How Do I Handle Being the Only Bridesmaid without a Plus One?


Girls just wanna have fun AND a plus one

pink confetti sign that reads Wedding Advice Two Cents

Q:Can I ask about bringing a plus one? This situation is this: I am a bridesmaid in an upcoming wedding, one of four (including the maid of honor). The other three bridesmaids are married, and all are bringing their husbands. When I got my invitation, my boyfriend was not listed, and I’m the only bridesmaid without a plus one. The bride at one point when we were together even referred to me as “the single one.”

I know that I am not married, but I have been with my boyfriend for four years and we are very serious about the longevity of our relationship. I feel uncomfortable that I am the only one who was not invited to bring a partner, just because we haven’t gotten married yet. Is there any way to ask if he can come, or should I just let it be?

Answer from the Editor:

Etiquette says your boyfriend should have gotten an invite since the two of you are long-term and in a serious relationship. Not only that, but particularly because you’re a bridesmaid.

I mean, if you’re good enough friends with the bride to be a bridesmaid, surely you can be like, “Hey, you know we’re serious right? Is there a reason you didn’t invite him? It makes me feel uncomfortable that I’m the only bridesmaid without a plus one.” But if it’s not that kind of relationship well then… have some drinks, dance a lot, and maybe don’t call the bride again in the morning.

TL;DR: If someone is in a long-term committed relationship, you need to invite their partner. But if your friend is dating someone they met on Tinder last week, you don’t have to invite them.

How do you decide who gets a plus one? Is it OKay to ask for a plus one when the invitations have already been sent?

If you want the APW community’s two cents, send it to QUESTIONS AT APRACTICALWEDDING DOT COM, and we’ll do our best to crowdsource you some answers!

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  • mjh

    I know this is something people have a wide range of opinions on, but I would hope the bridesmaid would get a plus one even if she weren’t in a relationship. I mean, the fact that she is in a serious relationship of four+ years would make me hope that her friend would invite her partner and I know etiquette supports him getting an invite, I just think it would be kind to provide the people who are important enough to you to be bridespeople or groomspeople with the option of a guest/companion at your wedding even aside from relationship status.

    I’ve heard the thinking of “they’ll be busy with bridesmaid/groomsman duty anyway and won’t have time to be with their date” and of “they know plenty of people there and don’t need to bring someone”, but I think each wedding party member could consider those concepts for themselves and figure out if they care to have someone of their own there while they’re supporting the bride or groom.

    • One of the things I regret with our wedding is not giving the single peeps in our wedding party +1’s… It didn’t even occur to us since we invited the “person” of any of our guests who were in any type of couple (I hope) and were really fighting to keep our guest list down, but I wish we’d had the thought to do that for all the reasons you list.

      • ssha

        Yeah, I never knew this was a thing to give wedding party +1s. Maybe it’s not a thing where I live? I didn’t do this for the single members of our wedding party, and reading this thread I’m also feeling pretty bad about one thing- one of my bridesmaids told me she was dating someone new around the time we sent out invitations. Should I have invited bridesmaid’s new gf? I am racking my brain to remember if bridesmaid had already bought plane tickets by that time, how our conversation went, if she thinks I was judging the seriousness of her new relationship?@paddlepickle2:disqus mentions below that budget was a real thing, and I think I was super worried about guest list creep at the time.

    • ManderGimlet

      I also wonder, like, have these people ever been to a wedding? And are you inviting people to be maids/grooms because you care about them and they are important to you and want them to celebrate your marriage or because you want to make them your servants? What could your maids POSSIBLY be doing the entire length of your wedding (more likely a whole weekend what with set-up and break down) that they would not want to or have time to spend even a few hours with their significant other? Also, most people want the support of their partners specifically during high stress times, like, oh I dunno, supporting your crazy-ass friend during their wedding. Give them that support system so that they can in turn be better help to the bride.

      • penguin

        Possible that they haven’t been to a wedding, but the advice still stands. The very first wedding that my fiancé will attend is ours! He never went to any family weddings or anything, even as a kid.

        • ManderGimlet

          That’s very true, especially if they are young or the first in their group to get married.

    • Eenie

      As the person who was a plus one to the best man at a wedding where I only knew the best man, I really wish he hadn’t been given a plus one. I didn’t even get to sit by him at dinner because they had a wedding party head table that excluded the plus one or SO. It was the worst wedding I’ve ever been to, and I would never agree to it again.

      • Katharine Parker

        This is why I hate a head table without significant others. Let me sit with my husband!

        • Eenie

          Yes. And if you don’t, all your bridal party is just going to immediately move to the SO’s table anyways.

        • Jan

          Yeesssss either have a head table that includes dates or don’t have a head table.

        • Lisa

          Exactly! I felt so bad for my husband and all of the other bridal party +1s who were relegated to a random table together instead of placing them with other people they might have actually known.

        • ssha

          this was the hill I was willing to die on during planning.

      • Amy March

        That’s also so rude! It’s like bad behavior bingo in here.

        • Eenie

          They sat me with the photographer and DJ too. So the table was half empty except when the food came.

          • sage

            WHAT??

          • Meredith

            That is so strange. If they wouldn’t let you sit by your date, surely there was a friend they could have set you up to sit with. That sounds like a truly terrible night.

