Q: Between various wedding blogs, I have yet to find any solid advice for extending invitations to polyamorous wedding guests while maximizing the respect factor. Two or three of the people we’ve invited to our wedding are in polyamorous relationships in which 1) we are not close with any of their partners, and 2) we have never noted our friend to spend time with both partners at once in social gatherings.
I went with the format of, “Bob and Beloved Guest,” as a nod that we know our friend will bring a special someone, and leaving the RSVP form completely open-ended, but I feel like I could have done better by my people. I do know the names of the partners, and it feels rude to reduce their attendance to “guest” when I’ve played games with them and like them just fine. But writing, “Bob and Susan and/or Monique,” doesn’t feel respectful either, especially if I wouldn’t particularly care if Bob would possibly rather bring someone else I haven’t met yet.
How do we better show our polyamorous wedding guests the love they deserve and not go smearing our monogamous matrimonial privilege all over the place? Of course, just plain calling or texting these friends has gone a long way, but I’d love to hear from some poly perspectives.
—Mail On Nuptial Observations
Answer From the Editor:
Just plain calling may in fact, be the best way around this. Since you were wondering, Etiquette says one invite per household. People with the same last name go on the same line of the invite; anyone with a different last name goes on a different line. Also the same as any other couple: if they live together they all get an invite. Generally “live together” is somewhat out-dated code for long term/live in. Essentially, strong commitment means they get an invite. If your married friend’s husband has a casual girlfriend they don’t live with, that’s not really your business, and you don’t have to invite her.
If you aren’t sure about the commitment level? That’s where the phone call comes in.
How do you show your polyamorous friends the love (and respect) they deserve? Is it okay to just ask your friends how they’d like to be addressed?
If you want the APW community’s two cents, send it to QUESTIONS AT APRACTICALWEDDING DOT COM, and we’ll do our best to crowd source you some answers!