Wedding Invites: Do Single Guests Get A Plus One?

*NSYNC or The Backstreet Boys?

Were Carrie and Big really meant to be?

Seinfeld or Friends?

Should single guests get to bring a plus one to a wedding?

Add that last one to the list of things that people feel passionately about. Seriously, ask someone about it and watch them vent a thought or two. Type “wedding etiquette, plus one” on Google and see what comes up. Everyone has an opinion. But, who’s right?

I decided to do two anonymous surveys: one for my single friends and one for my married friends. Based on previous conversations, I wasn’t surprised to see how passionate people were on the topic.

What did the SINGLE (/NON MARRIED) respondents think? This is based on feedback from 25 people, average age: 34.

First question: “When you were in your early 20’s, if you got a wedding invite, without a plus one, did you go?”

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 2.29.54 PM

In your early 20’s, no plus one, did you go?

However, when I posed the question with an older age, the answers changed.“Now that you’re older, if you get a wedding invite, with NO plus one, do you go?”

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 2.25.40 PM

Now that you’re older, NO plus one, do you go?

The “Other” piece of the pie was made up of situational feedback, such as:

  • “Depends who was getting married…Family yes. Close friend yes. All others no.”
  • “Depends whose wedding/had friends there”

Even though 20+% of people said they wouldn’t go if they didn’t get the option to bring a plus one, only 16% said they have ever skipped a wedding for this reason. Though for some, it does seem to sting a bit. 25% of respondents said they get offended when they get an invite without an envelope reading, “and guest”.

Interesting note, of the 25% that said they get offended, 80% of those were female. Guess guys don’t seem to care as much about the plus one .. I mean, we’ve all seen Wedding Crashers!

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 2.32.18 PM

Do you get offended?

When I opened the survey for “Any other thoughts you want to share on the topic?”, the feedback poured in. Here are some highlights: 

  • “When you’re in your 20’s, a good amount of friends are single, and you feel comfortable that you’ll have friends to hang out with. As you age, your peer group changes and it’s nice to bring someone to an event.”
  • “I think it’s widely accepted that if you’re single and couple knows it, that you don’t get plus one – unless it’s a destination wedding”
  • “Fortunately I can’t remember not having “plus one” since being in my 30’s but I’d be annoyed if it happened for sure.”


Now to flip the tables to MARRIED respondents. This is based on feedback from 23 people, average age: 33.

The first question only solidified the fact that people are extremely split on the topic. “As a person who has planned a wedding, do you think it is necessary to provide every guest a plus one?”

Screen Shot 2017-05-02 at 9.40.34 AM.png

Thankfully the next question provided a bit more insight: “If you answered “No” to question #1, what was the reason you did not provide every guest with a plus one?” Here are some of the answers:

  • “If they’re married then yes, automatic plus 1. If they dated the person longer than a year/and or lived with the individual than yes. To randomly invited someone just to have a date no!”
  • “If they’re not dating anyone in particular they shouldn’t need a plus one to bring a “friend””
  • “Smaller wedding, but feel like it’s a special time for bride and groom and don’t want some random at the wedding… “

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 2.51.52 PM.png

So how about the other half? How did they answer this open ended question: “If you answered “Yes” to question #1, why do you think it is important to offer every guest a plus one?”

  • “So your guests are comfortable and welcome! They are your guests after all.”
  • “I think its impolite and inconsiderate to force someone to attend a social event alone.”
  • “This shouldn’t even have to be explained, but apparently for some people it needs to be. Who in the hell wants to attend a wedding alone surrounded by other couples? Do we even need to mention how rude it is to invite someone to an out of town wedding without a date? Yes, please spend a ton of money on travel expenses and a wedding gift to come watch me get married by yourself. Sounds like a real good time.”

Lastly, I asked the married respondents if they had any other thoughts they wanted to provide. They did.

  • “Only gave plus ones to people that had a significant other for 6+ months. Not paying for random people. $$”
  • “In your 20s when most friends are still bar hopping and bed hopping, I don’t think its necessary. Theres probably a big enough group of friends that this person will still have fun and not be singled out. As years go on and more people settle, i think its only fair to give people the plus one. Even if it is some rando, they have someone to talk to and dance with.”
  • “Plus one only for those in relationship to narrow list”
  • “I wanted my friends and family to have a great time. That includes allowing them to bring someone they want with them”

So what did the results of my VERY scientific surveys tell us? Everyone has an well defended opinion. Right, wrong or indifferent, who’s to say. But I promise you this, each person has a theory on what the “rule” should be.

Now that “wedding season” is here, may the odds be ever in your favor.


One thought on “Wedding Invites: Do Single Guests Get A Plus One?

  1. katepaul2626 says:

    My now boyfriend had the exclusive talk with me a bit before a wedding because he felt it was necessary for his plus one and him to be in an exclusive relationship, thankfully the bride agreed even though it was a relatively new relationship!

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