Making the Cut: How Many People Should I Invite to My Wedding?

By Laura Fiebert | Updated: October 23, 2023

    Hey there, lovebirds! If you’re knee-deep in wedding planning, you’ve probably asked yourself this million-dollar question: How many people should I invite to my wedding? Fear not! We’re here to help you navigate this tricky terrain and find that perfect sweet spot for your guest list.

    From budget considerations to the type of wedding you envision, we’ve got the inside scoop on creating a guest list just right for your big wedding day. So, buckle up, grab your favorite pen and paper, and dive into the beautiful world of wedding guest planning!

    What is the average number of guests for a wedding?

    You’d be surprised to know that the average number of guests at a wedding can vary quite a bit, but most people tend to settle for a sweet spot of around 100-150 attendees. This magic number allows for a fabulous mix of family, close friends, and delightful acquaintances. Of course, there’s no one-size-fits-all regarding guest lists, but having a ballpark figure for planning is always good. 

    Weddings come in all shapes and sizes- from a small gathering of 15 people at a local park to 300-person gatherings in castles. We had about 65 people for my wedding in a small hall in Brooklyn, NY. It was the perfect mix of close family and friends. I wanted a small wedding with a party vibe and not too intimate.

    What wedding vibe are you going for?

    Reflect on the kind of wedding you want, be it an intimate affair with close family and friends, a medium-sized celebration, or a large wedding and extravagant event. Offer insights on how the guest count can influence the wedding’s overall tone and ambiance.

    Are you getting married in a rustic barn, your mom’s backyard? Or is it a glamorous black-tie affair in a ballroom? Maybe you are thinking more of a laid-back destination wedding on the beach. Take a moment as a couple to envision your ideal wedding celebration, which will help guide your wedding size. Remember, there’s a difference between asking, “How many people should I invite to my wedding?” and “How many people do we truly want at our wedding?” Not sure what you want? We can help

    Types of Weddings

    Each type of wedding offers unique advantages and challenges, and ultimately, the best choice will depend on your personal preferences, budget, and vision for your special day. Explore your options and create the perfect celebration for your love story!

  1. Elopement: Guests: 0-2
  2. An elopement wedding involves a small ceremony with just the couple and possibly an officiant and witness/photographer, emphasizing romance and simplicity. This stress-free, cost-effective option offers an intimate experience but may exclude friends and family from the celebration


    • Cost-effective
    • Highly intimate and romantic
    • Less planning process and stress


    • May disappoint friends and family who want to celebrate with you
    • Limited or no wedding reception

  3. Immediate Famly Micro Wedding: Guests: 10-50
  4. A micro wedding is a small-scale yet delightful celebration focusing on the couple’s closest family and friends. This budget-friendly option offers a more personal experience, flexibility in wedding venue choices, and the opportunity to create cherished memories. 


    • More personalized and intimate experience
    • Lower cost compared to larger weddings
    • Greater flexibility in venue options and details


    • A limited guest list may cause tension with those not invited
    • Less of a traditional party atmosphere

  5. Just Friends and Close Family: Guests: 50-100
  6. A friends and family wedding strikes a balance between intimacy and celebration, emphasizing the connections that matter most to you as a couple. This type of wedding allows you to create a warm and memorable event while keeping budget and planning efforts in check.


    • Focus on close relationships with friends and family members
    • More intimate and personal atmosphere than larger weddings
    • Moderate budget requirements compared to mega weddings
    • Opportunities for meaningful interactions with each guest


    • Some extended family members or acquaintances may be left out
    • It may require stricter guest list prioritization
    • Limited space for plus-ones or last-minute additions

  7. Classic Wedding: Guests: 100-200
  8. A classic wedding typically hosts 50-150 guests, balancing intimacy and a more significant celebration while accommodating most traditional wedding elements. This option requires more planning and budgeting but allows for a broader guest list and a festive atmosphere


    • The balance between intimacy and more significant celebration
    • Permits for most traditional wedding elements
    • The guest list can accommodate more family and friends


    • Requires more planning and budgeting
    • We may still have to make difficult decisions about the guest list

  9. Mega Wedding: Guests: 200+
  10. A mega wedding hosts 200+ guests, offering an all-inclusive guest list and an impressive, memorable experience. With its high cost, complex logistics, and less intimate atmosphere, this option is perfect for those seeking a grand and elaborate celebration.


