The Sweet Christian Bride

How Many Is Too Many?

by admin on October 14, 2011 in Guest List, Logistics with No Comments

A Kenyan friend asked me the other day how many people I had at my wedding.


“204?” she gasped.  “That is so many!”

To me it wasn’t.  My friends’ weddings have mostly hovered around that number as well.  And my friends from the South easily had over 500 people.  The funny thing was, it wasn’t that many people to her either.

“Well, for Americans, that is,” she clarified.  “In Kenya we invite the whole church, so there are hundreds and hundreds of people there.”

She then told me of a Malibu wedding she attended that had fewer than forty guests and another she went to that had around 60.

According to The Wedding Report’s Ceremony and Reception Study 2011, the number of wedding guests has actually gone down this year to below 150, so my friend was right: My wedding was big.

How many people you invite will largely depend on three factors: 1) Your budget, 2) Your venue, and 3) Your wedding purposes.  Your wedding venue will dictate your max capacity (and implicitly, your minimum because 10 people in a grand ballroom would be ridiculous), but your dollar per head comes down to what bang you can get for your buck.

For some people, having family-baked cakes instead of a traditional wedding cake, pasta salad instead of steaks, BYOB instead of open bar, backyard venue instead of hotel, and iPod DJ instead of hired DJ can jump up your number of guests while keeping your cost down.  If your wedding purpose is to have a great time with as many friends and family as possible, then that might be the perfect choice for you.  If your wedding purpose centers on detailed hospitality or hosting a truly one-of-a-kind celebration, then you will undoubtedly be paying more per person, in which case your budget will let you know how many people that can include.

There is no right or wrong answer to the total number on your guest list, but whatever number you do decide on, consider the pros and cons before sending out all your invitations.  Feeling overwhelmed by too many or feeling empty by too few can really damper your enjoyment of the wedding day, whereas delighting in each person, who is intentionally invited, is one of the greatest boosts of joy for an already happy day.

Photo by Rachael Siebenaler, RSPix

By Lindsay

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