Choosing Wedding Guests: How To Plan & What To Do
You might not know where to begin with the difficult wedding planning process. The wedding planning will be different for every couple. However, starting with guests and choosing a venue is always a good foundation to build on. For information, advice and tips on how to make your wedding guest list, prioritising your invites, how to keep numbers down, and what to expect from different size weddings, read on...
Wedding Guest Estimate
It's a good idea to work out a wedding guest estimate before you start planning. If you have a specific venue in mind, you may have to find out the number of guests allowed first. If this is not the case, start with working out a rough guest number and then find a venue that works for you.
To get started, make a primary list, with people who must attend, and secondary list, with people you would like to attend, of guests with your fiancé. These lists will be one of your first wedding planning tools.
You may find that your lists are longer or shorter than you thought they’d be. If it’s shorter, fantastic! More often, the list is longer than imagined. If you cannot afford a larger wedding, you may need to go about slimming down your secondary guest list.
If you need to, use these questions to cut down your guest estimate. Consider this:
Do you want plus ones? Cut spaces allocated for plus ones by sending an additional invite for any spouses or long-term partners you would like in attendance. Specify on your invites that no plus ones are allowed for clarity and stick to invitees!
- When was the last time you saw that person? Keep your wedding guests to people who have been there for you and your partner in the present day to save space.
- Do you want to invite them or feel like you have to? This is important to ask when it comes to distant family or for couples you may be inviting because you attended their wedding. Do not invite someone just because you feel you must.
Do you want children in attendance? Children at a wedding can be delightful but they must be catered to, entertained, and they take spaces on your guest list. Consider your options.
When you know around how many guests you’re aiming for, it’s time to start searching for a venue to accommodate. To ensure you get the guest list you desire and have the best possible idea of your attendees, send out save the dates as soon as you have your venue confirmed!
Different Wedding Sizes
When you have an idea of how many guests you would like, you start to understand the scale of the wedding you want to have. Different size weddings have different budgets and atmospheres. You need to have different expectations for them as an organiser. Here’s some of what to expect:
Elopement - 5 People
Elopement is an appealing prospect. While you do need to check the legality of your planned elopement and give notice, all you need is yourselves, two witnesses (who can even be strangers) and your officiant. You can elope in beautiful locations, both in the UK and abroad. Make your wedding spectacularly yours with an intimate wedding day that only belongs to you, without the stress of all the planning. Plus, you can spoil yourselves thoroughly with exactly what you want!
Micro Wedding - 6 – 10 People
A micro wedding can be a good low-cost option in a small venue with an intimate feel. Keep your guest list down to just the few people that truly matter, a few key family members and friends. You can use the money you save on making your few guests feel incredibly special, or you can opt for a micro ceremony and a larger reception. You can be more adventurous and out there with your location, truly making a day to remember.
Small-Weddings – 10 - 50 People
A smaller wedding usually has less than 50 people. They offer an intimate atmosphere and, depending on how much you choose to spend per guest, are usually a lower cost on the spectrum. This option offers less picking and choosing of guests than a micro wedding, but still has a need to be selective with your guest list. For less fuss and more time with the guests you invite, a small wedding is perfect.
Medium Weddings – 50 - 150 People
The UK average amount of guests for a wedding is 80, although this figure has fluctuated in recent years due to coronavirus restrictions. Most wedding vendors will be equipped to work with up to 100 guests. The more guests you have, the pricier the wedding and the larger venue needed. However, a larger, busier wedding can have an energetic and bustling atmosphere that a smaller wedding simply cannot. Party the night away with the energy only a large crowd can provide, and feel thoroughly celebrated by all your loved ones doing so.
Large Weddings - 150+ People
A wedding this large will have a celebratory atmosphere like no other, although it will come at a financial cost. You may need to look up specialist venues to accomodate for a larger price. At this size, you may also want to contact a wedding planning to assist you in the planning and organisation of such a large event. However, with this many people attending in your honour, you’ll have a day like no other and memories to last a lifetime.
Unless you are planning a wedding at a specific venue, make your guest list and find a venue to fit. Don't be afraid to make the tough decisions to keep your guest list manageable and your wedding day within budget. Your wedding day is too important to let it be anything but yours.