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Etiquette

The Plus One Dilemma

What's proper etiquette when it comes to including a plus one?  Being ever mindful of our final head count (and the $$$$$$$$$$ that goes with it), what are the rules for friends or family that are now dating people for a short time?  Invites are going out in a month and a half and I'm just learning of these new relationships now.
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Re: The Plus One Dilemma

  • Cookie PusherCookie Pusher Looking over your shoulder
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    Love it! Although I would substitute the pizza for a bag of bricks......... heh
    Seriously, why the FUCK are you stalking me?! You need to get a life and stop being obsessed with me.
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    phiraOliveOilsMomPrettyGirlLostClimbingBrideNY
  • It's a tough thing to figure out with young people. Rule of thumb: 

    -High schoolers don't need +1s. The exception is if you're inviting someone who literally won't know anyone else (but I don't see how exactly this would happen). Even then, if they're still being supported by their parents, parents may be upset about the idea of having to bring another person if they're OOT (of course, we all know that they don't have to use the +1, but most people forget tat it's a courtesy). Overall, it's totally not essential. 

    -College students generally love +1s. This is even more valuable if the college student is traveling independently (because s/he might appreciate having someone else there). It's still not essential, but think about it this way: say you get married at 25 (young, but still). If you're giving other truly single friends +1s and they're about your age, the college student really isn't a whole lot younger. 

    -I think high school SOs really depend on a) the age of the parties involved and b) the parental views on the person (within reason). 

    -18+ is the same as any other guest with a SO. 

    This is a very broad generalization, but most of the time, high school students should involve consultation with the parents and the kid in question, while college students should be the equivalent of the rest of the adult population. 

    I mean, I am 20. I have to speak up for us. ;-)
    PrettyGirlLostMGP
  • phiraphira Bahstin
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    @fionahalliwell I think that in general, people are usually inviting people under the age of 18 because that person is a family member, so that younger person would know people at the wedding already. Same with college students unless you're having a wedding DURING college, although even then, generally the college aged guests will mostly know people at the wedding unless they're from another school.

    Basically, it gets messy. I'd still stick with plus ones aren't necessary, although they're nice for people who are traveling from out of town, or if the person won't know anyone else. Most people under the age of 18 are not going to fit that category.
    Anniversary
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • melbelleupmelbelleup
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    edited February 4
    phira said:
    @fionahalliwell I think that in general, people are usually inviting people under the age of 18 because that person is a family member, so that younger person would know people at the wedding already. Same with college students unless you're having a wedding DURING college, although even then, generally the college aged guests will mostly know people at the wedding unless they're from another school.

    Basically, it gets messy. I'd still stick with plus ones aren't necessary, although they're nice for people who are traveling from out of town, or if the person won't know anyone else. Most people under the age of 18 are not going to fit that category.
    I agree, minus the college thing. I have my college friends, FI has his, we went to the same school and had numerous classes together. I was never any of his friends' friend until we dated after college. That being said, only one or two of my college friends are invited to my wedding and they don't know each other. I only have one person from my high school invited too and the only person she'll know are my siblings, parents and her mom. Also my best friend (also BM) will only know my FI and I and she just met him not too long ago. It happens with distance. Not everyone knows someone.

    I'm a firm believer of the 18+ gets a plus one regardless of the status. Luckily, I don't have anyone in high school to debate with. I did have a debate with my dad about my 2nd cousin's boyfriend because she's in college and he doesn't need invited *hits desk* He's invited. It's my wedding, if my dad can invite all of his uncles, aunts and cousins then I can extend a plus one (not even a plus one because they're dating) to my friends/relatives still in college.
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  • I planned for plus ones. We're not sending out our invites just yet but basically any friend that is single right now gets a plus one. When it comes time to send out invites my FI and I are going to browse through the guest list once more. If these friends or family members are still not in a relationship then they will be invited by themselves, no plus one. Then we can add several more people that we would have wanted to invite originally but due to etiquette had to cut them (Knotties: just to clarify, we are doing all of this before sending out invites - so no B-list. If someone RSVP's they cannot attend, we aren't going to send out another invite to someone else.)

