Wediquette Wednesday: Can a couple un-invite plus ones if they were included in the invitation?

Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. (Note: Questions may be edited for clarity and brevity.)


Question: My girlfriend was invited to her cousin’s wedding and the invitation said, “Sally Jones and guest,” so she sent the R.S.V.P. back with me as her plus one. About a week later, the bride-to-be emailed my girlfriend and two other guests (we’re all friends), telling them they could no longer bring guests. This surprised us all, because the couple offered plus ones on the invitation. Otherwise my girlfriend and the others wouldn’t have included dates. Can a couple un-invite plus ones if they were included in the invitation?

Answer: First, I’m sorry to hear you, your girlfriend and friends were put in such awkward positions. Especially when everyone acted according to indicators from the couple, that guests were included in the invitation. Second, the short answer is no, the couple shouldn’t un-invite guests. That said, they certainly can and did! Were your girlfriend to have included you in the R.S.V.P. after receiving an invitation addressed solely to her, the couple would have been well within the rules of etiquette to (gently and tactfully) inform her that they are unable to accommodate plus ones, due to space or budget constraints. It’s very possible that the couple got carried away however during the planning stages and realized after the fact that they couldn’t cover guests, figuring this was the only way they could get back on track. Perhaps they were unable to find ways to trim anywhere else due to deposits and fees contracted earlier in the process. While it’s unfortunate and certainly awkward for everyone, do what you can to give them the benefit of the doubt, especially if this is out of character for the pair. Assume they were in a tight spot and didn’t know what else to do, apart from ask unmarried friends to fly solo. It was probably embarrassing for them, so a little compassion will go a long way, especially if everyone wishes to remain friends.



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