved in no time!

Setting the Ground-Rules

Establishing a well-defined plus one policy not only contributes to the smooth organization and logistics of your wedding, but it also allows you to focus on enjoying your special day. With a clear understanding of who's invited, you can rest assured that your guests' needs and expectations have been thoughtfully addressed. This eliminates any potential stress and allows you to fully immerse yourselves in the joys of celebration.

Whether it's chosen to extend plus ones to all guests, limit them to spouses and long-term partners, or adopt a specific criteria, decisive decisions will create an atmosphere of clarity and transparency, avoiding any potential misunderstandings or hurt feelings. A thoughtful approach sets the tone for the entire event and ensures that all guests feel welcomed and appreciated.

After setting up a well-defined plus one policy, you can seamlessly transition into the next aspect of wedding planning: navigating the guest list and invitations.

How to Address Plus Ones in Invitations

While it can be tempting to extend plus one invitations to all guests, it's crucial for you to carefully evaluate each situation individually. Consider whether the primary guest is in a committed relationship, engaged, or married, as these circumstances typically warrant a plus one invitation. On the other hand, for single guests (or those in casual relationships), it may be more practical to limit the invitation to just them if you're restricted on venue capacity or trying to stick to a strict budget. Addressing plus ones through the wedding invites will ensure that all guests are aware of the couple's intentions and can plan accordingly. Below are two suggestions we recommend:

Part 1: Addressing this through the Housing Envelope

If the couple is allocating the primary guest to receive a plus one, make it known through the Housing Envelope in one of two ways:

If the primary guest is casually dating people, or you don't know the name of the guest they would be bringing, simply use "and Guest" to indicate that they are allowed to bring someone with them (as seen above).

If you do know the name of the guest that the primary-invited guest would be bringing, it's suggested you include the guest's name on the Housing Envelope (as seen above).


Part 2: Addressing it through the RSVP Card

To reiterate how many "seats" you've allocated for the guests covered on that invite suite to bring, we suggest printing a particular number on the RSVP card, as so:

Printing a particular number on the RSVP card will clearly indicate how many guests you're allocating them to bring – including single guests who are NOT being allocated a plus one (as seen above).


If you don't have the means to print particular varying numbers on each guests' RSVP card, we suggest leaving a space where attendees can write in the number of guests they'll be bringing (as seen below).

This helps confirm that your invitation intentions were perceived correctly based on the way your housing envelope was worded. If the guest fills in a number larger than what you anticipated, this would lie appropriate grounds for you to connect with the primary-invited guest to discuss your particular situation.


Common Plus One Dilemmas

While addressing the plus one invitation conundrum is an important first step, it's likely that some common dilemmas may still arise. Understanding these potential challenges can help you navigate through them gracefully and with sensitivity.

Dilemma #1: The question of whether or not to allow plus ones for single guests in the first place.

While it may seem like a straightforward decision, it's important to consider the circumstances and dynamics of each guest's situation. Some single guests may prefer attending the wedding alone, while others may appreciate the opportunity to bring a friend or date. You should carefully evaluate each case individually and make a decision that aligns with your overall vision for the atmosphere, capacity con-straights and wedding budget. If you both feel uncomfortable having attendees that you potentially have never met, don't feel pressured into giving plus ones on the guests' account – it's your day.

Dilemma #2: Guests who assume they have a plus one when they actually don't.

Despite setting clear expectations within the invitation, some guests may still assume they can bring a date or a friend without explicitly being given a plus one invitation. In these cases, it's essential to approach the situation delicately and explain the reasons behind the decision, emphasizing that it wasn't personal, but rather a part of your overall wedding plan based on capacity, budget, etc.

Dilemma #3: A guest requests a plus one after the initial invitation is sent.

Some guests may have specific reasons for wanting to bring a friend or date, such as anxiety about attending alone or simply wanting a familiar face by their side. By taking the time to listen and consider their perspective, you can make an informed decision that still aligns with your overall vision for the big day. If you would still prefer the guest not bring a plus one, it's important to respond to the guest's request thoughtfully and empathetically, explaining the reasons behind your decision – expressing regret that you unfortunately cannot accommodate the additional guest for the following reasons. It's crucial to handle these requests with tact and understanding, but maintain your initial established boundaries to stick to your wedding plan.


In conclusion, understanding and respecting plus one etiquette is crucial for you and your guests. By following the guidelines provided above, you can ensure a smoother wedding experience for everyone involved. Remember, open dialogue and thoughtfulness go a long way and approaching each situation with empathy and open communication can make a huge difference. While it may be challenging at times, navigating these dilemmas with care ensures that the your wishes and decisions are understood and respected by guests.

As author Emily Post once said, "Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners." Embrace good manners and make your wedding celebration truly memorable for everyone involved. Cheers to a joyful wedding season!


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