Should you write “and guest” on your invitation envelopes?

Making your guest list is one of the biggest tasks to undertake while planning your wedding, and one of the trickiest questions to answer is whether or not you will be inviting guests of guests, also known as “plus ones.” If you have made the decision to allow invitees to bring along a guest, how do you let them know?

Traditionally, people would use an inner and outer envelope, and write “and guest” on the inner envelope only. However, the tradition of inner and outer envelopes has mostly fallen by the wayside. So now, with one envelope, where exactly do you invite the guest?

To begin with, a married or cohabitating person should never receive a wedding invitation with a “plus one” - rather, invite his or her partner by name. 

Everyone else who may be invited to bring a guest to your wedding falls into two categories:

  1. Single people (over age 18)
  2. People in a relationship

If you know one of your invitees is in a relationship and are pretty certain he or she will be bringing his or her significant other to the wedding, you should invite that person by name. Even if you don’t know it, ask your guest for the person’s name before addressing the invitations. It can be somewhat cold to invite a person as just “guest,” especially if you have met the person before, and you should do everything you can to avoid that. 

However, if you’re inviting someone who is single, or might be single, or has a partner that you’re not sure he or she would want to bring, you will have to use the “and guest” phrase. You can indicate that your invitee is allowed to bring a guest either by writing “and guest” on the outside of the envelope, or by including a short note inside the invitation saying that he or she is welcome to bring a guest to the wedding. . 

Your invitee will of course note whether or not he or she is taking you up on the offer to bring a date when filling out the RSVP card. If there will be a guest accompanying, it’s nice to try to find out who he or she is so that you can at least use the guest’s real name on your place cards. 



Cegielski, Jennifer. Wedding Invitations. New York: Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2004. Print.