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Carolyn Hax: Is it ever okay to ask for a plus-one to a wedding?

(Nick Galifianakis/For The Washington Post)
3 min

Adapted from an online discussion.

Dear Carolyn: Is it ever acceptable to ask for a plus-one to a wedding? I just got a destination-wedding invite for next summer from a close college friend. I anticipated I’d get a plus-one for my boyfriend of two years, even though he hasn’t met this friend and it was just my name on the save-the-date. (Other mutual friends also had it addressed to their significant other.)

Usually I’d just ask my friend for clarity, but I also don’t want to be That Demanding Guest. If my boyfriend were included, we’d probably go, otherwise I probably won’t. How do I broach this with my friend, without being That Person?

— Not That Demanding Guest

Not That Demanding Guest: Just don’t go. If this friend were close enough and your interest in being at her wedding were strong enough, then you’d go solo. And, if you felt comfortable enough with her and with your friendship to talk about it openly, then you already would have done it.

I put out a call for alternate viewpoints, especially from brides or grooms who would want to be asked. Here’s a sampling of the responses:

· I would want to be asked, but I’m generally the more-the-merrier type. Also, if it was on purpose (the wedding is small, for example, and they don’t know him), can he come to the destination but not go to the wedding? Do the beach/sightseeing/etc. on his own that day?

· Nope, don’t ask. If I wanted your boyfriend at my wedding, I would have asked you for his name or left a blank space for his RSVP. Otherwise, assume he’s not invited.

· Ask if it was intentional and be prepared to accept the yes without pressure for it to be a different answer. I addressed a wedding invite to a friend that included her son on the inner envelope and didn’t realize I’d left his name off the outer envelope. I am really glad she checked in rather than just not come.

· Wedding planning is HARD, and so many things fall through the cracks. We weren’t aware many of our friends whom we don’t see often had serious significant others and were happy to invite them. (Those who had been dating for two weeks were another story.) Unless your friend is much stronger than I, then she is juggling a thousand things and just may not have thought about it. Be polite (“totally fine if not”) but just ask. Can you tell my wedding is in one week? Send prayers. And anxiety meds.

· I’d want to be asked thusly: “Thanks for the invite! Are people bringing their boyfriends?”

· I was glad my groomsman asked for a plus-one. I had kind of fallen out of touch with “Joan” from my core group of college friends, and costs and space were issues for us. We knew she had just gotten engaged, and we hadn’t met her fiance, so we reluctantly decided not to invite them. Then the groomsman called and asked me what we’d think of him bringing Joan as his plus-one, and we jumped at it. Plus, 25 years later, we live near Joan and her now-husband and see them on an occasional basis, which is nice.