How Many People Should I Invite To My Wedding?

February 3, 2023

Some tasks are simply more enjoyable than others when it comes to wedding planning. Dessert tasting? Fun. Selecting the venue? A lot of fun. But how do you decide how many guests to invite? This can be one of the most challenging and frustrating wedding planning tasks. 

It's not an easy assignment, regardless of whether your natural inclination is to invite everyone you've ever met, keep it small and private, or just something in the middle. Parents and in-laws frequently have ideas as well, which can make things more difficult.

To help you figure out what your final wedding guest count should be, we are breaking down a few things to consider when creating your guest list.

What’s The Average Number Of People To Invite To A Wedding?

Shortly after the proposal, your mind will probably immediately start wondering, "How many people should I invite to my wedding?" This is a huge question and task as it can dictate where you can host your wedding and how much the wedding will cost. 

It's a question that plagues all couples who are planning their weddings. Whether you envision a lavish Italian estate wedding or an intimate ceremony in your backyard or at city hall, you'll need to decide how many family and friends to invite to your wedding day. 

The most significant determining factor in how many people you invite is your wedding budget. The funds you have available for your wedding day will directly impact the number of people you can afford to host. So the first step is determining your wedding budget. 

What Percentage Of Wedding Guests Attend?

Considering the number of guests who will attend is another tip for determining how many guests to invite to your wedding. Various sources claim that the typical attendance range for wedding guests is 70- 85% of who you invite. So, if you send out invites to 100 people to your wedding, you can typically anticipate 70 to 85 of them to show up. 

Given this situation, consider increasing your goal invite list by roughly 10% in light of the likelihood that not everyone will come. But, of course, it's crucial not to overdo it if adopting this strategy—if almost all of your invitees reply "Yes," make sure you can still accommodate that amount of people.

Photo Credits: David Bastianoni

How Many Guests Are Considered A Small Wedding?

Small weddings can be any size but typically have between 20 and 80 guests. They are just as romantic and possibly much less expensive than a big event.

How Many People RSVP To A Wedding?

Although there isn't a secret formula to forecast exactly how many guests would say "no" (believe us, if we could foretell the future for you, we would), it's safe to assume that about 15% of guests will decline your invitation(and it will increase to 20–30% for a destination wedding).

Good to know, but what now? You may get a general idea of the final headcount by knowing how many "nos" you might receive. It will also help you decide whether you need to order more invitations for it and whether you should create a B list of people you'd like to invite but are still determining if you have room for just yet. Our suggestion? Organize everything on your A list and B list simultaneously.

You can determine whether there is room to mail your round-two invites once the RSVPs start coming in. However, to give your B-list guests enough time to make travel and lodging arrangements, invite them as soon as possible. 

Consider mailing out your A-list invitations a little earlier than usual because the later you send more invites, the more apparent it will be that they weren't on the initial list. If you're still waiting for RSVPs, follow these instructions.

How Many Guests Is A Good Size Wedding?

Well, this is best answered by whatever is comfortable for you. Because everyone's idea of what a “good size wedding” looks like is different. And that’s ok. One thing to remember while planning your guest list is how easy it will be for you to interact with your guests. 

Proper wedding etiquette dictates that you spend a little time and thank each of your guests for attending while at the wedding. This can take some time when you have an extensive guest list. So, it’s something to consider. Because most weddings last about 5 hours, you can miss most of your party by thanking hundreds of guests. 

That being said, your wedding is your day. So, you must follow your heart and do what’s right for you. A small wedding is considered under 50 guests; a “good number” of guests is probably 100-150 guests. But that doesn’t work for everyone, so following your heart is essential.

But every couple is different, so how you plan your wedding is based on your life and story. You don’t have to stick to the “averages: or do what everyone else does. If you want a grand and lavish event, do it! If you want something small and intimate, that’s fine too. Plan your wedding your way, and you’ll enjoy every minute of it. 

