Can You Invite Just “One Person” To A Wedding?

Since more and more couples have to pay for their own weddings, it has become paramount to think about your guest list.   Traditional weddings could have easily been with 200 to 300 guests, but today’s weddings can be small and intimate or even at a far away destination in an exotic location.    I’ve noticed as of late hearing friends and co-workers talk about getting a wedding invitation without a ‘Guest’ or a ‘plus-one’ attached to the invitation.  This almost guarantees that you will be sitting at a card table like Thanksgiving with all of the other ‘plus-zero’ guests at the wedding.  So, is it appropriate to send out a wedding invitation to just one individual without letting them bring a date or guest?

I’ve given this a lot of thought and the customary traditional rules would say that you should give the option of allowing someone to bring a guest especially if they are over a certain age.   However, with the rising costs of weddings, today’s rules need to be more flexible to allow the bride and groom some discretion on where to cut the list and make decisions based upon their knowledge on who should be invited as a single person.

When someone invites you as a single, what should you do?  Well, you could call the bride and groom and get into some type of Mike Tyson tirade about how you have someone special in your life that you would like to bring to the wedding for everyone to see.   But really where is cutoff on how long you should be dating someone before they become a plus one on your invitation?  The answer is that it really doesn’t matter.  When you are shelling out $100 to $150 a head, a bride and groom need to stick to their budget and do their very best to think about who is a couple and who should be invited with a ‘plus-zero’.

I think when it comes to planning your wedding, you really need to know the guest list and do what is best.  Of course it is your day, so you don’t want some stinkpot who is going to mope all day because they don’t have a date that evening.  So invite the ‘plus-zeros’ based upon who you think will be fun at the wedding and can have a good time with others.  Unless the couple is dating seriously or living together, you shouldn’t feel obligated to spend the additional money, only sinking yourself more into debt before you even get your life together rolling along.    Make sure to create enough activity on that special day so everyone is going to have fun and I say you can invite just one person to a wedding!

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Written by:

Ted Jenkin, CFP®, AAMS®, AWMA®, CRPC®, CMFC®, CRPS®

Co-CEO and Founder of oXYGen Financial, Inc – The Leaders in Gen X & Y Financial Advice and Services

Ted Jenkin  is one of the foremost knowledgeable professionals in giving financial advice to the X and Y Generation.

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About the author  ⁄ Ted Jenkin @ Your Smart Money Moves

Ted Jenkin has spent the past 23 years giving personal financial advice to thousands of people across the United States. After graduating from Boston College in 1991, Ted spent more than 16 years working for American Express Financial Advisors/Ameriprise Financial. He was one of the youngest people in the history of the company to reach both Field Vice President and Group Vice President level. He managed more than 800 financial advisors throughout 8 states in his last position with the company. In 2008, Ted founded oXYGen Financial to help revolutionize the financial services industry by creating a new company that focused on serving the X and Y Generation. oXYGen Financial now has more than 2,200 clients throughout 25 states across the country many coming from social media techniques. Ted has been featured in over 30 magazines and newspapers including the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and The Huffington Post. He was on the cover of Registered Rep magazine and featured in the ‘what will financial planning look like in 2023’ article done by Financial Planning Magazine. He has six advanced designations from the College for Financial Planning (CFP®, CRPC®, CRPS®, AWMA®, AAMS®, CMFC®) and is an on air radio personality.


  • October 24, 2012

    I thought the typical rule was “No Ring, No Bring!”

  • October 26, 2012

    I once attended a wedding with strict sitting arrangement. It was effective but the parents of the groom ended up entertaining their unlisted guests outside the reception.

  • Ted
    October 29, 2012

    Daniel– that is hilarious:) I like it– no ring, no bring!!

  • November 2, 2012

    i wouldn/t spend the money to invite my third, fourth, fifth cousins that I don’t even speak to. i understand that they are also family, but I don’t even know them well. I think a wedding is a special day to share with the people you are CLOSE to.

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