How to deal with an "and guest" invitation?
February 21, 2009 4:49 PM   Subscribe

I received an invitation to a wedding for me "and guest". I'm not seeing anyone. What should I do?

Is there a possibility that one of my friends would be interested in going? Obviously I will have to ask them, but I want to ask this more generally. I think I would probably be uninterested in going to the wedding of people I don't know, but others might be more excited by the possibility of a fancy dinner and an open bar. Anyway, if there is no chance that any of my friends would want to go and would only do so out of pity, then I would like to know and not ask at all.

If I bring a female friend, will people assume I am taken? If I bring a male friend will people assume I am gay? Will this get in the way of flirting with the small number of other single people there? Or will they all have brought a date and I will feel pathetic being the only single person there?

I understand that many of these things are unknowable. That's okay, I just want answers based on your previous experiences going to weddings.

I mentioned to my friend in an e-mail that I thought it was generous of her to invite a guest too but she didn't reply to that part. Maybe it would be better just to skip it and save the family some money? I might also be more available to help with any last-minute errands. (She has two bridesmaids, and I am probably next on the list to be asked.)

Please help me deal with this in the least awkward way possible.
posted by rwatson to Human Relations (35 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Anyone you bring will be assumed to be a date. On the other hand, it's perfectly fine to not bring anyone.
posted by Electrius at 4:52 PM on February 21, 2009


I've gone to a few weddings by myself; it's no big deal. No one's really going to care if you're there alone or not.
posted by LionIndex at 4:54 PM on February 21, 2009


I got a wedding invite "with guest" and invited my roommate (we didn't wind up going, due to family stuff happening that weekend). She was totally psyched about being my date -- mostly because it meant that she would get to hang out with a bunch of my old friends, and because it was a neat thing that we could do together.

I would say if there someone like that -- a good friend who would be a really good addition tot he mix, who's psyched, and who would have an awesome time - go for it! But I wouldn't take someone just "to keep you company." But then, I also wouldn't bring my partner unless I was really excited to have them there, and I thought they'd get along with the crowd.
posted by puckish at 4:56 PM on February 21, 2009


I've known people to invite friends they're not romantically interested in along as their guest to a wedding. Obviously it depends on the friend whether they'd be interested, and I don't think I'd ask a friend unless they were close enough that I already knew whether they might be interested in that kind of thing. (Plus, going to a wedding with someone is often a way of implying you'd like to have a more romantic relationship with them, so you'd want to know your guest well enough that you know you're not sending an unintended message.) If you're not seeing anyone in particular, bringing a good friend along so you can both drink and flirt seems like perfectly normal behavior to me.

That said, I know some people see this differently and would think it weird to bring anyone who wasn't a date.

I wouldn't worry too much about whether other guests will assume you're attached or whatever— your body language at the event will presumably make it reasonably clear.
posted by hattifattener at 4:56 PM on February 21, 2009


This is not actually so awkward. You don't need to bring anyone, and if there's no one in particular you'd like to bring, you should indeed save the family some money and go solo. You won't be the only one. In fact, I'd say you shouldn't bring person X along unless you are either dating person X, or aspire to.

If I bring a female friend, will people assume I am taken? If I bring a male friend will people assume I am gay?

Yes and yes, in my opinion.
posted by escabeche at 4:58 PM on February 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I have gone single to other people's weddings many times before and it's fine. It's great actually. It's easy to talk to who you want to talk to, flirt with who you want to flirt with, and leave exactly when you feel like leaving. Unless you think this is going to be an extraordinarily couple-y event, I'd consider going by yourself and/or carpooling with other friends who may be going.
posted by jessamyn at 5:10 PM on February 21, 2009


Keep in mind that each "fancy dinner and an open bar" probably comes with a very specific price tag for the givers of the party. Also, weddings provide an unusual venue where people meet new people that they did not know before (outside of work, outside of the usual friend occasions), that they might like to know better. Bring a friend only if you think you'd be miserable without.
posted by Morrigan at 5:10 PM on February 21, 2009


"And guest" certainly doesn't imply "if and only if guest comes too." Don't worry about flying solo.
posted by stevis23 at 5:16 PM on February 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's perfectly fine to attend a wedding unaccompanied if you'd like. Or bring a friend. I'm in a wedding party next month and one bridesmaid is bringing a male friend and I am most likely attending alone, even though I have a boyfriend (who is not one for big ceremony).

