One issue that always plagues our brides at Wind Dancer Retreat, is what to do with their single friends at their wedding. What is the proper wedding guest etiquette? Can you avoid increasing your guest list and just avoid plus-one’s altogether?

Of course you’ve known Josh since grade school. You grew up together. You can’t see your wedding day without him and you want to invite him, but do you invite only him? We all know Josh’s reputation and track record with dating. So the question is, do you let him bring a plus-one to the wedding? And if you don’t want him to bring a date, what is the proper wedding guest etiquette to explain that in a way that he will understand and not take offense?

If you don’t plan on allowing your single friends to bring a date, simply address the invitation to just your friend “Mr. Josh A. Smith.” Do not put “and date” or give them a plus-one option. Hopefully no one on your guest list will be offended by the fact that they can’t bring a date, and may even be relieved that they don’t have to find a date for the wedding. Some brides even prefer to sit all their single friends together so that they aren’t surrounded by a bunch of couples, but instead can mingle, dine, and perhaps even meet a future romantic interest?

Some brides look at the financial aspect of bringing a plus one to their wedding. Bottom line… it costs money for every person on your guest list. And you know you have one of those friends in your life like Josh that has a new date every weekend. So why am I, as the bride, going to let you bring a date to my wedding who I will never see again? Someone I don’t know personally. Someone I’m going to have to feed. Someone who is taking up a spot of another friend I would much rather invite. Some brides feel strongly enough to even enforce the rule:

“If you haven’t been dating that person for at least 1 year, you’re not allowed to bring them as a date to my wedding.”

It may sound harsh, but that’s the only way to get it through to some people. If you’re comfortable explaining to guests that bringing a plus one is a budget issue, then be honest with them and tell them that. Or simply tell them that you’ve already told other guests no, and it just wouldn’t be right of me to let you bring a plus one when I’ve already told others that they can’t

Wedding Guest Etiquette for Plus-Ones

If you are letting your friend bring a plus-one, and it’s a specific person, make sure to address the invitation as such,

“Mr. Josh Smith and Ms. Samantha Jenkins”

By stating specifically who the invitation is addressed to, guests get the idea of who the invitation is for. But, if you are leaving it up to them, simply put,

“Mr. Josh Smith and Guest”

This leaves Josh open to inviting whomever he wants as his date to your wedding. Ultimately, whether you allow your single friends to bring a date with them to your wedding is up to you. If you clearly explain why you don’t want them to bring a date, they should respect that. And if they don’t respect you enough to do so, then they probably shouldn’t be at your wedding anyway. At Wind Dancer Retreat, we’re here to help our brides avoid as much stress as possible. Following this wedding guest list etiquette will help you avoid blowing your budget and insure a unique wedding you’ll never forget. You can download our Wedding Planning Guide to get more tips to make your wedding day a success.