Ask the wedding expert: Angela Marie Events takes the guesswork out of guest lists

Maddie and Tyler Robbins' wedding at Nottoway Plantation. Event coordination by Angela Marie Events. Photo by Ashleigh Jayne Photography.

When it comes to deciding who will be sitting in the crowd while you say your vows, the list can quickly get out of control. First cousins, second cousins, great-aunts? While it seems ideal to invite each and every person you know to avoid hurt feelings, unless you have an unlimited budget, that isn’t the best option.

“At the end of the day, it’s your day and you only have so much money,” advises Angela DiVincenti Babin of Angela Marie Events. “My go-to is to have brides ask themselves, ‘Would you buy this person a $200 gift?’ because that is essentially what you are doing.”

Head counts have a huge impact on prices, and if you opt for an expansive guest list, you could be sacrificing other design elements like flowers and unique rentals that are important to your overall vision.

“The new trend is smaller weddings,” says Babin. “Brides can get more of what they want without sacrificing it for people they don’t really know.”

Now, when it comes to the dreaded “plus one” situation, Babin notes that etiquette dictates that you should give every guest a plus one. However, to avoid excessive extras and the possibility of a few less-than-desirable randoms, she says that it is best to deal with plus ones on a person-to-person basis.

“Giving people plus ones is the nice thing to do,” says Babin. “But it all depends on the budget. You need to know everyone on your guest list well enough that you can go through and decide who needs one and who doesn’t.”

The last big question: should you invite or exclude children? Babin says it all depends on the overall feel, as well as the venue for the occasion.

“Downtown isn’t exactly kid friendly,” notes Babin. “It all depends on how your family is and how relaxed your venue is. If you don’t want kids there, that is your choice, and your guests will have to accommodate.”

The last bit of that tip is important to keep in mind. People will inevitably get their feelings hurt or disagree with choices you make. However, the biggest thing is that you make decisions that reflect your personality as a couple and that will bring your overall bridal vision to life.

“We have tradition and etiquette,” Babin says, “but, at the end of the day, it has to be about what the couple wants.”


To learn more about Babin and Angela Marie Events, visit angelamarieevents.com or check out these weddings from inRegister’s 2018 Weddings issue: Paydan + Kenneth and Devin + Andrew.

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