Kids, Coworkers, And Significant Others, Oh My! Part 3
When you’re deciding who makes it onto your guest list, there are 3 categories of people who cause the most stress: kids, coworkers, and significant others of other people you intend to invite. Do you invite them? Do they get their own invitation? What’s the etiquette here, and do I have to follow it? It can get messy, and there’s no one right way to go, you just have to take a deep breath and dive on in.
General rule: couples are a social unit, and you can’t invite half a social unit. Not only is it a major etiquette faux-pas, but it’s just plain rude to tell someone you like them enough to invite them to your wedding, but don’t like them enough for them to bring their wife or husband. “I’ve never met them” doesn’t fly here. If you invite someone and they are married, engaged, or otherwise essentially permanently bonded to each other, you invite them both. End of story.
The snag you hit is when people are just dating…that turns into a grey area. This is one of those times I don’t agree with etiquette and I will probably burn in Emily Post’s personal hell. Etiquette rules say if a couple is dating, then regardless of the length of the relationship, you have to invite them both. Again, social unit. If you’re one to follow etiquette like it’s the Bible, then you can skip the next paragraph.
Most of us have at least one friend whose a serial dater, a “flavor of the month” kind of person (or if you’re like my particular friend, it’s “flavor of the week”). While it may be wrong of me to say this, I’m not really of the mindset that you need to invite this not-so-significant other simply because they’re the current flavor. If this friend of yours can’t commit to someone for longer than a few weeks at a time, I’m not likely to consider the current coupling a “social unit” and say they don’t fit that rule.
If you have friends who have been dating a long time (on the order of years) or live together, it’s pretty obvious that is a serious relationship and both parties should be invited. The problem is when people have been dating a couple of months. You are not some almighty being, and putting yourself in a position where you are going to decide whose relationship you think is serious or valid enough is going to make you a jerk, plain and simple (and I say jerk because in order to keep my non-mature content blog classification I can’t use the word I should).
Now what about your single (or single-ish) friends…do they get to bring someone? Allowing a single guest to bring a “plus one” is considered a nice gesture, but is not required. If the guest in question isn’t really going to know anyone else, it is generally a good idea to let them bring someone so they don’t feel awkward. This is again an area that you need to stick to whatever rule you come up with. If you say no one can bring someone, stick to it. If you say people who are traveling can bring someone, stick to it. If you say that people who won’t know anyone not in the bridal party can bring someone, stick to it. STICK TO IT. This one is harder to enforce because you don’t have as concrete of an explanation to give someone who questions you. Be prepared.
The exception to sticking to the rule: you messed up. If you get a call from someone who you invited alone, and they say “um, so, not to be rude or anything, but is there a reason you didn’t invite my fiancé(e)?”, then you need to apologize and say “of course (s)he’s invited!” and adjust your guest count accordingly.