Which Guests Get a Plus One at the Wedding?

Planning Tips
Who Gets a Plus One?

Photo: Getty Images

When it comes to wedding planning, some things are clear cut. Others, such as whether to allow your single gal pals a plus-one, can seem a tad more murky. But we bet that once you read this expert advice, you'll know just what to do.

Take inventory of your guest list.
Before you sit down to settle on your plus-one guests, survey your guest list. Ask yourself whether the majority of your guests know one another or if several will arrive without knowing a single soul. Will your single guests be ready to mingle, or just downright uncomfortable? "If you discover that you only have 10 single guests and the majority of those won't know anyone else at the wedding, then we're talking about minimal cost with big impact for these guests," says Chandra Keel, owner of Chandra Keel Events in Phoenix. "Taking inventory of your guest list can help you to make a quick decision."

Be consistent.
While married, engaged or cohabiting couples should be invited as a pair, Keel says, a couple must consider their next-level plus-one allowances for guests whose groupings aren't so clear. "You can choose to allow a plus one for anyone over the age of 18, or maybe you want to restrict that allowance to just the bridal party," she suggests. "Perhaps you extend a plus one to your immediate and extended family only, or to anyone who is traveling from out-of-town." But whatever you decide, Keel says, set the rules and stick to them.

See More: How to Tell a Friend She Can't Bring a Plus-One

Consider the cost.
You may want to allow everyone older than 18 the chance to bring a plus one. But if that adds an extra 50 people to your guest list, can you afford the extra costs that come with them? "We're talking about a large expense," points out Keel. "That means an additional 50 meals, plus more tables, linens, centerpieces and favors. Do you have budget for it? Is that where you want your wedding funds to go, or will you want that for your photography budget? Be diligent about estimating the added number of guests and the cost associated with them before you decide who you'll extend a plus one to."

Put your guests' comfort first.
Says Keel, "Your guests comfort should come above all other considerations. If their comfort is not number one, then your priorities are backwards." Think about how you'd feel in each of your guests' shoes, and ask yourself whether you would be happy attending the wedding alone. "If you know that several of your guests will not be looking forward to your wedding, then their comfort needs to be prioritized over flowers, upgraded linens, centerpieces, and more," says Keel. "Whether or not you agree with their feelings on the matter, you're inviting this person because you care about them and want them to be a part of your special day, not because you want to wow them with your centerpieces. If you're not allowing plus-one's, ensure that it's for the right reasons."

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