When Is It OK to Bring a Plus One to a Party?

If it's just your name on the invitation, is it OK to bring someone along with you?
When Is It OK to Bring a Plus One to a Party?

Every week, our resident experts Mindy Lockard and Coryanne Ettiene answer etiquette questions from modern day hosts, offering advice from both traditional and contemporary perspectives.

Have a question you want answered? Send us an email with your dilemma, and then check back every week for new tips and advice.

This week’s question:

I've been invited to a holiday party. Can I bring a guest?  

Coryanne: Oftentimes, a formal dinner party invitation will clearly state if a plus one is permitted. If not, presume that the invitation is for you and you only. However, cocktail parties tend to be more relaxed affairs and often the rule of "the more the merrier" applies. When replying to an invitation to a cocktail party, there is no harm in asking if you can bring a date or a plus one. And when your request has been granted, be sure to show your appreciation with a fabulous hostess gift.

Mindy: The envelope is what unlocks the mystery of who is invited. Not what's on the inside of the envelope, but the names written on the outside. With technology, sites like Evite allow you to add how many people will be attending. But chances are the host/hostess won’t appreciate it when you add that you're bringing your five best friends (not that you would). When it's not a formal mailed invite, it's OK to give the host or hostess a call and ask, "I'm calling to confirm who was included on the invite." Sometimes it's an invite for one and sometimes if your host is especially gracious and has room, they will open it up for a plus one.   

About Our Experts: Mindy Lockard is The Gracious Girl and offers traditional etiquette advice with a modern, gracious twist. Coryanne Ettiene believes entertaining at home should be an everyday affair; she shares contemporary advice for modern living at Housewife Bliss.

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