Who's my +1?
November 29, 2017 7:52 PM   Subscribe

I'm recently divorced, and have a family wedding to attend in a month. I received a message from the groom asking who my "date" was so they could fill out the place cards. Fact is, I don't know. I haven't been dating, and while I would like to ask someone, I need a little time to figure out how to do this. What's a reasonable response to his question?

I had been married for 15 years, and prior to that I had never dated anyone else. So, I'm a little ignorant of how single-people "things" are done. I feel silly asking this, but I just want to tread lightly, avoid drama, but not create problems for the bride and groom.
posted by joebakes to Human Relations (39 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Quick clarification: I filled out the RSVP with a +1. I definitely don't want to go solo.
posted by joebakes at 7:57 PM on November 29, 2017

I’d just rock this wedding as a single person, honestly. Bringing a date to a family wedding is a bit of a ‘This is Serious’ kinda thing. Any casual date you ask this close to the event might be a bit weirded out/ think you’re moving too fast. If you have a platonic friend who can be your wing-person, then that’s who to bring, otherwise fly this mission solo.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:57 PM on November 29, 2017 [34 favorites]

they just need to know if you ARE bringing someone because that has consequences for catering cost and seating arrangements.

So tell him if you definitely intend to bring a date. If you can't think whom to bring and decide not to bring anyone, that's ok too, probably easier for the groom's logistics. But you need to tell him if you ARE bringing someone, even if you just don't know who yet. If that's the situation just tell him. (But note that for some people, inviting a plus-one to a wedding is an accommodation made for committed couples, not a "please bring some rando to my expensive party that I'm paying for" opportunity. It might be best to just not bring someone if you don't have a girlfriend.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:57 PM on November 29, 2017 [4 favorites]

Single people rarely take first dates to family weddings.
posted by Iris Gambol at 7:57 PM on November 29, 2017 [6 favorites]

OP says the Happy Couple is asking for a name.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 7:58 PM on November 29, 2017 [8 favorites]

They’re hinting that they don’t want you to bring a casual date. If you don’t already know, I think you bring no one.

If your family member is not the type to hint, I suggest just asking if you can bring whoever you happen to be dating at the time or if that would be a problem.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 8:00 PM on November 29, 2017 [8 favorites]

Bring a friend. Decide who it is now.

Most new dates would decidedly not want to have to attend a wedding with someone they barely know, of some people they know not at all. It's too much pressure, too long a time, too many questions from others, too much attention to coupling forever.
posted by Miko at 8:03 PM on November 29, 2017 [43 favorites]

Most people who I know would be annoyed, confused, or slightly put out by you bringing anyone but a relatively serious long-term relationship partner. Not trying to be a jerk but you said you wanted to avoid drama and not bringing anyone is the best way. Plus you might meet someone.

Good luck. Divorce is hard.
posted by Rock 'em Sock 'em at 8:10 PM on November 29, 2017 [17 favorites]

If you want to hold open the possibility of bringing someone but don't have a name right this second for the place card, I wonder if there could be two place cards, both of which say, "joebakes and guest."
posted by Orlop at 8:14 PM on November 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

You told them you have a +1 but now you don't have a +1. Bring a close friend that won't be awkward and tell them the name - or tell them there's nobody now so they can try to adjust their catering contract if the company will let them so they do not need to pay for an extra meal.
posted by floam at 8:21 PM on November 29, 2017

If you don't have anyone to bring, don't make the couple pay to accommodate someone who has no reason to be there just so you can bring someone.
posted by aubilenon at 8:25 PM on November 29, 2017 [35 favorites]

I'm guessing they don't want to write "joebakes and guest" if they can write an actual name. When I was single with a long-term boyfriend, he and I both hated the "and guest." Tell them it's okay to write guest, or an alternative ...maybe companion or friend.
posted by wryly at 8:42 PM on November 29, 2017

even if you start dating someone tomorrow, it will be super awkward to bring them to a family wedding in one month. tell the groom you're coming alone.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:50 PM on November 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Seriously, take one of your most charming, vivacious friends, someone who has known you for a long time and will know how to jump in if it looks like you should know someone's name but you might be floundering for while trying to make an intro, someone who will make you laugh and smooth over any awkward moments. I've been that +1 for guy friends in the past -- and my longtime (gay) friend and I still laugh over all the many elderly relatives who charmingly told him that he shouldn't let me get away, that I was a "keeper."