If I bring a female friend, will people assume I am taken? If I bring a male friend will people assume I am gay?

Not necessarily. It sort of depends how you act with your friend and how fast certain people jump to conclusions. But if it would make you happier or more comfortable to have a friend with you, screw what people think. You can still flirt, and if people get the wrong idea from your friend's presence, correct them.
posted by cmgonzalez at 5:28 PM on February 21, 2009


Solo is fine, "and guest" is just their way of saying it's ok to bring SO/date/whatever if you have one. Have fun!
posted by Medieval Maven at 5:32 PM on February 21, 2009


Usually "and guest" is default, so it's not expected one way or the other whether you'll bring a guest until you RSVP.
posted by fructose at 5:36 PM on February 21, 2009


Response by poster: Thanks for the informative answers so far. I'm leaning towards going solo. Although I am still curious as to the answer to this question: are there many people who would enjoy going to the wedding of someone they don't know?
posted by rwatson at 5:53 PM on February 21, 2009


Weddings are expensive, so if you don't have someone that really wants to go with you, go alone and save your friends a few bucks. You'll probably end up having more fun that way anyway.
posted by spilon at 5:54 PM on February 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


I am a guy, and am greatly looking forward to accompanying a female friend platonically to her cousin's wedding this summer, in case simple anecdotal evidence helps.

A close friend was also brought by another friend to a wedding and they both had an amazing time. His friend talked him up as her "excellent, single friend" beforehand, which I think helped him get to know the other singles at the wedding.
posted by ansommer at 5:59 PM on February 21, 2009


Other people *will* be attending as singles. Your friend probably wasn't sure if you were dating someone, and wanted to give you the option. I plan on doing that at my wedding, as I think it would be extremely rude to *not* let a person bring someone that they were seeing seriously.

At a recent wedding, I was sat with a table of singles as my partner was a groomsman. Our table had a blast talking about everyone's history with the couple. Just go and have fun!
posted by cathoo at 6:02 PM on February 21, 2009


I recently went to a wedding alone, where I only knew 2 people there, and even then I barely knew them. I had a blast! After a couple of slightly awkward drinks at the beginning, everyone starts being super friendly and fun, it's a good way to meet people, and it was a great boost to my confidence knowing that I can go somewhere alone, meet people, and have them think I am awesome and want to keep in touch with me afterwards (both guys and girls, not date-type people).

I'm going to another wedding soon and considering bringing a mutual friend to the wedding (it's a small wedding so a lot of people did not get invited), but only because that friend would know a lot of people there and would have a blast. Otherwise I wouldn't bring anyone - no point in having someone there and spending half the night introducing them to everyone, only to have to explain the week later that you are not dating them.

If you choose to go alone and won't know a lot of people there, call whoever invited you and ask them to just introduce you to a few friends right at the start of the reception, or ask them to sit you next to people you do know.

On the other hand, if there's a girl you're interested in who is fun who you wouldn't mind having a fun-fancy-drunken time with, and you're close enough to ask her to go, then ask her! It's not a big deal to say "I need a date, how do you feel about dressing up all fancy and going to a wedding with me?"
posted by KateHasQuestions at 6:12 PM on February 21, 2009


Bring a friend?
posted by The Whelk at 6:26 PM on February 21, 2009


I'd assume the option's provided also to permit you to bring someone along if you won't know many other people there. This is all just done in politeness -- maybe you've got a partner, maybe you'll feel out of place on your own, maybe this, maybe that -- for the goal in the end is just to allow you to be there in whatever way makes you comfortable so that you will go and celebrate the event with them. Keep that in mind: don't feel guilty about bringing someone if you want to and don't take advantage of the offer if you don't. It's up to your discretion.
posted by springbound at 6:29 PM on February 21, 2009


are there many people who would enjoy going to the wedding of someone they don't know?

I can only speak for myself but I've been to quite a few weddings where the only person I knew was the date that asked me to go. I've had fun at all of them.
posted by sexymofo at 6:34 PM on February 21, 2009 [1 favorite]


are there many people who would enjoy going to the wedding of someone they don't know?

