There are so many fun parts to the wedding planning process. Choosing THE dress. Styling your wedding party in the perfect looks. Tasting cakes, sampling food, choosing the entertainment.
We could go on and on!
But there’s one part of planning that some couples find a bit tricky:
Deciding what the guest count should be.
Rest assured, we’re here to let you know that figuring out your guest count doesn’t have to be hard! We have all the tips and tricks to help you decide how many people to invite to your special day.
This is how to determine how many people you should invite to your wedding:
How Many Guests Do Most Couples Invite to Their Wedding?
According to a 2022 survey by The Knot, the average wedding guest list size in the U.S. was 117 people. Of course, some couples invite far less, and some invite waaaay more!
Here’s how wedding sizes typically break down:
That said, not all of your wedding invitation RSVPs sent will be a “yes.” RSVPify reports that, on average, only 83% of guests RSVP “yes”, while the other 17% RSVP “no” (or don’t respond at all).
For destination weddings, the yesses are even less. Travel expenses and time constraints make it difficult for some guests to attend a destination wedding. So “yes” responses usually fall in the 60-70% range.
If you’re planning a destination wedding, send your save the dates about nine months ahead to give guests enough time to plan for an out-of-town trip. It’s also a good idea to provide accommodation options so your guests can determine how much they’ll need to spend on hotels.
And for those who can’t attend, consider live-streaming your wedding ceremony so they can still see you say, “I do!”
Things to Consider When Creating Your Wedding Guest List
Selecting your perfect number of guests can be easy, and you can make your decision based on a few different things, like:
The wedding budget often determines who belongs on the invite list, but a big budget doesn’t mean you must have a large wedding. At the end of the day, it’s more about creating the experience you want for yourself and your guests!
You can have a big wedding on a small budget by:
You can also throw an intimate wedding on a big budget.
Inviting fewer people will allow you to opt for a more upscale venue and serve more lavish food and drinks. Or, you can splurge on better entertainment or more entertainment options. For example, you can have a band and a DJ or have dancers or performers at your cocktail hour.
Your Venue Size
If your heart is set on a specific wedding venue, venue capacity may dictate how many people to invite.
For example, if the venue only holds 100 people, you must keep your guest list under 100. On the contrary, if you plan to hold your wedding reception in a grand ballroom that seats 200, you might want to invite closer to 200 guests so the room doesn’t look empty.
Your Wedding Vibe
There’s no such thing as the “perfect wedding size.” It’s different for every couple!
Some couples want a micro wedding with a dozen guests. Others want 200 people (or more) to celebrate with them on their big day.
It’s entirely up to you! However, a good rule of thumb is to figure out what you want your wedding vibe to be, then create your guest list around that vision.
How You Want to Spend Your Time at the Wedding Reception
Do you want to spend your entire night walking around the room and quickly thanking 300 people for attending? Or would you rather spend more quality time with fewer guests involved?
Wedding day etiquette calls for the happy couple to visit each table and thank each guest for coming. The more guests you have, the more time this will eat up. That’s time that you might rather spend dancing and sipping champagne with your closest friends!
Cultural or Religious Traditions
Some couples lean on their cultural or religious traditions to create a guest list and determine their wedding size.
If you thought the Crazy Rich Asians wedding was big (they had about 250 guests), that’s small by some cultural standards. In India, it’s common for couples to invite 500 guests or more!
How to Create Your Guest List
Once you have a general idea of what the size of the wedding will be, it’s time to create the guest list.
Start by creating your ideal list of everyone you want to attend — with plus ones. See what the number is. Then, decide whether to add more names or scale the list back based on your budget, venue, and other considerations.
Ideally, each spouse-to-be should choose 50% of the list. However, if one or more of your parents are paying or contributing to the wedding budget, they should have some say. That’s especially true if they want some of their own friends or colleagues to attend.
If your initial list has too few or too many people, you can hit the perfect number by asking yourself the following questions:
Who Are the Must-Haves?
Must-haves include your immediate family members, such as parents, siblings, and grandparents. Close friends and members of your wedding party should also be on this list.
Extended family — such as second cousins and their significant others — may or may not make the cut.
Will Every Guest Get a Plus One?
Eliminating “plus ones” is the quickest way to scale back on your guest list, but it’s not always possible. Inviting married and engaged couples, couples that live together, and long-time partners is proper wedding etiquette. Yes, even if you only know one of them.
Should you eliminate plus ones for singles, be consistent — everyone gets a plus one, or no one does.
Should We Invite Children?
Another way to cut back on the number of people is to not invite children under a certain age. It’s not uncommon for weddings to be child-free, so your loved ones with little ones will understand!
Whether you’re dreaming of a micro wedding or a 300+ person bash, it’s totally up to the couple to decide what type of wedding they want!
So think about how you want your big day to look and feel. Think about what you want your wedding style and vibe to be. Consider how and who you want to celebrate with.
And above all else, have fun doing it!