Should I Bring a Friend as a Wedding Date?

3 easy etiquette tips for properly having a friend as a date for a wedding.

Richie Frieman
6-minute read
Episode #246

Tip #2: Who Pays For What?

So, which is it? A date or a friend? I ask this because that will determine the financial arrangement for the evening. Look, I’m old fashioned and believe the guy should pay for dates – at first that is. After you are in a relationship, it’s perfectly fine to share costs, but, I’ll save that topic for another episode. However, if I’m the guy who is asked to a wedding by a girl, and we are going as “just friends,” is it rude to ask her to split the evening? Or is it rude to assume that even though a girl asks a guy, he should still be responsible for paying for whatever the evening may entail? What about parking? Taxi? Hotel room? Tips for the coat check person? These things add up. But if you are just friends, then splitting shouldn’t be an issue. Or is it?

When you ask someone to go with you to a wedding as a friend, you should not expect them to pay for the majority of the evening. It should be shared evenly across the board. It’s the same as if you went to lunch together on a regular Wednesday. Even though I’m admittedly old-fashioned, I don’t think either gender should be taken advantage of. If this is a date, well, that’s another issue. Romance is involved, feelings are deeper, and the guy will want to be more gentlemanly by paying for the entire evening. It’s how we traditional guys work. It’s never going to change.

Take my friend Charlie, who was asked to go to a wedding by his friend Kate. They are strictly friends. No buts about it. In fact, Kate has a boyfriend who lives in LA. So for the evening, Charlie had to rent a tux, drive Kate, pay for parking, tip the attendee, pay for drinks at an after party, and then drive Kate home, safe and sound (he did not drink). Kate never even bothered to offer to split things. Is this fair? Why should Charlie be relegated to this sad Rent-A-Date status? If they are truly just friends, they should have split the costs. It’s only proper and only fair. Otherwise someone is being taken advantage of and that’s just not cool.

Tip #3: Enjoy Yourself!

This tip may sound like common sense, but seriously, how many times have romantic dates to a wedding (or any other major event) caused more stress than pure enjoyment? Happens more so than not. How do I introduce this person? Do we share a bed at the hotel, if we haven’t done so yet? Do I have to babysit them the entire night? And that’s the downfall of bringing someone who isn’t just a friend, as a date.

However, the flip side of when you do bring just a friend is that there should be no stress at all. Split the cost of the cab? Sure. Do you have to stay overnight? Not really. And, if they feel like talking to your friend’s spouse about something they have in common for much longer than you cared to join, then who cares! Let them have fun. And you should too. This is the perk of bringing just a friend as a wedding date.

Weddings are meant to be fun. And if you are unsure about whether to bring a date to a wedding, just bring a friend who you can dance, drink, and have a good time with. This friend should not be expecting a romantic “result” at the end of the night, nor should you wait to be won over by their personality, or develop possible romantic feelings. Bringing just a friend is a chance to be yourself, and for the two of you to bond.

Just one word of caution: Weddings can do a number on the old heartstrings and one too many drinks may turn “the friend” into “the one”… for the night. And now you’re really talking about enjoying yourself!

Do you have a great story about bringing a friend as a date to a wedding? Post all the details in the comment section of the Modern Manners Guy web site or on the Modern Manners Guy Facebook page.

As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.

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