Are you wondering how many people to invite to your wedding? What is the magic number of wedding guests? We’re here to help with exactly how many people you should invite to a wedding based on a few easy tips. Read on + subscribe for FREE wedding tips to your inbox.
When you’re newly engaged and deciding on a budget, the number one question to tackle first is: how many people should I invite to my wedding?
This blog post was inspired by a question we received from bride-to-be, Ashley, who wants to know how many guests she should you invite to a wedding, on average. She writes,
“Hi Emmaline! I am newly engaged and just figuring out my premliminary plans. My big question is, how many guests should I invite to my wedding? We don’t have a gigantic budget but we would like to plan a big wedding and invite many guests, as our families are large. What do you recommend on how to figure out how many guests to invite?”
Great question, Ashley! Figuring out how many people to invite to your wedding may seem like a big task, but it’s actually pretty easy to determine once you decide just a few things. Let’s dive into it with some helpful tips to ensure you invite the perfect size guest list for your wedding.
How Many Guests to Invite to Wedding
How many guests should you have at a wedding?
First and foremost, the size of your guest list is 100% personal preference. Do you want a small wedding or a large celebration? Let’s talk about the differences between micro, small, and large wedding sizes.
The most important thing to consider, before anything else, is budget. Do not invite more guests than your budget allows.
Here are three typical sizes of weddings, based on guest list size.
A micro wedding is a very tiny guest list, anywhere from 5 to 20 guests. There is a difference between an elopeent and a micro wedding, however: an elopement is even smaller typically including the couple, an officiant, and two witnesses to make it official.
A small wedding means a guest list of typically 100 guests or fewer.
The number of guests invited to a large wedding can vary greatly, as this can mean two very different things: a large wedding is typically 100 to 200 guests, whereas you can go even larger and invite 250+ guests for a gigantic celebration. It sounds like a lot of party-goers but it can be really fun and festive, too!
Now that you know the different wedding sizes, let’s talk about how many guests you should invite to a wedding. After all, it’s YOUR wedding and should depend on you and your future spouse’s personal preference.
How Many Guests to Invite to a Wedding
The number of guests you invite depends on what YOU want and can reasonably afford.
It varies from couple to couple. Some couples dream of inviting everyone they know and having a huge guest list but need to cut the guest list in order to keep costs down. Others may have the financial ability to pay for a large wedding, but prefer a smaller guest list. As you can see, when you’re deciding how many guests to have a wedding, there are two factors to keep in mind:
How much are you able to spend on your wedding? Budget and guest list are directly proportional.
Each guest simply costs more to your overall wedding budget, as you need to factor in a meal, wedding favor, invitation, place card, and place setting for each guest, among other costs (like a slice of cake, how many entrees to include, ceremony chairs needed, how many programs to order, etc.)
Don’t let these costs intimidate you; they are not as significant as you may think (and I’m not here to overwhelm you, but to state the facts!)
If your heart is set on a venue, but it can only hold so many guests, this may also impact how many wedding guests to invite. For instance, if you want to get married at an outdoor wedding garden but it can only hold 100 guests maximum, your guest list will need to be trimmed down to accommodate the number of guests allowed.
On the other hand, venue may not be as important to you as the size of the wedding guest list, at which case, you’ll simply find a larger venue for your dream of a large wedding.
Moreover, some larger venues require you to have a specific number of guests to fill the room, based on the staff they hire or how much they expect to make cost-wise for the event. This actually makes sense from a design perspective, too, as trying to fill a large ballroom with a small number of guests will make it look uneven and empty.
What Percentage of Wedding Guests Actually Attend?
Ah, this is another thing to consider: what percentage of wedding guests actually attend. This is important to factor into your decision of how many guests to invite because as a rule of thumb, you can expect 75% of wedding guests to actually attend.
This perentage will give you a good estimate of how much you can expect to spend on your budget.
This number is also very important in planning ahead for your wedding. You can likely invite 25% over your guest list maximum to allow a little wiggle room on the number of guests who may decline but only IF (and I really, really stress this “if”) you can comfortably afford to pay for it if all guests at 100% RSVP with a “yes”!
I’ve seen this happen many times: couples invite more guests than they originally planned as “safety guests” to allow a maxmimum amount of guests to attend. Then, all guests responded YES. Now you may actually be paying for more guests than you comfortably expected, so prepare for that possibility, too.
The 75% rule of wedding declines is really an estimate and shouldn’t be seen as a guarantee. Besides, you really want all guests invited to your wedding to respond with yes anyway, as they are your closest family and friends!
How to Decide How Many Guests to Invite to Your Wedding
The best way to decide how many guests should be invited is to talk to your spouse. Communicate right off the bat about the type of wedding you envision. Also, what size families do you have? If you have large families, yu’ll likely be planning a large wedding unless you prefer a very small guest list.
Next, decide on your budget. Does your wedding budget coincide with the number of guests you’d like to invite? Can you afford to invite a large guest list? If so, great! Go with your vision.
If not, perhaps you need to rethink how many guests to invite. This can be done by trimming the guest list in a variety of ways or setting your goal on a large guest list but smaller costs (think: backyard wedding or more affordable venues). It can be done!
I hope this helps to clarify how many guests you should invite to a wedding. If you have more questions, let me know in the comment box below.
P.S. Once you decide how many guests, start budgeting with invitations: you can shop beautiful and affordable invites to get started. :)