Does Everyone You’re Inviting to your Wedding Need a “Plus One”? How to Manage the Guest List

“Plus ones” can be a tricky topic when it comes to managing a wedding budget and guest list.

Limiting “plus ones” might seem like a simple solution for keeping your guest list smaller, but it might be more difficult than you think. Before you start cutting down your guest list, please read our post on “Three Ways Hitch Can Help You Have a Huge Wedding On a Budget”. We might be able to help you solve your “plus ones” dilemma in a creative way!

You need to know how to limit “plus ones”. Here is our honest advice!

First, you need to establish a consistent plan for who is allowed to have a guest and who is not.

  • Anyone who is married, engaged or in a relationship is allowed to bring a date. (This is the traditional rule, where all “plus ones” are allowed.)
  • Anyone older than 18 is allowed to bring a date. (This limits the number of high school-aged dates.)
  • Anyone who has been in a relationship for more than six months is allowed to bring his or her date. (This guideline provides consistency and can help eliminate having “total strangers” at your wedding reception.)
  • If at all possible, all of the members of the wedding party should be allowed to bring a guest as a courtesy.

Using one of these “rules” will help you pare down your guest list. So now, how do you convey this message to your guests? There are two solutions: your invitations and asking close friends and family to help spread the word.


  • On the addressed envelope (which could be inner or outer), write “Mr. Jack Rabbit and guest” if this guest is allowed a “plus one”. (Note: guest is not capitalized.)
  • Write “Jack Rabbit” if this guest is invited alone. This also goes on the inner envelope.
  • If your invitation is less formal and you won’t have an inner envelope, then use this line on your RSVP card: “_____ seat(s) have been reserved in your honor.” Then in the blank space, handwrite the number of seats allowed before you send them out to the guests. If he/she can bring a guest, write “2”. If he/she cannot, simply write “1”. (Of course, this number would be higher for families)
  • This posting on includes a forum where brides share how they handled this situation.

For more advice on Invitation etiquette, check out this blog!

Family & Friends

  • You might have to ask close friends and family to help you spread the message about “plus ones”. They can say something like, “Jack and Jane both have large families and lots of single friends. We’re sorry, but they weren’t able to allow all of their guests a plus one.”
  • Realize that you’ll have to be firm with your decision and remain consistent. Feelings can/will be hurt if you start making exceptions that clearly don’t fit within your original “rule”.

We can help!

Contact us today to set up a consultation! We are well versed in midwestern wedding etiquette and are happy to help!

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