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What Is A Plus One? [And All You Need To Know About Them]

When it comes to invites and guestlists, you’ll soon realize there are a lot of different terms used. It can be hard to keep up with them all! One that is often used is “plus one.” But what are they exactly? What does it mean to be one, who can be one, and how do they work, generally? Well, here is all you will want to know. 

So what is a plus one? A plus-one is a formal invitation for a guest to bring another person to an event (typically a party or celebration, such as a wedding). However, who can be a plus one can vary, and will largely be dictated and specified by the organizers. Regardless, not all events have plus-ones, and some are reserved for certain guests, in particular.

Plus ones are commonly associated with weddings. That’s likely why you are here. They are not mandatory, mind.

But it is terminology that is used more broadly, specifically when it comes to inviting additional guests. 

So with this in mind, let’s dive into other important considerations around them! 

What Does It Mean To Be A Plus One?

If you are a plus one, you are an additional invite that has been given to a particular guest. You are allowed to attend and enjoy the event like any other invited guest.

In terms of a wedding (or really any formal event), a plus one will always be stated right on the ticket or invitation for the person who is originally invited to the wedding. 

It usually is marked “Invitation Name” and Plus One, please join us in celebrating… This is how you know that you are allowed a plus one. 

A plus is usually given out to people who are married or have been together for quite some time. 

In cases where the couple to wed is looking to have a much larger wedding, they may be able to afford to give plus one’s for more guests that may want the company to the wedding. 

Who Can Be A Plus One?

Technically speaking, anyone can be a plus one. Although, they are typically given or reserved with particular individuals in mind.

We mentioned that those who have been in committed relationships are typically the ones who receive plus ones. 

Other situations where a plus one is usually doled out are to the bride and groom bridal parties. 

This is sometimes a thank you for being a part of the wedding and any of the duties that they may have had to have done over the last year or so. 

This is much less common but not unheard of, but some people will bring their mom or dad as a plus one if the wedding party knew their parents and it is OK’d by them.

While it is still a plus one, likely the wedding couple knows that you are bringing one of your parents as the plus one. 

Please note that if you are going to try to bring a friend or someone that the bride and groom are not expecting to clear it by them first.

You don’t want to bring anyone that could potentially ruin their special day, so when you do decide if it is an open invitation, give them notice so they can decide. 

Can A Friend Be A Plus One?

A friend can definitely be a plus one. While a little is less traditional, it is not heard of for some people who may not know many of those at the wedding (due to flying in) to have a plus one. 

They may bring a date, or they may just bring a friend if it is a fun wedding. 

Reasons To Bring A Friend As A Plus One

Sometimes bringing a friend is way better than bringing a date. Here are some of the reasons why you may want to consider bringing a friend than a date. 

  • Sometimes our significant others just aren’t crazy about attending weddings, but we know that our best friends will enjoy the dancing and have the exact same google eyes as we do when the bride comes down the aisle. This can be lately a really fun experience. 
  • Sitting at the singles table doesn’t look so good this time around, which is why bringing a friend is also not a bad idea. And at the very least, if you are at the singles table, you are there with someone to laugh about it. 
  • If you are single but do not want to bring a date because it’s more of a formal wedding, then bringing a friend is a good way to avoid feeling that awkward pressure if it is a force. 

Overall bringing a friend can be a more relaxing time for some people, which is why it’s becoming an increasingly good option to consider! 

Is It OK To Bring A Plus One To A Wedding?

You should never bring a plus one to a wedding if it was not stated on the invitation.

There are a few reasons for this that both save you and the wedding couple a headache.

Let’s talk about some of these reasons for not just bringing a plus one unannounced. 

Can Interrupt Plans

Weddings definitely take planning, and if you were to bring a plus one announced, there is a very good chance that they wouldn’t have a seat at a table, let alone a seat next to you.

Seating charts get done many weeks in advance, and while yes, you could just pull a chair up, this actually becomes a bit uncomfortable for you and your plus one.

Unless, of course, you are reenacting wedding crashers. 

Considered Rude

Aside from the wedding party not being prepared for you to bring a plus one, it is also just a rude act.

There could be many reasons why they are not able to provide a plus one, including a budget.

But it also could be because they didn’t give plus ones to couples who are even married.

This would also be insulting to some other people. 

Always Ask First

If you think there was an obvious mistake made (like your husband being forgotten), it is OK to call and ask.

It can be awkward sometimes because the couple to wed may be keeping the wedding very small.

The closer you are to the couple, the easier it is to ask.

Be sure out of courtesy to say it is very fine if they are not invited, but you wanted to know if there was a mixup.

Also, make sure to wait till the wedding invitations go out because they may not be on the Save the Date card. 

How Are Plus Ones Typically Invited?

There are a few different situations in which a plus-one will be invited, whether it be a wedding or a formal event.

Sometimes couples can get confused or even recipients whether it will be on the save-the-dates or the actual invitation.

Let’s talk about the more common methods but other possibilities as well. 

Save The Dates

You can put the obvious plus ones on the save the dates and leave it off for the people you are not sure about.

Sometimes a wedding party can give or take a few people that are still being figured out between the save the dates being sent out to the wedding invitations.

This allows the obvious married couples or partners who have been together to be invited and out of the way. 

Wedding Invitations

For the people you aren’t sure about giving plus ones while the Save the Dates go out, you can add them to the wedding invitations.

Some people completely hold off on giving any plus ones till the wedding invitations because sometimes, sadly, couples do break up or things change, so it’s not worth stressing about until the actual RSVP starts. 

Is It OK to Call?

Accidents happen, and sometimes the plus one has definitely left off the invitation or saved the date.

In this case, is it OK to call the guest and let them know you’ve decided to save the date?


After all,l it is your wedding. Just make sure that if you do go ahead and give someone the go-ahead, you write it down so you know they have someone coming as well and can account for them. 

Go With The Flow

If you are invited to a wedding, it is very important to go with the flow.

There is always a little bit of hysteria around wedding invites for both the guests and the wedding couple because of two of the biggest concerns—budget and not wanting to leave anyone out or not wanting to be left out.

While going with the flow is definitely the way to approach it, there is some benefit to knowing how a plus-one works and what it really is. 

Have other questions about what certain things are at a wedding? Then my following guides may be of help: