Why you should never ask to bring a plus one to a wedding, from a stressed-out bride-to-be

Posted by
Felicity Thistlethwaite
backgroundLayer 1
Add this article to your list of favourites
Wedding etiquette

Asking to bring a plus one to a wedding isn’t OK. In fact, it’s enough to tip Stylist’s Fliss Thistlethwaite into full bridezilla mode…      

Ah, wedding season. It’s all confetti throwing and endless hours of fun… until you’re the one in the driving seat. 

Yes, getting married to the person you love is undeniably wonderful. And yes, it’s a time of joy and love and blah blah blah. But the stress that comes with planning a wedding is enough to send any rational person into a tizzy. Can you tell I’m writing from experience?

My wedding is a little over a week away and I’m 17 spreadsheets deep. I’ve got lists coming out of my ears; a list of people who drink (and a list of people who don’t), a list of timings for the day, a list for my to-do list. All the lists.

And soon I’m going to start a new list: a list of people who have asked for a plus one.

You may also like

How to ensure your wedding isn't boring AF, as decreed by the experienced guests

When my fiancé and I (who got engaged on April Fools Day, but that’s a whole other story) started to think about our wedding, we both knew we wanted it to just be family and close friends watching us say our “I dos”. I can’t imagine anything much worse than having to walk down the aisle in front of unfamiliar faces, and he didn’t want to be making awkward small talk with second cousins’ boyfriends.

So that was that. The rule was, people didn’t make the cut unless we’d both met them before the big day. That included the new boyfriends of several old school friends – no plus one for them – and my fiancé’s rugby friends’ girlfriends. Unless I’d met them, they weren’t on the list.

It’s our day, we make the rules – right?

Wrong. The number of people who have asked (usually via text) if they can bring their girlfriend/boyfriend to our big day is creeping up. And it baffles me.

Because, ladies and gentlemen, asking if you can bring a plus one to someone’s wedding should be 100%, absolutely banned. 

wedding etiquette
Wedding etiquette: why you shouldn’t ask for a plus one

Here’s why. Firstly, it took us weeks to put our guest list together. Many an hour was spent trawling through our mobile phones and shouting names across the room at one another. We made sure no-one would be without a friend; there’s no-one on our guest list who doesn’t know at least one other person at the wedding. (There’s going to be no wedding guest horror stories here, thank you.)

There is an old school of thought that wedding guests should be sat with people they don’t know, to get them to mingle. But we’re not following that rule, which means everyone will be sat with their nearest and dearest. So, there’s really no need for anyone to be bringing an additional friend – no matter how much fun they may be on the dance floor.

Secondly, it’s costing us a serious wedge of cash to throw this wild party. To give you a rough idea, one round of Champagne (each person getting one glass after the ceremony) is setting us back nearly £800. And the canapés? Over £1,000. Every morsel and sip has been carefully calculated so every guest is appropriately fed and watered – which means that requested extra plus one? Not accounted for. Sorry. 

You may also like

Best celebrity wedding dresses: 17 of the best celebrity wedding looks of the past decade

And finally, it’s highly likely we have already discussed whoever you’d like to bring along to the wedding and decided it didn’t work for us. It really only creates awkwardness when you ask if they can come along and, inevitably, we have to say no (sorry not sorry).

I’m not alone in my thinking. One of the (many) wedding groups I’m part of on Facebook recently hosted a discussion on how to politely tell people they couldn’t bring a plus one to the wedding. 

One bride-to-be said: “On your RSVP you could put ‘number of invited guests attending = 1’ - makes it clear that only named people are invited.” A strong move from that emboldened bride.

Another person added: “I did this, and it still didn’t stop one guest inviting a plus one without asking or even telling us until we received both of their meal choices!

“This has caused a huge family drama! So, it might be worth just briefly explaining that the invite does not include a plus one/is only for who’s been addressed.”

It seems asking for a plus one is rife this wedding season. So, from the bride whose eye started twitching at the very mention of additional plus ones, please stop fucking with my well-calculated guest list. Because if your name isn’t on the list, you’re not coming in.