Questions for Brides with Large Guest Lists

posted 3 years ago in Etiquette
Post # 3
Member
250 posts
Helper bee

I’m not married but have read wedding blogs just in case I do get a bf someday but if I was planning my own wedding I would do a A-C or D list for your guestlist meaning A list for family members B list for joint friends of you and your fi, C list for desperate friends of yours and Fi that are good friends/ close friends and a D list for separate friends who are friends but not good friends. If you and your fi don’t have any joint friends then I would do a A-C list only B list for close friends/good friends and C list for casual/ regular friends ie old school friends, or old coworkers. 

Post # 4
Hostess
7630 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

I had 115 but since no one else has answered….

1) Did you do a seating chart? Why or why not?  I would absolutely make a seating chart. It will make your evening much more organized and make your guests more comfortable if they can sit with people they like. 

2) Did you invite more people then the venue could hold, expecting declines? I know that’s a no-no but we know many overseas won’t come so may invite slightly over the limit. I would invite a few more people but not many, like maybe 10 – 20 extras. 

3) Did you have more than one bar area set up? I would if my wedding was this big. 

4) If you did a receiving line, how long did it take? I would not do a receiving line. That would take forever. Instead, try going around to the tables while everyone is eating. (That may mean eating before the reception or eating quickly.)

5) Did you do favors? I can’t find anything people would like without ending up spending thousands bc of the # of people. Favors are the first cut for many brides. I don’t think anyone would be offended. 

6) Did you do escort cards for each person, couple, or family? We did escort cards for each couple. You’ll probably end up splitting up a lot of families – parents with parents and kids with kids. 

7) How long did it make you to address STDS,invites, etc? I sent mine via email but it took a while to gather everyone’s email.  

Post # 5
Member
29 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: October 2013

I’m getting married in less than three months.  We have a large guest list (unfortunately).  Here’s kind of what we did:

 

*You should keep in mind it’s semi-formal.  We couldn’t afford to go completely all formal, and I probably wouldn’t have wanted that anyway.

 

 

1) Did you do a seating chart?    No.  For one, I didn’t want to.  But I just can’t even think about worrying about where that many people are going to go.  We’re reserving tables for our family (a stressor in itself as his parents are divorced and his stepmom can’t seem to play nice).  Everyone else can come in and figure out where to sit.

2) Did you invite more people then the venue could hold, expecting declines?  I know that’s a no-no but we know many overseas won’t come so may invite  slightly over the limit.

UH, NO.  I would NOT do this.

3) Did you have more than one bar area set up? NOPE.  But in my defense we picked a venue that didn’t allow drinking partly because FI friend’s and his father’s friends are unreliable and I was worried what alcohol could turn my wedding into.

4) If you did a receiving line, how long did it take? We will be doing a receiving line but it will only be myself, my fiance, and both sets of our parents.

5) Did you do favors? I can’t find anything people would like without ending  up spending thousands bc of the # of people.  We wanted to really bad.  However, in the end, other things were more important.  Attire, food, cake, etc.  So as of now we aren’t going to go all out.  However, if we could spend it we were going to do homemade organic soap that a family member of mine makes.  It’s super cute, smells wonderful and we love it. 

6) Did you do escort cards for each person, couple, or family?  No.  Once again…too many people, not enough time to worry about this.

7) How long did it make you to address STDS,invites, etc? This is where it gets tricky.  My invites took forever because we have had to fold them when they come from the printer.  But, we aren’t hand addressing.  People can say that’s bad etiquette.  I really don’t care. I’m not addressing 250 names.

 

 

Here’s my advice on a large wedding.  Make cuts on people who don’t matter all that much.  That’s been our biggest issue because my fiance seems to think we should invite everyone and their brother.  Futhermore, no guest wants to stand in a receiving line for an hour.  I hate going to weddings where I have to awkwardly meet the wedding party.  I’m not there to celebrate them.  I’m there to celebrate the bride and groom.

Post # 6
Member
5460 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

@MrsN14:  

1) Did you do a seating chart? Why or why not?


YES!  We did a chart to assign tables but not seats.  This helped cut down on any confusion with the serving staff as well as avoid the problem of random empty seats at tables and nowhere for families or couples to sit together.


