When this blog was born years ago, it was just a place to put all the crazy dating stories I had accumulated in my life. I never thought that someday I’d be writing about weddings and engagements and all that shit. But… here we are. At my very first wedding related post. I promise you, my dear reader, that I won’t make this a wedding-only blog. That would make even me puke. But I must air something.
As I plan this wedding, I do a nightly sacrifice and prayer ceremony to the Wedding Karma gods. I do this because I realize now that I was such a shitty wedding guest on far too many wedding occasions and I’m terrified that these crimes against the happy couples that I perpetrated will be done unto me.
What crimes do I fear, you ask? (oh, you didn’t ask? Well… too bad. I’m going to tell you anyway.) The Uninvited Guest. That’s what I’m most afraid of.
When I would open my mailbox and see one of those distinctive envelopes that undoubtedly meant I was going to have to put on a dress and some heels and eat some dry cake in a catering hall somewhere, I never paid much attention to whom the envelope was addressed… to just me, or to me “and guest.” That, my friends, is where the problem starts. I did not realize that it was rude as shit to bring a date to a wedding when I was not “given” a plus one. When someone finally pointed out once that if you aren’t given a plus one that you should not bring a plus one, I got all up in arms. “Why can’t I bring a date?!?!? WTF?!?!?”
It wasn’t until I started planning my own wedding that I realized that the plus ones really fuck things up. Especially when the couple getting married aren’t mega-millionaires and has a huge family and a wide circle of friends (example: us). Weddings are fucking ex.pen.sive. When we started putting together a guest list, it was incredibly hard to keep it at or just a little above 150 people–we both have LARGE families which take up nearly one hundred slots on the guest list themselves! Then you add in good friends, their husbands and wives, close work colleauges,etc and suddenly you’re looking at cashing in your 401(k), selling your plasma and possibly taking up a few shifts on the pole to help pay the tab. When I started calling around to caterers in Chicago to start pricing out the food, I had a very hard time finding anyone that would work with us, simply because we weren’t prepared to spend $115 per person on catering. I was flabbergasted and a little depressed that we didn’t have unlimited resources. I did however finally find an amazing caterer that was able to see my vision for the day–and see it in our tiny-by-Chicago-standards budget.
So you can see why the “plus one” is such a sensitive subject. To be honest, single people who get all pissy about not having a plus one simply will not understand until they themselves are faced with making a guest list and realizing that if you allow one of your single work friends bring a date just to keep them company, that you probably won’t be able to invite your best friend from high school.
We adopted a rule that we found was commonplace in etiquette books and websites. If the guest was in a *very* serious relationship, engaged, living together or married, they could bring them as a guest. The books and sites also advised to NEVER put “and guest” on the invitation… it should be name of the significant other that is so important to your friend that you are inviting. Irish and I have made a pact to uphold this rule 100% across the board, because we anticipate that at least one person will pitch a fit, either to our faces or to gossipy family members, about how we didn’t allow them a plus one. We also are pretty sure that at least one person who wasn’t allowed a plus one will rsvp a “two” anyway. And unfortunately, in every instance, we are going to have a difficult and uncomfortable conversation. Some people might be offended or pissed at us and unfortunately we are going to have to deal with that.
Not until I started planning my own did I realize that wedding planning is really just a giant minefield of human emotions and you have to step delicately because you really have no freakin clue who you are going to send into an emotional meltdown over the smallest perceived slight.
Our invitations are going out in two weeks, and to be honest, I’m not looking forward to it. Because I know we are going to step on at least four or five mines with these things. And it’s all because of the plus one.
Wedding gods: I’m so so so so so so sorry that I was such a shit and I brought uninvited guests to weddings. I’m so so so so so so so sorry. Pretty pretty pretty please don’t let anyone do the same that I did. I can’t afford it. (Serious, Wedding gods, this shit is EXPENSIVE!)