A. Oh, this can be awkward. I feel you.
We were on a maaaajor budget for our wedding, and were super strict about who was allowed to bring a plus one and who wasn’t, but…that’s something about our wedding that I regret. A wedding is for the couple, yes, but the best weddings are the ones where the focus is placed on everyone having fun…and for some people, having a plus one is the difference between having fun and feeling kind of miserable.
My opinion: if you have a whole band of single friends who are all happy to come and hang together, go ahead and ask them to come on their own, but if you have guests who are traveling long distances to get to the wedding and may not know many people there, I think letting them bring someone to hang with is just the right thing to do. The date your single friend is planning on bringing may not be The One, but a) that’s not for you to decide, and b) she’s probably spending a fortune on this wedding between the gifts and the outfits and the transportation and et cetera et cetera…and I feel like if you’re at all flexible, why not let her have fun? (And going through the romantic whirlwind of a wedding with someone you just started dating can be really fun.)
But that doesn’t sound like your particular issue, and regardless: I also get that sometimes you for real cannot do the plus one thing, for budget reasons or space reasons or just because it’s important to you…so let’s talk how to get the point across without creating a major alienation situation.
How To Let Your Guests Know They Can’t Bring A Plus One
- Put A Note On Your Wedding Website. Something to the effect of “We’re so excited to celebrate this day with our nearest and dearest, and are hoping to keep the guest list limited. Thank you for not bringing a guest” should make it clear.
- Make It Clear On The RSVP. The problem is that even if you put only one person’s name on the invitation and don’t add “and guest” to the RSVP card, some people will still assume that they can bring someone with them. Try adding “1 Seat Reserved In Your Honor”; it’s a little stuffy, but it gets the point across.
- Consider Opening Up The Reception. You may want to consider having a limited guest list for the ceremony, and then a free-for-all at the reception (whee!). If this is the case, try this wording “While we would prefer to keep the guest list for the ceremony intimate, we welcome your plus ones at the reception! Please let us know if you plan to bring a guest.”
If They’re Not Getting The Message…
If it’s a close friend, just go ahead and be direct: “Hey, I just want to make sure you’re okay with flying solo at the wedding. I know you probably want to bring someone – I totally get it – but we’re really trying to keep the guest list limited.” You can blame it on the venue (“It’s so small that if we allow plus ones we won’t be able to invite everyone who’s close to us”) or the vibe of your wedding (“We just really want to be able to spend as much time as possible with our close friends and family members”) or, what the hell, blame money. Is it tacky to talk about money and weddings? Yup. But whatever, people know weddings are a fortune and friends are for being tacky with.
If you’re simply not comfortable bringing this up out of the blue, here’s a suggestion: Email your friend asking if she’s cool with being seated in between X and X, or asking if she needs help finding a ride and saying “I heard X has one seat in her car open,” or (if she’s staying overnight) asking if she needs help finding someone with space for one more in their room. Basically, just opening up the conversation so that she can then mention her plan to bring a guest and you can let her know the deal.
If she makes a big thing about it after that, you might want to just let her bring someone if you can deal with it; you don’t want this to throw a wrench into your long-term relationship (and weddings do have the tendency to stir up lots of emotions).
And now, let us end with a truly awesome RSVP card that I think everyone should use forever and always.
There you go.