      • penguin

        The seating thing is terrible – couples get to sit together!

        I also don’t think the solution here is to not give the wedding party plus ones – they should just decide if they want to bring someone or not, but they should get the option.

      • sofar

        AUGH the head table that splits up significant others!

        We did a family table (me, groom, our parents, our siblings and their dates). I had one person make a snide remark that, “Oh your sister-in-law’s boyfriend is at the head table, but not your MoH?” I responded, “MoH is breastfeeding and her baby and husband are at the wedding, so I’m sure she doesn’t mind!”

        • penguin

          Wow snide remarks to the bride on her wedding day? Rude.

          • sofar

            Technically, it was before the wedding day. Still.

            This was one of those moments that reinforced the value in not answering ANY questions about the wedding.

      • Lisa

        I so feel you. My husband was a groomsman in his best friend’s wedding, and the couple happened to have gone to my gigantic (3000+ student) high school. They had a wedding party only head table, and instead of seating me with the college friends I somewhat knew, they used me to fill in a table of random high school people. I made small talk with the mother and brother of a guy I’d costumed in one musical for nearly two hours. It was torturous.

        • Sara

          This sounds awful and makes me grateful seated/assigned receptions are not a thing where I am from. Yeesh.

          • Lisa

            I know a lot of people here don’t like open seating plan receptions, but part of the reason we had one was as a result of my awful experience at that wedding.

    • Pickle

      I think it’s nice if you can afford it, but we are having to cut people from the guest list who we love and would really like to be there– I can’t see making any more of those cuts so that wedding party members can bring someone we don’t know at all. The only non-specific plus-ones we’re including are for people who won’t know anyone or very few people at the wedding.

      Also, we have specific visions for who we would like certain wedding party members to hook up with at our wedding and plus ones would throw all that off (kiddingnotkiddingmostlykidding).

      • Jan

        That’s totally reasonable– budget constraints are REAL. Something to consider, though, are the last-minute cancellations you’ll get (we probably had about five) making room in the guest list for some bridal party dates.

      • ab0430

        For true plus ones (as in a truly single person without a bf/gf/partner) I would agree with you, with the exception of the wedding party. If you can’t afford to invite significant others or give the bp plus ones, you should be cutting the budget elsewhere or cut the guest list (without separating couples from their so’s or cutting bp +1’s). There is really no excuse for not giving a plus 1. That person has agreed to take a position of honor and stand next to you on your day, and has typically spent a lot of their time and $ to be there.

        • Pickle

          Eh, I just don’t agree. I’ve been a single bridesmaid and it never occurred to me that I’d get a plus one when I knew the couple had a limited guest list and tons of my friends were going to be at the wedding. Maybe we’re coming from different cultural backgrounds here because I’ve just never heard of this being a thing.

          • ssha

            I’ve had the same experience as you with this thing. I had no idea it was rude/ part of the wedding party agreement contract thing.

      • laddibugg

        Yeah, I’m not an ‘open’ plus one fan because we’re poor. But not inviting a long-term boyfriend of a BRIDESMAID, even if you don’t know him, is rude. ESPECIALLY if everyone else’s partner was invited. I’d find a way, even with limited funds

  • KitBee

    Normally I’m not in favor of people asking, “I know you didn’t invite this person, but can s/he come anyway?” But in this case, I definitely think you should ask the bride! You are (presumably) a close friend of hers, and etiquette dictates that your long-term boyfriend should have been invited. Maybe the bride simply made a mistake in leaving him off the invitation, and she’ll correct the error right away! On the other hand, you may end up getting an answer like “Oh, we are limiting the +1 invites to spouses only.” Which sucks, but at that point I think you have to bite your tongue and attend the wedding solo.

    • ManderGimlet

      Yeah, there’s no way to back out of being a bridesmaid, but at least knowing if the bride is actually a friend who had a momentary lapse in judgment or is actually a selfish butthole who doesn’t care about your relationship or feelings can at least help one navigate the engagement/wedding and then know definitively to write this person off the second the bouquet is tossed.

      • Amy March

        I mean, there is. “Wow are you kidding me? I can’t believe you’d treat me so rudely! I’m obvi not coming without him.” And then you never speak again.

        • ManderGimlet

          Ha! This is true! There is time to take the highroad and then there are times where you say “fuck it!” and ride your flaming four-wheeler of “I don’t give a shit” straight into the canyon lol

        • Jan

          Also totally reasonable to have that conversation even if you do attend the wedding solo. Brides don’t get off the hook for being dicks just because they’re brides. Call that stuff out!

  • NolaJael

    I’m kind of weirded out that the boyfriend didn’t get a personal invite, let alone a plus one. Maybe back before social media two people could date for years and your “old” friends or long distance family might not know much about them if they lived far away, but not nowadays. If you care about someone enough to have someone in your bridal party, surely you care enough about them to get to know their significant other of four years?! And invite them to said wedding?!

  • emilyg25

    So I consider +1’s to be a blank spot where you can invite anyone you want. We didn’t do +1’s, but we sure as hell invited everyone’s other halves. Your boyfriend should have been invited. By name. With you. And you should ask the bride about it.