I absolutely love going to weddings of people I don't know - being someone's date is fantastic because you get to participate in a huge life-changing event and watch two separate networks of people size each other up.... Plus there's booze, and often there's dancing and you get to dress up! Weddings are awesome. I'd say -
1. if you know that friends of yours (coupled or not) will be there - go solo, have fun, maybe you'll meet somebody.
2. if you aren't going to know anyone besides the couple (who will probably not have time to interact with you), take advantage of the plus one and offer the spot to a female friend. If you meet someone you like at the wedding, it's easy enough to let her know that your date isn't really a date (but don't you dare ditch the girl you brought).
3. If you do bring someone, then significantly up (or even double) your planned gift amount.
posted by moxiedoll at 7:02 PM on February 21, 2009


are there many people who would enjoy going to the wedding of someone they don't know?

It doesn't really matter if they knwo the person getting marries. And vica-versa. I mean, really, it's the reception and foo + drink + dancing is the reason for bringing a date.

And yea, I've gone to weddings as a best man and flown solo. No problem. I've brought a date whom the person getting married didn't even know existed. No problem. Just do what would be fun.
posted by jmd82 at 8:21 PM on February 21, 2009


I would probably go to a stranger's wedding if I had a friend who wanted the moral support. If it was another female, I can't imagine that people would particularly assume I was her date. They'd probably assume I was another friend of the same degree as her (e.g., I went to a friend's wedding last year with another friends. We both knew the bride from high school and hung out as a unit, but we didn't have to make the point that we weren't a couple).

I have one qualm with the phrasing of your question, though. I don't think a "plus guest" means that you have a free booze ticket to give away. Inviting you to bring a guest is supposed to make you feel comfortable by bringing someone you want with you (spouse, SO, friend if you hate going alone). I wouldn't bring along a total stranger to the couple just because he/she wanted the free booze and I'd otherwise be happy on my own. That would be pretty tacky.
posted by parkerjackson at 8:34 PM on February 21, 2009


Who else will be at the wedding?

If you'll have a lot of friends there (single or not), I wouldn't bring a date.

If not, but there will be other people there alone, I also probably wouldn't bring a date.

The first time this was an issue for me, I didn't think about it - no SO so I went alone. I was friends with the bride but didn't know anyone else at all there, and among all the other guests there was one other person there alone (thank goodness she was nice and sociable).

The next time, I asked whether there would be other people there on their own, and was told something along the lines of, oh yes, my friend so and so is coming with her kids but without her husband. I brought a really good friend and had a lot of fun.

So yeah, in a case like that, I wouldn't worry about how it looks - just bring someone you'll have fun with.

Honestly, a considerate (not to mention thrifty) host should find out who has an SO and invite them more personally. I did find the generic 'plus one' a bit alienating, and I think it does encourage people to dig *someone* up, when really it would be more fun (and cheaper) to just encourage single people feel normal going to weddings alone, increasing their numbers, thus making it more comfortable, and so on.
posted by Salamandrous at 8:38 PM on February 21, 2009


Going to a wedding solo is a great way to meet someone if you are single. It romantic, its fun, its free food! I say go solo.

However, going to weddings is fun, so you could always take a female friend as a wing man.
posted by zia at 11:08 PM on February 21, 2009


Guest is optional. Go alone and celebrate.
posted by watercarrier at 11:48 PM on February 21, 2009


We've just sent out our wedding invitations, including quite a few to "~ and guest".

All of these options would be fine:

* Go alone.
* Bring your brother or sister.
* Bring a date.
* Bring a total stranger.

Honestly, it doesn't matter who you bring (if anyone) as long as they're willing to mingle and have a good time.
posted by robcorr at 11:52 PM on February 21, 2009


I think it totally depends on how many people you know will be there. If you're not really part of a group (people they know from work, people they know from college, etc.) then by all means bring a date.

However, I'm sure the couple would really appreciate the money they can save if you go by yourself, so if you feel comfortable without a date, I would suggest not bringing one. A lot of couples feel obligated to add 'and guest' to invites because they are afraid their guests won't have fun if they go alone. If you know that not to be true, then do them a favor and save them the money.

If you are going to bring a guest, I would suggest bringing someone that at least knows the couple or is a romantic interest of yours. Make your choice someone worth paying for.
posted by NHlove at 6:07 AM on February 22, 2009


I think it's perfectly fine (and potentially more fun) to go solo.

