The Coordinated Bride Plus OneRSVP stands for “Répondez s’il vous plaît” – a French phrase that translates to “please respond” or literally “respond, if you please”.

This brings me to the purpose of this post.

It has been a question that has daunted hosts for years: Are you required to add Plus 1 on your invitations?  I wish that there was a simple answer for this but instead I have a whole lot of “it depends”. Hear me out though.  Here are some general rules

1.  The length of the guest list is pretty much the determining factor when establishing your event budget.   Because of this most people have an A-List and a B-List.  This simply means that they invite guests from the B-List only after the A-Listers have RSVP’d with regrets.  To avoid hurting feelings – send out the B-List invitation shortly after the A-List invitations have been mailed.   No one wants to feel like a B-Lister.

2.  Consider it a personal choice when determining whether to allow a guest who is single to bring someone to your event.

–     If you choose not to allow your single invitees to bring someone here is how you address the situation.  As a rule of thumb – when you send and invitation or when you receive and invitation – the only people who are invited are those whose names appear on the invitation.   There is such a thing as a NO-Guests event where the invitation is addressed only to the Guest.  There is no grey in between.  I am inviting you and that is it.  You are not allowed to bring anyone else.  If people question this decision – Un-invite them!  No – just kidding.  Kindly let them know that you want to keep the affair intimate by only inviting close friends and family.

–     If you do allow single invitee to bring someone then the invitation should be addressed “Mr. Jack Frost and Additional Person.”   Please try to avoid the words “And Guest”.    To me the term “And Guest” means anyone.  I can bring anyone that I want!  Yippee.  Let me see if my neighbor is free.  The words “And Guest” can be interpreted as any random person.

–     Or you can use the No Ring No Bring Policy, which says that if the invitee is not married or engaged to their significant other – that person cannot attend.  It’s kind of harsh but a good rule to follow if you want to be consistent.  You can narrow it down by allowing the invitee to bring someone only if you met the person or if the invitee has been in a committed relationship with the person for at least 6 months to a year.   However – you still want to personalize it so still avoid the term “And Guest” and pick up the phone to confirm the person’s name so that you so that you can address the invitation appropriately.   No one wants to be addressed as “And Guest” anyway.

–     You can narrow it down further by personalizing your RSVP cards.   Have some of them printed with the words “We have reserved 2 seats in your honor” and others printed with “We have reserved 1 seat in your honor”.  This way you take away the opportunity for that person to bring additional guests.

If you are the guest – There are etiquette rules for you too.  Keep these things in mind

  • Each place setting is an additional expense to the host of the event
  • Venues have seating capacities
  • The host may be trying to place the same number of people at each table   

Be mindful of these things when you receive an invitation that is only addressed to you.  Think about the above before you decide to bring a boyfriend or girlfriend that you met yesterday, your coworker or your neighbor just so you can have someone to talk to.    Married people need to be mindful of this as well. Being married or in a long-term relationship with someone does not give you a free pass to bring your spouse or significant other along with you wherever you are invited.  Though it would be nice if the host of the event saw this post and contacted you in advance to find out if you had a plus one and addressed the invitation appropriately – they didn’t.      Be happy that you were invited and be respectful of the host’s decision. 

Happy Planning!

JSIG