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Despite what are likely very good reasons to disallow your best gal pal from bringing a date to your wedding, "it's always difficult to deliver bad news because we never want to disappoint our closest friends," says Irene S. Levine, Ph.D, psychologist and professor of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine and producer of The Friendship Blog. "In fact, we want to go overboard in trying to make sure they enjoy our wedding day." So if you're not sure how to tell her she's got to attend solo without hurting her feelings or chances of having fun, we've got you covered.
First, don't wait until your friend receives your invitation to break the news. "Instead," Levine says, "let your friend know in advance that the invitation will be coming and doesn't include a plus-one." That'll keep her from feeling blindsided when she finally does get it in the mail.
Then, "explain that the decision wasn't personal but was a general policy that you applied to all plus-ones because you were constrained by cost and numbers of invitees" or any other factor, suggests Levine. "If that person hasn't been recently involved in planning a wedding, you might add how complicated wedding planning can get with two families involved."
You can further soften the blow and reduce her worry by assuring her "that you made efforts to find her a comfortable seating arrangement with people she knows at the reception, perhaps other singles," says Levine. "You might even add that you hope you can get together with the plus-one - if it's a new boyfriend or girlfriend - soon after the wedding."
Be prepared that at least initially your friend may be disappointed or downright unhappy. She may "need time to recoup," Levine says, and as she does, you can "remember the reasoning of how you came to this decision. A good friend should be able to move beyond her disappointment and support you on this special day. If she can't, it might suggest that the friend is more self-centered or selfish that you had hoped." Plus, she points out, "It could turn out that your friend would never have expected you to invite a plus-one and your worries turn out to be misplaced!"