Illustration: Joe Raedle (Getty Images)
Let me preface this by saying that I don’t dislike Tinder. I’ve used it before to chat with singles in my area and even went on a nice date with someone from the app. You know, normal dating app things. Yet, people are apparently going on Tinder with a very different goal in mind: finding a wedding date. And I can’t for the life of me understand why.
Tinder announced on Thursday that it was launching a new option called “Plus One,” which allows users to indicate if they’re looking for a wedding date or willing to be someone else’s date. Plus One will be a part of Tinder’s “Explore” hub, a recently launched feature that lets users participate in different social experiences and meet potential matches based on “every mood and activity.”
According to Tinder, Plus One is launching just in time “to kickoff the next wedding boom,” citing the postponements and cancelations caused by the pandemic.
“After a year and a half of postponed ceremonies and celebrations, one of the busiest wedding seasons in history is upon us,” the company wrote in a news release. It added: “This impending uptick seems to have already been felt by unattached invitees, with mentions of ‘plus one’ in Tinder bios increasing 45% since the beginning of the year.”
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Considering I’m at the age where a lot of my college friends are indeed getting married, I understand what Tinder is describing. Seeing your friends celebrate their love can make you want somebody to love, at least for a while. But there is a quite a difference between going on a date with someone you just met and taking them to a wedding.
First of all, there’s the cost. Going to weddings is freaking expensive for everyone involved. If you’re looking for someone to be your plus one, are you willing take on the expenses they’ll incur to prepare for the big day? My wallet is still hurting from my best friend’s wedding last month and I went alone.
Tinder knows this, so it’s partnering up with the online marketplace WeddingWire to give out grants of $460—which WeddingWire says is the average amount guests spend to attend a wedding—to the first 100 people to sign up for Plus One. That helps, sure, but I still feel bad for everyone who doesn’t get a grant, which will be a whole lot of people.
Secondly, wouldn’t it be awkward for your Tinder plus one to go to an event where the only other person they know is you? I would feel tremendous pressure to stay and entertain my date all night and wouldn’t be able to enjoy being with my friends and the wedding couple.
Speaking of the wedding couple, have you thought about how they would feel about you taking an absolute stranger to their wedding? The couple will after all have to pay to feed and accommodate your Tinder plus one. Considering that the majority of my friends have student loan debt and are having smaller weddings because of that, I definitely wouldn’t want to show up and say, “Oh hey, can you please pay for a person you don’t know at all just so I can say I have a date?”
While we’re on that subject, why is it so important for you to have a plus one to a wedding anyway? I used to think this was important because I didn’t want people to think I couldn’t get a date, which is one of those stupid assumptions our society instills in young women. Over time, I’ve learned that life is too short to be worrying about what other people think about you. Plus, it’s not your wedding. You are a minor character on this big day.
But what do I know? I’m not one of those people adding “plus one” to their Tinder bio description. No judgement here, of course—it’s your life. Just know that bringing a date to an expensive event like a wedding, especially one you just met, is easier said than done.