Ask A Wedding Planner // How to Handle Plus Ones

Dear Ciera,

So my partner and I are pretty much paying for our wedding ourselves. We have an amazing group of supportive friends that we’ve known for years, and we are the first of the group to tie the knot. While some of the couples are engaged, others are still casually dating, and we’re not too keen on covering the bill for basically strangers, but we don’t want to make our friends feel bad without a date. How do we figure out who to offer plus ones to?


Over this Guest List

Dear Over this Guest List,

Figuring out your guest list is one of the most crucial, tedious, and somewhat stressful tasks that you MUST do, unless of course you decide to elope. I get asked this question by many of my friends in the same situation. Here are a few rules to follow that should take some of this stress away.

1. If the couple is engaged or married, there’s no question about it, you have to invite both people.

2.  If the couple has been in a long-term relationship, you should invite the significant other, but this is on a case-by-case basis.  If they’ve been dating for several years, it may be a bit awkward to not invite their partner, but do what your gut tells you.

3.  If neither you nor your partner have ever spoken to or met this person, they are not invited. If your friend wants to throw a tantrum because their “date” can’t attend, you may have two less people on your guest list. PERFECT!

Although, they’re not necessarily a plus one, having a kid-free reception is also a great rule of thumb. Children typically don’t eat much of what’s ordered for them, but catering still includes them in that count, which means a greater cost for you. If you have friends with children, present this to them as a time to unwind without the kids.

Stick to these rules, and you should be fine. If you still feel a few flutters because you don’t want to offend any of your friends, explain to them your plus-one guidelines. Let them know that it’s important for you to limit the guest count because of cost. I can assure you, your friends will certainly understand.

Most importantly, your wedding day is about whom YOU and YOUR partner want to attend. If you’re trying to maintain a budget for your wedding, that means cutting out any unnecessary expenses, and you shouldn’t feel bad about it. This is YOUR hard earned money, by the way.

Now that this dilemma is handled, onto the complicated seating chart discussion...

Have fun with that!

Ciera was the first person Christine trusted to join the Wood Grain & Lace family in the summer of 2014. She has since coordinated over 20 events on her own and helps train our new staff members. Ciera has a diverse background of event management experience including hosting various sales driven in-store events and promotions during her time in retail management and organizing marketing events such as FEED MORE food drive fundraisers and cook-offs for the Richmond interior design community. Ciera has planned and executed the logistics for public relations events such as press releases for up and coming designers and grand openings for local restaurants. Ciera prides herself on having strong organization skills and thinking creatively. She always pays attention to the small details that create a wow factor, and executing a theme is where she naturally excels.