How Many People Should I Invite to My Wedding? 2024
Before you start looking at venues and getting engaged, you want to know your budget and guest list ahead of time, since one will certainly be influential on the other. What’s the good news? You’ll have one of the most frustrating parts of planning DONE once you finish your guest list. What’s the bad news? To say the least, figuring out who to invite for your big day can be frustrating. But before you stress, use this guide to figure out not only how many people you should invite to your celebration, but also what kind of wedding you want. Let’s get started!
Let’s talk about some guest list facts first:
What is the average number of guests for a wedding?
Couples are prone to having a smaller guest list over the past few years, but on average they tend to have 130-150. There are some couples who opt for smaller micro weddings (defined as 50 or less guests). The number of guests at larger weddings is typically over 150.
What percentage of wedding guests actually attend?
These factors determine the amount of guests who will RSVP “Yes” to a wedding. Although it has sunk for 2020 and 2021 weddings, expect 75%-80% guests to attend. It might become less common if you have a destination wedding. However, you should always ensure 100% attendance, especially when determining your budget and venue capacity. Do not invite more people than you can afford OR fit in a space.
Should you invite children and plus-ones?
Make sure you are getting an extensive list of guests. A wedding may require you to decide if you want children, but also if they can bring one. You’ll need to establish a general rule for both once you decide. For instance, if you want to only invite your nieces and nephews, your rule for kids should be “immediate family only,” or “kids in the wedding party only.” If you want, you can invite all unmarried guests to meet or meet. If you wish, you can also give plus-ones to guests who have established relationships with them or if you have seen their significant other.
When thinking about children and older ones, consider coworkers as well. There is no rule that requires you to invite your boss or anyone else at work. If you know you want a handful of your work friends there, make sure to tell them to keep their invite on the DL. What if your coworkers keep asking you about your wedding? Gently drop the hint that you have a small wedding with mainly family members in conversation.
Tips: Marriage or couples living together should be invited together, even if you have never met their significant other!
How many invites should your parents get?
Particularly if certain parents contribute more financially, or not at all, this can prove tricky. It is generally recommended that the guest list be split between the couple and both sets of parents. If your guest list is 100, you and your partner invite 50 people, and each set of parents invites 25.
If your parents are not contributing financially and insisting on inviting far more than you can afford, it’s best to discuss their expectations and your budget and venue capacities. Having said that, you can politely remind them that each guest can cost $200 – all in, and then let the conversation begin. Perhaps they would like to contribute more to accommodate their guests, or it might end there. Whatever you choose, make sure the tone of the conversation is open, honest, and respectful. There are few people who are new to this wedding planning thing, and it can be challenging to remind yourself of it from time to time!
What about Out-of-Town Guests?
Don’t assume they won’t be able to attend when you invite out-of town guests who meet your “must-invite” wedding guest list. Send invitations far and wide, and assume that most of your invitees will repeat with a yes until they do not.
How to Handle Unexpected Circumstances
Although we do not like to think about unplanned events, you should also assume that at least one guest will disappoint because of some reason. When a guest does not arrive by the first course, the no-show guest’s table setting should be removed. It’s okay for someone to bring an uninvited guest. If that happens, seating accommodations should be made as soon as possible. You may want to establish a coordinator who oversees and handles these situations.
You may have to reread the wedding guest list a few times before you get it right, and that’s fine. Keep your groom and all parents in touch, and keep the lines of communication open. Are you still lacking advice? Finalize your wedding guest list with the elimination tool from Invitations by Dawn.
How Many People Should I Invite to My Wedding?
Following those guest list basics, here are the steps you should follow to create your guest list…
Step 1: Imagine the Wedding Vibe You Want
Is a black-tie ballroom filled with lots of people an ideal wedding venue? Is a candlelit table with a small dance floor more your style? Think about what your dream wedding will look like with your partner, and the number of guests you will have will unfold from there. Choosing how many people I want to invite to your wedding and how many you wish to invite is two different things! Ensure that the latter is your priority!
Step 2: Create Your Dream Wedding Guest List
You may want to sit down with your partner before your wedding budget creeps in and produce a preliminary list of all the people you would invite in case of a budget issue. Try not to include everyone you’ve met! The list should still focus on those you love, such as your family members, close friends, parents’ friends, and more.
Step 3: Have the Dreaded Wedding Budget Conversation
Now that you have imagined every possible dream scenario, reality begins to set in. As discussed above, you and your partner need to have an honest discussion about how much you want to spend on your wedding, including any contributions from family members.
According to our recent survey of over 700 couples, the average cost of a wedding guest when you factor in food, drinks, rentals, wedding invitations, etc. can range from $200-$500+, and is averaging $300 While the number of guests you invite will directly impact your budget, you don’t have to max out your guest list just because you can. If you have a wedding budget of $30,000 with 80 guests, you will look quite different than a budget with 160 guests, and you will have more flexibility in terms of your venue, catering, and even vendors.
Step 4: Start Making Those Tough Decisions
Once you have your wedding budget in place, you will be able to estimate how many guests you can and want to invite (try to refer back to your “dream wedding vision” whenever in doubt).
Next, select the guests you can’t imagine spending your wedding day without. These include the list of parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, etc. whose ability to attend (or not attend) may even cause your schedule to be altered since they MUST attend.
If you have the A list prepared, you can begin thinking about who will be added next. Remember that not EVERY high school family member or friend needs to be invited! Those second cousins you’ve never met? If you’re stressed, cross them off the list. You should ask yourself these questions when you decide who to invite:
- When was the last time I saw/spoke to this person?
- Would I be sad if they couldn’t attend?
- Was I invited to their wedding?
Once you’ve decided on your children and plus one rule list, you can see how many people you’re getting onto. This will help you in determining your wedding venue search, as well as your budget decisions. Remember to create a guest list that can be pulled from whenever no RSVPs come in. Send them an invitation as soon as you can. Nothing worse than getting an invite with an RSVP by a date that’s already passed!
Step 5: Finalize Your Guest List
When your venue is booked and your guest list is finalized, then the fun begins! Creating your wedding website is important, and then you will begin collecting addresses of your guests. By using an address collection tool, this can be done in the most straightforward way. Minted has a few of the most stylish ones we’ve seen. They allow you to send digital address cards to match your Minted website and invitation.
It greatly depends on your relationship with the person. Let’s explain the limitations of your wedding or guest list and how much you would have enjoyed their presence will ease the awkward moment. If it feels natural, arrange to have dinner or drinks together instead.
You should include the bridal party and close friends and family in the bridal shower guest list. However, this is a much more intimate celebration and should not include anyone who is not invited.
Wedding celebrations usually don’t take place at rehearsal dinners. For a separate expense, the bridal party and immediate family are also included. Having out-of-town guests present can be an appreciated way of showing your appreciation for your extra effort at the wedding, but it is not necessary.
Once you have collected all the addresses you need, they’re saved in your address book and can be used later on for holiday cards, baby announcements, and more events for your wedding day.
Have you made a guest list for your wedding? What’s happening so far? Can you tell us your biggest hurdles? Let us know below in the comments section!