Do Bridesmaids and Groomsmen Get an Automatic "Plus One"?

It all depends on if they're single or not—read on and we'll break it down

Updated 01/17/14

Photo by Philip Gabriel Photography

Whittling down the guest list for your wedding is never easy, especially if you are on a tight budget and are struggling to trim the head count. So are your wedding-party VIPs automatically allowed to invite a guest to join them, regardless of their relationship status? Our wedding etiquette experts are here to answer your guest list questions.

Do our bridesmaids and groomsmen get an automatic "plus one"?

"Plus one" wedding invitation etiquette can be tricky, but the standard these days is that a guest's spouse, fiancé, or live-in partner should also be invited to the wedding (as well as to the events surrounding the wedding, like the rehearsal dinner). The "no ring, no bring" rule that used to hold in these situations is very out of date. Nowadays, it's also widely accepted that people in a serious relationship are invited as a couple, but doing so is entirely up to the hosts. So, these rules apply to your bridesmaids and groomsmen—if they are single and unattached, you are under no "proper" obligation to include a plus one with their invitation. But, before you make your final decision, consider this: Your bridesmaids and groomsmen have put in a lot of blood (paper cuts from stuffing envelopes, anyone?!), sweat, and tears to support you, your fiancé, and the wedding, so if you can swing it financially, it's a very kind, thoughtful gesture to invite them to bring a date to the wedding festivities.

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