BRIDE GUIDE: The Plus One

When I first started going to weddings, I actually dreaded getting a “plus one.”  I was single and didn’t know who to bring.  Do I bring my gay bestie or a guy I’d dated a few times?  If I go alone, how many times will I be asked who I’m dating?  When is my wedding going to be? How is my career? It just opens the door WIDE open to why my life wasn’t complete yet or at least that’s how I felt.  A part of me was single and ready to mingle.  The cliché tells us that weddings are a place to meet hot dudes who are thrilled for their romantic buddy. If I catch the bouquet, I could be next! Squeal…. and barf. LOL.

THEN I got older and more and more of the friends began to take the plunge, a “plus one” was necessary to survive a wedding.  Whether I was the ever-dutiful bridesmaid or the wedding singer, I needed someone to hold my purse/bouquet/sheet music, tell me my bridesmaid dress wasn’t as hideodious as I thought I was in it, and help me escape from all of questions lurking behind the faces of heavily made-up old women.

Before I was a bride, a plus one was a courtesy someone gave me.  I didn’t expect it but I definitely wanted it.  As I began my relationship with Hubs, I did expect it.  The way you would invite a husband with a wife, I wanted my relationship to have that value. (Our names on an invite together used to get me super wedding hungry.)

Would I have gotten mad had I not been extended this courtesy? Absolutely not….

………………on the outside……………

………Just kidding!!!!………….

Sort of….

Let’s face it!  Weddings aren’t always easy to face alone but if you aren’t in a long-term relationship that the soon-to-be-wed have been involved in, they don’t have to extend that courtesy.  It’s a tough sitch.

When you are a bride, a plus one takes on a whole new meaning.  Good Lord does it ever!  I invited around 275 people to my wedding.  I would say a good 15-25 people on that list were plus ones.  Everyone got invited with a plus one with an exception or two (a newly widowed woman you don’t invite with a plus one).

The first point is the obvious one: plus ones are expensive.  Do that math! Think of how much you will pay per person.  As a bride, I felt weird about paying for people I didn’t know to come and enjoy my wedding.  It’s like taking a stranger out to dinner on the most important day of your life.  I wanted to know every face in that room.  I also looked at who had invited me with a plus one and who had not.  In the end, it didn’t matter because we extended that courtesy to everyone.

BUT then I thought about myself as attending a wedding.  It’s a hopeful, exciting night for someone else and it’s easy to get swept up in romance and excitement of your own.  About a year before Hubs popped the big question, we went to my cousin’s wedding.  It was a huge, gorgeous and expensive wedding.  We had a ball and oh was it romantic.  I remember dancing with him and just thinking what would it be like someday at our wedding. It can also be a cool night for someone just starting their journey together.  Maybe they start thinking about it for the first time on the night of your wedding… Maybe you’ll party at their wedding one day…

On the flip side, I remembered how tough it was going to a wedding by myself.  I would never want someone to feel lonely like I did.  Everyone is paired off in coupledom dancing to Wonderful Tonight and you are single-handedly polishing off the pastry dish at the singles table.  Not that there is anything wrong with that but it ain’t easy even if you never want to get married.

Also, you want your loved ones to have the best night of their life on the best night of your life!  They will be happier for you when they share their plus one with you too!  How sweet is that? Spread that love around, folks- you are getting hitched!

Here’s my take as a bridesmaid, bride, and on looking wedding officiant.

*If you can invite the amazing single people in your life with a plus one, do it. It’s always easier to invite someone and have them say no than having them feel awkward, hurt, or annoyed at you for making that decision for them.  (“It’s so important to make someone happy!”) Let them make the choice.

*If you venue doesn’t allow for it or you just cannot afford more people, consider your numbers. Maybe you have to cut the gal you love to go to the bar with for trivia because your maid of honor just started dating a really amazing guy.  Make the sacrifice. They would do it for you.

*If you want to invite someone sans plus one, have a genuine conversation with your friend/cousin/etc.  If you say my numbers are tight but I love you and want you there, they should understand. Be honest.

Times are tough but like I said, spread the love around if you can.  When I write my ceremonies, I always use the line that says,”circles, for love that given comes back round again and again.” It’ll come back to you!

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