There are a lot of traditional wedding rules that are okay to break, or at the very least, bend to fit your needs, but the plus one wedding guest thing is something that requires careful consideration. Not only do the results affect your guests, but they affect you - more specifically, your budget.

Traditionally, married and engaged couples and anyone in a serious/long-term relationship are given a plus one on the wedding invitation. It’s up for debate on whether a person in the beginning stages of a relationship should be invited with a plus one. But how can you know who’s in a relationship and what stage that relationship is in?

If you have a lot of friends and family, but don’t know their relationship statuses or if you just can’t afford a ton of plus one invites, here are some things to consider and etiquette tips to help you make sure your guests are treated equally.

Photo of a bridal party laughing together, photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer NIkk Nguyen

Prioritize Your Wedding Party

They’ve been with you from the beginning of your wedding planning journey, so it’s a nice gesture to extend a plus one to each bridesmaid and groomsmen. They may not be in a serious relationship or want to bring anyone at all, but having the option will show them a level of appreciation for their friendship and support.

Related: Help! I Don’t Have Any Friends to be My Bridesmaids

Singles Who Don’t Know Anyone

If you’re inviting a childhood friend or extended family member who may not know anyone outside of you and your parents or partner, consider extending a plus one to this guest. You won’t have a lot of time to mingle with said guest, so having someone there for him/her to talk to will provide a level of comfort. 

Photo of wedding guests raising their glass, photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer NIkk Nguyen

Create a Plus One Rule

If picking and choosing who can bring a plus-one sounds like a tricky task, create an overarching rule like “only close family members can bring a date,” and stick to it. Exceptions can be made, of course, but having a blanket rule will help guide you through the process.

Coworkers and Casual Daters

Don’t feel the need to give plus-ones to friends and family members who casually date. Basically, if anyone has been in a relationship for less than a year (or in an on-again-off-again situation), you’re not required to give them a plus one. This is especially true if the guest will know other guests at the wedding. If not, then it’s up to you whether or not you allow them to bring a date (for their comfort’s sake).

As for coworkers, it’s kind of an all or nothing situation. If you want to avoid drama and people feeling left out, don’t invite anyone. If you want to invite a few close coworkers, do so on the down low and give each of them a plus one. In this situation, you’ll also want to keep wedding talk in the office to a minimum. If you’re inviting all of your coworkers, then all must be given a plus one.

Photo of a couple at a wedding,Photographed by Austin, Texas wedding photographer NIkk Nguyen

Related: My Favorite Austin Wedding Venues

Just remember: each additional guest adds to the number of dinner plates, chairs, programs, etc. That’s not to scare you away from giving out plus-ones, but to remind you that your budget and venue size plays a huge role in your guest list count. Crunching the numbers and staying on the conservative side will help you make better decisions when it comes to addressing the invitations. If you end up having more wiggle room in your budget or venue space, feel free to add on later.

Still not sure how to handle the whole plus one situation? I bet I can help! I've seen a variety of tips and tricks that will help you to gracefully handle "the plus one" and avoid stepping on any toes!

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