Guest List is done… How many will show?

One of the hardest parts about planning a wedding is figuring out how many people will show up.  There are certain factors which can affect your count…holiday weekends, out-of-state guests, and what day your wedding is on.

The best way to figure out your numbers is to put together your guest list.  This is probably the most tedious and stressful part about the wedding, but once it is done you will feel much more free!  Here are some guidelines to help you out:

Saturday Weddings –  70% attending

On average, you can plan on about 30% of your invitations to be declined.  If you invite 350 guests, you could expect 245 guests – not based on any other circumstances.

Friday Weddings – 80% attending

Fridays have a little twist to them…you would think less people would show up, but in reality more people usually attend Friday weddings than Saturday weddings.  You can plan on about 20% of guests not attending a Friday wedding – not based on any other circumstances.

In general, people are more likely to attend a Friday wedding reception because after your event, they have the rest of the weekend to look forward to.  Saturday and Sunday are still free and your wedding might a reason to take off of work on Friday.

Sunday/Weekday Weddings – 30%+ decline

Other days of the week are less predictable and most likely less attended than Friday and Saturday weddings.  Attendance will depend on the normality of the day to your family and friends and what can be expected from them.

Holiday Weddings

To help get a good number… ask yourself these 3 questions:

1) Does your venue/ locale offer something special for the holiday weekend?

2) Do your guests have the economic capacity to take this trip during a holiday weekend?

3) Would this make it EASIER vs. HARDER for my guests?

The highest attended holiday-weekend weddings include lots of excitement (i.e. Fourth of July fireworks), not an extreme amount of money to travel (don’t want your guests to take out a second mortgage to fly out), and convenience (i.e. doubles as a regularly planned family reunion).

Now you have a good starting point.  After that, you can make some tweaks based on your personal guest list.

1) Pin-point guests who you know will FOR SURE attend and those who will FOR SURE NOT attend and make the adjustments to your list.

2) Ask other members of your family who have planned a wedding in your relation… they can tell you which guests were able to make it and which ones were not.


What helps?

Send out Save the Dates!  It is a great way to get a feel from people and some people will right out tell you they cannot make it.  You can also use it as a chance to tell your guests about any accommodations you have.  The sooner they can book their hotel room (if needed), the sooner you will receive guest counts.

Remember, you will always have a certain number of people who do not RSVP and maybe even who up without an RSVP.  Do yourself a favor and call them first.


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