When it comes to planning any event—whether we’re talking intimate dinner party or 300-person wedding—to plus-one or not to plus-one is a predicament as old as time. If there’s nothing preventing you, it’s nice to let everyone bring a date of course! But as we all know too well, extending those additional invites can easily push the limit of space at your table or funds in your budget. So whether you’re a host or a guest, here are your plus-one questions answered:
Do I have to give everyone a plus-one to my event?
The short answer is no. But there are some big ifs. If the guest is married, engaged or even in a long-term relationship, you must invite their significant other—there are simply no two ways about it! When it comes to single guests, however, the rules are a little bit more flexible. If the guest will have several other single friends at the party, it’s OK to invite them solo. If they won’t know a soul though, it’s polite to give them that plus-one too. That’s my wallflower-proof formula!
What if I didn’t get a plus-one to an event I was invited to? Can I ask for one?
Again, the short answer is no. Although it might be less than ideal to brave the event solo, you should not ask to bring a date if the plus-one wasn’t extended by the host. You just have to trust that your friend would have put it on the invitation if space and budget allowed. The only exception is if you are in a long-term relationship that the host might not be aware of—with co-workers or old high school pals, it does happen.
How do I address the invitation with a plus-one?
For weddings and other formal events where the invitation will be extended through the good old-fashioned snail mail, the ideal is to find out who your guest will be bringing as their date, and then include their name on the invitation as well. “And guest” sounds too informal and just doesn’t sit well with the etiquette experts.
I hope that helps with your next event. Let me know if you have any other etiquette questions you’d like me to answer on the site. Growing up in Kentucky, this kind of stuff is in your blood!
Actress, model, active humanitarian, & Mom! Author of 'Everyday Chic'.