How Many Guests Should You Invite to Your Wedding?

Planning your big day can be a lot of fun, although there are many tough decisions to be made along the way. While it would be wonderful if you could invite everyone you know to share in your big day, this isn’t always reasonable or cost-effective. There are many things you need to consider when deciding who gets a coveted spot on your guest list and who will need to be content with pictures from your wedding.

Think about your space

The first thing you need to consider is the space you have available at the wedding venue. If your church or wedding hall will only hold twenty people, then you can only have twenty people at your wedding. However, if you have a large venue, you have many more options for creating your list. Just don’t try to squeeze more people into your wedding than the recommended capacity – you’ll want to be sure that your guests are comfortable during the ceremony and that there’s plenty of room to move around in the event of an emergency.

Cost is a major factor

Apart from space considerations, your wedding budget will be the biggest determining factor of how many people you can invite. When determining your “per-head” cost, you’ll need to consider the cost of the venue, the cost of the buffet and drinks, and the cost of the reception. Inviting fifty people will cost much less than inviting three hundred. A typically wedding buffet can run over $20/person – when you multiply that by the number of guests you’re thinking of inviting, you’ll see that the cost can quickly add up.

You must consider feelings

While cost and space can be major factors, you also have to consider the feelings of your family and friends. Some people will be very offended if they aren’t invited. Therefore, you need to first make a list of who must be invited – such as mom, dad, and immediate family members. Once you have that basic list figured out, you can start adding in friends and coworkers, up to your maximum number of guests. Of course, make sure you include both the bride and groom’s families before you start adding friends and colleagues!

Consider the number that will attend

One of the most frustrating parts of planning a wedding is that just because you invite 200 people, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have 200 people in attendance. The number of guests that arrive will depend on a number of factors. Generally, it’s safe to estimate that about 85% of local invites will attend, while only 50-65% of the out-of-town guests you invite will show up. You also have to consider the number of single invitees that will bring a date, which usually ends up being about 75% of your single invites. Therefore, you can probably invite a few more people to your wedding than you have space for. However, you still want to be conservative, as it’s much easy to invite than to un-invite your guests.

Figuring out the perfect number of people to invite to your wedding is never an exact science. It will take time and negotiation between you and your partner to decide on the final list. The best thing you can do is to make sure the most important people are invited and then add in whoever else you would like. Invite a few more people than you have space for, but watch your RSVP list to make sure you haven’t gone overboard.

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Filed under: Inexpensive Weddings,Invitations — vicky at 1:29 pm on Friday, March 27, 2009