Wedding Guest Lists: Who Gets A Plus One?

Planning & Advice

Creating a wedding guest list is enough to cause anxiety in the best of us. A common question I get asked is: who gets a plus one?

So, I’m here to break it down for you.


First, make some rules

When you’re putting together your wedding guest list, there will always be someone you wish you could invite, but you simply can’t. It’s just a fact.

So, to combat the potential awkwardness, it’s always best to have rules. Here are some examples of rules you might have for different types of wedding guests:


Rules for Children

  • We’re not inviting any children to the wedding.
  • Only children of the wedding party will be invited.
  • Children under age 2 will be invited, but not the older ones.
  • All children are invited and childcare will be provided.


Rules for work mates

  • We’re not inviting any work friends.
  • Work friends who we socialise with outside of work will be invited.


Rules for your parents’ guests

  • Each set of parents can invite X amount of their friends.
  • Parents can only invite their friends if A List guests are unable to attend.


You get the picture! The tips below will help you to build some solid rules for who gets a plus one and who should not. As long as you remain consistent, if someone asks if they can bring a plus one, you’ll be able to say “Sorry, but only X will be able to bring plus ones” or “Sorry, but no plus ones at our wedding” (but in a much more polite way, obvs).


“No ring, no bring”

The traditional way to approach this situation is that married guests will be allowed to bring their spouses, whether you know them or not. I’d say this is pretty fair!

I also recognise that there are many significant relationships that don’t include rings. For example, a good friend of yours may live with their partner. I’d consider this a serious relationship and it would be rude to exclude your friend’s partner.


“Plus ones for the wedding party and immediate family only”

Here’s another rule you may want to introduce! These will be your closest friends and family and there’s a good chance you want them to be comfortable and enjoy themselves.

If you choose to allow some guests to have a plus one, why not give that privilege to your wedding party and immediate family?


“No plus ones we haven’t met”

Again, this is another totally acceptable rule. Why would you want to invite someone to your wedding if you’ve never met them?

Nobody would blame you!

The exception would be if it’s your bestie’s partner who lives in another country and the only reason you haven’t met is purely logistics!


Wedding plus ones: tips

  • Stick to your rules and communicate them clearly, when asked.
  • Add the name of the plus one, or simply “plus one” to the invitation.
  • There’s no need to return the favour if you were granted a plus one in the past.
  • Seat your single guests thoughtfully (ie avoid the singles table and rather put them with people they know or people they’d get along with).
  • Anticipate questions about plus ones and be ready to respond kindly and, when possible, over the phone or in person.