There is no easy answer to the question ‘how many people should I invite to my wedding?’ Traditionally, weddings have been a formal affair with hundreds or even thousands of guests. However, as times change and couples are getting married later in life, it has become more common for there to be fewer guests at the wedding. There are several factors that go into deciding on an invite list size, such as budget, venue capacity, culture/tradition, and personal preference.
Things to Consider While Preparing the Wedding Guest List
- Consider venue capacity. Suppose you have a small wedding with limited seating. In that case, it is unlikely that guests will be able to bring their significant other and kids(if applicable). This can lead to hurt feelings among your friends who cannot attend because they don’t want to leave their partner or kids at home alone. So the number of people on your guest list should consider how many seats are available for them!
- Take budget into account when deciding on invite numbers. The more money you spend per person, the fewer people you’ll need to invite. For example, if one invites 200 guests but spends $100/guest, this equals $20k while inviting 100 guests and spending $200/guest equals $20k.
- Consider how much time and effort you need to put into inviting people, as well as what the guest response rate is likely to be for your invite list size.
Start with These Steps to Decide How Many Guests to Invite
Not sure where to start? Here are some tips for you.
Prepare a Preliminary Guest List with Your Partner
When you and your partner first start planning for a wedding, it can be hard to figure out how many people should attend. This is especially true if some of those decisions are made with the help of family members who may want different things than what you’re looking for. The best way to avoid this confusion is by starting with two lists – one involving just the two of us as a couple (preliminary guest list, aka ‘A list’). Another that includes all extended family members too will be the secondary guest list.
- The preliminary guest list will include only parents, close friends, and immediate family members that we want in our ceremony or reception. Some couples may not have any children but still need grandparents there, so make sure they know they should be on both lists!
- More on the secondary guest list later.
A wedding is an opportunity for you to let the world see how much your best friends mean to you. It’s a time when everyone who means something in your life gets together and celebrates with one another.
Your best friends will be with their new spouses, so why not invite them as well? The couple has just gone through all of the work it takes to get married, from planning down to picking out flowers. They deserve the chance to share that day with those who have been there since before they said: “I do.”
Create ‘A list’ and ‘B list.’
We have already discussed whom you should include in your A list. Next, let’s discuss the B list.
You have many people to think about when deciding whom you should include in your B list. This includes family members, close friends, and acquaintances that are not as involved with the wedding party or other guests, like distant relatives. Think of them like a second-tier group that would most likely be invited if space is available after all others on A list invitations are taken care of.
It’s also important to note that some couples choose to only send one invitation for their wedding because they feel it’s more inclusive (although this may not always be an option depending on where you’re getting married).
If there is enough room left over at the end of writing out all your A list invites, then invite those from the B list first before inviting anyone else!
FAQ on ‘How Many People Should I Invite to My Wedding?’
How much each wedding guest typically cost?
Most guests, or the majority of your wedding guest list, should be on a per plate basis. For example, if you invite 200 people to your wedding and offer them dinner for $20 each – that’s only $4000!
However, if you have 100 people at your reception but are paying individually – it would cost about $14000.
More guests may opt-in if there is an open bar, but technically, more money will still need to be paid out.
The average cost could vary depending on what type of venue one chooses. In addition, other factors such as appetizers, cake cutting services, etc., are also some determining factors of the total costs. However, as per data, we recommend keeping a budget of about $231 per wedding guest.
If you have a smaller guest list and want to save on catering, it is advised that you select one main entree option for all guests as opposed to two or three options so that only one plate needs to be served per person. This will also help save money in food costs by reducing waste from unused sides and appetizers.
Should I invite more people than my actual capacity?
According to wedding planning experts, around 75-85% of the wedding guests attend on the wedding day. Here’s the breakdown:
- Local Guests: 85% attendance rate.
- Out of Towners: 55% attendance rate.
- Destination Wedding: 35% attendance rate.
The wedding planner experts recommend that you invite more people than your capacity. This will allow for some no-shows, and you can adjust the venue accordingly to accommodate them as well.
