Bringing a +1 to a Wedding? The Etiquette Rules You Need to Know

If you've ever received a wedding invitation addressed solely to you and wondered to yourself, "OK, but can I I bring a guest?" then you'll want to keep reading.

The territory of wedding guest etiquette can be tricky to navigate. In theory, each invitation you receive should explicitly state whether or not you can bring a plus one—but, often enough, that simply isn't the case. Perhaps you recently got into a serious relationship (or got engaged!). Then what? Well, we're here to help. Keep scrolling for your complete guide to handling every plus-one conundrum with aplomb and grace.

If a wedding invitation doesn't explicitly say it's for you "and guest," and if you aren't married or living with your romantic partner, then under no circumstances are you to ask the bride, groom, or their families for permission to bring a plus one. It's considered rude, and can lead to an awkward conversations about the wedding party's finances. (Perhaps they can only afford to host a more limited number of guests at their big day!)

It is, however, acceptable to reach out to the bride or groom and ask them for clarification about whether or not you are invited with guest. The envelope should clearly state whether or not you may bring a plus one, but if you got engaged after the invitations were sent out or you recently moved in with your romantic partner, it's OK to simply ask. 

Ideally, a wedding invitation will explicitly state that you are invited "with guest." But if you are married, engaged, or in an otherwise openly committed relationsip, according to etiquette maven Emily Post, it's ok to assume your partner may attend the festivities with you.

"Ms. Post recommends that those who are engaged, in a committed partnership or living together be invited to come with that significant other," reads one New York Times article. 

That being said, if there's any doubt in your mind, it's best to simply ask for clarification.

Emily Post also suggests that if you are single, casually dating, or otherwise romantically unattached, you should not assume you can bring a guest. 

"Those who are single or dating someone, but not living with him or her, should not expect to take a guest unless the invitation specifically says so," Post says.

Wedding plus-ones are typically intended to be used for your spouse, fiancé, or romantic partner. It is generally considered to be in poor taste to bring anyone else.

“If there’s any chance that your escort might be outwardly impolite or inappropriate, do not bring them,” wedding planner Jennifer Brisman advises. “Do not bring a roommate, housemate, parent or sibling as your escort. This is considered impolite and disrespectful.”

Consider this the rule to trump all rules: Do not show up with a guest if you were not invited with a guest. It is better to be safe than sorry, so be absolutely clear on whether or not you have been invited with a plus one before you show up with one.

Do you agree with all these etiquette rules on bringing a guest to a wedding? Sound off in the comments below!