    • sofar

      Yep, named significant others aren’t plus-ones and SHOULD be invited.

  • Katharine Parker

    Am I alone in wondering if this is a message? I would think most people recognize a FOUR YEAR RELATIONSHIP as something more than a plus one and something that makes the parties involved no longer single! Does the bride hate the boyfriend? I would wonder how the “Is there a reason you didn’t invite my boyfriend of four years?” conversation is going to go.

    • Jess

      Yeah, the second somebody refers to a person in a four year relationship as “the single one” I gotta wonder…

      • BSM

        Yeah, that was really strange.

      • penguin

        It sounds like she was referencing that the LW isn’t married, but it’s weird for someone to judge relationships like the IRS…

        • Amandalikeshummus

          Weddings do bring that out. My bf was a bit confused when I stated my adamant refusal to go catch flowers at a wedding because they only told “single” women to go up. No, honey, I’m the prime target of this custom.

          • Fushigidane

            I was super confused when my 2 bride friends and their families told me to go catch the bouquet after I was already engaged. I told them they already know I’m getting married next though.

          • Sara

            I have always refused to participate in this custom at weddings. Especially in the last few years, when me and my partner of half a decade have been co-habitating, owning a home and adopting animals together. Ain’t single despite other definitions.

          • librarygirl.totherescue

            I cannot stand the throwing of the flowers OR the garter so bad that at our wedding we didn’t do either. :-)

          • Anneke Oosterink

            Yup. Didn’t do either too, also because my bouquet was a bunch of flowers in my hair, but yeah. It feels so judgy too.

      • KRS887

        I’ve seen situations where a friend was single for many years (all though college etc) and once they were in a relationship various other friends have a hard time letting go of the role that person used to play in the group (ie: The Single One). I wonder if that is at play here? 4 years seems like an absurdly long time to still being saying shit like that.

        • Jess

          Ughhhh I’m so not here for that situation. Like, I get that some friend groups do that sort of thing, but being “The single one” seems so needlessly stigmatizing to me. I dunno, it just makes me sad to hear.

          • Sara

            Yeah, no. Like I would be sad if the “blonde friend” in the group dyed her hair brown? Would I refuse to see her as a brunette? I do not understand the attachment, the only reason to refuse to acknowledge someone as no longer single is an undying need to condescend and feel superior.

          • KRS887

            Completely agree. If someone is important enough to be in your wedding, including their partner should also be important.

      • kazeegeyser

        Well, technically you are considered “single” when you fill out demographic information. Seems rather semantic though.

    • Meredith

      That’s exactly where my thoughts went. I was like oh maybe the bride doesn’t realize she’s dating someone.. then I saw the 4 years part and thought, um is that shade?

      • Jan

        I found out that a guest was in a TWO YEAR relationship only after we sent out invites. Not a bridesmaid or otherwise “best” friend, but like, we go on an annual vacation together. Talk about keeping your stuff on the DL.

    • ManderGimlet

      Yeah, really makes me wonder what the bride’s thoughts are on the bf because it seems really mean to refer to someone in a 4 year relationship as “single”.

      • Amy March

        So. Mean.

      • Katharine Parker

        Super mean! I’m rereading the letter and getting angry for the LW. This is not a case of cutting out plus ones. This is the bride saying, at a minimum, “your relationship doesn’t matter to me.” Which is completely rude!

      • EllieS

        It makes me think of when my husband’s extended family referred to me as his “friend” until we were engaged. We dated for 4 years!

    • sofar

      I was thinking the same thing. If it were something like, “Well … we had to draw the line somewhere, so we are inviting married/engaged couples only,” the bride would have SAID that. (I still think that stance is a poor one, for the record.)

      My friend was invited without her boyfriend of 5 years because the bride and groom hated him. The bride gave some condescending explanation about how she “couldn’t support” my friend’s relationship and “wanted better” for her so she was making that clear by not inviting him.

      Yeah, he was a jerk, but not the kind that would ruin a wedding. My friend eventually broke up with him. But first she broke up with her so-called friend. I hope the bride’s attempt to send a message was worth losing a friend over.

      • Amandalikeshummus

        I think the best thing to do in these situations is provide opportunities for comparison anyway. If he’s a jerk and she sees other partners not being a jerk, it’s much more powerful.

      • ManderGimlet

        There is really no way to impart the message “I’m using my wedding as a super public and smug way to cast judgment on your romantic choices as well as alienate you from me and our other friends” without coming across pretty villainous! Also, like, I’m not religious or superstitious, but I feel that kind of behavior is asking for a jinx! Wedding day: “Your boyfriend is lame” 3 years later: “My husband is a bastard” lol!

      • Jan

        Some people get real dumb when they plan a wedding, though, and lose all sense of what basic manners dictate. It would just be such a weird and tense time for this to be the first time the bride raises her issue with the boyfriend.

    • Sara

      I love your suggestion of opening the conversation with “Is there a reason?” instead of “Can I bring him?” The latter gives her a simple yes/no way out of the conversation without an explanation – and I think this bridesmaid/friend is owed a mega explanation.

