Dear Brides and Grooms of the world,
Hey! How are you? How’s the wedding planning going? Sorry, I know you’re busy sorting out the 150 mason jar candles complete with a personalised scent for each of your guests, but this will just take a minute.
You know that friend you have? You know the one I’m talking about. The friend you love and adore, but is your ‘separate friend’. You both move in different circles, you have your own friends, but you also love to catch up for coffee, just you two, every few weeks.
I am that friend to Olivia*, and she mine. We met through work and had been friends for a few years when she got engaged. By this time we had both moved on to other jobs but still kept in regular contact, and I was ecstatic when her invitation arrived in the mail. But then I saw it. Staring me in the face. Rose Wilson and … nothing. Zilch. Nada.
There was no plus-one.
Being in my early twenties, Olivia was the first of my friends to get married. I had attended a couple of family weddings when I was younger, but had always been part of the bridal party. This time I was a guest, and I knew absolutely no one.
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The jubilance of my friend getting married was overcome by the creeping feeling of dread as I realised not only would I know no one at the wedding, it was in a rural town. In another state.
Despite this, not for one second did I think about not going. I had to go. I couldn’t wait to see my friend so happy and in love. I would have to push past my introverted tendencies and *gasp*, talk to people.
I arrived in the town the night before after a flight and a bus, checked in to my hotel and ordered some pizza. (This town didn’t even have menulog, the horror). The nerves built during the next day lasted into the afternoon.
Luckily upon my arrival at the ceremony venue, I recognised a girl who used to work in the same company as Olivia and I, but a different department. She admitted she was in the same boat and we clung to each other for the rest of the evening. And, as fate would have it, our meticulously hand-painted name cards were next to each other on the table plan too.
Seeing a familiar face definitely made me more at ease, but I don’t know what I would have done if she wasn’t there. I shudder to think of the small talk and niceties that would have endured had she not been.
I'm not the only one, Jessica Gross has written of the subject for NY Mag, and said, "In the name of empathy and compassion, and with a nod to current social norms, I hereby declare this tradition preposterous. At weddings and other formal occasions — office holiday parties, your garden-variety banquet — every single adult should be invited with a plus-one. Period."
Gross added if the wedded couple had a tight budget, then there should be fewer people invited. And I can't help but agree.
As a slightly socially anxious human, my friends are my armour. With them by my side I am more confident, talkative, witty and you'll find me on the dance floor rather than sipping wine, waiting for the next course to arrive.
There's no doubt about it, if I had been allowed a plus one I would have enjoyed myself more, as selfish as this sounds. Gross puts it so eloquently in her piece when she said, "Yes, a wedding is about celebrating the union of two people, not about honouring the lifestyle and needs of every single guest. But I would argue that the more comfortable your guests are, the more joyful your wedding will be."
I know, I know, there are a multitude of arguments against my cause. "If you go alone, you might meet someone!" "We don't want strangers at our wedding!" "We can't afford any more guests!" I hear your pleas and I understand, really I do, but a) I'll still have as much of a chance of meeting someone if I bring a friend. B) You guys will be too busy being all loved up and stuff to notice me and my friend having the time of our lives next to the chocolate dipped strawberries. And c) we will share our meal and seat if we have to.
However, I must admit there are exceptions to this rule of all adults being entitled to a plus-one. When it comes to family, no plus-ones. They know everyone and most of them will be invited, except the few you purposefully leave out and they refuse to speak to you for the next few years.
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Couples are the other group that probably don't need a plus-one, because who would they bring? Their third cousin twice removed who you met once when you were seven and they wanted to show you how they could eat a worm? No thanks.
But your single friends and friends who don't know anyone, on the other hand, they definitely, definitely need a plus one. Even if it's purely for moral support.
Think about it.
*Names have been changed.