Being solo at a wedding when everyone else will be paired off (or are relatives) can be weird, and the bride and groom already expect you to bring someone. They (ostensibly) know you're not still married. So bring a nice friend on whom you have no designs. Don't bring a newly-acquired romantic entanglement to a holiday-timed wedding -- that's too much pressure for everyone.

[Think: if I were going to call up a friend to go have un-romantic waffles RIGHT THIS MINUTE, who would I call? Then call that person.]
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 8:56 PM on November 29, 2017 [19 favorites]

If the question is what is the name of your date one month out from the event, the answer is [Insert Your Date's Name Here] or "My date cannot make it so I will be coming alone". To tell him you don't know yet and won't know until you figure it out and make some calls, is admitting that you have no one special to take and are looking for someone willing to brave your family with you.

The only thing this question calls for is the truth. Either you have a name or you don't. I would say, depending on when you recieved that message, that you have until the end of this weekend to come up with a name or tell him you are coming alone or are unable now to attend yourself.
posted by AugustWest at 8:57 PM on November 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

My father in law brought a woman to our wedding that he'd only met once before, because he felt so awkward not having a date to his own son's wedding. I'll be honest, I thought it was weird as heck at the time and probably not comfortable for her at all - but jokes on me, they've now been together nine years!

Having said this, he was the groom's father, in your situation it sounds like you're a guest taking someone for the sake of it and the couple would probably prefer you don't blow a decent chunk of their money for a person you're not even with. I wouldn't take anyone.
posted by Jubey at 9:31 PM on November 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

I wouldn't necessarily think that the couple doesn't want you to bring a +1 if it's not someone serious. After all, they certainly had the option of not giving you one at all!

Certainly I know couples who have encouraged bringing non-romantic plus ones because they want their guests to feel comfortable, especially during those parts of weddings geared towards duos (all the slow dancing etc.) and because they really wanted to have an up-all-night party atmosphere, which is easier to achieve with more people who are extra happy and relaxed. (And plenty of marrying people were single once and experienced the awkwardness of sitting at the table alone as everyone got up to dance with their partners.)

I really like The Wrong Kind of Cheese's advice, and if you have a friend like that I'd bring them. And I'd get that done within a couple days max to avoid inconveniencing the bride and groom.
posted by lalex at 9:48 PM on November 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

Totally fine to go solo. I've been to several wedding single with no problems. Since you replied previously with a +1, it's fine to say "Change of plans, I'm not bringing anyone. Looking forward to being there on your special day!"

If it was a case where you didn't know anyone other than one of the wedding couple, I'd say bring someone just so you didn't feel alone, but in a case where you'll know many of the other guests (presumably, since it's a family wedding) I'd be completely comfortable going alone.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:54 PM on November 29, 2017

Semi-recently divorced person here! I'd either bring a fun friend who wouldn't embarrass me (and prepare myself for people to assume we're dating and having to say "nope, just my friend!" a hundred times) OR go solo. I recently did the latter and had a blast. Turns out lots of people go to weddings WITHOUT dates and they even have fun! I knew some people there and didn't feel alone at all.

BUT you've said you definitely don't want to go solo. So, friend it is. I would definitely NOT bring someone you don't really know.
posted by blackcatcuriouser at 10:09 PM on November 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

As somebody both divorced and now planning a wedding, I'd observe that the Happy Couple are probably every bit as treading carefully with respect to you as you are to them. I'd also point out that, since you are family, you are probably near the top of their "priority list" and the cost element of whether or not you bring a +1 is of little consequence. So, given that you feel a firm desire to bring a +1 - you should not refrain from doing so over guilt. On the other hand, the couple's request that you name somebody now is entirely reasonable: they will be trying to firm up on numbers and would also want to know if you are asking along somebody with special dietary requirements etc. So it would be polite to make a decision on who you are going to take, as soon as possible. A vague "+1 guest" can leave them wondering whether this un-named person will actually turn up and whether, if they do, they will get on with others.