  • aaaanyway

    While I think no one here likes this practice, sometimes “no ring, no bring” is a thing… Perhaps the bride had to make some really hard decisions about her guest list/budget/capacity. Does this suck for the bridesmaid? Totally. Would I choose that option myself? No. Is it worth ending a friendship over? I mean, I don’t think so, but I guess it depends on how close the friendship is. Just saying, there might not be any underlying message here and if the bride applies this standard to all guests, well, at least she’s consistent. In the end, hopefully a conversation can clear things up.

    • sage

      Regardless of where the couple decides to draw that line for “all guests” in general (although, you’re right, I don’t think it’s OK to leave out SOs who aren’t married), all members of the wedding party are supposed to have their SO invited (or if they are single they get a plus one). Wedding party members don’t have the option to decline the invitation; they should always be given the option to not go alone.

      • aaaanyway

        Actually I don’t believe the etiquette states they’re “supposed” to get plus ones. Just that it’s a nice gesture to offer if you can. And they were free to decline when they were asked to be in the wedding party. Of course that assumes that they knew the plus one situation at that point which I’m sure most don’t but I’m just saying it’s not like they were locked in immediately.

        • Amy March

          And it’s not a plus one. Of course she assumed her boyfriend of 4 years would be invited because he absolutely should have been.

        • sage

          You are probably correct about the official etiquette. I’m just going off of what I kept reading when frantically googling “who gets a plus one” while putting together my own guest list as I was and still am a little worried about venue capacity. I just can’t imagine someone thinking “well I wish I could invite bridesmaid’s SO, but that’s the cut off for everyone, so too bad”.

          • aaaanyway

            Hah, I did the same thing. And to Amy below, I totally agree that the SO is not just “a plus one” so it is on a different level. It’s just so hard to balance, though there are definitely better ways to go about things.

        • ab0430

          No, proper etiquette is to invite all SO’s, because it is not anyone’s job to judge the seriousness of someone elses relationship. That being said, if she is the ONLY unmarried bridesmaid, this is adding a literal single person to the guest list and to not include him is straight up RUDE.

          • sage

            Exactly. It’s a choice between adding one person to the guest list and likely upsetting / excluding one of your best friends. I don’t see how this isn’t sending a message, especially after the comment about her being “the single one.”

    • Amy March

      I would consider ending the friendship. There is a message, whether the bride intended it or not.

      • penguin

        I’d at least ask the bride first if he’s invited, just in case it was just a mistake on her part. My fiancé spelled his own middle name wrong on some wedding documents, shit happens. But yeah if the bride purposely didn’t invite this bridesmaid’s long term boyfriend, totally agree – she’s a jerk.

        • Mer

          This girl spelled her name wrong on the SATs! Things happen. Sometimes people are stupid (*raises hand*)

      • laddibugg

        I wonder if the bride is a ‘couples only’ type of person. I’m not fond of those types of people.

    • Abs

      I think it’s pretty unacceptably rude if what we imagine is that the bride came to this all on her own, but that might not be what happened, which is why it’s worth LW talking to her. For example, maybe a parent is paying for the wedding and has really old-school views on etiquette. Equally, maybe the bride gets her etiquette information from horrible places. I mean, she could also just be a horrible person, but let’s not jump there.

      LW will know if this seems out of character or not–if it does seem out of character then definitely talk about it. People who don’t hang around this site all the time get their wedding info from all kinds of random sources, and a lot of people can be convinced by their one opinionated aunt that something is a thing, even if it’s not the way they are in normal life.

      • Amy March

        Right sure. I mean first call her and ask if Brad can come and explain you were hurt he was excluded and give her a chance to explain and profusely apologize. But if not?

        • Abs

          What if she says “my mom/the internet/my other friend/whoever says that etiquette says we only invite married people”? I say be very pissed, but unless this is a pattern of behavior, don’t end the friendship over it.

          • Amy March

            But does she also say “you’re right he can come”? If not, I’m not letting her off the hook. If you can’t balance mommy says so with being a decent friend, then yeah I’m reconsidering why I need you in my life. Maybe I decide to keep you around, but maybe not.

          • Abs

            I mean, I’ve had close friends not invite *me* to their 80+ person weddings, and I’m still friends with them, so I think I just give wedding-faux-pas an automatic pass in friendships.

          • Amy March

            I actually think that’s fundamentally different. It’s not in and of itself outrageously rude to not invite all your close friends to a wedding (although it might make me reconsider whether I consider you close). Not inviting a boyfriend of 4 years is a slap in the face.

          • Sara

            I have never been offended by not being invited to a friend’s wedding. Ever. But I would absolutely be offended if I was invited to a wedding without a +1 for my boyfriend of 5 years with whom I own a house and share a life. If the +1 is the deal breaker, it’s much better not to be invited at all. It is easier to understand budgetary constraints than it is to understand disregarding my relationship as “not as real” simply because we haven’t registered it with the government and paid a fee.

          • sofar

            I also feel like, if it were the case that Mom was being a pill and saying, “I am paying, so I determine the guest list and no unmarried couples are allowed!” then the bride would have already told the bridesmaid that (possibly in tears). The fact that bride hasn’t said anything like that AND that she’s calling her “the single one” suggests to me that MoB is not calling the shots.

