5 Surefire Ways to Get a Plus-One on Your Invitation, Etiquette Experts Say
These tips can help you improve your chances of earning an extra spot on the guest list.
When it comes to weddings and other invite-only events, plus-ones are often a major point of contention. Ultimately, it's up to the couple or the host as to whether or not you can bring someone along—after all, they're the ones who have to foot the bill when accommodating additional people. And they're often selective about who they offer a plus-one to for that very reason. But how can you be certain that you're going to make the cut? Talking to etiquette experts, we got some tips on what guests can do to increase their chances of earning another spot on the guest list. Read on to discover five surefire ways to get a plus-one on your next invitation.
Ask sooner rather than later.
When it comes to securing a plus-one for an upcoming event, the early bird gets the worm.
"The earlier you ask the better chance you have of getting the invite," says John Anderson, an etiquette expert and co-founder of LifeLineWedding.com.
You can even take it step further by throwing in some suggestions that might "help sway their decision in your favor," like offering to pay for your guest's food or drinks, Anderson adds.
Talk to the host directly.
You shouldn't make the mistake of not going directly to the host, and make sure you're doing so properly. Jodi RR Smith, a well-known etiquette consultant and owner of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, warns that guests should never write plus-one requests down—so skip the text or email.
"You should schedule a time to have a face-to-face or ear-to-ear conversation with the host," she says.
Explain exactly why you would like a plus-one.
Don't go into the conversation making immediate demands, Smith warns. Instead, start by congratulating the host on their upcoming event and thank them for including you. Then you can state your case—and make sure it's the truth. For instance, if you and your partner haven't been dating for that long, you can "gently mention that recently your new relationship has become much more serious," she says.
If you have a conflict that could prevent you from attending without a plus-one, you can explain that as well, according to etiquette expert Lisa Mirza Grotts.
"Do you have a guest coming for the weekend who booked their trip ages before your invitation? In this case, I would be straightforward with the host about this," she says.
Finally, you should make it clear that you know none of this means they have to grant you another spot on your invitation, Smith adds.
"Explain that you know guest lists are tricky, but if, as the date approached, there is room for your plus-one, you would be thrilled if it would be possible to include them as well," she advises.
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Offer your own help.
If you want the host to help you out, you should be willing to do the same for them.
"Offering help may sound too good to be true but it can work," Anderson says. "For instance, if someone is looking for extra hands with setting up before the party starts then let them know that you're happy to lend a hand."
This is an especially good idea if you're unsure about how the host would feel about you outright asking for a plus-one, according to Anderson.
"It also shows that you care about helping out, which is always appreciated," he adds.
Or volunteer to bring something that may be needed.
Of course, not everyone is able to lend their time to help set up an event beforehand. If that's off the table for you and you're still looking for a way to better your chances of being allowed a plus-one, offer to bring something to help out with the event instead.
"For instance, are there any food items or drinks which require special ingredients?" Anderson suggests. "Then volunteer yourself by bringing those ingredients over."