I like The Wrong Kind of Cheese's suggestion that you call up friend who fits the "Of course I should ask this person" category. But if you don't have anybody who fits that description then I would consider inviting a friend the bride and groom may particularly appreciate - perhaps somebody that they know via you and happen to like, perhaps somebody who might share an interest or set of contacts with the happy couple or with other guests.
posted by rongorongo at 10:29 PM on November 29, 2017 [1 favorite]

Agree, bring a friend. Once when I (a woman) was involved in a serious fight with a romantic partner I disinvited him at the last minute from attending the wedding of a good friend of mine and asked a female friend to attend with me instead. She held up my story that partner was very ill and that she came because I didn't want to go stag. The illness story was in order to not draw further attention to myself on someone else's day. You don't need a cover story though, and no one will bat an eye at bringing a friend as opposed to a proper date. The couple want you to be relaxed and have fun, that's the bottom line. (Protip: if you really don't think you can handle it, dip out of the ceremony for a few minutes or skip it altogether, the couple will understand. )
posted by vignettist at 10:30 PM on November 29, 2017 [2 favorites]

J. Smith

No one's going to be checking IDs, laugh and ditch the placecard once you sit down.
posted by stormygrey at 12:04 AM on November 30, 2017 [5 favorites]

I came to say what stormgrey said and hilariously I was going to suggest you say "Jamie Smith" which fits their suggestion perfectly and works for either gender guest.

But don't take a date. Take a good friend. You don't want to go alone and they've given you a plus one (I am jealous, I'm single and never get offered a plus one) and going alone is only fun if you know heaps of people and there are other solo guests.
posted by kitten magic at 1:32 AM on November 30, 2017

I would take them at their word that they're just want a name so they can fill out the placecard and have no ulterior motives here regarding whether you should or shouldn't bring a guest.
Invite a friend and give them the name ASAP so they can cross this job off their todo list. Do not bring someone you've been dating less than a month to a wedding.
posted by missmagenta at 3:14 AM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

+1 for bringing a fun friend. The mother of the bride did this at a recent wedding I attended and her guest was a great addition since she knew the family, had good stories, etc.
posted by headnsouth at 3:54 AM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Bring a friend! When we were planning our wedding we offered all our guests a +1 regardless of relationship status. Couples were invited by name but everyone else had an “and guest” added to their invitation. Some single friends brought a friend, a recently divorced groomsman brought his sister, some came solo by choice.

A wedding is a happy day, you should not have to sit through it by yourself if you don’t want to. Ask a lovely friend to be your date and go have a nice evening.
posted by lydhre at 4:30 AM on November 30, 2017

Maybe you have a good friend from high school or college who knows at least parts of your family and would genuinely wish the couple well and enjoy hanging out with your relatives? My BFF from high school is my go-to for this kind of situation. We always have fun and she genuinely likes getting to see my family and catch up.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:49 AM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Don't bring a first date to a wedding and give whoever you bring more than a week to get their outfit together. If you ask someone and they say "maybe", that is not a yes and you need to find someone else. Give them a name now or tell them you are not bringing anyone. This is a tiny detail they are trying to get checked off at a rather stressful time. There are hundreds of these tiny details on their list right now and that list will likely be growing in the next few weeks. If you don't want to give a fake name, have them put your name and (Guest) after it.

You don't want to go solo, but it would be much more awkward to bring a random person you barely know that does not know the couple at all. It will be easier if you know the person well even if they don't know the couple. I've been to weddings where I did not know the couple and it was really awkward when I was forced to go through the receiving line, so help your date skip that if possible.
posted by soelo at 8:04 AM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

When I got married we had two guests who weren't immediately able to give us names for their plus ones. I believe we put, "Guest of Beloved Friendsname" on the seating card.