          • Katharine Parker

            Etiquette is not a means by which we can excuse rudeness. It’s a set of rules that everyone can recognize so that we, within a particular milieu, can comfortably coexist socially–this is the fork we all agree to use, this is the accepted dress for a lawn party, this is how to let someone know you’ve received a gift and offer gratitude, etc. If etiquette is telling you to do something rude, you shouldn’t follow it. Friends matter more than the “correct” way to do invitations.

          • Violet

            This reminds me of the difference between Scarlett O’Hara and her mother, Ellen. I know it sounds off the wall, but hear me out. Scarlett admired her mother for being the consummate “lady.” Scarlett immaturely thought being a lady meant things like throwing parties and having fine things. It took a long time for her to realize that what made her mother a true lady wasn’t knowing what fork to use, but how she made people feel. Welcome, comfortable, and valued. Using etiquette to be rude or exclude people is the immature conceptualization of it. Understanding that etiquette is a tool that should be used primarily to be gracious to others is, I think, what one should aspire to.

          • Sara

            I mean, I don’t give a crap WHO is paying for the wedding, I would raise hell over being told my best friend couldn’t bring her partner of 4 years to my wedding “because etiquette lol.” Eff that. Not an excuse.

    • mjh

      I could see the bride/groom/whatever having a moment of being thoughtless and using that mentality, but I don’t see an option for invalidating the multiyear partnership of a loved one being justified.

      The bride/groom/whoever doesn’t have to be a bad person or friend in general (everyone makes mistakes) but IMO this is a straight up shitty friend action.

    • Jan

      This is the true, it’s just SUCH a shitty rule. I mean, yes, it’s helpful to place parameters around how you make invitation decisions, but you should also be capable of using good judgment and flexing those parameters based on the actual lives and relationships of your guests. Especially your closest family and friends!

    • laddibugg

      Referring to someone who has been in a FOUR YEAR relationship as single is inexcusable and rude.

      And the members of your wedding party aren’t in the same category as your other guests.

  • Katelyn

    I wonder if there’s a subtext and the bride/groom/whomever aren’t fans of the LW’s boyfriend…. I’ve certainly seen plenty of advice columns about whether to invite a rude/racist/abusive partner – and the advice lands on both sides.

    Not saying I am assuming any of those things are true! Just wondering if there’s some kind of beef going on here and this is a passive aggressive way to communicate that.

  • Amy March

    WHAT. This is outrageous. She referred to you as SINGLE and you’ve been with your boyfriend for FOUR YEARS?!?

    Yes. Say something. “Hey, I’m obviously allowed to bring Brad right?” And if the answer is no reconsider why you are friends.

    • penguin

      I was really hoping this was going to be an Ask Amy column, I was ready for the outrage.

    • Amandalikeshummus

      Yeah, I found that part really patronizing. I’m totally projecting, since I’m in the same relationship status as LW. But it definitely raised my hackles. If you’re gonna exclude, at least pretend to give a better reason than, “Your relationship doesn’t count.”

      • Rachel

        Yeah I projected pretty hard and am still honestly really pissed off on LW’s behalf right now. Haha!

  • KRS887

    I’ve been in this situation before, and I did follow up with a friends mom “to clarify” and she told me “of course my partner was invited”. Friendship dynamic etc can complicate all of these things (because after 4 years you’d think it would be a no brainer) but I was glad we clarified it and I was glad my partner was there. IMO if someone is putting the money and time into being in the wedding, they should be allowed a plus 1.

  • Elizabeth

    I know we’re all jumping on the bride but let me caveat with a person anecdote (not saying this is what’s happening here, just saying how something like this might happen)

    I have a friend I’m close to who has been dating a guy for a really long time, and I’ve never met him. They are long distance part of the year (I think), she rarely talks about him, and every event or party FH and I have had, we’ve invited both of them, and he’s never come. I haven’t asked why or what’s going on (anxiety issues? mental illness? agoraphobia?) I’ve just let it be and let her do or say what she’s comfortable sharing.

    Yes, the bride probably should have extended a plus one, but it’s not totally impossible to be close to someone and have zero connection to their significant otter. Maybe they just don’t want a virtual stranger at their rehearsal dinner and wedding? Maybe the wedding is super small? The single comment is a little irksome, but I think there’s a part we’re missing here maybe.

    ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    • Amy March

      So what? You know he exists, so he gets invited. They aren’t entitled to exclude a significant other because they don’t know him.

    • penguin

      Yeah even if the situation was the same – the boyfriend gets invited with the bridesmaid. He might decide not to come, but he should at least get invited. Even if the bride has never met this dude, he’s important to the bridesmaid, and the bridesmaid is important to the bride.

      • Elizabeth

        oh right! I’m not disputing that the bridesmaid gets a plus 1 or that he gets invited, but I get how someone can be close to a person and not really know their significant other

        • penguin

          Totally agree on this! I still haven’t met the boyfriend of my best friend even though he seems like a great guy, just because of distance and a series of coincidences. He’s still invited to my wedding though :)

    • ManderGimlet

      I definitely agree if it were a person my friend recently started seeing or if it was an on-off thing and she had seen other people within recent memory etc that I would definitely pause before inviting the guy (if I was being really tight with +1s and only inviting “established” sig others). But even in this case, your friend has called it a relationship and considers him her partner or whatever, would you tell her to her face you considered her “single”? Or would you still invite him knowing there is a high likelihood that he won’t come?

