Small Wedding – Do I need to offer plus ones?

posted 2 years ago in Guests
Post # 31
1578 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: April 2018

View original reply
simplebride2019 :  honestly, i think in this case since you are doing a dinner reception, i think its fine.  I mean i invite my girlfriends to dinner with me all the time without their boyfriends or husbands.  It’s not like they have to travel or anything.

Your attitude could do with some adjusting though.  You host a wedding reception and just like any other hosted event, guest comfort should be a priority.  If you don’t want to deal with that then don’t host anyone.

Post # 32
986 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2017

Having a small wedding or being shy is no excuse for being a bad host.  It also doesn’t matter if you were invited to 100 weddings without your so and didn’t mind.  I guarantee that you are in the minority and most people want, and expect,  a wedding invitation to include their so.  I declined the one wedding invitation I received where my spouse wasn’t invited.  I would just not invite the friends and keep it to family only.  I also really don’t understand the,  I don’t want anyone I don’t know at my wedding,  mentality.  There were cousins on my husband’s side who I had never met at our wedding and there were friends and a few cousins on my side who he had never met.  

Post # 33
7846 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

Now that you know that it is not acceptable to invite someone without their partner and that people are likely to be offended by this choice you are still trying to justify it. (Not including partners in girls’ night out is one thing, a wedding is entirely another.)

Being a good host and nice friend have not gone out of fashion, the rules have not changed. Just become some people make poor choices doesn’t mean you should. If you do not want to have to consider others you really should just elope. 

Post # 34
93 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2020

I’m going to side more with OP on this one and I think everyone is being a little harsh. If I barely know a friend’s SO and I’m having a private wedding + dinner, I would not invite them. The only exceptions I’d make is for married/very long term couples and if said friend didn’t know anyone else invited. 


Post # 35
976 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2015

I just find it sad that excluding your friends’ partners is your #1 priority here.

These are your five closest friends from childhood, but having their partners *not* there is more important than having your friends there? You would really leave them out because the thought of getting married in front of their partners is so intolerable?

It’s obviously your prerogative, and you can have a family-only wedding if you want. But don’t be surprised if your friendships aren’t quite the same afterwards.

I just hope you’ll seriously consider how your life might be different if you said “having my best friends at the wedding is non-negotiable!” versus “excluding their partners from the wedding is non-negotiable!”. Which do you think will lead to a happier future?

Post # 36
2988 posts
Sugar bee

I am always the bee who goes against the grain with plus ones. I think in this economy and especially with very small, private weddings, plus ones shouldn’t be expected. I would understand if OP’s friends were very serious, live in SO or they were married. But honestly, I don’t see the big deal in going to a dinner one night without your SO to celebrate your friend. They clearly will have other people to talk to as there are multiple friends going. 

I think specifically in this situation, it sounds like it’s such a small group of ppl that if everyone would get a plus one, that would make up about 1/3 of the total people going. I think that’s a little silly. 

I will say that my husband and I had a courthouse wedding. We had two different very small “receptions” because our families live super far away. For my side, we had it at a restaurant. There were just shy of 100 people invited but a lot of them were out of town. I invited 3 friends who were married and invited their spouses. 3 of my friends were single and I still told them they could bring a date if they wanted. All 3 of them decided they’d have more fun if they didn’t bring someone. So keep in mind too that even if you extend a plus one, not everyone will take it. 

Post # 37
4035 posts
Honey bee

I will never understand wanting to celebrate your love for your SO, surrounded by your closest family and friends….but then choosing to exclude their SOs just because “you don’t know them.”

Also, who doesn’t know their BEST friend’s SOs?


Post # 38
2975 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

I’m not sure what answers you expected from this site.. there is a common thread here that people absolutely lose their damn minds over any decision that might inconvenience guests in any concievable way or anything that doesn’t put guests before the couple. According to many bees on this site, you are a terrible, ungrateful host if you don’t invite everyone and their dog, feed them prime rib and host an open bar. It’s fucking absurd.

Honestly, IMO, with a wedding this small and intimate I don’t think there is ANYTHING wrong with keeping it to people you actually know and who you are close with. It seems ridiculous to me to invite random people you have never met or only met once or twice when you are leaving out other people with whom you have a relationship. 

Contrary to the popular belief on this site, your wedding IS about YOU and your spouse-to-be. It’s important to be a gracious and considerate host, but that doesn’t mean that you have to bend over backwards to ensure that you put everyone else ahead of yourselves.

