Post # 1
So, has anyone else struggled with picking a venue while not having a good idea as to how many people will accept the invite to the DW?
My FI and I are planning to get married in our favorite place, St. John USVi. If we go with my dad’s guest/wish list- we would invite about 150 people. About 70% of the guests are extended family of both me and my FI. We have a strong feeling that a HUGE chunk of our extended family will decline. But.. we have no idea how to move forward and book a venue when it could 40, 60, 80, or over 100 guests. I keep going back and forth on whether to keep with inviting all 150 people, or if we should scale it down to immediate family and close friends only, which would be an easier number to work with in terms of planning a wedding and predicting a guest estimate. But with that, I know I may have to say goodbye to some of the traditional perks like a shower, since over half the people that would attend the shower wouldn’t be able invited to the actual wedding.
We also had other ideas like, if we invite all 150, we could send out the invites a year early to get a count, or do something creative to get a ballpark with the save the dates.
Has anyone else gone through this and how did you handle it and decide? Anyone come up with a cute and creative idea on how to approach it all.
Post # 3
We knew the maximum # our venue would hold and planned accordingly. We always planned as if every person we invited was going to come and now, a month out, we have less than half flying in and tons of wiggle room in our budget. We knew we could fit 150, invited 206 and will end up with 100.
We definitely did everything on the early side too. We sent out early save the dates and then sent our invites waaaayyy earlier than the guides all tell you too. It really helped us get a handle quickly on who was coming and who was not.
I don’t know where you are looking, but we chose a venue that had 3 different ceremony and reception sites so whether we had 20 people or 120 they could accomodate us. For example, if we had 150, we use the entire space, with 100, it’s just one room, if we had 30 they have a small intimate room they would give us. We didn’t have to tell them which we wanted until now.
Post # 4
Our DW is in FL in Aug… We just kept the guest list simple… under 20… which was sometimes frustrating as tag-alongs and ppl who aren’t that close to us asked to go just b/c it’s a DW. We’re not cutting out any of the bridal frills. I am still having a bridal shower and a reception….. From what I understand, it is still proper to have a bridal shower and in intimate ceremony so long as the guests receive their invite to your reception before bridal shower.
It really boils down to what the 2 of you guys want. From my planning experience thus far… keep it simple….. REALLY SIMPLE!!! LOL.
Post # 5
Our venue holds 75 max. We are inviting 100. But we know at least 10 of those people can’t make it. I’m expecting between 40-60…but I really don’t know!
Post # 6
Our weddings is DW for 80% of our actual guest list (had we gone with the traditional invitees, it would have been DW for 95%), so I theeeeenk I know where you’re coming from. Here’s what we did: we wrote out 3 tiers of guests – Essential people, People we (the couple) actually WANT to invite, & EVERYONE we know. Then we brainstormed the activities/theme we DESIRE for the wedding we want & priced out all the things we wanted to offer our guests. Then, based on the budget we have ($ amount we could save a month multiplied by the number of months in our engagement), we determined the number we could invite. Once we had the number, we revisited our tiers of guest lists & decided on the exact invitees, with the assumption that 100% would say “yes” (this was partly based on the fact that our number is rather small, in conventional standards & we are pretty clear on the financial capabilities of all our guests). Then we prioritized all those who “didn’t make the cut” so we could immediately send out “B-list” invites as soon as an “A-lister” declined.
As for timing, we sent out Save-the-Dates 9 months in advance, set up our online RSVPs before we sent out the STDs, & directed our guests to feel free to RSVP as soon as they were sure they were coming/could not come. This method (coupled with the fact that all our guests – except our grandparents & one older aunt – are VERY web savvy) let us know that 90% of our guests would be coming (& 7% would definitely NOT be coming) to the wedding before we even sent out invites. Since we KNEW 7% were declining, we were able to add the equivalent number of B-list invites (we still sent the decliners their invites, so they’d know that we wished they were with us/if situations changed they’re still invited) at the same time as our A-list invites with the added bonus that the B-listers don’t feel like B-listers.
Edit: I forgot to add our solution to including all those people that our budget didn’t allow us to invite – we’re doing a “Bride’s Hometown Reception”. It won’t have all the frills of the wedding – mostly an appetizer/cocktail party – but it will share the celebration with all those family & friends that we didn’t get to invite, which makes both sets of parents very happy/comfortable with the wedding we’re throwing. To help make these family/family friends feel as included, we sent our Save-the-Dates for the Hometown Reception on the same day as our invites…carefully worded so that guests are VERY clear as to which event they are invited to:
FI & Bride are tying the knot in June & invite you to join the celebration at the After Party…in December. In Hawaiian pidgin: (yeah, yeah, is one “aftah, aftah” pahty. we stay on Hawaiian Time, kay?) back in proper English: December __, 2010, Venue, Honolulu, Hawaii.
Post # 7
We’re actually having 3 receptions and one ceremony! 25 guests to the September destination wedding- close friends and family…… About another 25-30 (mostly his family; he’s organizing it) are attending a reception here in DC in June, and then the rest 50 or so (mostly my family; my mom’s organizing it) are attending a BBQ in NJ. There’s just too many people to include and they are all scattered along the east coast!
Post # 8
I struggled with this too – to date, i still do not know if we are having 15 or 50 – I am guessing we won’t have more than that.
What finally helped was finding a venue that scaled – our venue has spaces to accomdate 10 or 500. I currently have us booked into the space that holds 50 people tops b/c i really don’t think we will get more than 50 but if we do, we can always move.