When planning your big day, one of the most important decisions (besides choosing the person you want to spend the rest of your life with) is deciding how many of your closest friends and family members you want to invite to the party.
The truth is, there's no magic number that fits all weddings. It depends on your budget, venue size and, let's be real, how much you like your Great Aunt Betty.
Generally speaking, the average number of guests at a wedding in the US is around 150 people. But hey, if you want to keep it small and intimate, go for it! If you want to go all out and invite everyone you've ever met, that's cool too! We'll help you navigate the guest list maze and make sure your day is all about you and your significant other.
What's Your Budget?
This is probably the first thing you should look at, before deciding on the number of guests you'll invite. Keep the following things in mind:
- Cost per guest: What is the estimated cost per guest, taking into account factors such as venue, food, transportation, and accommodations?
- Venue cost: What is the estimated cost for venue rental per guest?
- Catering: Think of how much you'll pay for the catering and the different diets and intolerances you'll have to cover.
- Photography: High-quality pictures are pricey and something you'll most likely want to invest in.
- Music & entertainment: This can include the cost of a DJ or band, as well as any additional entertainment you may want, such as a photo booth or fireworks.
- Wedding favors and gifts: Some couples choose to give small gifts or favors to their guests, which should also be considered in your budget
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Will the Guests Be Able to Take a Plus One?
That's something you should decide. Some guests may be in a relationship and would want to bring their partner with them. Or, for the adventurous singles out there who want to take one of their friends as their "plus one" to make sure they have someone to dance with and make them feel more at 'home' at the party. Either way, if your guests can bring a plus one, you should keep that in mind, including the extra resources and costs you would have to take care of.
Will Kids Be Allowed at the Wedding?
Nowadays, a lot of couples prefer not to have kids at their wedding, while others may limit it to only those from their immediate family. Ultimately, the decision should be based on what will make the couple and their guests most comfortable. Whatever your choice is, ensure you make it before you finalize the invitations and let the guests confirm whether they will bring their kids with them.
How Many People Will Actually Attend?
Think of how many people will actually attend the wedding. On average, around 75% to 80% are usually expected to come from the guest list. Factors such as location, time of year, and the formality of the event can also influence attendance. For example, a destination wedding or a wedding on a holiday weekend may result in a lower attendance rate, while a more formal, black-tie event may have a higher attendance rate.
How Many People Will Your Parents Invite?
Traditionally, the couple's parents and close family and friends are usually invited to the wedding, but if your parents or parents-in-law are chipping in financially, they might want to invite some of their own guests too. To avoid any confusion and drama, it's a good idea to have a chat with your parents and parents-in-law about how many guests they each get to invite.
Who do You Want to Invite?
Here comes the most important question - who do you actually want to invite to your wedding? After all, this is YOUR wedding and the goal should be to invite the people who are most important to you and your partner. If your budget can only accommodate a certain amount of people, then invite people you would want to enjoy your special day with. Don't feel coerced to invite certain people just because of traditional aspects.
How to Choose Your Guests:
1. Where will your wedding take place?
What venue will you choose for your wedding? Will it be a place with a big ballroom? A historical monument perhaps? Or would you prefer a cozier place, like a restaurant? You would have to adapt your guest list according to the size of the venue and the vibe you're going for.
2. Building Your Guest List
Start by creating a draft of the guest list you had in mind. Here are a few steps that will help you with that:
1. Start with close family members: The first step in choosing guests for your wedding is to invite close family members, such as parents, grandparents, siblings, and children.
2. Close friends: After family, consider inviting your closest friends who have been a significant part of your life.
3. Plus-Ones: Consider whether or not to allow guests to bring a plus-one, and if so, who should be included.
4. Communicate with your parents: If your parents are contributing to the wedding, it's important to communicate with them about their guest list and come to a compromise.
5. Children: If children are allowed to come, make sure to add them to your list.
3. Make a Decision
Here comes the tough part - it's time to make the tough decision on who to extend invitations to, considering all factors we've mentioned.
Before you finalize your guest list, figure out how many people you can afford to invite based on your budget. Then, look at your draft list and see if it matches up. If it does, great! You're all set. But if you've got more people on the list than you can afford, you'll need to cut some names.
We suggest you keep anyone on your 'VIP list: Parents, family members, and close friends. And for the rest, it's best you ask yourself the following questions:
- How close are they to you and your partner?
- Have they played an important role in your life?
- How will their presence impact the overall dynamic and atmosphere of your wedding?
- Do you have any unresolved conflicts or tensions with them that may cause issues on your special day?
- Will not inviting them to cause any potential harm or hurt feelings?
Remember, the most important thing is that you and your partner are surrounded by the people you care about most on your special day. So, take the time to carefully consider your guest list, and make the best decision for you and your partner. We hope our guide has simplified the decision-making process for you. Either way, no matter how challenging this will be, we know you've GOT this.
*Make your guests' lives easier, and help them find the perfect outfit for the wedding. At Sumissura you can find a wide variety of made-to-measure clothes for women, which you can design by yourself!