The wedding invitation has arrived in your mailbox and right before you go to tear it open and sift through the endless details of a wedding you’ve been looking forward to for months, you notice a little something special on the very front of the envelope. Right next to your name, written in a darling script font, are the words “And Guest.”

High-five, you’ve been granted a plus one! This is a great reward, especially if all your friends are already married and schlepping along their husbands or wives. This means you won’t have to be the odd one out; the person stuck at the “leftovers” table because you threw off the even-numbered seating arrangement of a table of ten.

I’ve been there before. When all of my friends started getting engaged or married, I was renewing my subscription to JDate for the fifth time.  Most of the time, they’d spare me the “plus one honor,” figuring that I probably wouldn’t have anyone to bring (thanks for having faith in me, friends) or that if I showed up to their wedding with just me, myself, and my Forever21 beaded clutch bag, that maybe I’d flirt my way through the night with one of their other single party guests.

On the rare occasion that I was given a plus one, I made the most of it. I found someone (even if it was quite the task to do so) to accompany me at table number five and on the cold marble dance floor.

You may find yourself asking where the heck you’re going to find someone who is ready and willing to dance the night away with you and rent a tuxedo. You may even find yourself asking what kinds of things you should look for in a potential plus one if you find yourself with eligible singles knocking at your door (or inside of your JDate inbox).

As a professional bridesmaid (and founder of Bridesmaid for Hire), I’ve seen a lot of plus one dates go wrong. I’ve seen the invite guest in the bathroom with their plus one helping them sober up or even serving as the peacemaker when their plus one got a little too rowdy and started a full-on brawl with the bride’s great uncle from Tennessee.

Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen to you. Here are 4 key elements to consider when selecting a plus one:

      1.  Find a Party Starter, But Not the Life of the Party

Look for someone who is happy to spend a few hours with you on the dance floor and even clink a glass of champagne with you during cocktail hour. But, if you know someone who tends to take three more shots than they know they can handle, and likes to show off by doing the worm in public, perhaps pass on them. You don’t want anyone to steal the attention from the bride and groom, so bring the life of the party option to a different bash.

      2. Make Sure They Like Strangers

Chances are your plus one date won’t know anyone there — and you, as the invited guest, will know a handful of people there. To avoid being your plus one’s babysitter all night, find someone who can hold a conversation on his or her own. Someone who enjoys meeting new people and talking to strangers.

  1. Take the Four-Date Test

If you’re looking to bring someone you just met as your plus one, be sure to go on at least four dates with them. That way, they will not be a complete stranger to you. You’ll also get to know them better and how they function in different kind of situations if you make each one of those dates a little different: coffee, dinner and drinks, mini-golfing, etc.

  1.  Remember: A Little Excitement Goes a Long Way

Look for someone who seems up for this kind of adventure. If when you go to ask them to be your plus-one, you notice they let out a giant sigh or seem to be annoyed or overwhelmed, this may not be the best person to bring. The last thing you want is to bring someone to your friend’s wedding who will be attached to their phone or pacing back in forth in the lobby of the venue counting down the hours until they can go home. You know what they say, misery loves company.

Weddings are a place to kick-back and have a fun time celebrating the burst of love between two very special people in your world. Find someone who can say a very loud “Amen” to that.

Jen Glantz is a “Professional Bridesmaid” and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She’s the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.
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