Invites and Paper

Plus-One Wording

lmcooper86lmcooper86 Toronto
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edited February 2015 in Invites and Paper

Hi all,

My FI and I are working on a spreadsheet of our guests' names and addresses to have our invitations addressed, and I have a question about plus-ones. I read through the sticky about addressing invitations, but still have a couple questions to make sure I don't do something rude or wrong!

We have a few guests who are truly single, and we are including a plus-one with their invitations. Some of them won't know anyone else at the wedding and I would rather they have the option of bringing someone with them if they would like.

We are not using inner envelopes for our invitations, just the one outer envelope. I've read conflicting rules/opinions (on this site and between TK and a few other places) about how to include the plus-one. Some of what I'm reading says it's fine to have the invitation addressed to "Invitee and Guest" on the envelope, and other information indicates that we shouldn't do this, and should instead include a note that they're welcome to bring a guest with them.

What's the rationale behind not including the words "and Guest" on the envelope? Is it simply because "Guest" is not a defined person who could have correspondence addressed to them, and might cause issues with the postal service? Or is it bigger etiquette issue that I'm clueless about? I'm just curious.

If including "and Guest" on the envelope is horribly rude or might result in those invitations being returned to us by Canada Post, I have no issue getting or making an extra insert card for the 7 people who are getting a plus-one. If any of you went this route, what sort of wording did you use?

Any input would be helpful!

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Re: Plus-One Wording

  • CMGragainCMGragain
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    edited February 2015
    You address personal mail to a specific person.  Would you mail your invitation to "Occupant", like the junk mail?  No?  Then don't address your wedding invitations to unspecified people.  This would include "and family", which also should never be done.
    Just write a little note by hand, "You are invited to bring a guest."  No big deal.
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    lmcooper86
  • Make an effort to address people by name. But it's not rude to say "and Guest" if people don't know yet who they're going to bring.
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  • LtPowersLtPowers Upstate New York
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    It's important to know to whom you're extending hospitality. Opening up your guest list to the whims of other guests can cause problems; it's best if the hosts know exactly whom they're inviting.

    And of course addressing someone simply as "guest" is rude.


  • lmcooper86lmcooper86 Toronto
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    Thank you all for your responses!

    @southernbelle0915 - We've checked with guests if we weren't sure if they were dating someone, so if we have the name of whoever a guest is dating we're putting that person's name on the invitation too. These are just those truly single people who may want to bring a yet-to-be-determined date.

    @AddieCake - You rebel, you ;)

    @LtPowers - I don't really consider this "opening up" our guest list, it's not a free for all. We have 7 truly single guests and a few of them won't know anyone else at the wedding; if I were in their position I would appreciate the invitation to bring someone with me. If bringing someone makes their day more enjoyable and makes them more comfortable then I don't have any problem with it. Unfortunately, since these people are single, I don't really see a way to extend the plus-one without using the word "guest" in some context. 

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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    I don't think it is rude at all to address an invitation with "and guest" if you don't know who the invitee will be bringing. It's not like the guest is going to see the envelope and be all, "They don't even know my name! GOSH!" Nor is it necessary for the hosts to know these guests. I had a few people whose SPOUSES I had never met until our wedding.
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • LtPowersLtPowers Upstate New York
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    edited February 2015
    @LtPowers - I don't really consider this "opening up" our guest list, it's not a free for all. We have 7 truly single guests and a few of them won't know anyone else at the wedding; if I were in their position I would appreciate the invitation to bring someone with me. If bringing someone makes their day more enjoyable and makes them more comfortable then I don't have any problem with it. Unfortunately, since these people are single, I don't really see a way to extend the plus-one without using the word "guest" in some context. 
    The way you do it is to ask whom they'd like to bring, and then address an invitation to that person. That solves both the problem of an impersonal invite to an intimate occasion and the problem of having an unknown guest at your wedding.


    AddieCake said:
    I don't think it is rude at all to address an invitation with "and guest" if you don't know who the invitee will be bringing. It's not like the guest is going to see the envelope and be all, "They don't even know my name! GOSH!" Nor is it necessary for the hosts to know these guests. I had a few people whose SPOUSES I had never met until our wedding.
    There is a difference between inviting someone whom you haven't met and inviting someone whose name you don't even know.


  • lmcooper86lmcooper86 Toronto
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    AddieCake said:
    I don't think it is rude at all to address an invitation with "and guest" if you don't know who the invitee will be bringing. It's not like the guest is going to see the envelope and be all, "They don't even know my name! GOSH!" Nor is it necessary for the hosts to know these guests. I had a few people whose SPOUSES I had never met until our wedding.
    Exactly. There are even a few of FI's family members that I haven't met, since they live in the States and our vacation schedules have never lined up. Just because I don't know them personally yet doesn't mean they shouldn't be invited!

