Post # 1
Okay, so due to the parents’ wishes, our guest list is going be in the +/- 400 range. I almost had a nervous breakdown, because my FI and I had planned to pay for the wedding ourselves. However, my FI’s parents have offered to take care of all of the food cost. Dinner will be buffet style.
We also found a very reasonably priced venue that accomodate all of these people.
Does anyone else here plan to have a wedding about this size or larger? What are some things I need to consider?
I don’t think assigned seating is possible, but I also don’t want things to get chaotic. Any suggestions on how I can handle this issue?
Also, any suggestions on wedding favors? With 400+ guests, I don’t think I can afford anything super nice. 🙁
Post # 3
Our guest list would have been like that had we done that.. but even with both sides of parents helping FI and I decided that we would make the lists ourselves (200 total)
I wouldn’t neccessarliy have assigned seats but would defintely do assigned tables… not nearly as stressful but will help organize your guests and make their experience better.
You might want to try a DIY favor or even cut favors altogether. I’ve read that this is the first acceptable cut considering most guests don’t take their favors with them anyways.
If you just can’t cut it then researd some fun ideas for some DIY that would cut costs down DRAMATICALLY and give you and you BM something to do together =)
Post # 4
HOLY CRAP. How is that even possible? WHo are they inviting – their coworkers 2nd cousins?? Seriously, you need to put your foot down and reign that in. Your wedding will be very difficult to afford and plan if that number doesn’t go down. Where would you even fit 400+ people? Seriously. You need to talk to them and get them to back off the guest list.
Post # 5
That is SO many people!!! How are you going to manage that!? I cant even imagine that many people in one room! I would not be able to deal with that and if I were you I would put my foot down NOW and say that you do not want a wedding that big! Honestly even 200 is a lot in my eyes!
Post # 6
you have to build a guest list to suit your budget. so find your budget first, and if you can comfortably afford 400+ then more power to you. but keep in mind the budget isnt just Food. every extra people means extra tables which means extra decorations invitations, more booze, etc… its more than just per plate. so check your budget and what you can afford.
Post # 7
We looking of between 250 and 300 without parent lists. To be fair parent lists will likely be short. The size of the guest list is the presice reason I’m doing assigned tables. It’ll be a lot of effort on my part, but I think it’ll make for a more relaxed time for my guests. We’re also doing our best to work with our tent guy to create a floor plan that keeps there from being too many “bad seats” (ie close to the speakers).
With 400 assigned tables might be too much work, but I’d make sure that the researved tables are well marked and the folks they are researved for know it’s researved for them. My cousin had a pretty large guest list but failed to inform family that she had researved tables for all of us and not just parents. It led to some confusion, empty researved tables, and grandma missing the first dance because she was so far away.
Post # 8
My wedding will only be about 100 people BUT the majority of weddings I have been to have been huge! The last one I attended was my cousins and there were about 350-450 people and that was cutting it down! They both had big families. I’m going the DW route just because I know that way people won’t show up. My mom is one of 7, my dad one of 8. On my dad’s side 3 of his siblings have 10+ kids and those people (my cousins) have kids of their own. It would be insulting to my family to NOT invite them despite the numbers so I understand how a wedding can grow. Thankfully for me I know the extended family won’t travel well. Things my cousin did to budget was, they didn’t have alcohol and it was an afternoon wedding. Another cousin held her wedding at a REALLY cheap VFW hall and just kept the lights off. Big weddings are possible but often come with sacrifices.
Post # 9
Food is a major expense so it’s nice that your parents are paying for that. But you also have to think additional people = additional tables, linens for those tables, china & flatware rental, centerpieces, and invites. Also you’ll need to order more alcohol and a larger cake.
It seems like assigning tables would be best for such a huge group. 400 people is a ton to have people all over the place. Also I’d see if your caterer could do two buffet lines (or more) so you don’t have to worry about people waiting forever.
