Post # 1
I’m in the very early stages of wedding planning and have started to look at venues. One of the venues asks that you guarantee 175 guests. This is a bit larger than what we orginally hoped for (150) so I keep going back and forth on whether it’s possible. I know that you need to send out more invites since it is expected that some people will decline. I just don’t know what that number would be and I know there is no way to know, but it’s driving me crazy.
How many guests did your venue require? How many invites did you send? If you had your wedding – how many showed up? I know there are numerous factors that can contribute to who attends that day, and that’s why I’m so nervous that we might be “borderline” with that number. One moment, I think almost everyone will come, and the next I’m concerned that a lot of people won’t be able to make it.
Post # 2
ballerina-bride: Does the venue have an actual head count, or is it based on cost? It is difficult to guarantee a certain number of guests, however, the cost can be upped a bit if needed in the case of a cost minumum.
Post # 3
My venue requires a minimum of 120. Right now, our guest list has 135. We will probably invite around 140ish and hope to meet the minimum. I didnt have to for my venue, but I was able to discuss with other venues doing a food/beverage minimum as an alternative for a minimum guest count. I also was able to talk to one particular venue and get them to lower their minimum by around 15 guests. That being said, some venues included children, some didn’t so I would clarify that (if you plan on inviting kids).
Post # 4
Astra: If they don’t count 175 guests on that day, we would still get charged for them, which is why I am hoping to have 175 actually there.
Krises: Thanks for replying. You bring up a great point about children. I just sent an e-mail to the woman that I met with yesterday to see what she says.
Post # 5
ballerina-bride: I highly recommend always underestimating your numbers for contracts, otherwise you’re on the hook for the higher amount, but, if you underestimate, venues are always happy to increase the numbers as you get rsvps.
We expected 120 ppl. We signed a contract for only 80 (66%) just in case something went really wrong with budget or guests/huge family blowout etc. Thank goodness we did. Since then, one of us was temporarily and unexpected unemployed, had a huge fallout w/one family so almost none of those relatives and family friends will be attending and there is no financial support from his parents.
We’ll have probably 100 ppl attending (83% of the 120 guests we expected) and we are not on the hook for any extras with the venue/caterer or any other vendor. If we had signed a contract for the 120 ppl we expected, we’d have signed up to throw money away.
I suggest you work on your numbers for your guest list and estimate (0, .25, .5, .75, or 1) the chance of each invited person attending and see where you end up, then only sign a contract for lower than that amt, but of course make sure any venue has the capacity to increase to the highest amt you might possibly have also.
Post # 6
Shkragoldfish: Thank you so much for the advice. I love your idea of estimating the chance of each person attending. That makes so much sense. I feel like my family’s guest list is more solid, as we are certain the “A-list” people will be there. On the other hand, I find that my fiance’s family is more unpredictable and it can swing either way.
I have found that the number of people we are expecting places us in a strange position with many venues. We are often borderline for the smaller ballroom vs. the bigger ballroom, which makes me feel like I need to cut back – or hope I wind up meeting the larger number. My mom and I plan to look over the guest list again tomorrow.
Post # 7
ballerina-bride: np, just throw it in excel. We have one normal column w out best guess, then a high expectation column, then a low expectation column. It’s helped us estimate the highest and lowest number of ppl who’ll attend. Also, if you’re a destination wedding w a large guest list, expect fewer ppl to come, if your wedding is local or you have a smaller guest list, expect more ppl to come. Good luck!
Post # 8
ballerina-bride: Ours didn’t have a minimum numbers requirement; the only requirements were that we booked out all 23 bedrooms, and spent a minimum of $10k on food and drink (which we’ve done easily).
The ones we looked at that did have minimum number requirements had it for the package only; so, we could have invited fewer people, but we would have had to pay for whatever the minimum was.
As far as declines go: we’ve invited 66 to the day and had 4 declines: 1 was a friend’s boyfriend who lives in Australia and sadly can’t attend as he needs to look after his parent’s farm while they travel; 1 was due to a relationship break-up; and 2 were due to family issues. 3 of those we expected and they were more just courtesy invitations.
Then to the evening we’ve invited about 30 people, with just 2 declines.
We were expecting more people to decline TBH, particularly the evening portion (I was expecting maybe 8-10 declines). So, I wouldn’t massively over-invite as it could leave you in a difficult position if you get more people accepting than you thought.
What you could do is have an A and B list. Provided people are not aware of it this is perfectly acceptable. Basically, you would send out a first wave of invitations to your A list, with an earlier RSVP date. Then, if you get the RSVPs back and have a lot of declines/are short of your minimum number requirement, you send a second batch out with a later RSVP date. We did this though ended up only using about 3 of our second batch of invitations.