When you can—and can’t—bring an uninvited guest to a party

The more the merrier? When it comes to bringing an uninvited guest to tag along to a party unannounced...well, not so much. There are exceptions to the rule though, and we've got guidelines on when asking to bring a guest to a party might be ok — and when going solo is the answer.

Signs point to yes: open house parties

If you’re attending a large, open-house style party (think New Year’s Eve blowout bash or BBQ) it's likely okay to bring a plus-one. We recommend checking with your host beforehand (they'll appreciate the ask!), but the odds are in your favor.

Maaaaybe: dinner parties

Bringing along an uninvited guest to a dinner party without asking is a major don’t. The menu (and table settings) have already been planned around the number of attendees, so bringing a plus-one equals a huge headache for your host. Besides, if they wanted additional guests (such as significant others), they probably would have already noted it on the invitation. But if you still really want to bring a guest, call or text your host well ahead of time to ask for permission. Stumped on how to ask? Give them a hint, but give them an easy out in case they’re not on board, like: “I’d love to see you, but my cousin is in town for the weekend. I know it’s a dinner party and you may not have room for more, but do you mind if we stop by after dessert?” Or, “Is this a girls’ night only, or can my new boyfriend tag along?” Your host may still say no, but now you're clear.

Don’t even think about it: formal or intimate gatherings (such as weddings, baby showers and birthdays)

Unless you’ve been given the green light in the invitation itself, it’s never okay to bring a guest to a formal or close-friends-and-family-only event—or even to ask.

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