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  • lmcooper86lmcooper86 Toronto
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    LtPowers said:
    It's important to know to whom you're extending hospitality. Opening up your guest list to the whims of other guests can cause problems; it's best if the hosts know exactly whom they're inviting.

    And of course addressing someone simply as "guest" is rude.


    We've been over this, LT. 

    Here's the scenario: Sally is single. Bride wants to let Sally bring a date, so she says, "Sally, I'm addressing invitations. We are extending a plus one to you. Do you know who you might like to bring as a date so that I can address them by name?" Sally says, "Thanks! Gosh, I'm not sure who I'd like to bring. I may know closer to the wedding, but I don't know right now." 

    The bride follows up a week later, after everyone else's invitations have already gone out and she says, "Hi Sally, just wondering you know who you might bring yet. I'd like to address them by name." Sally says, "I'm sorry, I'm still not sure."

    At this point, the bride has 2 choices:

    1) Send the invitation out with "and Guest" to honor her verbal commitment to let Sally bring a guest; OR
    2) Send the invite just to Sally - NOT honoring her already extended verbal invitation - since she doesn't have a name for the guest.

    Now tell me, LT, would you select option 1 or option 2? Which do you think is more polite to the guest?


    THANK YOU.

    @LtPowers - For anyone that we were unsure of, we contacted them directly and asked if there was someone who should be included on their invitation by name. If there is someone significant in their life (even if we haven't met them yet) then that person will be included on their invitation. Anyone who said "Nope, no one, just me", we are still extending a plus-one in the event that they would like to bring a date, or meet someone between now and the wedding. This amounts to a grand total of 7 people, and I really have no problem with 7 guests potentially bringing someone that I do not know to the wedding if it means that my guests are happy and comfortable.

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  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    We had several people who didn't know until that weekend who they were going to bring, so there was no way to learn their names prior to invitations and stuff. So "and guest" it was. 10/10 would do again. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
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    If you're sure the person doesn't have an S/O, then it's fine, IMHO, to put 'and guest,' on the envelope. It's very considerate of you to allow your single guests to bring a date. 

    If you're having a very formal wedding, you should follow CMGragain's impeccable advice.


                
  • LtPowersLtPowers Upstate New York
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    If you're sure the person doesn't have an S/O, then it's fine, IMHO, to put 'and guest,' on the envelope. It's very considerate of you to allow your single guests to bring a date. 

    If you're having a very formal wedding, you should follow CMGragain's impeccable advice.


    It may be considerate, but it's inconsiderate to invite someone by proxy rather than personally by name.


    LtPowers said:
    It's important to know to whom you're extending hospitality. Opening up your guest list to the whims of other guests can cause problems; it's best if the hosts know exactly whom they're inviting.

    And of course addressing someone simply as "guest" is rude.


    We've been over this, LT. 

    Here's the scenario: Sally is single. Bride wants to let Sally bring a date, so she says, "Sally, I'm addressing invitations. We are extending a plus one to you. Do you know who you might like to bring as a date so that I can address them by name?" Sally says, "Thanks! Gosh, I'm not sure who I'd like to bring. I may know closer to the wedding, but I don't know right now." 

    The bride follows up a week later, after everyone else's invitations have already gone out and she says, "Hi Sally, just wondering you know who you might bring yet. I'd like to address them by name." Sally says, "I'm sorry, I'm still not sure."

    At this point, the bride has 2 choices:

    1) Send the invitation out with "and Guest" to honor her verbal commitment to let Sally bring a guest; OR
    2) Send the invite just to Sally - NOT honoring her already extended verbal invitation - since she doesn't have a name for the guest.

    Now tell me, LT, would you select option 1 or option 2? Which do you think is more polite to the guest?
    The solution is the same as it is with people who waffle on their own acceptance or declination of an invitation: you give Sally a deadline. "Sally, if you'd like me to invite someone to accompany you, I'll need his or her name by Friday."  If Saturday arrives without a response, then you say "I'm afraid it's too late to invite anyone else to the wedding, but I'm looking forward to seeing you!"

    Really, the continual efforts to justify this "and guest" business are getting rather tired. It is rude to invite someone to an event in that fashion, especially so to a wedding. And allowing your guests to invite their own guests invites trouble in the unfortunate event that there's prior history with someone else at the event -- trouble you could head off if you knew in advance everyone whom you were inviting.


  • It may not be the traditional etiquette for a formal invitation, but I disagree that it's rude to the invited guest. 
    I also disagree that potential chaos could ensue. If I offer Sally the opportunity to bring a date, I seriously doubt that her date's feelings would be hurt by not getting his own invite. 
    And presumably, if I offer a friend the choice of bringing someone, I trust that friend not to show up with an inappropriate person. If they had an "unfortunate prior history" with another guest? So? They can behave like the other adult guests with various former relationships, good or bad, and be adults. 

