(Closed) Invitations and RSVP Cards: Guests, +1s, and SOs

posted 6 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
1866 posts
Buzzing bee

I totally understand your question – you explained your issue very well. 🙂  

I had similar situations to you, and in those situations I would put Michael Jones on the outside envelope too.  But do not put his name on the same line as Mary, b/c that would indicate that they live together.  So it would be like:

Mary Smith

Michael Jones

123 Street, etc.

The reason I would put his name is b/c since they have been dating for 3 years and presumably you have known him for 3 years, it’s almost insulting to just put “and guest” or plus one or something like that.  Just my 2 cents. 🙂

Post # 4
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

We’re not giving anyone open-ended +1’s.  I emailed and asked people for their SO’s names so they can’t just bring a random person if their SO can’t attend.  It wasn’t as awkward as you’d think.  Over email it’s a lot easier  =o)

Post # 7
1866 posts
Buzzing bee

@BetterSherm:  I think for that situation, putting “Guest” is fine.  Esp b/c if you send out the invitations before the wedding, that means they’ll only have been dating for less than a year right?  So I think in that situation, you don’t have to put their names. But, if you did want to put their names, I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with that.

Post # 8
1866 posts
Buzzing bee

@BetterSherm:  Well what if the SO was out of town or something?

Post # 9
2104 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

@BetterSherm:  Now that’s just common sense, and not everyone is born with it  ;o)  This is why we have weddingbee; to find ways to outsmart the guests who don’t know better!

Post # 10
3718 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

If you give a plus 1, they can bring anyone. I have seen a mother, brother, and random date as plus 1s. We are emailing all single guests or guests where we forgot the SO’s name to clarify spelling. I want my friend’s boyfriend there, not my friend’s sister.


For unwed couples that live apart, I normally sent one invitation to the person we know best with both names on it.

Post # 11
9952 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

True Etiquette would dictate that if they don’t live together, and you want to invite BOTH then you send out two invites, one to each address.

IF however your main reason is to invite Mary Smith, then you send the invite to her only… and that is what goes on the outside envelope… then on the inside envelope, that contains the Invitation you’d write Mary & Guest (that is if you do formal invites).

The main thing is, even though you know Mary’s BF’s name, if they aren’t living together, or are engaged, the 2nd addressee is Guest… so that Mary can bring along WHOEVER she wishes

This also covers off the awkwardness  in the case that Mary and her Boyfriend or Best Friend break-up before your wedding…

And although I understand MADAME TUSSAUD’s comments (basically WHY should I invite someone I don’t know)… in fairness, if Mary and Michael were to break up prior to the wedding, you’d probably want your friend to be as comfortable as possible… and if that meant coming alone, bringing a date, a friend… or even her brother / mother.  That is not for you to judge.  As the Host etiquette is meant to make your Guests as comfortable as possible.  So if bringing along a Plus One Guest is what would make her feel better about the break-up and come out and enjoy herself at the wedding… then that should be your main priority.

PS… IF Mary should mention to you “Hey why not Mike’s name”… just tell her you were following the Rules of Etiquette and that is how it is done for unmarried / unbetrothed couples.  Period.


Post # 12
5660 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@BetterSherm:  You would think this was straight forward but people seem to think that they can bring whoever the heck they want. Even if they AREN”T given a plus one

To answer OP, I think this is somewhat of personal preference. We did NOT give anyone an “and guest”, we had to ask everyone their SOs names if we needed them because we simply can’t afford to be open ended and I have no desire to pay for someone to bring their neighbor just so they dont have to come alone. We wrote on every envelope the guest name, and the bf or gf name. We primarily addressed the invitation to the person we knew best. I don’t think we had anyone that we are good friends with both parties and they live at two different addresses. Even if we had we probably would have picked one of the two and sent one invitation.

Then we put “we have reserved x amt of seats in your honor” on the rsvp to eliminate any confusion about how many people were allowed to come. Like I said, we can’t afford for someone to show up with their 5 kids and their spouses with this venue.

Post # 13
672 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

@BetterSherm:  I had many friends like this– in serious relationships but not yet living together. I addressed the envelope to both of them, but put my friend’s name first-who I would be mailing it to (female… even though it is “proper” to put the male’s name first)

Ms. Mary Smith & Mr. Michael Jones


For a couple people who would be bringing a “random” guest- I put

Ms. Mary Smith & Guest

Post # 16
359 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I was unsure about this too, but here’s how we’re doing it:

– Addressing to Mr. John Smith & Ms. Jane Doe (or vice versa if I’m more friendly with her than with him) for those that I know are in committed relationships even if they are not living together. We have several couple-friends that fall into this category.

– For our single friends that I figure will bring a date, Mr. John Smith on the envelope, acknowledging inside that he’s welcome to bring a guest.

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