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 @ Your Smart Money Moves


My friends and family all think I’m a workaholic, but I say I’m just a guy that loves to help people do better in life.

My mother is still the only one that calls me by my real name Theodore Michael, my wife calls me Teddy, but for the rest of you it is just plain old Ted.

Ever since I was a little kid, I always loved money and being an entrepreneur. In fact, I still have cassette tapes of me talking to my grandmother at the age of five and my mother tells me all the time how much I played with money as a kid…

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Ted Jenkin is a frequent guest columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Headline News Weekend Express. He is the co-CEO of oXYGen Financial. You can follow him on LinkedIn @ or on Twitter @tedjenkin.

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  • 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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