Wedding Etiquette on Inviting their Better Half

by Claire Valenty on January 13, 2011

in Wedding Etiquette

wedding better half etiquette

You may not consider all of the boyfriends and girlfriends of your friends and family to be their better half.  Perhaps your best friend has just started dating someone and you don’t even know that person.  What is proper etiquette when it comes to inviting your friends’ partners?  Is it acceptable to invite half of a couple?  This can be tricky, especially when you do not like the partner and/or you are on an already tight budget.  The tips below should give you some guidance:

  • Regardless of your feelings towards the partner, it is poor etiquette to split up long-term partners in regards to invitations.
  • Anyone over 18 in a long term relationship should have their partner invited.
  • Some suggest that you can tell your friend their partner can attend the after dinner events.  You may think it is generous on your part, but, chances are, it will not be received very well by your friend.
  • Just because someone is not married, does not mean they feel any less strongly about their partner.   It is not unreasonable to expect that a few of your friends may choose not to attend if their partner is unable to.  It is not because they are not a good friend to you; it has more to do with the lack of respect you are giving to their partner and their relationship.

You may disagree with all of the above, lamenting that your budget is only so much and your space is only so big and blah, blah, blah.  Too bad.  You wanted proper etiquette rules, and that is what you are getting.   You want to be a gracious and considerate host, correct?

I have been on both sides of the fence on this issue.   I have attended weddings where my partner was not invited.  It sucked; even if you know a lot of the people at the wedding, your favorite person in the world is not there to share the event with you.  I am now planning my wedding and have to coordinate fitting in my friend’s partners physically and monetarily.  And I have done so without a single complaint or hesitation, because it is the right thing to do.

Photo: 123rf/Angela Hawkey

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