Creating a wedding guest list can be stressful. You’re probably wondering: How many people should I invite to the wedding? Who do I invite? Should I only invite family and close friends, or add extended family, coworkers, and acquaintances?
How Many People Should You Invite To The Wedding?
The number of people invited to your wedding depends on several factors, including your venue, budget, and wedding theme. The team at City Hall Wedding has some basic guidelines on inviting people to your wedding and tips on creating a wedding guest list.
5 Things To Consider When Deciding How Big Your Wedding Should Be
According to Brides magazine, the average wedding size in the US is about 160 people, with most weddings falling between 100 and 200 guests. However, there isn’t a set number of how many people you should invite to your wedding. Guest lists can be as small as 10 people or as large as 300.
Ultimately, it comes down to the bride and groom’s personal preferences. That being said, here are some factors that should determine your wedding guest list size.
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What is the vibe of your wedding?
Most people try to achieve a certain vibe with their wedding, whether it’s a small, private affair or a large party for several few hundred people. Smaller weddings are more personal and give you more time to interact with each guest on a one-on-one basis.
However, larger weddings are more active and having people from all parts of your life can be very satisfying. The main downside of a large wedding is that you probably won’t be able to give time and attention to each guest.
Ultimately, the choice to have a big blowout or small private ceremony is completely down to personal preference and what makes you feel comfortable.
Consider your budget
As of 2020, the average cost for a wedding in the US was $19,000. The size of your wedding depends on how much you want to spend on guest amenities, like food, drinks, and space. Most experts agree that food and drink budgets for guests should take up about 40% of your total wedding budget.
For example, if you want to spend $10,000 on your ceremony and reception, about $4,000 of that should go towards guest expenses. You need to match your guest budget to a price you are willing to pay. Assuming an average per-plate catering cost of $40, $4,000 of food should be just enough for 100 guests, give or take a dozen or so.
Additionally, more guests mean a bigger budget for space. A good rule of thumb for finding a venue is at least 10 square feet per guest. So if you want to invite 70 people, you need a venue that’s at least 700 square feet. Keep in mind that most guests won’t be using all their allotted space at once, so you have some wiggle room.
Don’t forget about plus-ones and children
When considering how many people to invite to your wedding, keep in mind that your wedding guests will often want to bring guests of their own, such as a plus-one or children. So when creating your guest list, you also need to factor in how many additional people your guests will bring.
Make sure that your invitations clearly state guest policies, such as whether the reception is adults only. Whatever your chosen guest policy, make sure that you enforce it equally for all invitees. Generally speaking, you should automatically allow a plus one for any guests who:
- Are married
- Are in a serious relationship with a significant other
- Are in your or your spouse’s wedding parties
- Won’t know other people (e.g., a college roommate or coworker)
If you notice that your guest list is getting too large, start by removing invitees from your list instead of getting rid of plus-ones.
Factor in no-shows
Pretty much every wedding will have some guests who either do not RSVP or don’t show up on the big day. Other guests might have a last-minute emergency preventing them from coming. Many couples end up sending a second round of invitations after initial RSVPs.
When sending out your initial invitations, do not send more than the total number of guests you can afford. In fact, it can be beneficial to deliberately send fewer invitations than your budget so you can ask your second-string of invitees in case anyone declines.
Talk to your spouse about who to invite to the wedding
Some people get caught up in the process of planning their dream wedding and forget that a wedding is about two people. So instead of asking yourself, “How many people should I invite to my wedding?”, consider asking “How many people do we want to invite to our wedding?”
You and your spouse might have different ideas about how big your wedding should be. You may want a small gathering with only close friends while they want a large blowout with everyone and their grandmothers present.
Be sure to be fair about inviting people from both sides of the family. For example, your cousins might be jealous if they do not get an invite, but your spouse’s cousins do. When it comes to a situation like this, it’s best to keep things even.
Whatever you decide, make sure you and your spouse are on the same page. Wedding planning is already frustrating enough, and you don’t need the extra friction of a guest list argument.
The most important thing is that you invite people you care about and with who you want to share your special day. There is no one answer to the question of “How many people should I invite to my wedding?”, but you should base your decision on your budget and personal preferences.
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