2) Did you invite more people then the venue could hold, expecting declines? I know that’s a no-no but we know many overseas won’t come so may invite slightly over the limit.

NO.  We only invited the number of people both our budget AND our venue could accommodate.


3) Did you have more than one bar area set up?

No, but our bar was the length of the entire wall.  I would say that if it is a smaller bar an additional bar area would be nice.  We did make sure there were extra bartenders to reduce any potential waiting times though.


4) If you did a receiving line, how long did it take?

No.  We visited table-to-table so we could spend 2-3 minutes with a group of 8 people instead of spending 1 minute with each person or couple.  We had 23 tables and we were done greeting guests in about an hour (a bit longer, but not too much).


5) Did you do favors? I can’t find anything people would like without ending up spending thousands bc of the # of people.

We got creative.  We didn’t want large floral centerpieces, so my husband suggested using bowls of candy as the centerpieces.  I had celophane baggies with personalized ribbon at each place setting so guest could snag a few pieces of candy as their favor.  We had different candies at different tables to encourage guests to get up, move around, and mingle.


6) Did you do escort cards for each person, couple, or family?

We did escort cards for each couple, individual cards for singles or unmarried people, and individual cards for the small handfull of older children.  We used color-coded stickers in the top right corner to indicate meal choice to help the serving staff distribute the meals quickly and correctly.


7) How long did it make you to address STDS,invites, etc?

Forever!  Hahaha, not really- MIL and a few bridesmaids got together and we had dinner, then addressing, then wine to relax.  It took a few hours (we invited just over 200 people).

Post # 7
Member
7654 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2012

I had 200, but I will answer just to maybe help you out.

 

1) Did you do a seating chart? Why or why not?

No becaue they, to me, are a pain. The only tables we made seating charts for were the grandparents and aunts and uncles so they could sit closest to the head table.

2) Did you invite more people then the venue could hold, expecting declines? I know that’s a no-no but we know many overseas won’t come so may invite slightly over the limit.

Absolutely NOT. You never know who will show up, even if you expect declines. Plus I didn’t want to pay fines. We lived next to a city hall growing up and we had amny weddings there that were over capacity, and the cops had to kick people out, so they took the bride’s time away from dancing so she could pick through all the people and figure out which ones needed to go home.

3) Did you have more than one bar area set up? No. There was rarely a line of people. We did get married in a hotel where there was a bar downstairs too though.

4) If you did a receiving line, how long did it take? We did, and amny people skipped it and talked to us at the reception. I assume it took around a half an hour.

5) Did you do favors? I can’t find anything people would like without ending up spending thousands bc of the # of people. Just get them something. We did bubbles because we wanted bubble pictures, lol. They were cheap, found on sale on the Knot.

6) Did you do escort cards for each person, couple, or family? Only for the head table and the tables for the family. We did it for each individual person

7) How long did it make you to address STDS,invites, etc? StDs were only given to family and close friends, so not long at all. Invites took us a few hours as well as thank yous.

Post # 8
Member
32 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I was MOH for a 250 guest wedding (but she was thinking 300+ the entire time).

1) Did you do a seating chart? Why or why not?  Yes she did, and it worked out great.

2) Did you invite more people then the venue could hold, expecting declines? I know that’s a no-no but we know many overseas won’t come so may invite slightly over the limit.  Yes she did, and again worked out great.  She had several family members that lived on the other side of the US and knew many wouldn’t come.  She invited over 400 and around 250 came.

3) Did you have more than one bar area set up?  Only one bar (mulitple bartenders) and also table service.

4) If you did a receiving line, how long did it take?  No.

5) Did you do favors? I can’t find anything people would like without ending up spending thousands bc of the # of people.  Yes – daytime cocktail hour (outside) so she did sunglasses.  They were less than $1 each (bought in bulk).

6) Did you do escort cards for each person, couple, or family? Yes – for each couple/family/.

7) How long did it make you to address STDS,invites, etc?  She hired a calligrapher and had a wedding coordinator in charge of those.

Post # 9
Member
15 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We invited about 220 guests, budgeted for 200 guests, but only expect around 180 to attend our wedding next month.

1) Did you do a seating chart? Why or why not?

