To plus one or not to plus one?

Over the last few days I’ve talked to a lot of people about their plus one dramas! Before I got engaged, I always thought my wedding would be a bit of a free for all! I imagined everyone I knew and their partners, dogs, accountants etc. would be invited.

Then I got engaged. And the financial reality of planning a wedding started to hit! Before I knew it, inviting everyone’s partners nearly doubled the guest list! We had to quickly cut back and plan a more feasible plus one strategy. But, as always, my way isn’t the only way – so here are a few ways to go about handling people’s plus ones!

Happy guests make a happy wedding! Special thanks to Oscar and Rose Photography for the photo!

Under the Vintage Veil’s Guide to Wedding Plus Ones!

The more the merrier

Some people choose to take the approach that everyone who wants one gets a plus one, relationship or no relationship. In some cultures, especially in countries where guests bring roughly the amount of money it cost to host them as a gift, this is seen as the norm. In others, however, it can get a bit pricey! Let’s have a look at the pros and cons:

The Pros:

Nobody gets offended!
There’ll be a bigger party atmosphere.
People might meet and fall in love – then there’ll be more weddings in the world. Which is good.

The Cons

I’m pretty sure you’re all aware that weddings are expensive. The more people you have, the more the wedding costs. Fact.
Even if you’re not having a really intimate wedding, do you want the most important and personal things you’ll ever say to be witnessed by a room full of well-wishers and acquaintances?
Your wedding goes by so quickly you barely get any time with the people who matter, imagine you have a whole room full of strangers to get round!

Long-term partners only

We’ve ended up opting for this one. It doesn’t mean this is the right route for everyone though. We’re inviting long-term partners regardless of how well we know them. We’ve established quite strict criteria for this – been together over six months at the time of sending the invitations, living together, engaged or married. Our rationale for this is at what point we’d expect for us to be invited us a couple to someone else’s wedding. 

The Pros

This approach is also less likely to offend people but still keeps a lid on numbers.
You’ll almost definitely be invited to their wedding in the future (well, that’s a pro in my book anyway!)
You’re more likely to know, or at least know a lot about, a friend or family member’s partner. And if you don’t, it’s a great way to meet and get to know them.

The Cons

While we have strict criteria, you never really know how serious someone’s relationship is from the outside. I know people who’ve been together for years on a casual basis, whereas John and I were engaged after six months! You need to be consistent too – no exceptions!
Some people might feel uncomfortable coming to the wedding alone if they have a boyfriend / girlfriend at home who they’ve been with for a shorter period of time but don’t know anyone else at the wedding.
If a short-term relationship becomes longer term and you snubbed their other half at your wedding, things may become awkward in the future!

Only partners you know

Another approach is to only invite people’s partners if you know them as well or have met them several times.  The reasoning behind this for most people is that they don’t want strangers at their wedding, which is understandable. But let’s look at the pros and cons:

The Pros

As mentioned above, you’ll know everyone at your wedding, which will put you at ease.
Everyone who’s there will want to be there, rather than having come along as a plus one.

The cons

Unless you have the most laid back friends and family in the world, you’ll upset people. That’s a guarantee. Some people may even refuse to come. If you’re OK with that, go ahead, if not, it may be worth just inviting people to keep the peace.
Again, future awkwardness. Does that then mean if your friend marries the partner you didn’t invite that you won’t get an invite to their wedding?

Plus ones in the evening

You can be a bit flexible with this – for example have serious partners there all day and more casual plus ones in the evening, or you can be consistent and just have your close friends there during the day. There are benefits and drawbacks to this approach however, as you’re about to see…

The Pros

You get the best of both worlds – for the intimate parts of your ceremony you only have to share them with your close friends, plus you skip the cost of extras at the meal, while still having them be some part of your day.
You get to have a really kick-ass party!

The Cons

You guessed it! You’ll still offend some people.
It’s massively inconvenient to have partners arriving separately, especially if they’re travelling a long way!
Again, you need to be consistent – you can’t invite some people as couples to the whole day and not others!

No plus ones at all

This is a somewhat drastic measure – and I think you can pretty much only get away with it if you’re having a tiny, tiny wedding. But let’s look at the pros and cons anyway!

The Pros

You’ll save a LOT of money!
At least you’re being consistent and nobody can say they’ve been treated unfairly.
You’ll only have your nearest and dearest at the wedding.

The Cons

I’m not an expert on wedding etiquette, but I’m pretty sure you can only get away with this if you’re having about ten people at your wedding!
People won’t enjoy themselves as much. Fact.
You’ll be all in love while your guests are lonely and pining for their partners – I’m sure that would go down like a lead balloon!

Are you having plus one dramas? What have you decided to do about inviting people’s partners? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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