      • Elizabeth

        Oh I’d never call her single and I’d totally invite him, I was just trying to use it as an example of why the bride might have thought (incorrectly) that she didn’t have to do a +1 for her.

        And who knows, maybe it IS an on off thing and the total time the on/off has been happening is four years. I have a friend who’s been seeing the same guy and dramatically breaking up with him a few times a year for three years.

        But yes, he should have gotten an invite.

        • ManderGimlet

          Okay but you have to invite the dramatic breakup couple in case your reception entertainment cancels, right? ;)

    • I think this is a good perspective to keep in mind in that there are a lot of individual things that can sound weirder from the outside than they are in practice. But also, your “every event or party FH and I have had, we’ve invited both of them” kinda says it all IMO? Like, even if someone is AWOL and you have no personal connection, you invite them anyway.

      • Amy March

        Like, minimum you call and ask if they would like him to be invited before sending invites out.

      • Jan

        Also, why not invite him since it’s like an 80% chance he won’t come anyway?

    • BSM

      Unless you are eloping or only including a couple witnesses or having an extremely small (like 10 people) wedding, there are “virtual strangers” to the bride and groom at every wedding. This is not a convincing reason to exclude significant others, particularly those of your bridal party.

      • penguin

        Case in point, my MIL’s knitting group…

        • BSM

          Or even my husband’s uncle who lives out of the country, his other extended family who I still can’t figure out how they’re related, my good friend who goes to grad school on the east coast whose long-term BF I hadn’t met, etc.

          All people who came to my wedding who were virtual strangers.

      • sofar

        And this is why I can never get behind the, “Well I’ve never MET him/her and I don’t want strangers at my wedding” excuse.

        I think the love I got from virtual strangers who had meaningful connections with my loved ones was my favorite part of my wedding.

        • BSM

          100%. I (clearly) hate that excuse.

          And I actually loved meeting those people at my wedding! Everyone was so celebratory, and I felt special that they were thrilled to take time out of their lives to celebrate my wedding (as a virtual stranger to them).

        • Jan

          I hate the “virtual strangers” thing. Like, you’re not Jennifer Aniston trying to pull off a leak-free wedding. Let your aunt’s boyfriend come to your wedding.

        • Rachel

          Yah, so this is kind of a downer analogy but our dog recently died in a really horrific way (and we have no kids and are crazy dog people, I literally used to joke that she was my daughter) and the sympathy and kindness of “virtual strangers” (like, my coworker’s former coworker who I have never met heard about it and sent me the sweetest card) has been A. MA. ZING and so meaningful. Having been through this experience I think I will be pleased as punch if we have virtual strangers celebrating us at our wedding :) I feel like it’s just a neat twist of human nature how well we can empathize and feel excited and joyous or sad or whatever for near-strangers.

          • sofar

            I’m so sorry about your doggy. I’d be destroyed (I’m also a crazy dog person).

            I think a lot of people assume they wouldn’t want strangers around during times when you’re “supposed” to just want close loved ones, but, as you found out, strangers reaching out makes you feel super connected to humanity.

    • JillPole

      OT: I wish I had a significant otter! What an adorable mental image! I have to ask- intentional or typo??

      • Elizabeth

        Totes intentional. I always say significant otter ^_^

  • Lily

    I realize that everyone has the same opinion on this, but outside of confronting friend and/or ending the friendship, maybe this is an even bigger conversation as to why your boyfriend was excluded. I was a bridesmaid in a wedding 3 weeks ago where the MOH was not given a plus one, despite having a boyfriend that she lived with. The bride really disliked the boyfriend and didn’t have the guts to tell her best friend that she thought he was terrible for her. When the MOH confronted her about it, they ended up having a serious discussion where the MOH realized that there was a lot that her friend had genuine concerns about but the bride admitted she should have just said something rather than just omitting him from the invitation. While this might not be your case at all, its possible that your friend is using this invitation to convey her feelings about your relationship, which isn’t right. She could also just be an asshole who did the “no ring no bring” thing.

  • Amandalikeshummus

    There’s always the worst option: spite engagement or even spite elopement! Maybe you show up with that ring and no partner and the bride has some serious egg on her face.

    Sure, this is a terrible idea, but it’s fun to think about. Mostly, though, a person in a four year relationship is more likely by the day to become engaged or married, especially from the view of someone not in the couple. It’s a huge risk not to invite the partner, even if you require a certain status for entry.

    • Cdn icecube

      Plus what happens if they get engaged before the wedding? not only are they STEALING THEIR THUNDER but they are also technically allowed to be invited.
      Sorry for the caps but I wasn’t sure how to emphasize how insane it is without them.

      • Amandalikeshummus

        Right, and there would be so much more thunder if she spends the whole time describing the guy than if he was there for people to observe, congratulate, and move on.

    • sage

      Ha! I actually contacted a friend last year to confirm that I could bring my long-term boyfriend to her wedding “since we are planning to be engaged by the time the wedding rolls around”. Of course she said yes! I had been a little worried he wasn’t invited b/c I knew they were keeping the wedding small (30 guests) and there were no save the dates (just a text convo).