    • The all-inclusive guest list for extended family, friends, and acquaintances
    • An impressive and memorable experience
    • Can accommodate elaborate themes and entertainment options


    • High cost
    • More complex logistics and planning
    • Less intimate atmosphere

    What percentage of wedding guests attend?

    Here’s a fun fact: on average, about 80% of guests make it to the big day! When planning your wedding guest list, you must consider that not everyone you invite can attend. You can expect a higher attendance rate for local weddings since most guests won’t have to deal with significant travel expenses or time off work. This is why about 90% of local guests usually RSVP with a “yes.”

    On the other hand, destination weddings can be a bit trickier for some guests due to cost, distance, and scheduling conflicts. As a result, you’ll typically see a lower attendance rate hovering between 50-60% for a destination wedding. That said, destination weddings often create an intimate and memorable experience for those who can join.

    To ensure an accurate guest count, send out your wedding invitations well in advance and include RSVP cards with clear deadlines. This way, you can account for any last-minute changes and ensure you have the perfect crowd to celebrate your special day. The number of people isn’t the most important; it’s all about enjoying the moment with those who matter most!

    And now for the extensive wedding budget conversation

    Figuring out your wedding budget can feel daunting, and tough decisions must be made, but worry not ā€“ we’re here to help you tackle it like a pro! Start by openly conversing with your partner about your financial goals and any contributions from family members.

    Next, list your must-haves and nice-to-haves, helping you allocate funds to what matters most. Don’t forget to research typical wedding costs in your area, as this will give you a realistic idea of what to expect. And finally, remember to leave a little wiggle room for unexpected expenses that may pop up. With these steps, you’ll craft a wedding budget that sets the stage for your dream celebration without breaking the bank!

    What is the average cost per person for a wedding?

    The average cost per person for a wedding can vary widely based on location, menu, and service style. However, as a general rule of thumb, you can expect to spend anywhere from $70 to $150 per guest. This typically includes food, beverages, and the cost of rentals like tables, chairs, and linens.

    Remember that these numbers fluctuate depending on your unique preferences and wedding vision. Embrace the adventure of creating a celebration that fits both your budget and your dreams ā€“ it’s all part of the fun!

    A step-by-step guide to creating the perfect guest list

    This part can get a little tricky. You both want your people there, but some will inevitably need to get cut. This was challenging because we wanted to keep our wedding party small. Another factor here is who is paying for the wedding. If your parents or in-laws are paying for it, you may have to be open to having some of their friends and extended family attend, like all those second cousins. 

    Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create your wedding guest list with ease:

    Step 1: Envision your wedding

    Start by discussing with your partner the type of wedding you both envision. Consider budget, venue, and atmosphere to determine the ideal guest count for your celebration.

    Step 2: Set your priorities

    Divide your potential guests into categories such as “must-haves” (immediate family and closest friends), “would-love-to-haves” (extended family, good friends, and essential colleagues), and “the-more-the-merrier” (acquaintances, neighbors, and other connections). This will help you prioritize who should be on your guest list.

    Step 3: Allocate guest invite list spots

    If you have contributing family members or other parties involved, discuss guest list allocations with them. Ensure everyone is on the same page about the number of invitations each party can extend.

    Step 4: Create a spreadsheet

    Organize your guest list using a spreadsheet or a wedding planning app. Include columns for names, contact information, RSVP status, dietary restrictions, and other relevant details.

    Step 5: Establish plus-one and adults-only policies

    Decide on your policies for plus-ones and children attending the wedding. Be consistent with these policies to avoid confusion and potential conflicts.

    Step 6: Collect addresses

    Gather mailing addresses for all your guests. You can collect this information via email, phone, or social media.

    Step 7: Send save-the-dates and invitations

    Mail save-the-date cards approximately 6-8 months before the wedding and formal invitations 6-8 weeks before the event. Make sure to include RSVP cards with a clear deadline to ensure an accurate guest count.

    Step 8: Monitor RSVPs and follow up

    Please keep track of RSVPs as they arrive and follow up with any guests who haven’t responded by the deadline.

    Step 9: Create a seating chart

    Once you have a final guest count, create a seating chart to ensure everyone has a comfortable spot during the reception.

    Step 10: Communicate with vendors:

    Share your final guest count and any special requirements (e.g., dietary restrictions) with your vendors, such as the caterer and venue.

    Following these steps, you’ll create a well-organized wedding guest list that reflects your unique love story and ensures a smooth and enjoyable celebration. Happy planning!