Figuring out where your wedding is taking place (the venue(s)) generally requires that you have an idea of how many guests you’ll be having attend. So. How many people should you invite to your wedding? How do you figure out how many people?

You could just pick a number from your head – how about 50? Or 100? What about 150? Too many? Too little?

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How Many Wedding Guests Should You Invite?

Start from the biggest number and then work your way down. Basically – first write down everyone you can think of that you may have to or want to invite. Family is usually easiest to write down first. Get all those names and count. Oh and are you allowing children to attend? Make sure you count all the kids too. Then your closest friends and even some of your work folks (if you like them.)

This first count would include all the people you ‘should’ invite – even if you don’t necessarily want them to attend… like distant relatives… or co-workers. Don’t worry – when it comes down to it – you can just cut them from the list. But get that initial count and make it as high as you can. It’s often much easier to take away people from this imaginary list than it is to add them later.

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So that’s your initial guest list – and it’s BLOATED. Now. The other thing you may need to take into consideration is anyone that your parents may want to invite to your wedding. Of course this depends on your relationship with your parents and then their relationship with your wedding budget. If they’re providing a portion (or most or all) of the budget for your wedding then honestly – they get to invite a few people of their choosing. Of course – there are always exceptions to that guideline. But tread lightly… and do ask your parents if there are any of their friends that they would like to have as guests at your wedding. Even if you already know the answer – it’s still a nice gesture to ASK your parents and include them. Trust me, they’ll really appreciate the effort.

Alright! Now you have a giant giant guest list with way more people than you ever wanted, possibly attending your wedding. How does that number feel to you? Too high? Surprisingly low? Strange? Well here – let me tell you that there is no ‘right’ number for how many guests you should have at your wedding. So get that out of your head. Your wedding is YOUR wedding.

I’ve had weddings with guests numbers as small as 3-5 and then upwards of 400 people. Of course the 400 people is on the extreme side. Wedding attendance between 40-150 people is probably the most common range. I know – that’s still a big range. But because of spaces and blocks and how things work out – the ranges of guests counts are more like this:

  • 40-80
  • 80-120
  • 120-150
  • 150-200

Right. So making the list. You have the big BIG list of EVERYONE. Now pick a number range you like. Okay. Now be ruthless and remove all the people you would like to remove. I mean it – be ruthless.

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Now what’s that number? Is it really low? Still too high? You may realize that you have some wiggle room and you can add a few back. You may realize that you really do want some of those people attending and it would be strange that they weren’t there.

The thing is – you don’t save too much money in the difference of feeding 20 less people. So if you have the room – and you actually like those people – feel great that you can invite them to your wedding and put them back on the list!

Now add spaces for 10 more people to that list. Especially if you’re at the early stages of your wedding planning. You’ll need that extra unreserved space. Because inevitably you’ll forget someone – or more family will appear out of nowhere or or or. But go into your venue hunting and planning with a slightly larger guest count and see how that count can be accommodated. You don’t want to be AT YOUR LIMIT right from the start. It’ll hurt later on – trust me.

Alright! Get to it!