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Wedding Etiquette - RSVP: When a Guest Asks For A Plus One

Should You Allow Guests to Bring a Date to Your Wedding? 

The awkward “Plus 1” question comes up and you’re not sure how to respond. Should you allow guests to bring a date, or politely decline the request to bring an uninvited guest? This is an individual decision that will have an impact on your wedding planning in one way or another. Here are a few suggestions on what to say to keep the situation from becoming awkward.

In this post, you will learn:

2 Ways to Handle The Plus One Question:

1. Saying Yes to a Plus+1
If your gathering will be small with mostly friends and family there is no harm in allowing single friends or co-workers to bring a date. One of the best wedding planning tips we can offer is to calculate for a few extra guests when giving the caterer your guest count. It is always better to add an extra 10 guests to the list as a buffer to make sure you have enough food, drinks, and place settings to accommodate a few plus ones’. As a single person, it can be awkward going to events alone when everyone else has a partner.
Read: How to Accommodate Guests With Kids here

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2. Declining Extra Guests
There are sometimes when making allowances can be difficult, such as when you have a large wedding and have budgeted everything down to the last penny. If you have to say no due to costs just explain that you are not able to accommodate extra guests but there will be other people there that this person knows so they won’t feel alone or singled out. While this may be necessary when you have an extremely tight budget, you should be prepared for the fact that they might not show up.

Creating a Compromise When it Comes to Your Decision

If you’re not sure whether to say yes or no, you can make a list to determine the best answer to the plus one question. It is similar to making a pros and cons list with situations where you might say yes or no. Some factors in your decision should be:

1. Is the guest is in a relationship?
If you know that your friend is in a committed relationship you can assume that they will want to bring this person with them. Couples who are dating seriously or living together should be included. You can just add their name to the invitation if you know it or give them a “plus one.”

2. Are they a close friend or simply an acquaintance? 
It is easier to say no to a casual acquaintance than it is to a close friend. You could allow it for someone you are close to. If you have a few people who were invited but are not able to attend you could allow plus ones for the number of declines only. If you have 3 people who can’t come you could tell guests that you only have 3 extra seats and no more.

3. Will they know anyone else there?
If you know for sure that there will be other people there that this person knows and can socialize with you can comfortably say no to an extra guest for a co-worker or casual friend knowing that they will not feel like the Lone Ranger they will have others to talk to.

Wedding Etiquette - RSVP: When a Guest Asks For A Plus One 
Back to You
Wedding etiquette normally dictates that married couples, and those in committed relationships (living together) always get a plus one. You could allow extra guests only for your wedding party because they will most likely be your closest friends anyway.

We’d like to hear your opinion on the topic. Please leave a comment in the comment section and tell us what you think about the “plus one” question or share how you handled the situation at your wedding. 

Check out other pages on our blog for more wedding ideas and wedding planning tips for new brides-to-be.
Related: Wedding Toast Etiquette - How to do it and not fumble

wedding advice - services provided by wedding planners -  The awkward plus 1 question comes up and you're not sure how to respond - wedding ideas blog by K'Mich in Philadelphia PA - wedding planning services


  1. In my experience it is not good to give the caterer an extra number of people. Unfortunately, there will be people who say they are coming and do not show up at all.

    1. This is true. However, it's still a good idea to give the caterer an exact number, which includes a plus one. This helps the caterer decide how much food should be prepared, and still plan for a extra few.

      Thanks for visiting and sharing your feedback.

  2. Good recommendations for what can be a touchy subject.

  3. Great advice on this awkward situation to be in for wedding guests.

  4. It may have to be an individual decision, but I think you would allow for a few extra people.

    1. Yes, this is true. However, there instances where couples are on a small budget and can't include a plus one so this is where it becomes a sensitive topic. Thanks for your feedback.

  5. That can really be a touchy subject, can't it? We did our wedding super inexpensive and were able to leave an open invitation for anyone to join us. It made it much easier. But I can see where the plus 1 issue can lead to hurt feelings and such. Great tips. Thanks for sharing and linking up.


    1. Absolutely, this can be a very touch subject. Thanks for visiting and sharing your feedback. www.shelbeeontheedge.com


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