However, last time I went to a wedding, I was planning on going alone. I was close friends with the bride and a month or so before the wedding, she mentioned that due to cost restraints, she wasn't able to invite everyone she wanted to...including a mutual friend of ours. So, I asked him to go with me. He got to go to the wedding, I got to bring a date, and she got to have everyone she wanted there for her special day. It was great.
posted by JannaK at 8:40 AM on February 22, 2009


I'd say if you will know other people, there's no reason to bring a friend with you, but if you won't know anyone, but still want to go to your friend's wedding, feel free to bring a friend (same sex or opposite). I've been the "and guest" to a wedding like this twice now (friends of mine were in town for weddings and didn't know anyone at the wedding, so invited me because they didn't know anyone else, and we hadn't hung out in a while). Win for everyone!

Oh, I should note that I'm female and went with female friends. No one assumed we were together.
posted by echo0720 at 9:44 AM on February 22, 2009


From my own experience, I'm going to go against the grain here and say that it could be a Bad Idea to bring a non-romantic guest, especially to a smaller wedding.

My cousin got married when I was in college, and my invitation said +1. This was mostly going to be a family wedding with some friends of the bride and groom, and everyone in my family is either 10-15 years older or younger than I am, so I brought my best (female) friend since childhood. At the wedding and after, I got many comments from other guests, family members, and the bride and groom themselves ("jokingly" but kind of not) about how weird it was that I brought my friend and +1 was supposed to be for a date.

Last summer a friend of mine from college got married. While planning the wedding she told us about a friend of hers that she invited, and who planned to bring her father as her +1, and wasn't that so weird, and the bride-to-be and several of the other people there (these were 22-26 year olds) launched into how +1 is only for semi-serious boyfriends, fiancees, etc.

I guess the point of view from that side is that they invited YOU to this wedding. If they wanted to invite Mutual Friend, they would have. Each person who attends costs a lot of money, and unless there is someone with whom you want to share a romantic ceremony (i.e., a significant other), you should come alone. Bringing just any friend could also be interpreted that you couldn't have fun at their wedding, with their friends/family, without bringing a friend of your own.
posted by thebazilist at 10:07 AM on February 22, 2009


Just as another data point. My uncle had a very small and sort of high-end wedding. Our invitations were specifically addressed to whoever was invited. If he knew our SO or if we were married or cohabitating, that person was invited. Word got through the grapevine that the invitation didn't say "and guest" because the invitation was not for a guest. My uncle said that he didn't want to be introduced to anyone he didn't already know at his wedding. His party, his rules.

My feeling personally is that it's not for you to second guess whether your guest would be expensive for the people hosting the wedding. They clearly estimated the guest list based on you possibly having a guest. That said, sure people might whisper. Figure out how you feel about that and act accordingly.
posted by jessamyn at 10:26 AM on February 22, 2009


Be careful inviting someone who is really excited about the open bar. Bringing a guest who gets really, embarrassingly drunk in a way that might be remembered by everyone there would not be looked on fondly.
posted by yohko at 11:33 AM on February 22, 2009


If you know someone who is enthusiastic about going to the wedding, and you'd like to have designated company, feel free to invite them.

But don't feel the need to pressure a date to join you so you don't look like an object of pity or scorn, or to somehow comply with the terms of your invitation -- you can just RSVP for a single person, and that's perfectly acceptable. And yes, it will either save the family money or allow them to invite another person they know better than your theoretical date that otherwise wouldn't have made the guest list.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:57 PM on February 22, 2009


No-one seems to have mentioned this: just ask the happy couple (or at least, whichever one is your friend). If they're paying per head for guests, they might appreciate your restraint in coming alone rather than taking the opportunity to bring someone for your romantic benefit at their expense. Alternatively they might actually have a sense of pity and kindness for poor sad single you, and really want you to bring someone along on the off-chance that the chemistry of the wedding atmosphere makes it work out for you for once. Or maybe they've already paid the venue price and the caterer price and it doesn't make a lick of difference if 120 guests or 150 guests show up, it just means the bar tab and the food runs out faster. Or maybe the bride and groom's folks are splitting the cost and both sets of them are loaded.

Either way, the couple will probably appreciate being actually asked, unless they're so stressed that one more god damned question will make them crack. If that might be the case, feel out whether you should ask with the matron of honor, or just outright ask her what you should do.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 11:37 PM on February 22, 2009


Response by poster: I ended up taking a date to the wedding itself but not to the rehearsal dinner. I had a great time, and think I was a lot happier that I did. There were not really any single people there. I think the bride was happy that I brought a guest because her side of the party was dwarfed by the groom's friends and family.
posted by rwatson at 1:01 AM on April 18, 2009


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