It's fine to bring a friend as your guest.
posted by latkes at 8:44 AM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

I see a lot of people saying not to bring someone just to bring someone so the wedding couple doesn't have to pay for it, but I don't think you should worry about that. I mean, hopefully they can afford the wedding they are planning, and it seems unduly martyr-ish to make yourself be in an awkward position (it can be really awkward to be at some weddings alone!) on the off-chance that this additional guests would break them financially.

Bring a friend. One who is fun to hang out with, good in social settings, and gets along well with people. They will likely be a hit and it will make the wedding a lot more fun for you, which makes it more fun for everyone else.
posted by lunasol at 9:47 AM on November 30, 2017

I have been a friend-type-+1 to weddings a number of times, and it works great, but you want someone who's pretty close to you and flexible about being at a family wedding where they don't know anyone. If no one leaps to mind as an obvious friend-date, then going by yourself will also be fine.
posted by LizardBreath at 10:12 AM on November 30, 2017

A woman I had been dating for a month was invited to the commitment ceremony of her ex. I offered to go as her date, and she accepted.

Reader, I married her.

Moral of the story: choose wisely.
posted by adamrice at 11:04 AM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

When I was single I pretty much always went to weddings solo or occasionally with a friend who also knew the couple. Bringing someone who wasn't particularly tied-in to the group always seemed like more trouble than it was worth - you have to make sure your guest is having fun when maybe you'd rather be spending more time with other guests at the wedding who you already know.

Anyway, not to say you *shouldn't* bring someone, just that going solo to a wedding is totally a thing single people do and often a lot of fun (provided you know people besides the bride and groom at the wedding! if you were going solo to a wedding where you only knew the couple getting married, that would probably be uncomfortable).

Actually now that I think about it my husband was literally the first date I brought to a wedding. I didn't get a plus-one but I felt like it was worth it to ask the bride specially.
posted by mskyle at 11:25 AM on November 30, 2017

One of the guests at our wedding brought a first date as her +1. The date ended up going off with one of my bridesmaids, while our poor guest tried to pretend she was completely fine with it (bridesmaid did not realise he was somebody else’s +1).

I would take a friend, if I were you.
posted by tinkletown at 12:04 PM on November 30, 2017

I think there are two parts to your question - or at least, there are two separate issues going on.

On the one hand, you are trying to figure out who should be your guest at a wedding. which feels like a thorny issue - would it be weird if you showed up with someone you just started dating? Or would it be even weirder if you went with another woman? What's up with that? It's causing you option paralysis.

But on the other hand - the bride and groom need to know what's going on in a timely fashion so they can get everything taken care of. It feels like a decision you want to think about on your end, but on theirs it is the one last undone bit of a task that's on a very long to-do list that they're trying like crazy to check off before the day of the wedding and they're a little manic right now.

So you need to decide what to do fairly soon, and then just do it. It is fine to go single, and it is fine to take a guy friend (one of my BFF guy friends was my own plus-one to my brother's wedding and it was just fine, in fact he was a better option than the ex I'd been dating at the time I ORIGINALLY responded to the invite). So - I would take a couple days and find a guy friend to go with you, and then if none of them can commit, and you feel weird taking a female friend, then just call the groom and say that things have changed and now it'll just be you.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:34 PM on November 30, 2017

Upon closer review of some of the other comments - the thing I most certainly would NOT do is bring someone I'd only just started dating becuase that would feel HELLA WEIRD for them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:35 PM on November 30, 2017

I should be the one to mention - you're clearly single and there can be benefits to going alone, you can meet a lot of other singles. I should know, I met my husband at a wedding! Weddings have a reputation for a reason.
posted by Jubey at 1:25 PM on November 30, 2017 [1 favorite]

Tell them you don't have a plus 1. Because that's, you know, the truth. You're single now. Being single is different from being married. Go to the wedding on your own and have fun with it. Stop trying to turn it into some other situation that it really isn't.
posted by John Cohen at 8:17 PM on November 30, 2017 [3 favorites]

Tell them to write "Joebakes's +1" on the other place card.
posted by w0mbat at 11:50 AM on December 1, 2017

« Older How to give gifts without a side of offense   |   the dearly deleted Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.