The tricky business of allowing, bringing and being plus-ones
Illustration by Marianne Angeli Rodriguez
Q: Our guest list is tight, so we’re not able to offer our single friends a plus-one. How do we seat them; all at one table or spread out?
Consider placing a few singles at a couple of different tables across the reception, seating two or three at tables of couples good at including strangers in conversation. However, if this group of singles know each other or have something in common (like hailing from the same city or having attended the same school) feel free to seat them together. Who knows, maybe you’ll get a matchmaking credit down the road.
Q: I was recently invited to an ex-boyfriend’s wedding and the invitation was addressed to me plus a guest. I don’t have a boyfriend right now, and don’t want to try to find a date just for this. Who can I bring?
When you’re offered a plus-one, you’re free to bring whomever you want: a friend, a date or a relative. Just make certain that you give the person you choose to bring with you some background information and consideration.
Explain a little about the people getting married and who they are to you, as well as any traditions or rituals that may be observed at the wedding or anything that you think might happen that would embarrass your guest if they didn’t know about it ahead of time.
Since you’re going to be bringing this person with you to make you feel more comfortable, make certain that you do everything you can to make your guest as at ease as possible.
Q: I’ve been invited to a wedding as a plus-one, but I don’t know either of the people getting married. What do I need to know?
Since you’ll be the guest of someone else’s guest, the most important thing is to be as considerate of the couple getting married and of the person who invited you as possible; remember the Southern idiom (once famously said by Ronald Reagan) “Dance with the one who brung ya.”
The first rule is to be flexible. Now isn’t the time to be particular about the menu or hotel room, just try to go with the flow and, if necessary, order room service or pass by a drive-thru after the reception.
While you should enjoy yourself, don’t try to be the life of the party. Have fun and participate in the day; Instagram, tweet and Snapchat the fun – not embarrassing – moments, especially if the couple has created a wedding hashtag. But don’t overindulge, make impromptu speeches or feel like you should be the center of every dance circle. As part of this, dress conservatively; you should look polished, not like you’re trying to steal the spotlight.
Look to the person you’ll be attending with for guidance on introductions, the guestbook, gift and so on. Remember that she or he knows these people much better than you do. Above all, make certain that you both have a great time.