Small Wedding – Do I need to offer plus ones?

posted 2 years ago in Guests
Post # 46
529 posts
Busy bee

I’m kinda with you OP. It’s YOUR wedding, you guys invite who you want. If they don’t attend due to no “plus ones”, then too bad. I understand where your coming from. I had a big wedding for my first marriage and I HATED being the center of attention. I will have a small wedding this goround. 

Post # 47
1638 posts
Bumble bee

I am pro plus ones as well.

Therefore, to honor your wishes to have a small, private wedding without people you do not know,  I vote family only.  Hopefully you know all of your family members’ significant others!


Good luck!

Post # 48
1230 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 1983

To get back to your original question: Plus ones are dates, guests of your guests; you never have to offer them, though it’s sometimes nice.

SOs, on the other hand, are halves of a social unit, a couple. Only the two people imvolved can say whether or not they are a couple; if you don’t know, you can ask. Not inviting a guest’s SO is a friendship-ending move. You are asking a friend to celebrate your relationship while you completely ignore theirs.

Saying “family only” probably won’t help much. Don’t members of your family have SOs?

Go meet your dearest friends’ SOs. Or meet them at your wedding.

Post # 49
540 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2020 - Summer Camp!

I don’t personally know why it’s a friendship ending move, unless you single one person out. I think you should invite them IF they have to travel to the point where they’d need a hotel. Because going to a wedding over a distance alone would suck. I also think if your fiance’s best friend has an SO, it’d be nice for you to invite them so he feels less lonely (unless he’s also friends with your friends). Definitely talk about it and make it clear that it’s not because you don’t like their SO, but that it’s just that your wedding is an intimate thing and you want it small. 


Post # 50
1646 posts
Bumble bee

cassandra7 :  I disagree. If your friends respect you, choosing not to invite a SO to an intimate ceremony is not a relationship ending move. My guess is, if they take offense, they were never good friends to begin with. If it helps, it sounds like only inviting close family and friends would make your fiance most comfortable and I can’t imagine placing others above your spouse on you wedding day.

Post # 51
918 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2017

We had a similar wedding with immediate family as well as 5 friends/couples. Each of our friends was offered a plus one. 2 were married, 1 was facing difficulty in a relationship, and 2 were single.

Invite the plus ones.

Post # 52
1417 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: USA

View original reply
simplebride2019 : If the guest has a BF or Girlfriend, I believe it is best practice to invite them as they will probably have a better time enjoying the wedding with their loved one, and it is important to place value in your guests’ relationships. However if the person is single, a +1 is totally optional. The exception to this is for single guests who do not know anyone else at the wedding. You don’t want them just on their own the whole wedding. However I have also seen posts where some people enforced the “no ring no bring” rule. I personally find that a bit dismissive to people’s relationships but that’s just my opinion. 

ETA: At the end of the day, it is totally your choice. I say this with kindness, that not inviting people’s SOs may result in them feeling like your wedding is a non-inclusive event. Which I agree with some PPs that for basically a party you’re inviting people to, you should consider their comfort as well. 

Post # 53
290 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2020

I do think your friends with SO’s should be invited as the social units they are… but why can’t you get to know these SO’s of your very dearest friends before your wedding?  Are they local?  Can you Skype?  If someone is my dear friend, I honestly wouldn’t dream of not inviting their partner.  And, if I didn’t know them I would find some way to get to know them a little because they are important enough to my dear friend which then makes them important to me. 

Post # 54
4594 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2018

View original reply
simplebride2019 :  “having people we do not know there is non negotiable for us”

You answered your own question 🙂 I would say don’t invite the friends who have partners. Either don’t ask any of the 6 or ask the 3 who’re single. I agree having people you don’t know is odd but you shouldn’t exclude people’s parters. I had someone I’d never met on the top table but we were all there for one reason so I didn’t mind.

FWIW I had a similar quandary: my friend’s Fiance is a total dick and was likely to insult people. But I still invited them both. As it happens their childcare arrangements didn’t work out so they couldn’t come.

Post # 55
698 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

I’d be okay with not bringing my husband to a wedding if I knew there would be plenty of people I know there, especially if I didn’t have to travel to get there.

Post # 56
7880 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 1997

If having perople you don’t know there is non-negotiable for you, then don’t invite friends. It is very difficult to invite others to honor your relationship when you are not willing to honor theirs.

Post # 57
11532 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: May 2009

Etiquette requires you to invite the SOs only if they are married to, engaged to, or living with your friends. In those cases, etiquette considers couples to be part of a social unit. Otherwise, it is not a breach of etiquette to invite individuals. 


Post # 58
226 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2017

View original reply
simplebride2019 :  I guess I’m in the minority but unless your friends are in serious relationships or engaged/married, they shouldn’t automatically get a plus one seeing that your wedding will be an intimate affair. I think it’s a different story when you’re inviting less than 20 people. 

Post # 59
2 posts
  • Wedding: April 2019

Apparently this is not going to be a popular response in this thread…lol. My fiance and I decided to have an “elopement” of sorts in Chicago (5 hours away) with 6 guests invited: his parents, my parents, my brother, and my niece (niece’s mother isn’t in the picture any more). I told my brother he couldn’t invite his girlfriend because it’s family only, and he tried to argue with me that they’ve been together for like a year and she should count as family. I’ve met her maybe three times. My fiance’s brother and his wife/kids aren’t even invited at all, nor are our best friends or other family members we’re WAAAY closer to than my brother’s girlfriend. I don’t really care if it’s considered rude. I don’t want anyone not in my immediate family at my intimate ceremony. It feels like it cheapens it to me. If I were going to have more people than the 6 invited, I’d invite people who are actually in my life. I’m sticking to the rule “no ring, no bring.” It’s your wedding, invite who you please! Real friends should understand why they wouldn’t get to bring a guest. If they get mad, they’re the rude ones in this situation, not you.

Post # 60
69 posts
Worker bee

It’s your wedding, you can do whatever you want with guests 

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