Photo Credits: David Bastianoni

Questions To Ask Yourself When Creating Your Wedding Guest List

Sure, everyone you know will probably want to be invited to your wedding. But the truth is, that’s impossible. So, when it’s time to create your guest list, here are a few questions you can ask yourself to weed out who shouldn’t make the cut. 

When Was The Last Time You Saw Or Spoke To Them?

We remember the days when a wedding guest list included long-lost family members and friends of the couple's parents. Thankfully, today’s guest lists are more drilled down, meaning only the most loved and connected to people make the list. 

So, a good rule of thumb when making your wedding guest list is that if you haven’t seen or spoken to them in a few years, you don’t have to invite them. 

Photo Credits: David Bastianoni

Will You Be In Touch With Them In 5 Years?

This question is sort of a piggie back on the previous question. If you don’t see yourself being friends or in contact with someone in the next 5 years, exclude them from the guest list. 

And don’t worry, this is ok. People change as they mature; likes and hobbies change, and therefore you may fall out of contact with some friends and family. If you don’t see yourself having a close relationship with them in the future, cross them off the guest list.

Do You Feel Comfortable Having Only A “Few” Coworkers Attend?

This is a touchy question because they are likely people that you work with that you have become close to and even friends outside of work. But, inviting only those “select few” co-workers can alienate the others.

So, this question does deserve some intense thought and consideration. You may want to explain to your work crew that your wedding is an intimate event and only those with whom you have a relationship outside of work will be invited. 

Let this be known from the beginning, so they don’t get their feelings hurt when they don’t get an invite.

Do You And Your Partner Want Kids At The Wedding?

Oooo! This is a biggie. Kids are great, but they can be a distraction at weddings, so it is essential that you and your spouse discuss whether you want kids to attend. Just understand this, if you say “no” to kids, some of your guests may not be able to attend. 

And if you say yes to allowing children at your wedding, you’ll have to plan for a few kid-friendly things. These include kid-friendly food and drink options, a designated quiet place for them to sleep, a private area for them to play, and a babysitter to keep them entertained, under control and not wildly running around, and most importantly, safe. 

Who Absolutely Needs To Be There & Who Doesn’t?

Weddings are truly an event that you want to celebrate with everyone you know. But it’s just not feasible to invite everyone. People that you just met but feel really connected to don’t have to be invited. Old college roommates that you haven’t seen in a while don’t have to be invited, and you don’t have to allow everyone a plus one. 

Make your guest list full of people who love both of you. People who will celebrate your love and new adventures in the future. Curate a list that will help you have a drama-free wedding that is full of wonderful memories. 

Photo Credits: David Bastianoni

Where Do You Draw The Line With “Extended” Family?

Oh, the extended family list….sounds stressful just hearing the words, right? Well, this is best handled between the two of you and possibly consulting your parents about the family's matriarch or patriarch.

You don’t want to ruffle too many feathers, but at the same time, if it’s a fourth cousin who you hardly know, why should they be at your wedding?

How Do You Handle Your Parents Invite List?

Another touchy subject. There will likely be a few people your parents want to invite, and that’s ok. They are proud to be celebrating your marriage and will likely want to share it with some of their friends. 

But, the best way to handle this is openly and honestly. Try your best not to hurt too many feelings but openly and honestly talk to your parents about “who” is important at your wedding. 

Their work boss, who you don’t know, is probably not one that you’ll enjoy having at your wedding. But, on the flipside…their best friend, who has been part of their life since day one, IS probably someone they want there.

Does Everyone Need A Plus One?

This is a question that has a unique answer for each couple. Certainly, people will feel more comfortable bringing a plus one (someone they know) versus being invited to an event where they don’t know anyone. 

But, if you have a huge circle of friends that all know each other and frequently hang out together may not need a plus one. This is because they will have plenty of friends there to hang out with and celebrate your love. 

Luckily, in today’s modern times, many age-old wedding traditions are being skipped or modified to create events that are truly an extension of the couple's love story. So, with that being said…do what is right for you and your story…invite only those that you love and respect the most. 

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