How many guests usually decline?

posted 3 years ago in Logistics
Post # 3
7630 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

@jeg14:  She replied that the majority of the list are not going to come.

You don’t know that.

Just sending the invitations as “wedding announcements.”


I do not feel comfortable inviting these people and then have the possibility that too many will show up.

True. Expect 10 – 15% to decline.

Plus, she still wants the children’s names on the invitations, even though children are not invited… because once again “they won’t show up.”

NO!!! This is just bad form. It’s confusing for your guests and will most likely put you in several awkward situations. 

Moral of the story: Only invite those you want to attend. You could suggest a B-list or “wishlist” if and when you hear people RSVP “no.” 

Post # 4
641 posts
Busy bee

ALWAYS expect every one of your invited guests to attend. Don’t invite more people than you are able to host. This board has had many threads from people in a panic after their prescribed percentage of declined invitations failed to decline. Also, who is paying for your wedding? If it is anyone other than your parents, you need to sack up and tell your mother no.

Post # 5
240 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: March 2014

Had the same problem with my FMIL.  She wanted to invite all of her siblings even though half of them don’t speak for whatever reason and the other half my FI has never met. All backed up with the reason that “they won’t come”. Um, no. You’re not using my beautiful INVITES as a wedding announcement, especially if you aren’t contributing to the wedding. 

+1 to AlwaysSunny about 10%-15% decline rate. Then also keep in mind of those who said they would come but could not last minute.

Post # 6
11593 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: November 1999

If your venue can seat 150, you should invite 150 tops — or whatever number less thsn 150 that you can afford.  You really, really shouldn’t invite more people than your venue can hold.  We had many guests on our “these people definitely won’t come but let’s send a courtesy invite” list actually show up — and it invoved 500-1000 miles of travel for most of them!  People will surprise you and want to be part of your day.  Invite what you can afford or your venue can hold, and no more.

Go back to each of the mothers and ask them to refine the list because it’s gotten out of control!

Post # 7
311 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@Bracelet00:  +1

You can ask parents for their guest list, and some parents will push it on you without you even asking, but it is up to you to decide who you will include to invite or not. It was very wrong of her to go ahead and tell those people to expect an invite. If she told them she should also fix the situation. Or if they contact you when they do not get invites, you can share venue constraints. You need to set your boundaries. Do Not include the names of the children unless you want them there. If their name is on the invite, they will most likely attend. 

Post # 8
610 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’m with PPs on this one. Absolutely do NOT invite more than can fit in your venue or that you can afford. FMIL needs to understand that you have space and budget limitations, and that she needs to be accomodating. Is she helping to pay for the wedding? If not, she really doesn’t have the option to push these people on you, despite if she thinks they will come or not. My FMIL is having a very hard time getting down to the required number, but she knows that I am only sending out 80 invites for her, so if she gives me a list of 100 people, the last 20 aren’t getting invites. Try that with your FMIL, she will realize really quickly that she needs to come down to your number or risk the really imporant people not getting an invite.

Post # 9
6158 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

do not budget, based on how many people you think will decline.  you never know, everyone might say yes.  invite the people you can afford.  if no’s start coming in and there are others you want to invite, then send a 2nd round of invitations.

Post # 10
789 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

@jeg14:  I would be careful about inviting so many people who “won’t come”.  Your situation sounds IDENTICAL to mine, FMIL added quite a few people who “wouldn’t come” and guess what….they’re coming all the way from Ohio to Florida (13+ hours) with the closest airport an hour away!  

I’ve heard a 20% decline rate is average.  We have 171 (up from our agreed on 150) on our list, RSVP deadline was yesterday…and as of now we have 87 YESSes, 33 NOs and 51 people we haven’t even heard from yet.  So as of now, my decline rate is right at 20%…but there are still so many RSVPs still out that it is hard to say what the final will be.  

Talk to your FMIL and tell her that the guest list can’t go over 150, and some of her invites can’t be accommodated.  Do it kindly and I’m sure it will be ok!  You could assume 20% would say NO….but if they don’t you’ll be out of luck! 

Post # 11
2675 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Madison, WI

 We also started to run into this problem, FMIL wanted to invite her coworkers and their children etc etc…mostly because her daughter (FSIL) invited 400 people to her wedding and only 250 showed up! Well we want to keep our number around 120, so that’s not going to work for us. Thankfully FI just kept telling her “No”, that if we didn’t know the people/couldn’t fit them in then we were not inviting them. Just because FSIL had nearly 50% of guests decline doesn’t mean that we will have that happen too. If we do start to see a lot of declines we would consider implementing a “B List”, but it really seems unlikley. In my case – we are handeling the guest list so if I don’t want to invite someone guess what? They are not getting an invitation. I have the invitations, I am sending them out, not anyone else. For us, FMIL has accepted this for the most part but does often feel the need to tell us frequently how many people FSIL had at her wedding..

Post # 12
1327 posts
Bumble bee

Always err on the side of caution and don’t invite more people than you can afford to host, unless your ILs want to chip in for their own guests.  Alternatively, invite all of your own guests (and any of theirs that you deem appropriate) WAY, WAY in advance, wait a few months for responses, and then if you can accommodate the extras, invite them later.  Of course, this wouldn’t work with people that communicate a lot but maybe you can cut out some more distant relatives and friends?

Post # 13
8480 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2013

I invited around 140 people to ours and we had about 100 RSVP yes, so that’s about a 30% decline rate.  Probably higher because most of our family lives 4, 5, 8+ hours away.  Some of these invited were people that we knew wouldn’t come.

I’ve heard around 20% decline rate is average.

Post # 14
10748 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: February 2014

Our total invite list was about 180. So far 30 have declined, 132 accepted, and we have about 20 more to hear from. 

Post # 16
637 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

@jeg14:  Always plan on 100% attendance. We had the same issue – my parents and future inlaws added a TON of extra people, more than our space could hold….so we ended up having to add an extra chunk of ballroom just to be sure (in case a majority of people RSVPed yes). 

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