Bride and bridesmaid club at garden ridge wedding

December 16, 2020

Why Your Wedding Guest Count Is So Important

When budgeting for a wedding, did you know that your guest count is one of the biggest factors to consider?  It’s time to start compiling your guest list and making some big decisions.  Why?  Because you can’t really (successfully) do anything else until you have decided on your invite list.  It’s overwhelming, we get it and want to help!

After your loved ones and friends have witnessed your heartfelt vows, you are basically inviting them to the party of the century— the best day of your life!  That party comes with a price tag and sometimes your budget determines the guest list and sometimes the guest list determines the budget.  Let’s talk about a few factors that will help you determine who to put on the list and who to cut and how it will impact your overall budget.

How does my guest count affect my budget?

When you ask someone to celebrate the best day of your life with you, you are basically asking them out to dinner. So now let’s imagine taking 100, 200 or 300 of your family and closest friends to your favorite nice restaurant in town and you pick up the tab. Oh, did we mention that now you also have to pay for the table and chair where they are sitting, the china they are using and the glass of wine (or three ) they are drinking? Each guests adds to your tab.  We promise, we aren’t trying to scare you, but we do suggest taking a good hard look at your guest list. This is the time to ask yourself, “Is this person truly close to me? Are they just an acquaintance, I haven’t or likely won’t talk to much in a year or two? If you can’t imagine this day without and your budget supports every single person that makes your initial list—rock on sister! However, if you are planning your dream wedding with the budget always in mind, choosing not to invite your neighbors from elementary school and your cousin’s best friend might really help the bottom line.  

Who should I invite to my wedding?

Do I need to invite my parents’ friends or include a plus-one?

This can be a touchy subject because sometimes parents are heavily involved and helping to pay for the wedding.  However, the answer is simply no. A good compromise is to give each set of parents a number to shoot for outside of family that will be on the list anyway.  Maybe each parent set gets 10-20 people. Boundaries—set them and stick to them.  When it comes down to it, this is your wedding. If the budget is the reason, then another compromise could be as simple as having whoever wants more guests chip in extra to pay for the overflow.

Plus-ones are not a requirement for anyone. A good rule of thumb is if a guest is not married, engaged, or in a long-term relationship with someone, they do not get a plus one. And while we are talking about it, you can have an adult-only event. It is your day, and it is OK!

How many people will actually come?

Figuring out how many will come is actually more art than science.  In our experience, you will see about 70% accept your invite and show up. Of course, this can depend on whether your guests are locals or out of towners. Reply rates for local guests may be slightly higher, and for out of town guests may be slightly lower. Keep in mind, the Texas Hill Country is considered a destination area and many will use your wedding as a reason to have a little getaway. You may want to consider having an A-List and a B-List. Send your A list out about 8 weeks prior to the wedding day and as you receive RSVPs you can begin to send invitations to your B-List.  

Remember, be realistic about the number of guests from the beginning to avoid stress later on and make some cutting rules together that you commit to actually follow. Prepare yourself for a potentially awkward conversation by coming up with a polite but firm response.  Something along the lines of, “Of course we’d love to invite everyone, but unfortunately, with the venue space and our budget, we aren’t able to.” Then take the conversation in a totally different direction. This is going to be an epic party and the memories you make are going to last you a lifetime!