Vibe Agency Logo
people in event

Ones or Plus-Ones? When Should You Allow Event Attendees to Bring Guests?


One of the easiest ways to control expenses at business events is to control the size of the guest list. That’s because items like food & beverage as well as service are most often priced per person. The same applies to any giveaway items like tote bags or other custom-produced items such as name tags – quite simply, the fewer you have to buy, the lower your total spend will be on such items.

However, there are times when limiting attendance doesn’t fit in with the purpose of an event. Here are a few examples of situations when it is appropriate – or even preferred – to open up your guest list and allow invitees to bring a plus-one.

Let Guests Bring Plus-Ones to Awards Shows

men receiving award

Unless you’re dealing with a venue with limited space or an already-huge guest list (like The Oscars), it’s polite and courteous to allow attendees to bring a guest. This is especially true for anyone receiving an award as they deserve to share the moment with a close friend, family member, or other loved one.

If you are dealing with maximum venue capacity limits, you can offer plus-one status on a first-come, first-served basis (which also speeds up your RSVP process and gets you final headcounts sooner rather than later). Or, you can make plus-one status available for an affordable price. Not only does this approach offset your costs, it also helps ensure that guests and plus-ones actually show up, rather than waste their own money by not attending.

Plus-Ones Should be Welcome at Promotional Events

promotional event

If you’re looking to build exposure for a brand, product, or service, you should want your event to serve as many people as possible. Allowing your attendees to bring a plus-one expands the potential marketing reach of your event without having to go as large as an open-to-the-public event.

To ensure your budget doesn’t get unnecessarily large, approach food & beverage from a passed hors d’oeuvres or light bites perspective, and offer it during only a set window of time. “Welcome cocktails from 6 to 7pm” or “Refreshments from noon to 2pm” are both perfectly acceptable ways to manage guest expectations without breaking the bank.

Allow Plus-Ones at Holiday and Special Occasion Gatherings

people cheering for holidays

The corporate holiday party or company anniversary celebration is an ideal time to allow plus-ones. First of all, because the main audience is your own employees, you may be able to keep costs down by hosting the event at your actual offices. Those savings can then be transferred towards the additional food, beverage, or entertainment options.

Plus-Ones are Perfect for Charity Work

Hosting a beach clean-up? Participating in a city-wide corporate 5k? Raising money for local schools? These are all examples of events where “the more the merrier” definitely applies. Your company or brand gets a lot more done in less time when there are more people to lend a hand. Consider letting invitees bring more than just one guest. Volunteers rarely expect a huge production in return – snacks or box lunches will often do as refreshments, and souvenirs are always optional.

Want more guidance on managing guest lists and maximizing results without overspending? Contact VIBE for expert help planning your next “everyone’s welcome” and other events.

Recent Posts


Join our newsletter

Receive exclusive content, tips, trends, ideas and more.

You might also like

How to Find the Right Event Agency Partner – Red Flags and Green Lights

Event planning agencies are not all created equal. If you want to make sure your event agency partner has the knowledge, skills, and experience to make your gathering successful, you need to know what…

How to Prevent Event Budget Blowouts

Has this ever happened to your event planning team? You set a budget and were careful with vendor contracts, accounting for every penny. And then, a day or two after the event, you start receiving all…

Top 3 Secrets to Hosting a Carbon-Neutral Event

As sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility continue to become more critical in the events industry, event planners need to consider ways to reduce waste and lower the overall carbon footpri…
Translate »