Should I invite my single friends with a plus-one?
Not everyone is in a relationship, and we don’t believe in increasing guest count unnecessarily. We recommend not inviting your single friends with a plus-one.
However, if you’re inviting couples and some of them are single, we would invite their partner to the wedding as well.
If that sounds like too much work for what could be an awkward situation on the wedding day, just don’t bother with it and let people bring whomever they want or nothing at all!
Should I invite my extended family members?
Inviting extended family can be good either way. It is often a good idea for those who are not married to invite them with their significant other or as singles.
If you invite an entire extended family and some of the members are single, then make sure that they have someone else at the wedding to talk to during dinner.
You can avoid inviting distant relatives if you are not close to them. However, some relatives will be hurt if you don’t invite them on your wedding day. We get it. It’s perfectly fine. Sometimes we’ve made a hard decision that makes sense.
You can live stream your wedding so that all those who didn’t get wedding invitations can enjoy the ceremony.
How to answer someone who is not invited and asks about an invitation?
This is where you have to be diplomatic. If you are planning on not inviting someone or being invited and declined with no explanation, be upfront about it.
One best answer can be to point out that you might have to cut back on the number of people on your wedding guest list due to financial constraints.
Otherwise, try to include them in the conversation as much as possible without making them feel uncomfortable. For example, tell your wedding guest list that you would like to invite their spouse too because we want to make sure everyone has a plus one for our wedding!
If this is an angry friend who was never close enough for you two to talk about personal stuff but still hangs around, occasionally ask them how they found out – what did they see? You might also ask why their anger seems misplaced now; do they think of themselves more as a family than when receiving an invitation? This could help identify where things went wrong and alleviate their anger.
Who are the people I can put off of my wedding guest list?
- Relatives from aunts, uncles, and grandparents
- Old friends you barely talk to anymore
- Coworkers you don’t like very much
Apart from these, you should put no one off of the wedding guest list. If someone cannot attend your wedding due to distance or illness, then it’s ok for them not to be there.
However, if they are invited but cannot make it because their spouse is in town that weekend with their family or something similar, invite them anyway! And never ever have an open invite at your wedding where everyone can come without RSVPing first. It could lead to overcrowding and other issues.
Things to Consider while Inviting People to a Destination Wedding
It’s no secret that destination weddings are expensive, sometimes extravagantly expensive! So, you have to consider the followings before you prepare the wedding guest list and invite people;
- The location of the wedding
- Any wedding minimums for the venue you chose to host your wedding. Destination weddings are often hosted at resorts that have a guest list/minimum. Don’t forget to check how many people they will allow in a venue. Make sure there’s enough space and money available for all of your wedding guests before inviting everyone!
- How much does the transportation cost? Transportation is one of the most expensive parts of a destination wedding. Knowing how much it costs will help you better set your guest list and know the budget for this aspect of your event.
If it seems like things might get out of hand with costs, consider limiting who can come from far away instead. It may be worth sending an invitation only to close family members or friends without spouses or children. Make exceptions where necessary (like groom’s parents, bride’s parents, and closest friends!) but keep the number small so you don’t go broke.
Common Pitfalls to avoid when inviting wedding guests
Don’t invite more people than you can afford to feed.
Plan your guest list. If you invite too many people, it can be a major blow to the wedding budget and cause unforeseen financial stress.
Figure out how much money you have for food per person at your wedding reception. Take this number as a starting point when deciding on an appropriate wedding guest count so that things don’t get out of hand with catering costs in general and alcohol consumption specifically.
Keep track of what’s coming up during the period surrounding your wedding days, such as family gatherings or business trips where some attendees may not make it back just in time for the big event. Letting these folks know that they won’t be able to attend is one way to manage overages without offending anyone unnecessarily.
Don’t forget to include children on your guest lists
If you have the budget, children should never be left off your guest lists. Children bring a lot to any social gathering- in terms of colors and joy. They make everything more exciting!
