One of the hardest parts of planning a wedding is deciding who to invite, and who needs to be left off the guest list. Generally, if the wedding is more intimate, you might only receive a plus one if you are in a long-term relationship. Wondering what the protocol is for plus ones? Here are some frequently asked questions regarding this tricky situation.

Q: Can I bring a friend if I don’t have a significant other?

A: If your invitation says “Your name + Guest” you are typically free to bring whomever you would like. The bride and groom have budgeted for your guest’s plate. However, if your invitation says, “Your name + your S/O’s name” and you are no longer with that person, check with the couple to see if you’re still able to bring a guest, they might have only included them since you were in a relationship.

Q: Does my plus one bring a gift, or do I have to cover both of us?

A: Generally, there is one gift per couple, so your plus one does not need to provide their own gift. If your plus one is your significant other, split on the gift and get the bride and groom something bigger. If your plus one is just a friend who you invited because you needed a date, don’t expect them to pitch in for the gift unless they offer.

Q: Should I bring someone who knows the couple but wasn’t invited, or someone who doesn’t know the couple?

A: When the couple made their guest list, there was likely a master list of everyone they would have loved to invite but had to narrow down due to budget or space concerns. If your plus one is a friend of the couple and they are on good terms, bringing them shouldn’t be an issue. I would suggest checking with the couple to make sure there wasn’t a specific reason that friend was left off.

Plus OnePhoto Courtesy of Rhythm Photography

Q: I wasn’t given a plus one, but I don’t want to go alone/recently started dating someone… Can I ask for one?

A: One of the hardest parts about planning a wedding is the guest list. Due to budget and space constraints, it is near impossible to invite everyone let alone give everyone a plus one. If you weren’t given a plus one, in general, do not ask for one. That being said, if you have recently moved in to significant other territory, let the couple know that if they have space, you would love to bring your S/O, but that there is no pressure for them to do so.

Q: I was given a plus one, who should I bring?

A: Well, the most obvious answer is your boyfriend/girlfriend, however, sometimes they can’t come or you’re living that solo dream. If that’s the case you can really bring whomever you want, but there are some things you should take into consideration. Is your guest outgoing, or will you need to stay by their side all night? Are they fun at parties, and can they handle their alcohol? If you’ve recently started dating them, do you want them in all your pictures from this wedding should the two of you break up? Is it better to go solo? Overall, make sure whoever you bring is going to reflect well on you!

Deciding which guests get a plus one is a daunting part of wedding planning, since most couples do not want to disappoint any one. Make sure you are always keeping the couple’s best interests in mind before you address the plus one issue.