The Plus One Problem
Recently in the BBC, they have reported on the plus one problem. It was actually my h2b who found the article. It’s about the Royal wedding invitations, the Royal couple are not inviting partners for all their guests.
I can understand that.
Sort a rough guest list before you find your venue
The guest list has been a problem for my h2b and I as well! We made our guest list before we started looking for a venue because we needed to know how much space we needed. The average number of people we could invite at most of the venues we went to in the West Midlands was 60 – 80 people with more people able to fit in a marquee.
For our wedding that’s at least 20 too few! Assuming everyone we invite can come.
We searched and searched for a venue that would be able to fit all our wedding guests! We didn’t want to knock anyone off the guest list because we felt that if people were happy and kind enough to come to our wedding, we should try to get them in! Especially as a lot of our guests will be travelling from all over the country and from abroad.
Copy the Royal wedding?
According to the article, a lot of people are feeling put out that their partners haven’t been invited to the Royal wedding. But what is the etiquette?
Usually, if a couple are married, engaged or live together then it is customary to invite the partner. But what if you’ve never met their partner? What if you don’t like their partner?
For our wedding, numbers are tight. We chose the biggest venue we could find but numbers are tight. I have lots of cousins and because my h2b has lived all over the world, he has a lot of friends. We want everyone to be able to come!
What I think
My personal opinion is that if the guest knows someone at the wedding, I’m not going to invite partners. For example, I have a few friends from university coming to the wedding and as they know each other, I’m not going to invite their partners. I’ve met their partners and I think they’re really nice but we’re just so constricted by numbers. If it turns out that we have space and can invite their partners, I’d give them a call to invite the partners. However, if I invite someone who I realise doesn’t know anyone else at the wedding, I would put ‘and guest’ on their wedding invitation. No one wants to be sat at a wedding or a reception not knowing anyone.
I don’t think people mind. I think that wedding guests, especially if they’re already married, are well aware of the problem with numbers. I think that if people are put out by the invitation then that’s not very fair. Making a guest list is difficult enough as it is without wanting to upset someone!
The authority on etiquette, Debrett's, says traditionally, if you were not known by the bride's mother, you did not get an invitation. That would dramatically shrink our guest list and make things much easier! lol
A ‘plus one’ can cost the bride and groom anything over and above £100, would you want to spend that kind of money on someone you’ve not even met?
Can you ask to have a plus one?
If you’re feeling really shy about going to a wedding on your own, aware that you won’t know anyone, should you ask to take someone? There is no harm in ringing the couple, explaining your situation and asking for a plus one. Some etiquette people think that this is the height of rudeness but I think that with all the planning in a wedding, this may have been over-looked so there is no harm in asking. However, you must be understanding if the bride and groom say there is no wiggle room!
I have had to ask two of my best friends to leave their currently unborn babies with babysitters! While the babies wouldn’t cost me anything at the reception (they’d actually save me money!) they would take up a seat. As we’re squashed as it is, I’ve had to ask for the babies not to come. I felt awful saying that, the babies aren’t even born yet!
Guest lists are difficult. The best thing to do is hope for understanding friends and family and invite who you really want to be there.