“How many people should I invite to my wedding?” In this article we are going to answer this common question.
There are many pivotal moments in a person’s life when everything changes. Some occasions are marked by celebration, but none more so than a wedding.
It’s a time-honored tradition to celebrate the union of two people in love who choose to make their connection legal. However, anyone who has planned a wedding knows that it comes with more than a fair share of stress.
From picking out venues to choosing what you’ll wear, a wedding is filled with decisions that add up to one big day.
One of the biggest questions you’ll have to ask yourself — and answer — is how big you want your wedding to be and who you’ll invite to attend. This decision will impact all the others that you make and should be decided with care.
How Many People Should I Invite to My Wedding?
According to The Knot Real Weddings Study, the average number of wedding guests in the United States in 2022 was 117 guests.
On average, anywhere from 70–85% of invited guests attend weddings, so you can imagine that the number of invitations sent out was somewhat higher than 117.
While you may want to add invitations to account for this, you don’t want to invite more people than you prefer to have attend — or more than a venue can handle.
A small wedding is considered to have 50 guests or less. An intimate wedding will have between 75 and 100 guests. Over half of weddings in the United States reported having over 101 guests, which is considered to be a big wedding.
There’s even a variety of weddings that are smaller than small. Minimonies are tiny ceremonies planned on a wedding day with a bigger ceremony to follow at a later date. This wedding concept became popular during the pandemic.
A micro-wedding is an intentionally small wedding with 15 guests or less. It’s meant to be a cozy gathering without the necessity of a followup wedding.
An elopement differs from a mini- or micro-wedding because it involves spontaneity and the only attendants are usually a small number of witnesses. Destination weddings are sometimes elopements, but they can also be small, intimate, or large gatherings.
Averages vary based on location and even generation. Gen Z and Millennial couples hosted larger weddings than Gen X couples. It’s possible that this trend could be attributed to the fact that some Gen Xers may have been married before.
What to Consider When Planning How Many People to Invite
Planning a wedding isn’t easy. There are many decisions you’ll need to make. The following questions can help you decide how many people you should invite to your special day.
What’s Your Budget?
Your budget is obviously going to be a determining factor. Are you paying for the wedding yourself? If so, how much can you reasonably afford to spend? If someone else is paying for the wedding, what is their budget?
According to The Knot, “in 2022, couples spent an average of $256 per guest.” Just on the basis of averages alone, a small wedding of 50 people could cost approximately $12,800! Double that or more for a large wedding.
Of course, weddings can be much more or less expensive depending on the decisions you make. Determining your budget is key to wedding planning.
Even couples on a shoestring budget can have larger weddings, and couples on an extravagant budget can still have small, intimate gatherings.
How Many People Can the Venue Hold?
If you’ve selected a venue, you need to know exactly how many people the venue can host on your wedding day.
A small venue may necessitate either a change in venue for a big wedding or a severely reduced guest list to accommodate any limitations. When reviewing venue locations with your partner, make sure to ask how many people each venue can hold.
Should Guests Bring a Plus-One?
It is a standard etiquette practice to allow single guests to bring one guest as their date and for married guests to bring their partner.
This is typically factored into the guest total. You can assume that your 25 guests will have 25 dates. If you choose not to follow this tradition, you’ll need to make sure this is clear to your guests.
In the case of very small weddings or destination weddings, you may only want your closest friends or family in attendance.
Do You Want Kids in Attendance?
Do you and your partner want children in attendance at your wedding? This is an entirely personal decision.
If your wedding is during the daytime or is a more casual affair, you may opt to include children. If you’re hosting a formal or evening event, you may want to make it adult-only.
Will You Invite Colleagues?
This is an important point when it comes to decide how many people you should invite to your wedding.
Do you or your partner intend to invite your work colleagues? If you only work with a few people, extending invitations might not seem like a big deal, but with larger workplaces, you may wonder if some colleagues will be offended if you don’t invite them but invite other coworkers to attend.
If you’re close with a couple of coworkers, this may seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll want to discuss this with your partner before moving forward.
Also, if cutting down the guest list becomes necessary, coworkers may be among the first to go.
Who Means the Most to You to Invite?
Preparing a sample guest list is a good idea. You and your partner can make separate ones and then evaluate them together. Decide who you most want to invite. Who are the priority guests? This will be the start of your guest list, the non-negotiable invites.
It may seem cold, but if your list is long enough, it’s not the worst idea to have a second and third tier. For instance, you might want to invite your closest friends but not ones you haven’t seen or spent time with in the last several years.
Making this initial list will help you decide who first came to mind when you thought about your dream day.
Who Do You Feel Obligated to Invite?
Let’s be honest: there are always obligatory invitations. Who do you feel obligated to invite whether or not you care to have them there? Sometimes, couples will include people they don’t want to offend. There is nothing wrong with doing this, but remember that it’s your day.
If push comes to shove, you have the power to exclude the obligatory guests from your final guest list.
Ask yourself why you feel obligated to invite someone and really decide if it’s worth compromising your special day. You may not mind including them, but if it’s a thorn in your side, best to pluck it out before you find yourself irritated on a day that’s supposed to be about your happiness.
How Many Guests Will You Each Invite?
Weddings can be tricky when it comes to splitting guests. If the bride wants six bridesmaids but the groom doesn’t have six groomsmen (or other configurations in same sex weddings), the numbers could get awkward. It’s the same with the wedding guest list.
You’ll have to decide how many people you can each invite and then review that list for any crossovers. Ideally, you’ll have the same number of people on each side, although you no longer have to require guests to sit on the side of the person they know best.
If one partner doesn’t have as many family members, this can be challenging. You want the guest list to represent you as a couple and not to include one person’s side while neglecting the other. Consider this practice in compromise for the marriage itself.
Final Thoughts on How Many People to Invite to Your Wedding
Picture your perfect day. You’ll be exchanging vows with the one you love. Who do you really want to witness them? Who do you imagine cheering you on as you embark on this new adventure?
Your wedding might be the hottest VIP ticket of the year, or it might be a quiet ceremony at a courthouse with only your closest friends to witness this moment in your lives.
Whether you spend $100 or $100,000 on your wedding day, you’ll be starting a new life together as a couple.
When it comes down to it, what you want for that big day doesn’t have to do with what anyone else wants. How do you want to start this journey?
What is meaningful to you, and who would you most like to be there? If you can answer these questions, you’ll begin to craft a guest list filled with the people you love most and who will be honored to receive an invitation to celebrate your union.
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