The “+1” Dilemma

Every year our Events Team puts on a series of fabulous weddings, particularly in the summer and early fall. We are at the middle of family dramas, planning dilemmas and any number of issues that are bound to come up while organizing such an important event. We receive TONS of questions from what food to serve to the proper processional order, so we thought we would share these conversations with you on our blog in a series called “Dear Nell.”

First up? The +1 Dilemma! 

Dear Nell,

I have been invited to several wedding this summer. I have been with my boyfriend for quite some time. In fact, we live together, but I have not received a “+1” on any of the invitations. Do you have any thoughts on the etiquette of the “+1”?

The Lonely Wedding Date

wedding deck on aspen mountain

Dear Lonely Wedding Date,

Regardless of your political persuasion, there’s no doubt that society’s accepted definitions of love and commitment have evolved since the 1950’s. With that in mind, we think it’s high time to discuss the wedding protocol and etiquette in order to keep relevant with the times.

Without researching the history of the +1, one can imagine that this particular offer of generosity was designed to entice more single friends to celebrate the union of the engaged couple.

Which begs the question… Why might single people require an incentive to attend your wedding? Simply answered: a wedding is a celebration of two people’s love and life-long commitment. Perhaps singles may feel insecure celebrating something they haven’t been privileged to experience?  More likely and more often, guests are selected from all phases of a person’s life. It is common for a close friend to attend a wedding where they don’t know many folks, and the +1 is a courtesy.

Objectors will say, “Weddings are expensive. I can’t afford to invite everyone I want, let alone everyone’s boyfriend or girlfriend.” We understand this perspective, but also note that weddings may also be expensive for the guest. Oftentimes, weddings require that a guest buy a plane ticket, a hotel room and a gift, in addition to the use of a valuable day off.  Not to mention, there are plenty of spouses who will receive invites to your wedding, whose attendance you could care less about. (One member of our team asks, “Why are you favoring these married stiffs?”)

This sparked a lot of debate within our own team, so not to dodge the question, but what do you readers out there think?

The Little Nell Events Team

Have another perspective to share on this issue? Let’s get the conversation going in the comments below!

Have a question for Nell? Leave it in the comments, and we’ll respond in an upcoming blog post.