    • Jan

      Yeesssss! Pettysaurus! Rawr!

    • H

      Ultimate petty move – bring boyfriend, do proposal AT WEDDING
      *mic drop*

  • Sarah Allan

    Have someone tried https://sociallux.com ?

  • Lisa

    We had a large wedding and invited everyone’s partners (and learned their names for the invitations & seating chart), and while we didn’t extend anonymous +1s to our guests, we definitely extended them to all of our siblings and everyone in our wedding party (even if they had been single for years). If someone is in your wedding party, they should get to decide if they’re bringing a date. Period.

    • Pickle

      This doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. Our siblings and wedding parties are going to know more people at the wedding than most of our guests will. FH’s single sister will have about a dozen cousins she’s close with, and our single bride-and-groomspeople are part of our larger friend group and will be surrounded by friends. We’re extending plus-ones to friends who might not know anyone else at the wedding, instead.

      • sage

        From what I have read it is generally recommended that, if you can’t give every single guest a plus one, you extend them first to wedding party and immediate family members, as these people are wedding VIPs and generally expected to be there.

        Also, if you have a large guest list and can’t invite plus ones for all the single guests, the list of single wedding VIPs is usually way smaller and easier to accommodate. Plus it gives a clear delineation so you don’t have to field questions about why so-and-so got one but I didn’t

        • Pickle

          Fair enough. I’ve been a single bridesmaid and it never occurred to me that I’d get a plus one, so it doesn’t resonate with me. I think our folks will be fine with the explanation that we’re reserving them for serious partners and people who don’t know anyone at the wedding.

          • sage

            That makes sense. As usual, it’s probably a know your people thing.

          • Rachel

            Have not even started planning our wedding yet or discussing issues like this, but that’s always made sense to me too (the “if plus ones are limited then they are just for serious partners and people who don’t know anyone at the wedding” logic)

    • sage

      Same here. Plus ones for my wedding party are especially important b/c one of my bridesmaids is single, not local, and is not close to anyone who will be at the wedding besides me and fiance.

    • ManderGimlet

      I feel that way too. Weddings are very emotional events already, and then you throw in a bunch of family and friends who don’t know each other (not to mention political/social differences), having “your” person there can be a huge comfort. There are so many different dynamics, it’s a good feeling to have at least one “safe” person you can express yourself to in private if you are going through a lot of feels and they will have your back/not spread what you said around purposefully or accidentally.

  • Jan

    Just ask your friend if you can bring your boyfriend. Don’t ask why he wasn’t included on the invite, or give a reason why you want him there (“I’m uncomfortable!”). Just say, “I’m assuming Steven is allowed to come with me; is that right?” And if not, re.e.val.u.ate.that.friend.ship.

    It is SHITTY of her to not include him by name but it could be due to some bizarre cut-off she created to manage her guest list (e.g., “no unmarried couples”– if that’s the case it’s super lame but it is what it is). In that case, however, she should be willing to make an exception for her bridesmaid!

    Different situation, but we did not give plus ones (in the true sense of the word) to anyone, but if my best friend had been like, “I’d really like to have a date, even if it’s just my roommate so I’m not solo all night,” I would have, of course, accommodated her.

    • Jan

      Or, oh! Did she address her own invites? Is it possible this is a straight up mistake? Or that someone else involved decided to nix him for some weird reason? That’s totally something my mom would do.

      • Amandalikeshummus

        Your mom would especially be likely to if you referred to someone as the “single” one… I do wonder about the age of the bride and if she hasn’t encountered people who are together for years before getting married.

        • Jan

          For sure. What a crappy thing to do.

      • Sarah

        I got an invite from a friend (not super close) and my live-in BF at the time wasn’t invited. When we were talking later on I mentioned the wedding and she said “why isn’t Jeff coming?” turns out her sister did invites (this friend didn’t even want a wedding, but family pressure) and she was like “of course jeff was invited! Sorry!” I assumed he didn’t make the list for $$ reasons and was actually not that upset cause was planning to rent a house with some other friends. But he came and was glad he did.

        • Sara

          This happened to me too as the left out +1, but we didn’t ask and I didn’t end up going to the wedding that I was not invited to (despite living with my boyfriend). I’m still salty about it but I can’t say anything since we never brought it up.

    • Eh

      We also did not give plus ones to anyone. We did the work to find out if people were in relationships and what their partners names were. We told my MIL this and I repeatedly asked her to fill in any names of partners on the spreadsheet for her guests (even highlighted the rows). She did not include her best friend’s husband or a relatives partner. Her best friend wrote in her husband’s name on the RSVP, and the relative contacted me.

      We contacted our single friends to see if they were dating anyone they wanted to invite. We were also willing to accommodate different situations (e.g., if someone was traveling across the country and didn’t want to travel alone, or if someone feels more comfortable if they are at large events with a friend). Our “no plus one” rule was mostly so our teenage cousins didn’t bring friends to a party where there was open bottles of wine sitting on the table.

      • Colleen

        My partner’s aunt brought her uninvited teenage daughter (who we had never met and could have stayed home with her dad) and the daughter brought some rando friend (not a date or anything). At least we had space? But wtf?