Post # 39
1640 posts
Bumble bee


View original reply
simplebride2019 :  I am not sure why people are reacting so strongly. I suspect the responses are reflexive and stem from insecurity related to being excluded from a wedding in the past they thought they had a right to attend. For example, the comment about not judging other people’s relationships is not pertinent, given you are only judging your own relationship with each person. Personally, I find it excessively rude to expect an invitation on the basis of your relationship with someone other than the couple. Furthermore, to comment on the people who suggest you just elope, I think your friends and family would prefer the option to attend alone over not being invited. (Imagine someone posting that her best friend did not invite her because internet board posters said the boyfriend also had to be invited.) Additionally, I think it’s perfectly fine only to invite spouses and betrothed couples: it’s probably more fair than judging a relationship based on duration. Ultimately, it’s you wedding and you have final say over the guest list.

Post # 40
319 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2018

If they’re close enough friends, then why don’t you ask them?  “I’d like to have you to the wedding, but we’re only inviting close friends and not SOs.  Is that okay with you or would you rather celebrate with me another day?”


I had a tiny wedding, 21 people attended.  One friend who came, I STRONGLY disliked her boyfriend (who she later married) but of course invited him anyway.  Another of my close friends, I like her husband well enough because he’s good to her, but I don’t enjoy spending time with him and find him to be awkward.  Of course he was invited as well.  The SOs of my other friends are also good friends of mine, so they would have come anyway.  My husband’s best friend’s wife was a stranger, we’d never met her (they life across the country) but we’re so glad we included her, because she’s lovely and we enjoyed meeting her.


But if i had said to my girlfriends “Hey, we’re keeping things super small, I won’t be inviting your SOs” every one of them would have understood and not made a big deal about it.  But they’re cool like that.

Post # 41
1191 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2018 - Fremont, CA

When someone does not invite a friend’s significant other to a wedding, it’s like: “come celebrate my love and my relationship while I disregard yours”.

I would either invite them and their partners, or not invite any friends at all.

You deserve to feel good on your wedding day. Well, as a host you want your guests to feel good too, right? Your wedding is not just about you once you have guests. Your friends deserve to feel good too as guests, and having their partners with them would do the trick. However, if inviting their significant others would make you two feel bad, then you shouldn’t invite neither the partners nor the friends.


I understand financial restrictions. If that’s the main reason, don’t invite the friends. If it’s more about your feelings than the money, I got to tell you this: I think you might be overestimating how those guests would impact your wedding as the introverts you two are… The guests will care about you for the 5 minutes you guys talk, then maybe for the classic moments if you’re having them (cake cutting, first dance, bouquet toss, etc). Other than that, they will focus on their significant others and mutual friends.


We had a small, budget-constricted wedding. We had 23 guests (that includes our guests’ partners). I didn’t know 3 of my husband’s guests. He didn’t know 2 of mine. I myself didn’t know one of MY guests – my dear professor’s partner (but it never crossed my mind not inviting him). It still felt amazing having everyone there.

The dynamics went like this:

1- husband and I shared some time together;

2- husband and I briefly said “hi, so glad you came, how are things?” to all guests (maybe 5% of our time);

3- step 1 again;

4- I talked to my family and friends and he tasked to his family and friends;

5- a bit of mingling – both of us separately or jointly talked to guests from both sides;

6- step 1 again.

Rinse and repeat steps 1, 4, and 5.

Post # 42
123 posts
Blushing bee

I think I have different opinions on this than most bees. Are all of your friends close with each other? If so I think it would be fine to invite them without SOs. I have a close friend who had a small courthouse wedding. She did family only wedding and a party later for friends. I will admit I was a little sad to miss the ceremony. I would have been honored to be invited to the ceremony and would totally understand if she wanted just people she knew, i.e no dates. It would be a time to get together with friends I don’t see often and who my SO doesn’t know well. I think with people you are really close with you can feel it out and don’t necessarily have to follow etiquette rules.

Post # 43
2346 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: August 2018


View original reply
simplebride2019 :  We got married at the courthouse as well, we had 14 guests and we did NOT invite signifcant others to that. We took everyone out to dinner after and invited their partners to that, perhaps you could do that?


Post # 44
418 posts
Helper bee

I’ll never understand why so many people think that getting married excuses people from being good and gracious hosts. 

Post # 45
1571 posts
Bumble bee

Depends if your guests have to travel. If everyone is local, I think it’s fine. People go to dinners and small events without their partners (even spouses) pretty routinely when it’s local, and I wouldn’t mind going to a small event like this without an SO. But if I’m hopping on a plane or a train, not so much. 

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