A young woman I know is getting married, but due to finances they are having just a private city hall ceremony followed by a church blessing for family and close friends; they hope to have a more traditional and lavish ceremony in a couple of years, but right now they want to keep it simple. They sent out invitations to a select group of friends, but were taken aback when one friend of the groom’s replied, “Great. My girlfriend wants to come too and is asking for the day off work.”
The couple do not know this girlfriend very well, and had not invited her, or, in fact, any other partners or spouses. This was partly down to financial reasons and space limitations, but also because they just wanted an intimate moment with only their nearest and dearest. Needless to say, the bride was irritated because none of her own friends were bringing dates, yet this man had assumed that his girlfriend was welcome without checking first.
Typically, if an invitation says “plus guest,” you are free to bring a date. If only your name is listed on the invite, it usually means that space is limited and you should come solo. Yes, it would be nice to bring a date, but you have to respect the couple’s wishes. It’s their day, after all, and weddings and events can become very stressful and out of control if guests take it upon themselves to increase the numbers.
And if you’re ever in doubt, ask!