    (Typically, the persons at a wedding most likely to have unfortunate prior histories are named Mom and Dad. If they can manage to behave, I think Guest can, as well.)
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  • LtPowersLtPowers Upstate New York
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    LtPowers said:
    The solution is the same as it is with people who waffle on their own acceptance or declination of an invitation: you give Sally a deadline. "Sally, if you'd like me to invite someone to accompany you, I'll need his or her name by Friday."  If Saturday arrives without a response, then you say "I'm afraid it's too late to invite anyone else to the wedding, but I'm looking forward to seeing you!"

    Really, the continual efforts to justify this "and guest" business are getting rather tired. It is rude to invite someone to an event in that fashion, especially so to a wedding. And allowing your guests to invite their own guests invites trouble in the unfortunate event that there's prior history with someone else at the event -- trouble you could head off if you knew in advance everyone whom you were inviting.
    So you picked Option 2.

    If you recall, Option 2 was where you rescind a verbal invitation that you've already given. THAT is rude. 

    Etiquette is all about treating your guests well and being a gracious host. It's never gracious to verbally extend an invitation and then say "oh sorry I know I said you could bring someone, but now you can't." 
    I didn't pick Option 2 because I rejected your initial wording of the invitation (e.g., it was a loaded question). Of course, if your premise is that host says "You can invite someone else along!" it's awkward to rescind that offer later on. (Not sure if it's rude; it's certainly rude to disinvite an individual, but there's no individual here who's being disinvited, so the only potential victim here is Sally, who's still invited.) But you'll note I worded the offer differently, so as to avoid the awkwardness.

    It does this by letting Sally be responsible for whether or not she enjoys the option of inviting a friend along. This is no different than setting an RSVP deadline and then sadly informing anyone who misses it that you'll miss having them at the wedding.

    Or do you also think it's rude to say "no" to someone who failed to respond to an invitation in a timely fashion?


  • AddieCakeAddieCake Beyond the Wall
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    Yeah, I just don't get the whole, "I will let you have a date/guest, but only if you can give me his or her name by X date." That's just strange and rude in my book. 
    What did you think would happen if you walked up to a group of internet strangers and told them to get shoehorned by their lady doc?~StageManager14
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  • MairePoppyMairePoppy Connecticut
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    edited February 2015

    Lt. Powers, have you had your guest show up to your parties with dates who pick fights with your other guests?

    No one is being invited by proxy, as you say. I trust my friend isn't telling her date that she is invited him in place of the man or woman that she'd really like to bring.

    MagicInk said:
    So @LtPowers‌ you've made space at your wedding for Sally to bring a guest. Your budget is set and you told Sally she could bring someone. But that shitty Sally didn't rustle up a date quick enough so fuck her and the horse she rode in on? There is not a single fucking thing wrong with extending "and guest" to a truly single guest. And trust that dear old Sally there won't show up with crip or blood.
    Or a die hard Yankees fan, when my family members are life long Redsox supporters with Boston accents.  
                
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  • LtPowersLtPowers Upstate New York
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    MagicInk said:
    What if Sally just goes "Ok, I'll bring John" and then before she mails back the RSVP card decides she's gonna bring Susie instead? When you great them do you toss Susie out? Do you call Sally up all "Bitch I said you could bring John, not Susie"? That seems mean. 
    That would depend on whether you've sent the invitation to John yet or not. Presumably you have, if Sally has mailed back the RSVP card. How would you prefer that situation be handled? "Oh, okay, Susie can come too, in addition to John?" Or do you rescind the invitation you sent to John?

    Again, telling your guest that your invitations are going out on X date and so you need a name and address by X date is not rude. It is simply a matter of logistics -- after a certain date, it's too late to extend an invitation to a person of your guest's choice.


  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA
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    edited February 2015
    So basically, proper etiquette wise, this situation either requires me to be rude to my dear friend Sally (omg, PEMDAS flashbacks!), or some stranger named John that Sally knows.

    Golly, let me think about this for a minute...
    lmcooper86
  • lmcooper86lmcooper86 Toronto
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    I wish I'd checked TK while I was home sick on Friday...

    Thanks all, glad to know that I'm not doing something heinous by not inviting a guest's yet-to-be-determined date by name.
    LtPowers said:

    It does this by letting Sally be responsible for whether or not she enjoys the option of inviting a friend along. This is no different than setting an RSVP deadline and then sadly informing anyone who misses it that you'll miss having them at the wedding.

    Or do you also think it's rude to say "no" to someone who failed to respond to an invitation in a timely fashion?


    To the bolded: WHAT? I think it's far ruder to rescind an invitation after it had been sent, especially considering there are a number of reasons why the response wasn't received. Instead of saying "sorry you can't come anymore" I think I would pick up the phone and call the guest to confirm. Unreal.

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  • JennyColadaJennyColada Awesometown, CA
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    edited February 2015
    I didn't even receive any RSVPs back from my wedding invitations to our parents. So I giess I should have told my mom and dad "sorry guys, see you on the marriage flip side!"

    Omg I'm SO rude for allowing my parents to attend my wedding. :(
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