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Does a seemingly endless parade of etiquette issues follow behind your every wedding decision? You’re not alone, judging by the volume of befuddled emails we receive. We love to try and help out when we can, and so today, we’re offering our two cents on Meredith’s question! She writes:

A born-and-raised Southern girl, I love flipping through Southern Weddings even with no personal wedding plans in sight. I have a couple shower etiquette question. A bridesmaid and I are planning a couple cocktail party style shower for a bride and groom in Atlanta. Of course we are only inviting those who will also be invited to the wedding. My dilemma is, can we invite single friends to bring a guest if some of these friends are not invited with guest to the wedding? I’ve felt sort of “singled out” when previously invited to a couple shower solo, but now that the shoe is on the other foot, I realize the “couple” in “couple shower” primarily refers to the bride and groom. Thoughts?

Besides whether it’s okay to pair navy dresses with black tuxedos (spoiler alert: yes), plus ones might be the most common query we get. For weddings, the etiquette is clear: spouses, fiances/fiancees, and live-in partners of guests must be included, even if you don’t know them, but you get to decide if you want single, unattached guests to bring dates.

Of course, once you get into the realm of “best friend/dating for three years but not engaged” and “second cousin/engaged but I’ve never met him,” things don’t seem so cut and dry. Were you making the guest list decisions, Meredith, I’d encourage you to ignore the part of you that sees a budget trimming opportunity and indulge the part of you that wants to include as many plus ones as possible. After all, weddings are not a fun place to be single, and if you want people on the dance floor, it helps to give them a partner!

However, you are not in the bride and groom’s shoes, and those two lucky souls have already made the decisions for you about who does and does not get a plus one. For the sake of clarity, I think you need to stick to their list. I hate that that will mean some guests are dateless to the shower, but I just don’t see another good option.

Readers, what do you think? Have you ever been in a similar situation? What do you think about plus ones in general — are you including them on your guest list? Do tell!

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Maddison Dorminey reply

    As a single lady, yes, always give us the option, like the post says, who wants to dance alone or be the third wheel, or admit it, get asked to dance by the crazy person at the wedding. NO FUN! I have always heard 18 or older gets a separate invitation and a and guest.

  2. avatar Brittney reply

    Emily! I have an etiquette conundrum that I could really use your advice on! I think it’s actually something that a lot of brides face and I’d love to get your perspective about it :) How can I get my question to you?!

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