Wedding rings on hands - ‘no ring, no bring’

‘No ring, no bring’ wedding rule – Pros & cons

The ‘no ring, no bring’ rule is simple – if you’re an invited guest to a wedding, you can only bring your fiancé(e) or spouse. But is it a fair rule?

Pippa Middleton recently attracted attention when she adopted it for her wedding ceremony last month. Tabloids stirred the pot by saying it was a cunning way to keep Prince Harry’s new(ish) girlfriend from stealing the show. But maybe it was Pippa and James’ way of maintaining an intimate ceremony with only their nearest and dearest present. Hmmm – let’s weigh up the pros and cons.

The pros

A ‘no ring, no bring’ rule could be an option if you need to keep guest-list numbers down, are getting married on a microbudget or want an intimate wedding.

It’s also an option if you’re getting married abroad, throwing a themed wedding or saying your ‘I dos’ at a really high-end venue. Why? Because these kinds of weddings attract more cost for guests as well as the couple in question. So a ‘no ring, no bring’ policy could save nearlyweds blowing their budget and guests overdoing their overdraft.

But what if you’re in a long-term partnership and you consciously choose NOT to get married? Or if you’ve been in a same-sex relationship since the beginning of time and you haven’t tied the knot because gay marriage isn’t legal in your home country – what then? Introducing the other side of the coin…

The cons

The ‘no ring, no bring’ rule is controversial because it implies that a relationship is only valid if it’s recognised by law. The policy is discriminatory in that respect. And as someone who is in a solid relationship (11.5 years and counting) but has no intention of ever getting married, I feel it undermines a relationship.

But it’s not just couples that find it offensive. Loren is a single gal and she said this: ‘For us singletons, rules like this one imply that you haven’t made it until you’re married, which just adds to this belief that single people – particularly women – are single because they’re not good enough; not because they choose to be single. It’s so judgemental!’

Couple getting married abroad - ‘no ring, no bring’

Advice – approach ‘no ring, no bring’ with caution

It’s clear that a ‘no ring, no bring’ rule will offend people and attract some serious back talk. But if you’re strongly thinking of adopting it for your wedding, here’s some advice.

Make it a blanket rule with absolutely no caveats

If you allow your family, bridesmaids and groomsmen to bring their boyfriends and girlfriends but not your other guests, that’s not fair – even if it is your sister or Best Man.

The same goes for people in a significant relationship. If you only give plus ones to guests who have long-term partners, you’re setting ‘double standards’ and discriminating against single people.

How do you define a ‘significant relationship’ anyway? Is it a term we use to describe people who have been steady for 2+ years? People who co-habit or have children together? What about those people who just click after the first date?

In short, it isn’t your place to judge the seriousness of someone’s relationship. So if you’re going to adopt a ‘no ring, no bring’ rule, it has to be all or nothing. No exceptions.

‘No ring, no bring’ isn’t the only way to stop random ‘plus ones’

Before deciding whether a no-ring-no-bring wedding is right for you, really consider your reasoning behind it.

If you see the policy as the only way to stop guests from bringing random Tinder dates, know that there’s a less drastic, less offensive way around this issue – don’t offer plus ones in the first place. As soon as you do, you lose control over who attends your own wedding.

Instead, be specific and address your save the dates and invitations to the person (or people) you want at your wedding. This way, you won’t offend people who aren’t married by not inviting their partner. And you’ll avoid bumping into some random ‘plus one’. Besides, you should know the names of everyone at your wedding, which kind of makes the term ‘plus one’ redundant…

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If you’re having a no-ring-no-bring wedding – or you’ve attended one or been excluded from one because you’re not married or engaged – we want to know. Tell us about your experience in the comments box below.

About the author

Jo Wigley

From her word-nerd studio (way) down under in New Zealand, the copywriter in Jo crafts websites, advertising campaigns, scripts, blogs and brochures for businesses across the world. While the creative consultant in her helps brands, big and small, find their voice in one heck of a noisy world.

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