Finding the Perfect Wedding "Plus One"

Finding the Perfect Wedding “Plus One”

It’s hard to watch newlyweds recite tearful vows while you sit next to an empty seat. When the reception music begins, it’s nice to have someone you can ask to dance. But bringing wedding dates can sometimes cause more trouble than attending alone. Before you extend an invitation, check to make sure that dates are invited–and that the person you have in mind would make a good one.

Check: Are Dates Invited?

Before bringing a “plus one” to a wedding, it’s important to know whether dates are actually invited. There are few things more awkward than showing up with a nice fellow or lady on your arm only to realize that your reception table doesn’t have an extra chair.

First, check the wedding invitation. If your name is written there alone, it’s safe to assume that you are the only invitee. In cases where extra guests are welcome, there is usually a mention of your name “and guest.” Another place to look is the RSVP card. Is there a formal space to indicate whether or not you are bringing a date? If there isn’t, then a guest is not invited.

In order to be absolutely certain, it never hurts to ask your hosts. Try to bring up the question in a casual manner. Remember, you are seeking information–not giving a sales pitch. Even if you feel like the couple is being rude by not including both of you, arguing accomplishes nothing. Most couples wish they could invite a larger guest list, but simply cannot afford to. Limiting the invitations to close friends alone is a good way of including their nearest and dearest on a tight budget.

Choose a Good Date

Bringing a date to a wedding is different than bringing a date to a movie. Before you toss out an invite to the cutie you met last weekend, take a moment to consider whether you want that person by your side during such an important event. Most invitations are sent out months before the big date. Do you see yourself still with this person in a few months? If you’re uncertain, reply to the couple first and only inform your date as the occasion nears. (When changing your mind about “plus ones” at the last minute, it’s always better to bring one fewer guests than one extra. Keep the couple as current as possible about your “plus one” plans.)

Remember, a wedding is an intimate occasion. Consider how well you know your date and how long you have been dating. Is there any chance that this person will embarrass you or distract the newlyweds? Do not bring anyone to a wedding who has shown a propensity for public arguments, pouting, a lack of restraint at open bars, or, (the most inexcusable) a love of bad karaoke.

What is your motivation for bringing a date? If you’re worried that you won’t know many people at the wedding, bringing a date can impair your ability to mingle. It’s easier to make friends with strangers without a companion already on your arm.

If you shy away from socializing and only chat with your date the whole evening, you risk insulting your hosts. Bring a date who is lively and sociable. The best wedding dates are people who enhance your celebration of the wedding; not people who serve as an excuse to duck out of it.

The opposite problem is also a concern. If the wedding will be full of close friends and family, bringing a date who doesn’t know anyone will hamper your ability to mingle and enjoy the wedding. As delightful as you may find this person, you don’t want to be forced into the role of a social babysitter while your friends are celebrating a once-in-a-lifetime moment. If the wedding is bringing together friends who haven’t seen each other in years, dates often feel excluded in a sea of reminiscences and inside jokes. Bring someone who already knows most of the crowd, or come by yourself.

Make a Good Match

Once you’ve established that you and your date are both invited to the wedding, and you’ve chosen the perfect companion, the fun part begins. Start by getting on the same page in relation to formal dress. Wedding invitation fashion recommendations can be loosely interpreted and you don’t want to show up in a light springtime frock while your date arrives in a somber, three-piece suit. Check in with each other ahead of time so you can make sure you look like you came together.

If your date doesn’t know a lot of people, it’s time for friendly introductions. Make sure your date feels included in the festivities by making the rounds of friends and family so everyone can share your enthusiasm over the lovely person in your life. (This includes a formal introduction to the newlyweds!) The more you involve your date in the wedding, the more fun you and your date will have.

A wedding is a romantic occasion. It can serve as an opportunity to become more intimate with your date. After all, you are sharing a side of yourself that emerges at gatherings with family members and close friends. Use good judgment in choosing a wedding date and, who knows? Perhaps one of you will catch the bridal bouquet.