Yes, I’m working on the seating chart now.  It’s a total pain, but the gain will be worth it at the reception, I’m sure.  I would be so embarrassed if I saw my guests roaming around looking for seats and having to negotiate with other guests to fit thier full party together.  I’ll gladly do the work ahead of time so that my guests enjoy their experience.

2) Did you invite more people then the venue could hold, expecting declines? I know that’s a no-no but we know many overseas won’t come so may invite slightly over the limit.

My venue can seat 400 so I wasn’t worried about that.  I did invite more than we budgeted for ONLY because I knew we would get some declines.  Might not recommend that though.  It’s up to you.  Every source online said that weddings rarely see 100% attendance.  Expect 75-85% of total guests invited to attend.

3) Did you have more than one bar area set up?

Yes we are having 2 identical bars set up on opposite sides of the venue.  I think each has 2 bartenders. I read somewhere that you should have 1 bartender for every 75 guests.  My venue offered 4 bartendars so we went with it.

4) If you did a receiving line, how long did it take?

No receiving line for us!  I’m an introvert so just the thought overwhelms me lol.  I’m also dreading visiting every table to greet guests, but we had to do one or the other.

5) Did you do favors? I can’t find anything people would like without ending up spending thousands bc of the # of people.

Yes, we’re doing cupcakes as favors.  The same baker who’s doing our wedding cake gave us a great deal on cupcakes ($2 for up to 150 cupcakes, then $1 for every cupcake after that).  I found a wholesaler online and bought these cute clear cupcake boxes, then our planner will attach a label on the front with each guest’s name and table assignment. That way, the favors also serve as escort cards for each individual guest.  All in all- our favors/escort cards cost about $600 for 200 guests.

6) Did you do escort cards for each person, couple, or family?

Yep, see above 🙂

7) How long did it make you to address STDS,invites, etc?

We sent STDs to about 165 households (=220guests), however we did not handwrite them.  We found a cute font online and purchased it.  We used it for pretty much all of the stationary we DIY’d (signs and stuff). In total, took about 3 hours to print addresses on envelopes, stuff, and seal them.

For our wedding invitations, we got lucky.  Our planner has a stationer on staff so she and I designed the invitation suite and she assembled all of them.  She even addressed (using our font) the envelopes and mailed them out.  The RSVP cards are also being sent to her office so she’s tracking those for me as well.

Post # 10
Member
2642 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@MrsN14:  We invited 325, and had 230 guests show up.

1) Did you do a seating chart? Why or why not?


Yes.  PLEASE, please please, do a seating chart.  It cuts down on confusion and makes things much more organized.  Your guests will really appreciate.  No one wants to fight for tables and seats.  It’s so easy for tables to be left half full and familys, couples, and groups of friends to be split up.  You don’t want your guests to feel like it’s the middle school cafeteria all over again with people claiming seats and others having no where to sit and guests having to awkwardly ask if they can join a table or groups cramming 10 people to an 8 person table causing other tables to only have 3-4 people.  They are not that hard.  Ours took maybe 2 hours tops, and that’s including phone calls to parents to verify the arrangements.

 

2) Did you invite more people then the venue could hold, expecting declines? I know that’s a no-no but we know many overseas won’t come so may invite slightly over the limit.

We invited the exact amount of people our venue could hold and we could afford.  I would not invite more.  You should ALWAYS plan on 100% attendance.  You’d be surprised how many people you are so sure won’t show actually do.  There are lots of stories on the Bee supporting this.

 

3) Did you have more than one bar area set up?


We had one large bar that had somewhere between 2-4 bartenders.  I honestly can’t remember how many.  I’m not sure if it ever got crowded during cocktail hour, but during the rest of the reception it seemed to be able to accomodate the number of people just fine.


4) If you did a receiving line, how long did it take?

We did not do a receiving line and I would not recommend doing one with that amount of guests.  It will take way too long.  We did table visits, though admittingly, we did not get to everyone.  I still feel terrible about that.

 

5) Did you do favors? I can’t find anything people would like without ending up spending thousands bc of the # of people.


Yes!  We did used books and bookmarks.  Our local library has a sale every few months and we bought tons for about $.50-$1.00 per book.  We made cute little library book inserts to go on top and wrapped them up with twine.

