How Many People Should I Invite To My Wedding?

It happened! The question was asked, “Will You Marry Me”, and the reply was said through a beaming smile; “Yes!” 

Colors are more vibrant, birds sing with joy, and you are glowing from absolute happiness! Posting a picture of the ring on social media is the obvious next step, and as soon as the photo lands, the “Congratulations!”, “OMG,” and “About Time!” messages start to roll in. 

But they won’t be the only messages. As soon as people know you are engaged, you’ll see friends you haven’t spoken to in years messaging you, asking for an invite.

Your best friend, who is always on a first date, is asking for their new tinder connection to be their plus one. Your parents start texting, asking for their cousin’s cousin’s cousin to be on the guest list, “because they are family.”

Don’t worry. Take a breath. This is your and your partner’s day, and we are going to help you figure out just how many people you should be inviting.  

The average wedding has 170 guests, but before you run away with that number, have a look at the factors you need to consider.

What Factors Into A Guest List?

Before you get into the nitty-gritty of who should be invited, there are a couple of factors you need to consider. These are your budget, the venue, and the overall atmosphere you are trying to create.

You might need a big guest list if the venue is large, so the room doesn’t feel empty. If you are hoping for a chilled vibe, then you might only want your best friends and your closest family members. 

Let’s figure out what your wedding will look like and how these three factors play into that idea.

Wedding Budget vs. Guest List

One of the biggest expenses in a wedding is food, and food is counted per head. This means that the amount of guests you choose directly affects the amount of food you have to pay for, and therefore it affects the largest controllable charge at your wedding. 

Before you start inviting anyone and everyone to your wedding, you need to figure out what you can realistically afford. On average, a wedding meal will cost $250 ahead. That’s more than most people would pay per head at a restaurant. The average wedding contains 170 guests, which means the food alone will cost you $42,500.

Don’t let that number freak you out, as they are just averages. The first thing you need is to find 3 or 4 caterers (there might be one with the venue) that you like and see how much they charge.

When you have narrowed down the best prices with the best food, you can calculate how many guests you can afford. 

Venue vs. Guest List

Depending on your chosen venue, there will be a set amount of people you are allowed or a minimum amount of people you can invite.

When a venue says “minimum,” they mean minimum they will charge you and minimum that will look good on the day. If you go under their amount, they will likely still charge you for this minimum.

Because venues have these numbers prepared, you already have a ball-park figure of how many people you can invite.

If the maximum is 30, for example, then you can bring only the most important people to your wedding. If the minimum is 100, then you can give everyone a plus one and even invite your cousin’s cousin’s cousin like your mom keeps going on about.

Atmosphere vs. Guest List

Arguably, the most important part of your wedding is the atmosphere you and your partner bask in while you confess your love to each other. Everyone imagines a different scene, but whatever ambiance you dream of can help you narrow down your guest list numbers.

Just You And Me

For this super-private atmosphere, you will probably have a minimum of 2 guests, but maybe up to 10. These might be your parents, best friends, and siblings. The atmosphere you create is romantic and a memory, and it just so happens to save you money.

The People I Couldn’t Get Married Without

If there is a group of people you couldn’t dream of getting married without, but you still don’t want a super large wedding, then you are probably looking at 10 – 30 guests.

This might include your main family members (parents, siblings, grandparents), your close group of friends, and essential people in your life who might not stick to one group, like your best work buddy or your old college friends.

Families Joining Together

For most people, the idea of marriage is the idea of two families joining together. If this sounds right to you, then you will need a guest list to accommodate each person. Depending on their sizes, this could mean 20 – 80 people joining you on your magical day. 

Everyone Likes A Party

If you are hoping to invite everyone you know to have a drink, a laugh, and a cry at your wedding, then you’ll probably want a guest list of between 70 – 200 people. 

This way, parents can bring their kids, extended family can be invited, and no one gets missed out. 

Everyone Knows I’m Getting Married

If you come from a large community, then friends, family, kids, and cousins might not be the only groups of people who want to join in on your wedding day. Your church, your apartment block, your suburb, everyone from your old high school, your co-workers, absolutely everyone gets an invite to the union of the year!

For these types of weddings, you should plan a guest list of 150 – 500.

So How Many People Should I Invite To My Wedding?

Once you know your budget on food, you can calculate how many people you can afford to feed. When you know where you want to get married, you will be told what the maximum and minimum numbers can be. These figures will get you into the right bracket of guests, so now it’s just who to invite.

When you know what kind of atmosphere you want to bring to your wedding, you can decide the people you want to invite.

The American average is 170 people, but your wedding is more than a statistic. Invite the people who make you happy and who you couldn’t get married without.