You’ve probably noticed, when Miss Manners says something, we listen. ESPECIALLY if it has to do with weddings! We get asked quite a few questions about the “plus one.” Does every invitation include a plus one? Is it rude to not include a plus one? What IS a plus one, anyway? (Answer: It’s a term referring to a companion that invited wedding guests may bring with them to the wedding, or in layman’s terms, their wedding date.)
Miss Manners clears things up a bit for us, as she always does. “Spouses, fiancés, and live-in partners must be invited, but issuing an invitation to a boyfriend or girlfriend is up to the couple’s discretion.”
Miss Manners urges all couples to never use the generic term “plus one” in invitations and she advises that each invitation should be addressed to a person by name, if possible. (If you don’t know the name of your guest’s date, it’s fine to write “and Guest” on the envelope.) Etiquette says that it’s up to the invited guest to know that if their envelope reads “and Guest,” they may bring a guest. If not, they aren’t supposed to bring one!
All of that being said, while you may follow proper wedding etiquette, that doesn’t mean your guests will. If you do not invite someone’s long-time boyfriend or girlfriend, or maybe even a new boyfriend or girlfriend, that doesn’t mean that person will not be showing up. It happens more often than we would like! Be prepared, and it will make everything run a little smoother!