    IF they do enter a relationship when the invites go out then great! We've already budgeted and planned for it. I recommend doing it this way.You know what you've budgeted for and who you can invite and you accommodate anyone who enters a relationship by the time the invites go out.
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    PrettyGirlLostMGP
  • vt&dtvt&dt
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    We had a tough time telling with a couple of our single friends - they had told us about going on a date with someone, but we didn't know if they considered themselves in a relationship - or if they just happened to have gone on a couple of dates with that person.

    It can be a little awkward to try and feel it out, but I'm really glad because we didn't unintentionally exclude any SO's.  My MoH started dating a guy the week that the invites went out, and I told her after they decided they were bf/gf that she of course could bring him to the wedding.
  • Anyone 18 or older that is dating someone (regardless of how long or short) must be invited as a unit. If they are truly single (as in, they don't consider themselves to be in any sort of relationship) then you don't have to give them a +1, though it's nice if you can afford it.

    Budgeting for all single guests to have a +1 is the best way to go. The worst that would happen is everyone enters a relationship so all those hypothetical +1's now become couples and you can thankfully afford it since you already budgeted for it. The other outcome is you save money if none or only some enter relationships before invites get sent. You really can't lose this way.

    After 6 years and 2 boys, finally tying the knot on October 27th, 2013!

  • Agree with PPs.  We used 18+/getting a separate invitation as our only requirement for SOs.    Two cousins starting seeing people after invites went out; when we found out, we did our best to accommodate those additions, but we had to be honest that we couldn't say yes right away.  I'd plan for plus one for anyone you know is dating now, and would do my best to invite those individuals by name when the time comes. 
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  • This is one of the cases where the Knot etiquette-board regulars routinely contradict their claims that "there's no way youwill get affirmation for breaking etiquette on the etiquette board". "Plus One's" in general are against formal etiquette. Each and every guest you invite should be treated as your guest and should receive all the courtesies that you extend to every other guest: to be invited by name, in an invitation sent to their own address, and to have the assurance that the people they meet at your party have been pre-vetted and approved by you.

    That doesn't mean that you have carte blanch to impose lonely awkwardness on the guests whom you feel would benefit from having an escort. It means that you have to go to some extra effort.

    Call each single guest and ask for the name and address of his or her future escort. If they don't have a name on the tip of their tongue invite them to get back to you. Remind them to alert their escort to the forthcoming invitation so that the escort will not be blindsided by a note from a complete stranger. Go to the expense of the extra stamps and extra invitations. Try to meet or at least learn about the person you are inviting ahead of time, so that you don't accidentally invite your best man's ex or the college football-player who sexually assaulted your bridesmaid three years ago (yes, these things have actually happened to hostesses who delegated responsibility for half their guest list to their first-class guests.)

    Finally, if any single guest does not get back to you with an escort, you are NOT absolved of your duty as hostess to make sure they have a good time. You need to struggle over a seating chart that puts them at a table with people with whom they will have good conversation, who will not leave them "odd man out" while a bunch of couple-conversations go on around them. You need to introduce them to people so that they will have people to talk to and dance with.

    Yes, it is a lot of extra effort to follow proper etiquette with respect to all your guests -- but you did specify "proper etiquette" in your question. You can always follow common practices instead -- just as you are free to follow any other common etiquette violations such as cash bars: there are no etiquette police to enforce proper form.

  • phira said:
    @fionahalliwell I think that in general, people are usually inviting people under the age of 18 because that person is a family member, so that younger person would know people at the wedding already. Same with college students unless you're having a wedding DURING college, although even then, generally the college aged guests will mostly know people at the wedding unless they're from another school.

    Basically, it gets messy. I'd still stick with plus ones aren't necessary, although they're nice for people who are traveling from out of town, or if the person won't know anyone else. Most people under the age of 18 are not going to fit that category.
    Agreed. That's what I meant about under 18 (I can't imagine why there'd be someone under 18 at a wedding who didn't know anyone else there). 

    I stand by the college student +1 thing, though, because where do you start drawing the line? If over 18 is an adult, then over 18 should mean a +1, regardless of college status. If you want to make it over 21, fine, then over 18 doesn't matter. 

    But I am only 20, so I may realize the error of my judgement process in a few years. 
  • grumbledoregrumbledore
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    edited February 4
  • phiraphira Bahstin
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    phira said:
    @fionahalliwell I think that in general, people are usually inviting people under the age of 18 because that person is a family member, so that younger person would know people at the wedding already. Same with college students unless you're having a wedding DURING college, although even then, generally the college aged guests will mostly know people at the wedding unless they're from another school.