  • Sarah

    I agree this is cruddy. I was also the only single bridesmaid (maid of honor with her sister as matron of honor) and if I pushed I could have brought “someone” but knowing my friend and her husband were paying for it without parent $ support didn’t want to bring some rando so I had “company.” My thought is you’ll know so many people there even without your BF you will still have fun. But the issue of being “single” with a long-term boyfriend is very condescending of your friend.

  • Irena Belaqua

    Um, the ending to this answer was really rude. Surely you’re aware, Editor, that half of marriages now result from an online meeting? I think it’s super judgemental of you to trash meeting someone on Tindr. I met my serious boyfriend of several years online, and I know a few now-married people IRL who met that way. It’s not okay to dismiss the seriousness of their relaionship based on the manner of their meeting. I really expected a more enlighted POV on this site. 

    And before you answer “oh, the dismissive condescension was actually about the ‘week’ part – no actually I don’t think that was the focus of your disdain, otherwise you would have simply said “someone they met last week” without that condescending Tindr dig… and also I’m pretty sure you were hyperbolizing and “week” is not necessarily meant literally. So then I can conclude that you are dismissing relationships that a) started with meeting online and b) haven’t lasted long enough to meet your arbitrary standard of legitimacy. 

    So not impressed. :(

    • rg223

      I actually think the “week” was literal and “Tindr” was hyperbole (or the joke, whatever you want to call it). But you make a good point – the Tindr dig was probably not necessary.

      • Irena Belaqua

        It’s not a hyperbole though (it’s how many relationships actually start…), or deserving to be the butt of a joke? It really just struck me as unnecessarily stigmatizing.

        • laddibugg

          I think Tindr was mentioned specifically, since it started out as a hook up site.

          • Amandalikeshummus

            It’s also just the way people meet now, and since decent writing technique involves specificity, it was used as the example. “Met at a bar last week” wouldn’t as ring true for most people in this era. They could have said, “Met at a farmer’s market last week,” but that would have been a choice to be too specific because it’s less common. So they went with Tinder because it’s a very common experience. “Met last week” would have been fine, but it lacks connection to people’s lives and is a less interesting sentence.

    • Well, you beat me to the punch, but the point of the line was met last week! Half of our staff met their partners online, so there is no shame about that in this office in the slightest.

      The general etiquette rule is simply that a relationship needs to be long term for you to need to invite the other party (the old rule used to be married or living together, but that frankly seems kind of limiting). So it’s up to the people involved what that timeline is, but yes, we literally meant last week. That would NOT pass the required for an invite test, unless, I suppose, you got married in that time period. (And we’ve had staff that have done more or less that as well, and gone on to have long happy marriages).

      I’m sorry this made you feel sensitive about online meetings (or short relationships), we’re all in for both of those, and our team is living proof.

      • Irena Belaqua

        “I’m sorry if this made you feel sensitive” – not sure what to do with this. You do see how what you wrote is stigmatizing and mocking? Probably if you’re “all for it,” the way you address situations like this in letters should reflect that POV.

  • Sara

    This is super rude and terrible of your bride. Honestly this is something that would make me re-think how good of friends I am with this person, because it’s a slap in the face. And I’m so sorry you have to deal with this. It would be difficult for me to be a good and genuine bridesmaid to someone during this exciting time in their lives when they have so blatantly disregarded my own happiness. Nope.

  • Rachel

    Oh my gosh I would be irritated as fuck. You’ve been together four years!!! You are NOT SINGLE!!! (as someone who is celebrating a seven-year “relationship anniversary” this month but just got engaged two months ago, I’ve even felt weird checking “single” on forms that ask for your legal marital status even though that’s obviously actually my legal status). This is not okay!!! I mean, I guess if you don’t feel like you can bring it up then don’t, but as one of only four bridesmaids I would think you guys are pretty close. Man, I would be super hurt if someone did this to me (but then again I was ready to be married long before my fiance was so it was kind of a super sore point for me personally… you may be way more well-adjusted and less easily offended than I am :))

    • In Quebec, there is a legal status of “live in partner” — conjoint(e) — and it’s actually pretty great because it’s not related to marriage at all and it conveys that you are in a serious relationship.(And most people here do not get married either.) After you live with someone for 12 months, you become “conjoints de fait.” (The legal protection in case of separation is not the same as it would be for a divorce though.) But on a day to day basis, most people say chum/blonde (boyfriend/girlfriend), or conjoint(e), if it’s for something more official.

      • regular old me

        Oh wow! how interesting! I like that option a lot.

        • Ilora

          Yep, it’s Canada wide, the English term is Common-Law (meaning common law marriage). Even if you haven’t lived together for 12 months yet but cohabit and have a child together you still become common-law.

      • Amy March

        Blonde is québécois slang for girlfriend? That is so interesting!

  • laddibugg

    I’d bet real money the bride has been with her husband less than four years.

    (please don’t flame me. I’ve been with my dude for 10 unmarried years. Just staying if that’s true, it’s something the couple should have thought about when they didn’t include a plus one)

    • Amandalikeshummus

      I agree. It’s some kind of shade they are throwing for not “making it official” like “good people” do.