How many people should I invite to my Wedding
Wedding planning can be a challenge, and one of the biggest questions you’ll have to ask yourself is how many people should I invite to my wedding? In the United States, the average size of a wedding is around 150 guests. That may sound like a lot, but it's really not so bad when you factor in family, close friends, and co-workers who will all want to be part of your special day. Organizing your guest list is an important step in the wedding planning process, so make sure you take the time to consider all the people who should be invited! With a little bit of thought and strategizing, you can create the perfect wedding with just the right number of guests.
WHAT IS THE PERCENTAGE OF INVITED GUESTS THAT COME TO THE WEDDING
No matter how many people you choose to invite, it's important to know that the average percentage of guests who actually attend a wedding is about 75%. So, if you invite 100 guests, be prepared for about 75 of them showing up! You may find if you are having a short notice ceremony, or a destination Wedding, the number could be lower. Now that we have this figure, let’s get organizing!
VENUE & BUDGET
This is where you need to decide what is important to you and your partner. Many wedding venues come with package deals, and this allows you to work out the cost of each guest. So early on you’ll need to decide if the number of guests takes priority over a desirable venue. Look at your budget realistically. Divide the reception portion of your budget by the number of guests. This will give you a cost per head. If this amount is lower than your venues cost per head, then it’s time to make a decision. Change the venue, or change the number of guests. There is nothing wrong with reducing your guest list, but you also want to make sure you include those important to you. We have some tips on how to help organize this.
GROUP YOUR GUESTS INTO CATEGORIES
Many couples have large extended family, or even have parents helping financially. This may make you feel obligated to shape the guest list. A good way to balance this is to put your guests into priority groups. Read on for group suggestions.
HOW BIG SHOULD I MAKE MY BRIDAL PARTY?
When deciding who to invite to be a part of your bridal party, it's important to take into account both the number of people you feel comfortable with and the logistics of their participation. If you plan on having an intimate event for only close family and friends, then you may want to keep your bridal party small. You can have one maid or matron of honor along with one or two bridesmaids. Alternatively, if you are planning a large celebration then it wouldn't be unreasonable to have several.
CLOSE FAMILY MEMBERS AT MY WEDDING
These are the guests who you can’t do without. Begin drawing up a list of family members who are important to both of you and that you would like to share such an important day with. Think carefully about which relatives to include; siblings, parents, grandparents and any children should be top priorities. To help work out who is close family, ask yourself a few questions. Do you contact them regularly, or only once every few years? Do they know what job you have or if you have a pet? You’ll know who is close.
WHAT FRIENDS TO INVITE TO MY WEDDING
You want to include the most important people in your life – close friends, mentors, etc. Those people who have seen you at your best and worst and are still there for you. Chances are you were invited to their wedding, or see yourself at their future wedding. You will want these people there to share in your joy and you can see being their friend 20 years from now.
THE WEDDING PLUS ONE
This is where your budget can come undone. In fairness, most wedding guests actually have a better time if they bring their own partner or a friend. However, in reality it is not always possible to cater for everyone. Most guests understand that if you don’t know their partner, it’s perfectly acceptable for their other half not to be invited. A good general rule is a guest can bring a plus 1 if they are married, in a long term partnership, or if you are a good friend with the partner. If you find you have a large number of solo friends, who may not know many people, a good tip is to organize some wedding entertainment or activities for them to get to know other guests and enjoy their time.
KIDS AT THE WEDDING
This is entirely a personal choice, children can bring delight and spontaneity, but also potentially cause disruption if not properly catered for. With the extra cost of feeding the children, and having a larger venue with a kids play space, they may also need an onsite babysitting service so parents can relax and someone is keeping a close eye on behaviour. When you ask how many people should I invite to my wedding? You should also think about whether to include teenagers, and babies. You need to decide if the children on your guests list are part of the day or not. Alternatively, you may wish to have children who are family members only attend the ceremony, and then head home. Keeping a consistent rule and communicating that to all of your guests ahead of time is also helpful so there is no confusion or upset.
HOW TO INCLUDE WORK COLLEGUES
Realistically, you are not expected to invite your boss or work peers. However, as we spend much of our lives at work, it’s natural to have close friendships in that space and different work relationship dynamics. If you are worried how uninvited work peers will take it, word those invited work friends up early on and ask them to keep the invite to themselves. If other uninvited colleges ask you details, just mention you are having a smaller intimate ceremony and leave it at that.
EXTENDED FAMILY IN YOUR GUEST LIST
Generally speaking, when it comes to close family members such as parents, siblings, and grandparents, most couples tend to invite them regardless of their budget or venue size. However, if your extended family is large or scattered throughout multiple states or countries, it's important to consider which relatives are closest to you before extending invitations – especially if you are limited in space or finances. Although it’s lovely to have family connect, your Wedding does not have to be a family reunion unless you want it to be. The day is about you and your partner and those you love celebrating your commitment with one another. Of course, weddings are traditional and, in many cultures, extended family take precedent over your personal friends. This is where you can ‘negotiate’ with your parents and give them their own guest list budget!
HOW MANY PEOPLE SHOULD YOUR PARENTS INVITE TO YOUR WEDDING?
If your Parents are footing the bill, understandably they may wish to include some people who are close to them. Have a chat with them about coming up with a % of guests that they can invite, such as 20%. A good tip is to only commit to a % number early on instead of an actual number. That way if you need to reduce the guests list due to a change of venue, your parents understand they need to alternate their guest numbers. Being open and respectful is important here. Should your parents not actually be committing financially, setting a time aside to talk one on one about the realities of your budget is important.
THE BACK UP WEDDING GUEST LIST
The backup wedding guest list is an essential part of any wedding planning! It’s the backup plan for when unexpected circumstances mean that some of your original guests can’t attend. If you have already paid for the venue and the number of guests, why not extend further invitations once your RSVPs are returned. A backup wedding guest list is essentially a list of people that can be invited to your wedding at short notice, should the need arise. This could include family and friends, or even people you haven’t seen in years. Having a full venue will help keep that celebratory atmosphere alive.
However, if budget is something you are trying to balance, then it could be a blessing in disguise that you don’t have everyone able to make it. A good tip is to have 2 sets of invitations with different RSVP dates. Digital Invitations that are online are a perfect for this, as you can change the displayed RSVP date and other details immediately, without having to worry about re-printing invitations.
WHAT IF I WANT TO INVITE MORE PEOPLE TO MY WEDDING THAN MY BUDGET ALLOWS?
Going over your wedding budget can be a stressful situation, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed when you want to invite more wedding guests than it allows. A budget is a balancing act. Can you save in other areas to boost your reception budget? Is your venue open to negotiation? Perhaps there are some aspects to the reception you can do yourself or with friends to save on costs. Early organization and creative problem solving is key to having the best wedding possible for your budget.
NEED SOME MORE HELP?
Your wedding is a day to remember for the rest of your life. So, when you ask - how many people should I invite to my wedding? The answer really depends on what kind of wedding day you want to have. Regardless of the size or scope of your wedding, it’s important to make sure that everyone who attends feels like they are an honored guest at this special event. With so many details to think about when planning your wedding, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Motion Stamp can help take some of the stress out of preparing for your big day with our stunning online animated invitations and tools. Visit us today and see how we can help make your dream wedding a reality.