Ask Natalie by Natalie Bencivenga

Upset you can’t bring a “plus-one” to a wedding?

Caught friend having an affair and not sure what to do?

DEAR NATALIE: My friend is getting married and is inviting more than 300 people to the wedding. I asked her if I could bring a plus-one and she said “no” and that seating was tight. How ridiculous is that? How can seating be tight when you have that many people coming? I feel really annoyed by her and want to tell her that I think it is absurd I can’t bring just one person with me. Isn’t it standard to have a plus-one at a wedding, anyway?


DEAR ONLY ONE MORE: Imagine how many people are probably asking your friend if they can bring a plus-one? Regardless of the size of a wedding, there are limitations to what a venue can hold. If the maximum is 325, for instance, and she’s at 322, letting you and a few others bring a plus-one will tip the scale. This is about her, not you. If you are worried about not having a friend at the wedding, ask her if she is inviting anyone that you know. Perhaps you can ask to be seated with some of them. But, I would not now nor ever tell her that it is “absurd” that you can’t bring a plus-one. It isn’t standard at weddings and I don’t think it is fair or right of you to put that on her. 300 people  may seem like a lot, but if she and her fiance both have large families, the numbers can add up really quickly. Instead, take a breath, take a step back and remind yourself why you are attending this wedding in the first place. You want to be a part of their special day, you want to be there to support your friend, and you want to share in a day full of love. If these aren’t your motives for attending, check “Regrets Only” on your RSVP card and call it a day.  

DEAR NATALIE: I caught a good friend of mine, Jill, making out with another friend of mine, Sean, who is married. They tried to brush it off like a joke, but later she called me and begged me not to tell anyone. She said they have been secretly seeing each other for a while and that he has promised to tell his wife but hasn’t gotten up the courage yet. I think this is a terrible situation that is only going to get worse. I feel an obligation to tell Sam’s wife, Leah, who is also a good friend of mine, but Jill made me promise not to. I feel terrible. I’m supposed to hang out with both Jill and Leah next week. What should I do? --CAN’T UNSEE IT

DEAR CAN’T UNSEE IT: The fact that Jill is actually going to hang out with Leah next week is insane to me. Why would she put herself in that position unless she secretly likes having this kind of weird faux power? What most people who have witnessed this situation would say is: “They never leave their wives.” If he does leave his wife for Jill, what kind of a foundation is that to start a relationship on? If he cheated with Jill, he will cheat on Jill. I would bet money on it. While I would normally say “stay out of this mess”, in this case I don’t know how you can. From a moral perspective, I feel as though you owe it Leah to tell her what’s going on. I would call Sam and say that unless he fesses up to his wife in the next couple of days, you have a moral obligation to clue her in. You can’t lie to her. Yes, this will be messy, and yes, someone is going to be mad at you. I would also encourage Jill to cancel plans next week with you and Leah. I’m still baffled over why she would want to hang out with either of you right now considering the circumstances. This is a really tricky situation and no matter what you do, someone is going to be upset. It is completely unfair to you but at the end of the day, follow your instincts.

Natalie's Networking Tip of the Week: Moving somewhere new and not sure how to make friends? Join a volunteer group or an arts organization to find people with similar interests who like to network. Then, be helpful and open to new friends!

Please send your questions to Natalie Bencivenga to her email,; or through postal mail to Natalie Bencivenga, 358 North Shore Dr., Pittsburgh, PA 15212. Follow her on Twitter at @NBSeen and on Instagram @NatalieBenci

(This column was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.)