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Plus Ones Create Guest List Dilemma for Brides

The Plus One Situation
As if wedding planning isn’t stressful enough, brides-to-be are constantly plagued by questions from their soon-to-be guests and wedding party about bringing dates. And trust me, it’s easy to let the plus ones blow your guest list completely out of the water. But don’t pull your hair out, there are several ways to handle the situation to keep everyone (or most everyone) happy and out of your well-styled and sprayed-to-perfection hair.

1. Everyone who is invited gets a date — Be it their spouse, fiancé, boyfriend or best friend, every guest gets to bring a significant (or not-so-significant) other. This CAN work, but it is fairly uncommon in the wedding biz, simply due to cost restraints or limited venue space.

Photo by Dara Blakeley Photography

If you want to keep your wedding on the small side or happen to have an incredibly long list of family members, it’s probably not the best idea to allot all of the guests a partner — unless your daddy is prepared to shell out some big bucks for people you may never see again.

On the same token, if you’re from a small town where everyone knows everyone, it’s somewhat unavoidable to not invite well, everyone. In this case, or a situation in which your parents (or you!) work jobs that require courtesy invites for a slew of coworkers, allowing every guest to bring a date is simply not practical. Which brings me to option two…

2. Everyone who is married or engaged gets a date — Most brides (understandably) need to keep their guest list under control. In this case, only guess who are (legally!) bound to a significant other get to bring them along.

The good thing about this option is that it’s a hard and fast rule — there really can’t be any arguing about who qualifies. This is ideal for the bride who just doesn’t ant to deal with conflict.

But of course, all rules need to be bent sometimes. If someone is coming from outside your close circle of friends and family, it might be a good idea to let them bring a friend or significant other along for the simple fact that they will be more comfortable. And if your 200-guest-maximum hasn’t been reached with priority members — best friends, family, and office buds — give out some plus ones! Friends with serious long-term relationships would love to bring their significant other, and if there’s space, why not let them? (I am also a fan of allowing the wedding party to bring dates, but that’s personal opinion!)

So really, it’s nice to let as many people as your guest list allows bring dates. Your guests will appreciate it and be more likely to get out on the dance floor. But if you’re under the constraints of a tight budget or small venue space, remember that etiquette-wise, doling out dates is NOT mandatory — it’s up to the bride and groom to make their choice based on the kind of wedding they have envisioned!

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