The kids will also enjoy themselves just as much if not more than adults do at weddings because they won’t know what’s going on anyway.
Allowing the parents to bring kids can also be a blessing for you.
This means that the parents can bring their kids to your wedding without worrying about them being bored or left unsupervised at home, making it easier for all parties involved and allowing more of those precious family moments to happen.
Hire an event planner to help with the planning process
An experienced wedding planner can help you decide how many guests you should invite to your wedding. A wedding planner will take your budget and the size of the venue into consideration when suggesting an appropriate number. Wedding planners can also advise on how to select which guests you should invite and how to notify them about their invitation.
Use their experience to save big on your special day!
Send invitations early enough so that guests have time to RSVP and book travel arrangements.
If you plan a destination wedding, send invitations at least six to eight months in advance with plenty of lead time to book travel arrangements.
To encourage guests to reserve their vacation days well in advance, make it clear that the invitation is for the wedding festivities only.
Each guest has different needs when it comes to lodging choices because not everyone wants to stay at a hotel; some may prefer camping, while others might opt for a more rustic experience and stay in a tent or cabin.
A wedding invitation will typically include the date, time, location, and other guests of honor such as parents or grandparents. For a traditional wedding, a good rule is to invite people at least two months before the special day.
Send a reminder email before the event if you haven’t heard from them yet
It’s a good gesture to send the invited a gentle reminder email before the event. This will remind them of their invite and make sure they’re not coming just to you on a whim. Don’t be too pushy, but don’t forget about it either if someone hasn’t responded in two or three weeks after getting your initial invitation!
This is one of those things that happen all the time with weddings (it’s even happened at my wedding).
The important thing here is to act quickly: send out an update and ask for clarification from those who may have changed their mind so there will be enough food/ seats left over as possible when guests arrive. For example, you can say something like, “We have a list of who is coming, but we’re still waiting for replies from you. I hope you are able to make it. If not please let me know.”
This will also give people another opportunity to RSVP and can save them some embarrassment if they forgot in the first place!
Your invitees should be aware that there may need to be more food or seats available for large groups of guests than initially planned. Be sure to discuss this with your bride/ groom before sending out any invitations. Everyone knows how much extra money should be on hand when inviting anyone else.
Save money & invite other people- This one might seem like common sense (or even lazy), but feel free to invite those immediate family members whom you know won’t be able to make it and invite some other friends as well.
Include directions to your wedding venue in case they’re unfamiliar with the area
Including the directions to your wedding venue if they’re unfamiliar with the area is a great idea. The map should be easy to find and can even be embedded into the post, so you don’t have to link away from it when going over directions for guests.
*If possible, include driving or public transportation information*
Find out what food will be served so that you can make appropriate meal requests on behalf of your guests who have dietary restrictions (i.e., vegetarian, gluten-free)
When you invite guests to your wedding, you need to find out what food will be served and make appropriate meal requests for your guests with dietary restrictions. If there are certain dishes that they cannot eat or if the menu is gluten-free, let them know in advance to prepare for it ahead of time.
Ask how many people will be attending – this way, you’ll also know whether a cocktail hour would suit as an appetizer or not because this may affect seating arrangements too.
Final Words- How Many Guests Should You Invite to the Wedding Party?
It depends on your budget, venue, family members, friend circle, and coworkers. Discuss with your bride/groom and finalize the number that suits you best.
Everyone has a different choice, and we can only give you the best estimates. Here’s the summary of everything we’ve discussed above.
- The average cost for each wedding guest is $231.
- On average, 85% of all invited guests attend on the wedding day.
- The costs of a destination wedding are much higher than a traditional wedding.
- People you should never forget to invite- parents, grandparents, best friends, coworkers with whom you share strong and lasting friendships.
We hope this blog post has given you all the insights you should carefully consider before preparing your wedding guest list.
Considering the above tips carefully we are confident that you can answer the question ‘How many people should I invite to my wedding?’ If there’s anything else that needs clarification or anyone wants to share their thoughts, please comment below!