There's a reason why so many people say the guest list is one of the hardest things to figure out about planning a wedding. Even after you've narrowed down who you want to invite, you still have to decide if they'll get to bring someone along with them, a choice that can have serious consequences when it comes to sticking to your budget. So how do you decide who'll be bringing a date? Our experts weigh in on where to draw the line.
If you can afford it, invite all of your guests with a plus-one. If you've ever been to a wedding solo before (even if you and the bride were sorority sisters), you know that having a built-in dance partner makes the whole evening a little more comfortable!
Is letting every guest bring a date out of your budget? Consider still sending a few "and guest" invitations and prioritizing who gets to bring someone else along. Start with your immediate family and your wedding party—these people are your wedding-day VIPs, so they should be the first to get the extra perks. In their case, it doesn't matter whether they're seeing someone new, in a long-term relationship, or just want to bring a friend along—they should have first dibs on extra seats at the table.
If they're in a serious relationship with someone you know pretty well, swap out "and guest" on the invitation for the person's name.
For the rest of your guests, it all comes down to the budget. If you can't afford to invite an extra 20 or 30 people at $100 a plate, begin by narrowing it down to just guests who are in serious relationships—and again, including their partners' names on the invitations. Whether you draw the line at couples who live together or couples who have been together for six months or more is up to you, but do your best to be consistent in every case (the wedding party and immediate family notwithstanding) so that no one's feelings are hurt.
If you really can't swing it, don't offer a plus one to any guests who aren't engaged or married, but make a point to curate your guest list as best you can (or introduce friends before your wedding day!) so that your office bestie isn't stuck on her own at a table full of your childhood friends she's never met before.