+1 issues

Hi all,

Sorry for the long post but I'm struggling with this.  What are others doing about inviting +1's?  We bought a package for 40 and thought this would be perfect number for a intimate wedding with additional invites at the reception however in reality this really just comes down to 10 people each plus partners.  Anything above the 40 is charged for on top for both day and night  (could only get an early wedding so more drinks, canapés, food, bubbly etc than expected throught out the day.)

So rightly or wrongly i have a kind of mental cut off where partners are concerned (which I've not put into practice yet)   for example my nephew has been with his girlfriend for about 4 years, they live together and she always visits the family with him and I consider her part of the family. My niece on the other hand has been with her partner about two years but I have only met him three times to say hello to and he generally doesnt come with her to family get togethers. Their relationship is always on and off and last time we invited him for birthday drinks it was 'off' so he didnt come.  My partner has grown up children who dont live near us and as far as we know his daughter has been with someone about 5 months (will be 9 months if still together for wedding) we have never met him and he didnt come to a recent birthday get together we invited him to (not sure if she invited him or not but we told her he was invited). His other hasnt had a steady partner for some time however I think there may be someone new just on the scene but thats only from looking at social media! (Generally we dont like to ask/interfere about these things unless told!) One of my sisters has already hinted that 'its always a plus one at weddings' regarding her son who is 17 and he didnt even have a girlfriend at the time she said it.  He has just started seeing an ex girlfriend and it never even crossed my mind to invite her until my sister made another hint recently. 

Personally im finding it difficult to get my head around inviting people to a relatively small ceremony I have never met or have no feelings for.  When I picture my wedding I think of being surrounded by people we love who share our happiness not strangers who in reality well may be off the scene again the following week.  

I'm trying to separate head from heart (although it is the day you should be able to go with your heart!! ) and realise that although these people may mean nothing to me they will be important to the family members.  I know people think we are well off but they dont realise how much we financially support his family members and I do not wish to bring this up so saying we cant afford it isnt really an option, and to be honest even though i do begrudge spending money on people we dont know when it could help us pay for our wedding, its actually more about who we want around us on our day.  

My other concern is if we invite a partner and then they split up does that give them free rein to bring someone else as they see it as a +1? ...... If only there was a wedding rule that said 'serious relationships only' ha ha. 

Am I being unreasonable with these thoughts? I'm guesssing I will just have to grin and bear it.



  • katie1611katie1611 Posts: 103

    I don't think that you are being unreasonable at all! I completely understand what you mean regarding serious relationships. We are not getting married until next year, but when we handed out our save the dates we were very vague about +1s for some of our friends. We can't have one rule for everyone as it simply won't work. 

    We have an idea in our mind of who we will invite - if they are still together when the time for invites comes around!  Otherwise our compromise is to invite their plus 1s to the evening reception only - could that be a way around the problem for you?

  • No, I think you are being perfectly reasonable, but you need to recognise that there may be some people who won't come if they can't bring their partner. That is completely their own choice, and you can't get annoyed about it, in the same way that people shouldn't get annoyed at you for being strict with the plus ones.

    I think the best thing to do is to be very specific with the names on the invitations - like if you are inviting joe bloggs but not his girlfriend jane doe, you can address the invitation to joe bloggs and write for the RSVP "Joe bloggs will be attending//joe bloggs is unfortunately unable to attend". That makes is clear. Could you invite plus one's to the after party? That could be a compromise.

    Can you also shift blame to the venue?

    I don't know the etiquette around it, but you could also have some text at the bottom of the invitation which says something like:

    "Dear guests, it is very important for us to have a small and intimate wedding with those whom we have direct and close links with. We are therefore deliberately keeping the number of guests restricted, and unfortunately cannot accommodate +1's for the aforementioned inviteés at the ceremony or reception. However, +1's would be welcome to join us for the after party which commences at X hour, lasting until Y hour. Thank you in advance for your understanding".

    If anyone rings you to say "But obviously bob can bring his girlfriend Nora right?" then you just have to stick to your guns and politely say "Nora is welcome to the after party, but not to the ceremony or reception. We have specified the reasons for this on the invitations and this issue is not negotiable".

    Polite but firm is the name of the game.

    If they say "oh well in that case they won't come" then you just have to say "That's very unfortunate. I will wait until I've had confirmation with the RSVP until I note that they will not be able to attend".