    Basically, it gets messy. I'd still stick with plus ones aren't necessary, although they're nice for people who are traveling from out of town, or if the person won't know anyone else. Most people under the age of 18 are not going to fit that category.
    I agree, minus the college thing. I have my college friends, FI has his, we went to the same school and had numerous classes together. I was never any of his friends' friend until we dated after college. That being said, only one or two of my college friends are invited to my wedding and they don't know each other. I only have one person from my high school invited too and the only person she'll know are my siblings, parents and her mom. Also my best friend (also BM) will only know my FI and I and she just met him not too long ago. It happens with distance. Not everyone knows someone.

    I'm a firm believer of the 18+ gets a plus one regardless of the status. Luckily, I don't have anyone in high school to debate with. I did have a debate with my dad about my 2nd cousin's boyfriend because she's in college and he doesn't need invited *hits desk* He's invited. It's my wedding, if my dad can invite all of his uncles, aunts and cousins then I can extend a plus one (not even a plus one because they're dating) to my friends/relatives still in college.
    Oh, no, I mean, people STILL in college.
    Anniversary
    now with ~* INCREASED SASSINESS *~

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  • This is one of the cases where the Knot etiquette-board regulars routinely contradict their claims that "there's no way youwill get affirmation for breaking etiquette on the etiquette board". "Plus One's" in general are against formal etiquette. Each and every guest you invite should be treated as your guest and should receive all the courtesies that you extend to every other guest: to be invited by name, in an invitation sent to their own address, and to have the assurance that the people they meet at your party have been pre-vetted and approved by you.

    That doesn't mean that you have carte blanch to impose lonely awkwardness on the guests whom you feel would benefit from having an escort. It means that you have to go to some extra effort.

    Call each single guest and ask for the name and address of his or her future escort. If they don't have a name on the tip of their tongue invite them to get back to you. Remind them to alert their escort to the forthcoming invitation so that the escort will not be blindsided by a note from a complete stranger. Go to the expense of the extra stamps and extra invitations. Try to meet or at least learn about the person you are inviting ahead of time, so that you don't accidentally invite your best man's ex or the college football-player who sexually assaulted your bridesmaid three years ago (yes, these things have actually happened to hostesses who delegated responsibility for half their guest list to their first-class guests.)

    Finally, if any single guest does not get back to you with an escort, you are NOT absolved of your duty as hostess to make sure they have a good time. You need to struggle over a seating chart that puts them at a table with people with whom they will have good conversation, who will not leave them "odd man out" while a bunch of couple-conversations go on around them. You need to introduce them to people so that they will have people to talk to and dance with.

    Yes, it is a lot of extra effort to follow proper etiquette with respect to all your guests -- but you did specify "proper etiquette" in your question. You can always follow common practices instead -- just as you are free to follow any other common etiquette violations such as cash bars: there are no etiquette police to enforce proper form.


