Etiquette for Plus Ones and Kids on Wedding Invites

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 2
Member
9998 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2016

1 – If they are dating, yes include thier SOs name

2 – If you are giving someone a plus 1 then “and guest is appropriate 

3 – You do not have to give every guest a plus one

4 – If you are including kids then putting “The Smith Family” is fine. We included all family members names on the invite just so there were no questions about who was invited.

5 – We included a seat for every butt I matter how young. It can be easier for parents to have that extra seat even if the kid sits on thier lap.

Post # 4
Member
2319 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2019 - Chateau Lake Louise

I think you’re on the right track. If you are inviting people along with their children, saying :The Smith Family: should be appropriate. Most people won’t cound an infant or child small enough they’ll be held during the event. You should double check with your caterer/venue to see how they calculate guests, just to be sure; in some cases it’s a per head charge, regardless of the age of the guest.

 

As for the plus one; if you know for sure you are inviting a couple name each explicitly. If you aren’t totally sure write :and your guest: and let them invite whomever they like. If you’re on the fence, you can always just ask them directly if they want to bring someone, or if – since it such an intimate occasion – they’re content to come on their own. 

 

 

Post # 5
Member
1603 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Adding to hiking bride:

2. If you don’t want to write “and guest” on the envelope, you can include a small note insktead saying “you are invited to bring a guest. Please advise of their name when you rsvp”

3. If someone’s single, it’s nice to give a plus one if they are travelling so they have a travel buddy.  But not necessary. 

5. Adding a space for kids/babies also leaves room for their car seats or high chairs at the table. 

Post # 7
Member
12814 posts
Honey Beekeeper

“1-Not exactly. By etiquette you are obligated to invite the partners of those who are married, engaged, or living with someone in a romantic relationship. To that many people would add the long time significant other in a mature couple. No need to invite your 19 yo cousin’s Boyfriend or Best Friend for example. 

“2  “And Guest” is not correct. You are supposed to find out the name of the person your guest would like to bring and actually send an invitation to that person. 

“3- Singles do NOT need to be invited with a date. However, be inconsistent at the risk of hurting feelings, especially at a small wedding. Word gets around and people do socialize. 

“4- “And Family” is incorrect, not to mention risky. You always include the specific names of the children, either on the outer envelopes or the inner, if there is one. 

“5-  See Q 4. The correct way to invite children is by name. Etiquette actually considers the “We have reserved X seats” offensive in the implication that people do not know how to read an invitation or that you suspect they’ve might be rude enough to  invite extra guests. I’ve been invited to too many weddings to count and do you know I have only ever seen this wording here, on the Bee. In real life I’ve never received an RSVP with this language even once. 

6 – For your cousin, Boyfriend or Best Friend and baby it’s

Ms. Jane Doe

Mr. John Smith

Miss or Master Baby First Name Last Name 

Post # 8
Member
12814 posts
Honey Beekeeper

“1-Not exactly. By etiquette you are obligated to invite the partners of those who are married, engaged, or living with someone in a romantic relationship. To that many people would add long time significant others within a mature couple. No need to invite your 19 yo cousin’s Boyfriend or Best Friend of the moment, for example. 

“2  “And Guest” is not correct. You are supposed to find out the name of the person your guest would like to bring and actually send an invitation to that person. 

“3- Singles do NOT need to be invited with a date. However, be inconsistent at the risk of hurting feelings, especially at a small wedding. Word gets around and people do socialize. 

“4- “And Family” is incorrect, not to mention risky. You always include the specific names of the children, either on the outer envelopes or the inner, if there is one. 

“5-  See Q 4. The correct way to invite children is by name. Etiquette actually considers the “We have reserved X seats” offensive in the implication that people do not know how to read an invitation or that you suspect they’ve might be rude enough to  invite extra guests. I’ve been invited to too many weddings to count and have only seen this wording here, on the Bee. In real life I’ve never once received an RSVP with this language. 

6 – For your cousin, Boyfriend or Best Friend and baby it’s

Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Doe

Miss or Master Baby First Name Last Name 

If you are using inner envelopes the inner envelope might read:  

Mr. Smith and Ms Doe

Ethan

Outer would then just include the parents names  

Post # 10
Member
1836 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2017

Just an anecdote that I was invited to a wedding last year where I knew the bride and one bridesmaid and that was it. I still had fun! So don’t feel obliged to give everyone a +1.

Post # 11
Member
1692 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
kcoast :  

1) Every guest is entitled to be invited by name, with an invitation sent to their own home address. If they are permanent co-habiting members of a committed relationship, then they can be named on the same invitation; otherwise they should each be sent their own invitation.

Traditionally — by which I mean, the accepted practice over the last two or three hundred years; not a website that’s been up long enough to be indexed by Google — two cisgendered opposite-gender people living in a committed longterm coital relationship were always presumed to be married. Two co-habited people of the same gender, or of ambiguous gender, or more than two people, were always assumed to be living in a fraternal relationship. Too prurient an interest in the legalities of a couple’s wedding contract, or the bed-sharing habits of a private household, was considered vulgar. I still consider prurience vulgar. A married couple is addresssed as:

On an outer envelope in the U.S.A. or on a business document: Mr. and Mrs. John Smith (if they both go by the husband’s name) and Mr and Mrs Smith on all other formal notes, labels, invitations, and inner envelopes. In the English-speaking world outside of the U.S.A., outer envelopes are addressed only to the female head-of-house: in this case it would be addressed to Mrs John Smith.