    If they ask "why X person but not Y" then again...that's really none of their business. You can just say "Because I have met X on a number of occasions and feel sufficiently close to them to want them to be at my wedding, whilst that is unfortunately not the case for Y. Again, this is not an issue open for negotiation". 

  • MrsLJC2bMrsLJC2b Posts: 451

    I've seen two different things done with this issue:

    1. An 'alternative event' is put on for the wedding breakfast - e.g. a table booked at a nearby pub/restaurant with a special deal e.g. £10 for a 3 course meal and +1s are grouped after the ceremony and sent there

    2. +1's are invited but have to pay for their meal. I think there was some kind of nice way it was worded in the invite!!

  • MrsC2015MrsC2015 Posts: 97

    I have the same issue at the moment. We are in the process of getting ready to send out invites and realised we are well over what we planned (and can afford) if we invite +1s for everyone. We decided that if we hadnt met them or they didn't have a +1 by the time we send out the invites, they are not getting invited to the day! We'll make an exception to invite them to the evening IF we have met them!!

    My best friend has recently got a boyfriend (6 months ago) and is expecting a baby in October with him. She's assuming that he and the baby are invited to the whole day but I havent met the guy and he isnt coming with her when she comes to visit in June. Not sure how I am going to approach this one....

  • J14J14 Posts: 121

    Thanks for all the replies.  I like the firm but fair policy and the statement thanks very much for that.

    I quite like the idea of any people coming over and above the ones you invited paying for themselves but I know that the h2b wouldnt like that idea. In fact he said he has never been to a wedding when there wasnt a free bar and I said ive never been to a wedding when there WAS a free bar!  The separate meal I dont think would really work for us, as well as pratical terms I think that may cause more issues 'separating' people out.

    I think if you havent met someone that sounds fair to me or they dont have someone at the time of invitation I just know in practice it will get complicated in some circumstances. Hm I can see how your best friend invite could be complicated. 

    Wedings aye ....... complicated stuff! 



  • We were in a fortunate position that we weren't aiming for an intimate wedding and also had a very large max room capacity available- we had 140+ guests all day at ours. however that didn't mean we just invited everyone +1. we both come from big families and have big extended family-friend groups. Our rule was if you didn't have a partner at the time of the invites going out then that was the cut off. we didn't distinguish between who was in a 'serious' relationship as felt it wasn't our place to judge what this means to other people.

    as for the invites, I would make sure you write on the names of exactly who is invited, and even go as far as what redwhitebluelondon said and also write the names on the RSVP to make it clear who it is for.

    I also agree with your own comment that just because they aren't special to you, your loved one you want to invite, they will mean something to them. weddings can be a nightmare at times and the guestlist I think is always going to be the hardest. you will never please everyone but just make sure not to upset anyone you really want there as it's not worth that either in my eyes xx

  • MrsC2015MrsC2015 Posts: 97

    Complicated and stressful!!!

  • HydrogirlHydrogirl Posts: 809

    i think its unreasonable for plus 1s who you dont know to be invited with such a small wedding. explain that it would b awkward for them too, as they wont know many people!

    put names only on invites not plus 1s

    2 of my cousins have gfs who they had been seeing for over a year (partially living together too) but i had never met them, nor my parents and my grans a few times, they did not get plus 1s, but people who i had met (partners of guests) reguarly were invited

    just expain if anyone has an issue u have noidea if X will still be on the scene and u want a small intimate wedding - and lets be honest is X doesnt know any guests except their partner it will be a boring day for them and the partner will have to look after them all day

  • MrsC - another way to look at it, I know your over numbers but my thinking behind it would be...if your friend was married or engaged to him and for one reason or another you hadn't met him, would you think differently because they are married?

    I just wonder as I know for some (I'm not saying you) marriage is often the sign of a serious/committed relationship when really having a baby with someone is equally as in my eyes.

    just a thought from another angle, not that it really helps if you are over numbers but anyway.

    also re the baby, how old will they be at the wedding time/would they have anyone else to look after them? if she is feeding baby then it would be really difficult for her to leave them for the whole day/evening but a baby that small wouldn't cost you anything extra, and you would just have to make sure that if they started to cry during ceremony/speeches etc that they know to leave the room with them as you don't want to hear them/distrubt the moments for others image xx

  • RubyCatRubyCat Posts: 272 New bride

    Please do not make +1s pay for themselves that is outrageously rude. People will understand if you can't accomodate them.

    Just think of a cut off and stick to it, I would make it living together.

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