Mostly I’d just be overwhelmed by that many people – and be afraid that I’d end up greeting people all night.
Can you eliminate kids? That might cut down on your headcount. I’d say skip favors (better to do nothing at all than waste money on getting everyone something cheap) or maybe do cookies since you can get those in bulk. But even that route you’ll be packaging a LOT of favors.
Post # 10
I really appreciate all of your feedback!
Unfortunately, I can’t do anything about the number of guests. My FI’s parent’s know a LOT of people, and they feel that it’s extremely rude if they do not invite everyone – that’s generally an Asian custom. They don’t want to turn away any friends who want to come and give their well wishes.
We did find a good venue that can accomdate this many people, and it is very reasonably priced.
I think I will go with the assigned tables – we may even just have the tables already set up so that people can just sit at their tables for the ceremony. That way we don’t have to worry about flipping the ballroom. I’m also thinking about nixing the favors, as well as making note in our invitations to not bring kids. We plan to have a photobooth at our wedding, so maybe the pictures guests get to take with them will be considered a favor?
Perhaps I may even have the person manning the guestbook table to give the person his/her assigned table number when the guests sign in?
I am trying really hard not to freak out, and on the outside I seem pretty calm about all of this… but inside I’m really freaking out! 🙁
Post # 11
What about doing a “seating chart” instead of escort cards? Kinda like this one
In your case I would probably have like 3 of them on easels around the room so people can find where they are sitting and you wont have crowding around just 1. Also I would nix the favors, they are rarely missed!
Post # 12
Wow. That is a lot of people. My head is swimming imagining the thank you notes. But it will be FINE!
Really push for two buffet tables.
I think the wait at the guest book if guests have to find their table number AND sign in will be too long…I’d post the seating chart several places.
Sitting at the tables for the ceremony will be great if you can swing that. Make sure everyone can hear. Make sure someone gently reminds your guests to turn off cell phones, and I would also ask people not to shoot pictures DURING the ceremony…with that many people, that could be chaotic if everyone has their camera held up taking pictures.
Photobooth pics as favors are PERFECT.
And have a good system for thank you notes….
Post # 13
Thank you so much for the suggestions! I am definitely going to make sure we have 2 buffet tables, as well as seating charts. That’s true – I don’t want to create a “bottleneck” if people sign in and try to get their table number at once.
I’ve also written down reminders for myself to have people turn off cell phones and such.
I know we’re all newbies at one time when it comes to wedding planning…so any other suggestions are much appreciated! I have no idea what I’m doing! =)
Post # 14
We had about that many people at our wedding. Here are some suggestions…
We had rounds of 12 (bigger tables), instead of rounds of 10 people. There were less tables so it didn’t look as scattered. Consider low centerpieces, there’s going to be lots of people, which means lots of pictures and people don’t want their views to be blocked. If you have high centerpieces, they’re for sure going to get moved around. You can cut out favors if you’d like, a lot of people did leave theirs behind, but others still brought all those leftovers home! These are just suggestions and things we did, but definitely do whatever is right for your group & style 🙂
That’s all I can think of for now. Happy planning!
Post # 15
I was just at a 400 person wedding, and instead of favors, each table had a sign saying a donation had been made to a charity in their honor in lieu of a favor. I thought that was a nice idea. Most wedding favors I’ve gotten end up getting purged the next time I move.
Post # 16
Believe it or not it will take the banquet team longer to get all of your guests through a buffet line. They normally dispurse 1-2 tables at a certain time as well. With a wedding your size I would definitely say go with plated for time management purposes and your guests will be more relaxed and satisfied. Also note that normally plated is a bit lower priced than buffet as the venue does not have to over produce food. Which will save costs for you in the long run for all of the folks to no-show.
I would say to work on your guest list. Cut anyone you havent had interaction with in the last year to year and a half. Also communicate with the parents and let them know what you are and are not comfortable with. It is your wedding day, not theirs. Encourage their opinion but dont let them run the show.