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Can I Ask the Bride to Invite My Boyfriend?

They only invited married partners, but I'm not excited to go without him.


A grad school friend is getting married and informed me that only married partners are invited, and only people who won’t know anyone else at the wedding are getting a plus one. So my boyfriend of more than two years is not invited. I know that etiquette stands squarely against that guest list policy, but the ship has sailed, and when she mentioned it to me in person, I was overly reassuring about being “totally fine with it” since I’ll know around twenty people at the wedding.

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Then I got the save the date, and its for a holiday weekend, aka one of the few times a year that we both have off to travel. So now instead of just being low-key sad and missing my sweetie during a romantic event but sucking it up for the love of a friend, I’m also missing a precious opportunity for a weekend together (I am a single mama, and without this wedding our plans for that weekend were to take my son to visit his grandparents in an idyllic vacation town, with lots of time for the two of us built in with the world’s most eager babysitters. So the timing is extra painful.).

How terrible would it be to send a very polite, totally understand if you can’t do it but here’s my situation email asking for an exception to the plus one cutoff? I imagine they’ll have a solid number of “no” RSVPs given the holiday weekend, so one thought is to ask if he can have a B-list invite if space opens up? I can tell myself that if it were me, I’d want to know if a plus one were that important to someone, but I also have never planned a wedding. It may be that one more request would actually make me want to tear my hair out, if it were me. I’d appreciate some uninterested outside perspective.

—plus one problems

A:DEAR plus one problems,

Under no circumstances can I condone your missing a lovely weekend away with your long-term partner and your child visiting his grandparents to attend the wedding of someone who is so comfortable treating you poorly that she is excluding your partner from her wedding. Ab. So. Lute. Ly. Not.

I know people come up with all sorts of justifications for excluding their guests’ significant others for weddings, but I’m just not having any of them. We’re not talking about giving a single person a totally random plus one (which can be nice, but is optional). Nope. You aren’t single, and you should be invited to weddings as part of a couple. If this friend just hadn’t invited you at all because she couldn’t afford to, you’d be fine right? Because people understand that weddings cost money, and sometimes people really like you but also cannot invite everyone they know. But to invite you to spend your time and money celebrating their love while treating yours as not worthy of recognition? That’s hurtful.

But, as you said, that ship has sailed. I think you absolutely should ask, with a minimum of fuss and apologetic phrasing and justification. “Hey Phoebe, got the invitation to your wedding, it’s lovely. I would like to bring Ross; is that okay? Thanks, Rachel.” I frankly don’t care if receiving this email is stressful to her or if she wants to pull her hair out about it. That’s the price of being rude. And, honestly, it really isn’t that big of an ask. She can stick to her guns and say no, or she can take this opportunity to make it right and say yes, of course, we’d love to see him.

If she says no, I really need for you to not go to this wedding. For your sake. A grad school friend? She’s not your life-long best friend you’d climb mountains for; she is a friend for right now who, to be perfectly honest, in all likelihood you won’t even be in touch with five years from now. She’s not treating you well. The fact that you said you were okay with it and changed your mind really doesn’t come into play at all: you didn’t know what she was really asking! Weddings are lovely and special and important, but you shouldn’t sacrifice lovely and special and important things in your own life, like an idyllic and rare weekend with the people you love, to attend this one. Send a card and a gift (if you want), and enjoy your holiday weekend away!

—Amy March


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