 

6) Did you do escort cards for each person, couple, or family?


We did escort cards for each person.  We split up some families so we definitly couldn’t do it by family.  Also, each escort card had a mini carabiner attached.  So doing them individually meant everyone got their own.

 

7) How long did it make you to address STDS,invites, etc?


One of my BMs helped with the STDs and they only took maybe an hour or two.  I think we had around 160 that we sent out.  Invites took a lot longer because I used a calligraphy pen (which I was picky about) and we tied all the cards together with ribbon.  I’d work on them for several hours a day for 3-4 days.

 

I loved having a big wedding and it I really didn’t find it that difficult.  Putting together favors, invites, escort cards, etc. did take longer, but I didn’t find it too bad.  The only thing I regret was not being able to say to everyone.  I lost a lot of time taking group pictures and wasn’t able to make it up. =(

 

Post # 11
Member
4511 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: October 2011

We had about 260 invited, and 200 exactly attended.

1) Did you do a seating chart? Why or why not? absolutely. It would have been mass chaos otherwise. (a table seating chart, not a chair seating chart.)

2) Did you invite more people then the venue could hold, expecting declines? I know that’s a no-no but we know many overseas won’t come so may invite slightly over the limit. Techinically yes. We had the option to use the entire banquet hall instead of 2/3 of it, but that required a certain minimum purchase. It was a possibility that someone else would reserve that final 1/3 of the room before we committed, but in the end we didn’t reserve it and didn’t need it.

3) Did you have more than one bar area set up? yes. 2. I think they might have took one down later at night when they didnt need it.

4) If you did a receiving line, how long did it take? no

5) Did you do favors? I can’t find anything people would like without ending up spending thousands bc of the # of people. no. we had a photobooth instead.

6) Did you do escort cards for each person, couple, or family? If you mean placecards, yes, but just to show them what table to be at, and their menu choice.

7) How long did it make you to address STDS,invites, etc? We didnt do STD’s, and MIL and another friend helped address invites, and that took about one night of 2 hours.

Post # 12
Member
83 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We’re getting married one month from today (YIKES!!!)

1) Did you do a seating chart? Why or why not? Yes, we will be doing a seating chart – assigned tables, but not exactly assigned seats. I hate going to a wedding without at least assigned tables. You never know what’s open/taken or how many spots there are. I think it makes the guest experience much better.

2) Did you invite more people then the venue could hold, expecting declines? I know that’s a no-no but we know many overseas won’t come so may invite slightly over the limit. We invited about 450, but I think our venue can hold 500. We are getting married in the town we live in now, and most of our guests are from 1-3 hours away, so we knew a fair number probably wouldn’t make the trip.

3) Did you have more than one bar area set up? We will have two bar areas.

4) If you did a receiving line, how long did it take? We are dismissing guests from their seats after the ceremony. We felt like this was a good way to make it go quicker. After sitting/standing/kneeling for nearly an hour’s worth of a Catholic ceremony, we think people will greet/congratulate us quickly. Not only will they want to move around, but you know that everyone is watching us and our guests as they are dismissed and the pressure is on them to make it snappy! 🙂

5) Did you do favors? I can’t find anything people would like without ending up spending thousands bc of the # of people. No favors. We thought a 5 course meal, free drinks and dancing were adequate “favors”. Plus, there’s nothing we liked enough to give out, and we didn’t want lots of extra stuff sitting around after.

6) Did you do escort cards for each person, couple, or family? We are so anti-DIY. We are having my fiance’s graphic designer cousin (who created our STDs, invites and programs) whip up a list so we don’t have to print, cut, fold escort cards.

7) How long did it make you to address STDS,invites, etc? We sent probably 150 STDs (just to family, long-distance guests, and important friends we wanted to be sure were there). Names and addresses were printed right on our postcards. For invites, I’m not sure how many hours it took, but we assembled pocket folds with a mat, the invitation card, 3 inserts and an RSVP envelope. And I hand-wrote addresses and inner envelopes. We spent a few hours on this every night for a couple weeks and a few hours one Saturday afternoon.

 

Good luck! 🙂

 

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