Guest list… How many will say no?

posted 6 years ago in Money
Post # 3
14498 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

Yes, you should cut the guest list.  I would keep it as close to what you would like to have as possible, then keep a b-list for the rest.

Post # 4
4485 posts
Honey bee

There is no way to even guess how many will decline. There are supposedly proven percentages of how many will say no (something like 1/3 won’t show up) but many weddings have actually shown that percentage to be entirely wrong and/or nonexistent, and couples are ill-prepared since they are expecting a fair amount of declines. Always be prepared for 100% to show up as it does happen more often than you think. If you are hoping someone will decline the invite, don’t invite them.

Do *not* have a B list of any kind. It is rude and people will find out they are second-class guests.

Post # 5
2158 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

You will have more than 100 people show up if you invite 200.  I have been told to expect 10% to decline – 20% if its a lot of out of towners.

Post # 6
100 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

Just a warning.  My mother recently married and they invited 120 expecting the usual percentage of people to decline.  After RSVPs we had a final count of 80. During the ceremony her Maid/Matron of Honor and I nonchalantly counted the amount of people in pews because something seemed off.  There were 125 including the wedding party.  Not only had everyone showed up but there were a few extras. 

During the processional Maid/Matron of Honor had to dash up to the reception barn and let the caterer know to add three extra tables and settings for everyone. In the end we were lucky and had enough to accomadate but I’d hate to see this happen to someone who isn’t prepared.  I’m sure its not common but just plan for a few extra than your final count to be safe.  Better it be something to laugh about later than a horror story you can’t wait to forget.

Post # 7
1843 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

You need to be prepared for everyone that you invite to attend … at the same time, if you can make a realistic list of yays and nays, you may be able to figure it out a little closer.  I’ve always read that 80% is a good base percentage but a lot of things can change that (out of town guests, size of family, size of wedding, distance to wedding, etc.)

One thing I will tell you (having had my wedding 2 months ago) – people that you’re 100% sure will be there, won’t be … and you’ll have “Yes” RSVPs for people that don’t end up showing up (in my experience, 12 no shows out of 191 guests).

Post # 8
2065 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2011

We invited 220, expected around 120 to RSVP yes. We didn’t think everyone would use their plus one, it’s around the holidays, and a lot of people are Out of Town. We just finalized the catering for a surprising 160! I would cut the guest list, because there’s no way to figure out how many will come until you send out those invitations. We got quite a few yes’s from people my mother swore up and down would never actually come, but we had to invite them to be polite. Sigh.

Post # 9
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

Definitely be prepared if they all accept…it would be an absolute mess if they do accept and they don’t fit in your venue.

With that being said…I invited 154 and had about 102 attend.  Crazy things happened like my sister became offended at something trivial and she pulled her entire family out.  Same thing with DH’s aunts and their entire families.  Their loss!

We did have a “B” list of friends we really wanted there but didnt invite the first time around due to financial constraints.  When we realized we had a huge drop in guests attending, we picked up the telephone and explained the situation.  The guests completely understood our situation and were delighted to join us for the event.

Post # 10
654 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

I invited 250 and 195 rsvp’d yes.  For the most part, the majority were local or within a 3 hour drive.

Post # 11
595 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

i had a destination wedding, we invited 220 and only 170 attended.


you can allways invite a little more guest, since not all of them attend. when they have to travel, or drive more than 3 hours

Post # 12
1418 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@seahorsey: If you want 100 i wouldn’t invite that many more than 100… maybe 110? It depends on who is on your invite list… if that 200 includes many friends and out of town family members and your neighbors from childhood and all your parents friends… i would expect 20-30% decline… however, if your invite list is all very close friends and closely related family I would say most people will rsvp yes. If you do a b list i would only send the a list to family… that way all friends are in the same category.

Post # 13
4150 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

As a rule of thumb, between 70 and 80% will respond yes – closer to 70% if they are mostly Out of Town guests and closer to 80% if they are mostly local.  Also, the bigger your guest list, the lower the percentage gets because you’re inviting more people that are not as close to you.  I definitely would not invite 200 if you want 100.  We’re inviting 200 and planning for 150 (hoping for 140!) for a destination wedding within driving distance for all the guests.

Post # 14
2891 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

When I married my ex he invited over 500 people but only 120 showed up. There is just no telling.

Post # 15
241 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2012

It’s really hard to say because every wedding is different.  We sent 130 invites and have received 65 responses so far, and every one of them has been a yes response.  

Post # 16
378 posts
Helper bee

I think you will have way more than 100 people attend if you invite close to 200.

We invited 85 people and 10 couldn’t make it so I would take the time to narrow down your list before sending our those invites. good luck I know it’s hard to do!

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