On an outer envelope in the U.S.A. or on a business document: Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Smith (if they each go by their own name — even if the they have taken the same surname but use different given names) and Mr and Ms Smith on all other formal notes, labels, invitations, and inner envelopes. A lady also has the option of using “Mrs Jane Smith” or, if she has kept her father’s name, she may choose to use “Miss Jane Doe“. SHE gets to decide which she uses, regardless of any political opinions you may have on feminism and name expression. If you don’t know your guests’ preference, you need to ask. A same-sex couple is addressed on outer envelopes as Mr. John Smith and Mr. Thomas Smith or possibly Ms. Amelia Andrews and Miss Barbera Baker following exactly the same logic as for an opposite-sex couple, and as Messrs Smith or as Ms Andrews and Miss Baker on all other formal notes, labels, invitations, and inner envelopes.

A single person, of course, is addressed as Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss Kelly Smith on outer envelopes and as Mr/Mrs/Ms/Miss Smith on all other formal notes, labels, invitations, and inner envelopes. As above, you have to figure out what title they prefer.

2) If people are married (or presumed to be married, see above) or are engaged (or have been a couple long enough and exclusively enough that they should be presumed to be engaged) then both members of the relationsip should be invited. Even if they are engaged, if they are not cohabiting then they need separate invitations. If you want someone who is single to have a companion at the wedding, then you call or write them a note asking “is there anyone you would like me to invite on your behalf?” They provide their friend’s name and address, and you invite their friend as a full first-class guest in his or her own right.

3) If you actually follow traditional formal etiquette and invite all single people by name with their own invitation, the you can pick or choose all you like as long as married and engaged couples (as described above) are invited as a couple. No-one will know that you invited Cousin Phoebe’s boyfriend as her plus-one but didn’t give a plus-one to Cousin Lysander, because Cousin Phoebe’s boyfriend got his very own invitation just as if you actually knew him. As hostess, it is not only your right to be selective about the guest list, but it’s your obligation. Everybody in the family knows that Lysander’s boyfriends are always jerks, and you shouldn’t be imposing his latest fling on the rest of your guests.

4) The rule is, that married couples’ names go together on the same line joined by the word “and”, and unmarried guests are listed on separate lines without the word “and”. They still all get their names used, though. So, two sisters living together in a long-term committed household (or two in-the-closet lesbian roommates) are invited as:
Miss Sophia Phipps
Miss Arianna Phipps
on the outer envelope and as
Miss Sophia
Miss Arianna
on all other formal notes, labels, invitations, and inner envelopes. Neither Sophia nor Arianna gets to be addressed as “Miss Phipps” on these correspondence because that title belongs to the eldest unmarried Phipps lady and their Grand-aunty Aspasia holds the title.

In the eighties, prurient etiquette mavens latched onto this separate-lines-and-no-conjunction rule to address co-habiting conjugal couples who didn’t have a marriage certificate, as a way of subtly rubbing in that their household was second-class and disreputable. I consider that practice horrid. But it IS appropriate for addressing siblings or children. For a couple with children, you would combine the two forms:
Mr Daedalus Jones and Ms Persephone Smith
Miss Smith
Miss Beatrice
Master Timothy

Children should be named ONLY on the inner envelope or on the write-in line of the invitation; never on the outer envelope. Since a write-in line is often narrow, children can be written in on the same line squeezed in under their parents name, separated by commas or extra space and without the conjunction “and”.

5) I despise RSVP cards and refuse to use them, being one of the last holdouts of traditional etiquette that considers them to be in poor taste. This is just one more reason to dislike them. My understanding based on twenty-seven grand-nieces and grand-nephews is that up until about three months, babies don’t sit on their own and are in a sling or a carrier. They don’t need a seat. Up until about two they need a high-chair and until about four they need a booster seat. Sizes and back-strength vary so those are general break-points. Provide a chair for everyone age two and above and include their chair in your count. For people between four months and age two, do not include them in the count but arrange to have a high chair, and hand-write in beautiful script: “In addition _____ high-chairs will be provided.”

Post # 12
Member
1692 posts
Bumble bee

View original reply
kcoast :  Formal invitations traditionally have a blank line on the invitation itself, where you write in the names of everyone invited. Inner-envelopes are a work-around to accomodate the “all-engraved” invitation that at the end of the 19th century became popular in America for weddings: the inner-envelope takes the place of the write-in line. So if you don’t have an inner envelope, we could wish you had a write-in line, but apparently modern print-shops don’t realize the importance of having at least one or the other.

Childrens’ names should never be written on the outer envelope: for legal reasons, child-safety reasons, and the dictates of etiquette. You can buy  second slightly-larger envelopes for just those invitations that include children, and use that as an outer envelope with your existing envelope as the inner envelope. Or, you can get some ribbon and pretty cards or stickers and create “belly-bands” for those invitations, where you will write the names on the belly-band.

Post # 13
Member
12814 posts
Honey Beekeeper

View original reply
aspasia475 :  You make a great point regarding the “and” rule.

OP, go ahead put both on one line. That will also save you space. Your other options are to send a separate invitation to the children, to add an outer envelope, as suggested, or if you just want to go by “new etiquette” and are only using an outer envelope, adding the line:

Ava, Charlotte, Ethan and James Doe

or more formally, 

Miss Ava, Miss Charlotte, Ethan and Master James Doe

There are various rules for the ages at which a boy can be referred to as Mr. or Master. Under 8 for the latter. Some say Mr. is reserved for 18 and over, other sources anything over 12. 

In the US, no one seems worried about the legal or safety ramifications of the occasional time a child’s name might be on an envelope. Children can appropriately get mail. In fact, birthday parties are considered a good opportunity to practice the art of being a good host and guest.  Even helicopter parents aren’t very worried that a child abductor is stalking mailboxes on the off chance that there might be a birthday or wedding invitation in there. 

Yet! But some guard their privacy with approved locks that still give access to the post office. 

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