    I just threw up in my mouth a little.
    Me: "Hey (truly single guest), I just wanted to know who you are going to bring to my wedding in 2 months that you haven't started dating yet so I can put his/her name on your invitation."
    Truly Single Guest: "Um, what the actual fuck are you talking about?"
    I was thinking the exact same thing.  When I was single if someone asked me that question I would have told them to send the invite to me and guest...What single person knows 2 months in advance who they are going to bring?!?!?!
    grumbledore
  • So I have a Plus One/Guest question. We are having an intimate family ceremony and reception. Every guest is either a married couple or in a long-term relationship whose SO we know. There are four exceptions: my sister, his sister, my best friend/BM, and the grown (31yo) daughter of my mom's best friend. We have a VERY strict max head count of 75, including the bride and groom. This is b/c our venue is on the grounds of a rural bed n breakfast with romantic little cabins on site, and once the head count reaches 75, we are REQUIRED to rent 5 of the 8 cabins on the property at ~$200 each. That's not even close to feasible, and there is NO leeway with the venue. If there are 75 peeps, it's an extra thousand bucks. 74, we're ok. So my question is, since ours is family and close friends only, how imperative is it that the 30 year old single daughter of my mom's bestie bring some random dude off the street? Bear in mind that the daughter isn't a friend of ours, but is being invited along with her parents b/c of the very close friendship between our mothers. (She still lives with the parents too.) We are trying to leave some leeway so that our sisters (both grown women, but single) can each bring a date/friend if they want, but like I said, the number 74 is the max. Right now, we're sitting at exactly 72 if everyone that will be invited is able to come. Add me and the groom, and we're at that magical number. Advice? Thoughts? How to handle?
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
  • Oh, and the single BM/best friend will be flying in from another state just for the wedding weekend. We go to school in one state, I'm getting married in another, and she's from yet another state. She's staying at my family's home for the weekend so she's doesn't have the added expense of a hotel room. The topic of her bringing someone hasn't popped up, and she's already booked her plane ticket- which I paid for half b/c we are poor medical students that live off students loans. Lol.
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  • InkdancerInkdancer The Shire
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    jalyndani said:
    So I have a Plus One/Guest question. We are having an intimate family ceremony and reception. Every guest is either a married couple or in a long-term relationship whose SO we know. There are four exceptions: my sister, his sister, my best friend/BM, and the grown (31yo) daughter of my mom's best friend. We have a VERY strict max head count of 75, including the bride and groom. This is b/c our venue is on the grounds of a rural bed n breakfast with romantic little cabins on site, and once the head count reaches 75, we are REQUIRED to rent 5 of the 8 cabins on the property at ~$200 each. That's not even close to feasible, and there is NO leeway with the venue. If there are 75 peeps, it's an extra thousand bucks. 74, we're ok. So my question is, since ours is family and close friends only, how imperative is it that the 30 year old single daughter of my mom's bestie bring some random dude off the street? Bear in mind that the daughter isn't a friend of ours, but is being invited along with her parents b/c of the very close friendship between our mothers. (She still lives with the parents too.) We are trying to leave some leeway so that our sisters (both grown women, but single) can each bring a date/friend if they want, but like I said, the number 74 is the max. Right now, we're sitting at exactly 72 if everyone that will be invited is able to come. Add me and the groom, and we're at that magical number. Advice? Thoughts? How to handle?
    As she does not have a boyfriend, girlfriend, or any kind of romantic partner, you are in the clear to invite her alone. People who have named significant others should always be invited with those significant others. People who would be bringing a random friend, acquaintance, or person off the street do not need to be given a guest.
    Daisypath Anniversary tickers
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    PrettyGirlLost
  • jalyndani said:
    So I have a Plus One/Guest question. We are having an intimate family ceremony and reception. Every guest is either a married couple or in a long-term relationship whose SO we know. There are four exceptions: my sister, his sister, my best friend/BM, and the grown (31yo) daughter of my mom's best friend. We have a VERY strict max head count of 75, including the bride and groom. This is b/c our venue is on the grounds of a rural bed n breakfast with romantic little cabins on site, and once the head count reaches 75, we are REQUIRED to rent 5 of the 8 cabins on the property at ~$200 each. That's not even close to feasible, and there is NO leeway with the venue. If there are 75 peeps, it's an extra thousand bucks. 74, we're ok. So my question is, since ours is family and close friends only, how imperative is it that the 30 year old single daughter of my mom's bestie bring some random dude off the street? Bear in mind that the daughter isn't a friend of ours, but is being invited along with her parents b/c of the very close friendship between our mothers. (She still lives with the parents too.) We are trying to leave some leeway so that our sisters (both grown women, but single) can each bring a date/friend if they want, but like I said, the number 74 is the max. Right now, we're sitting at exactly 72 if everyone that will be invited is able to come. Add me and the groom, and we're at that magical number. Advice? Thoughts? How to handle?

    Plus 1s are never mandatory, though there are Some instances where extending them would be better than others. If any of those 3 women are truly single none need to be allowed a guest. It doesn't matter who they are though- if they enter a relationship before invites get sent they must be invited together. Unless you've sent invites already you don't know if all invited guests will make it. Seems like your sister is planning to come alone so you should be fine either way. This is a very good example of why you should determine your rough guest list (with adding +1s for everyone) before you choose a venue.

    After 6 years and 2 boys, finally tying the knot on October 27th, 2013!

  • Question about addressing invites to SOs - if the couple does not live together, is it correct that I should send a separate invite to each person? This seems strange because I'm only inviting them because they're dating my friend/family member, but this makes it seems like they themselves are invited and that the invitation would still stand if the couple were to break up before the wedding. I know it's unlikely that person would still show up, but it just doesn't seem like the right way to go about sending the invitation.
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