Does a Plus-One Need to Buy a Wedding Gift?

An etiquette experts offers her insights.

wedding gift table

Photo by Dave Richards Photography

When you are invited to a wedding, there are some responsibilities that come with a RSVP of yes. You are promising that you will travel to the event. You agree to participate in all festivities you're invited to while adhering to the dress codes. And, you are assuming the job of being a supportive and celebratory presence for the couple tying the knot. One other obligation that comes with being a wedding guest? Bringing along or sending a wedding gift for the couple.

While that is your responsibility as an individual attending a wedding, what do you do if your friend or family member was also kind enough to offer you a plus-one? Does that additional guest need to find a gift off the registry themselves or contribute to your gift? Or, do you need to take on the responsibility to send one gift by yourself?

To provide wedding guests and their plus-ones some guidance, we chatted with etiquette expert, Elaine Swann, to offer her advice. Ahead, see what steps to take to make sure you can avoid a gifting faux pas.

Meet the Expert

What to Do If You're Not a Couple

There are some major differentiations that will take place on a wedding invitation that can inform your decision. If you find on the stationary your name "and guest" or "+1," you technically can bring anyone you want as your date for the night. In this case, your guest is off the hook for the registry.

"The plus-one is not expected to get a gift for the couple at the wedding," explains Elaine Swann. "The gift given by the individual who has been invited is sufficient. They are the invitee. Therefore, they would be responsible for bringing that gift. Whether it's a Tinder date, a friend, or someone they are dating, they are not required to also get a gift, nor are they required to contribute to purchasing the gift."

What to Do If You're a Couple

If you receive a plus-one on your invitation but are in a relationship, then it's another story. "A plus-one is very different than a couple," notes Swann. "Maybe you are just the bride's friend. But, as a couple, you and your partner both spend time together with the bride and groom. Then, the invitation would clearly be for them to come together. In this case, you should both contribute to something, even if it's just one of your friends." If your S.O. has never spent time with the bride and groom if you live further away or haven't had the chance to meet yet, then the responsibility still lies on the invitee.

Swann does emphasize though that if you are in a very serious relationship and receive "and guest" on your invitation, your partner will be expected to contribute. "When we're talking about someone who is married, engaged, or living together that's very different. If you are coupled up with someone and you are commingling your funds, then go ahead and commingle that gift," she explains.

Remember that if you both are going in on a gift together, you should expect an increase in value. If you are planning to give a gift from two people, tradition says you should expect to double the price of what you are spending.

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