(Closed) The plus 1 situation

posted 7 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 32
1979 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

OP, you didn’t do anything wrong, IMO. You already made your guest list before they were even dating and have limited capacity. Your capacity doesn’t grow if a single friend of yours moves in with a guy.  This +1 was not planned for and while you can make a gracious effort to invite him (space permitting) if there is no room, then there is no room. What do some of these bees expect?  To stalk all your single guests to see if they move in with anyone or get engaged? To cut down your guest list of people who know and want at your wedding just in case someone does move in with a SO- then you will have space for the SO? I don’t think so. If you have space, sure, but I don’t think you need to bend over backwards or exceed capacity in this case.

Post # 33
784 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

View original reply
@Sephiroth:  That literally happened to one of my friends.  She wanted a small reception, and booked a space that only held 100 – but big enough for the essential people.  Her father kept inviting people, right up until the week of the reception.  His invitation for one of his friend’s family members who was in town (even though no one had ever met him) brought the list to 101.  The bride and groom had literally no where to sit due to venue restrictions.

Post # 36
910 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

Ah…. the plus one situation..

I am amazed how up in arms people get when they are unable to bring a plus one to a wedding.  I have been to several weddings where I was unable to bring a date.  For most of these weddings room capacity and budget where the reason behind the decision.  If I wanted to go to the wedding I went.  If I was annoyed about the plus one situation then I simply RSVP’d no.  I never called the bride/groom to complain or ask about me being able to bring a plus one.  I always assummed that the bride/groom did their best in planning their wedding and that my lack of a plus one was out of need (money, capacity) vs nasty behavior.

It is ashame when guests start harrassing the bride/groom about a plus one.  There is so much stress involved in wedding planning and nagging about plus ones is simply bad guest behavior…..




Post # 38
633 posts
Busy bee

Well, you are in an unfortunate situation. I’m not going to rake you over the coals, here, but you should understand how your obligations break down, etiquette-wise:


1) You are completely correct that an STD is an obligation. So once you sent her an STD, you were absolutely obligated to invite her, there is no question there. If you had cut her from the list *after* sending her the STD, that would have been terrifically rude (and I’m sure more hurtful than the current situation).

2) However, just because the STD is sent when she is single does not mean that you’re allowed to invite her ‘singly’ if she is in an established social unit recognized by etiquette at the time the actual invitations get sent out. (Try to imagine if she had actually eloped – not inviting a spouse? Hard to justify!)

These are two principle of standard etiquette – I realize they, combined, are somewhat burdensome for hosts, but frankly etiquette often is. If it were all easy as pie, then there wouldn’t have to be etiquette rules reminding us of our obligations. 🙂

Ideally, a host would select a venue that had enough ‘wiggle room’ in capacity above their theoretical max guest list that something like a friend’s new social unit partner would not break fire codes. But, what’s done is done – either you chose a venue a little unrealistically with too tight a cap, or (what it sounds more like) all of your wiggle room got eaten up by other issues. If the latter, nothing to be done about that now.

Now, I will say that if those ‘things that ate up the wiggle room’ occurred *AFTER* this couple moved in together, then you’re on shakier ground in terms of what you should have done – simply because the instant *you were aware* that they moved in, he should have been added to the list if it were physically allowable in the venue at that moment. (And no, you don’t have to be a mindreader – if she didn’t tell you for a month, then your obligation began the moment she *told* you).

But, assuming that the moment you found out about the cohabitation you were already literally *at capacity* on who you were obligated to invite, the best thing to have done before sending the invitations out would have been to let your friend know. Since technically you were going to be violating a rule of etiquette, but there was simply no way you could avoid it, letting her know with a direct phone call and a quick apology could have seriously softened the blow. Etiquette rules get broken sometimes. We should strive to avoid it, and we should not just throw them out the window at our own earliest convenience, but sometimes we find ourselves in an unfortunate situation (sometimes of our own making) where we simply no longer have a choice. “Friend, I am terribly sorry about this, but turns out that we managed to overbook the venue, and that was before The Dude appeared on the scene – I’m trying my *best* to fit him in, but at this moment, I’m afraid I have to send your invitation to you alone. But I promise, if I can invite him without violating fire codes, I will let you know *immediately*!”

Saying that *before* the invitations go out is more respectful of your friend: it acknowledges her relationship and your obligation, and would avoided the awkwardness of her having to seek you out to see if you made a mistake in the addressing. And I would hold to what is said there – you *do* have an obligation to try your best to include him. The first spot open should go to him, unless you actually have more people you are *required* by etiquette to invite and haven’t: he is not just in a ‘we’ll try to accommodate them’ category of people you’d like to include if you can.



So, there may have been some poor planning on your part (in terms of venue and capacity), but we all make mistakes, weddings are hard to plan, and hindsight is 20/20. I think your primary mistake here was not being proactive in letting your friend know the situation before the invitations went out, and taking the lead with an apology for the situation. That alone could have saved you a lot of hurt feeling and awkwardness between you and your friend. Your obligation going forward is to give him the first spot that is available, regardless of the other people you’d prefer to include that aren’t on the list yet.

Post # 40
13614 posts
Honey Beekeeper


View original reply
@TheFutureWife:  “STD’s may not be an invitation but to my fiance and I, it’s a commitment and I couldn’t just not send an invite to someone I committed to and just bump them because at some point I must’ve thought they were important enough to invite. When I committed the invite to my friend, she was single. And I think that it would have been worse of me to tell her she can’t come because I can’t invite her SO.”

When I said that the STD is not an invitation, I didn’t mean you are not obligated to invite your friend. You’re right, short of cancelling the wedding, or expecting the  friendship to end,  you absolutely are.  What I meant was that you couldn’t point to that list as if it was written in  stone once your friend’s living  situation changed.  The invitation was yet to come and therefore you  were obliged to adapt.  As a pp said, what if she’d been married?  No difference between that and this. 

I’m still confused as to how one extra person could have really made such a big  difference if you were offering him the very first spot on a  declined RSVP.  I’m sure they are thinking the same.   It seems to me that you could have assumed you’d get at least some negative replies.

You also said the venue was working with you, and that  you (not the venue) had to cut things off somewhere.  Were you  in violation of fire code at that point or were  the numbers just getting too large for your own comfort zone and budget?  An overcrowded room is not a great thing, but in the end I’d put more value on a friendship than on having one less chair at a table. 

I really don’t blame the SO for not wanting to attend at this point.  He wasn’t invited and now he’s on the B list.  If you want to salvage the friendship, I think  I’d write a nice note to say no excuses,  you messed up on how you handled this and that you wish you’d invited him from the start.  Assure them that they are not only welcome, but wanted. A little groveling wouldn’t hurt. 😉 

As for being understanding of the etiquette violations of others, actually, I usually do bend over backwards to understand, especially  when people are not well informed. That said, in a  situation like this nobody likes to feel that they being invited out of obligation. 

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