Safe guest estimate?

posted 3 years ago in Reception
  • poll: Should I send out the 80 invitations, even if our venue can only hold a maximum of 70 people?
    Yes - You will likely receive enough declines to get back under the maximum. : (24 votes)
    28 %
    Yes - See if your venue can fit in a few extra people if there are more than 70 attending. : (18 votes)
    21 %
    No - Cull down and invite 70 people, and have a discreet B list if you get any declines back. : (41 votes)
    47 %
    Other (please post) : (4 votes)
    5 %
  • Post # 3
    2317 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    Ok, yes, everyone does experience declines but what will you do if your wedding is the one where everyone says yes? I would try and bring it back to 70 or even less if you need to 

    Post # 4
    1086 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2013

    @ksus07:  don’t worry about it. Go ahead and invite 80 people. Some will decline. Even if everyone said yes, you would most likely get some no-shows the day of the wedding. I know of one wedding where out of 202 said they would come, 20 did not show up the day of the wedding. At my wedding, it was nine people out of 54 who had RSVP’ D that they were coming but did not show up.

    I was all worried about the room and how many it could accommodate. So there were people I did not invite because I was worried about this issue. Looking back, I wish I had invited them as we would have had room.

    Post # 5
    11668 posts
    Sugar Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    We invited 50 guests over the max. It was not an issue. We did have a lot of out of town guests though so we knew there would be declines. I think you’ll be fine with 10 over.

    Post # 6
    330 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: October 2012

    This is precisely why you need a preliminary guest list before you go venue shopping. Now you’re sacrificing the people you want there with you to have the venue you liked, and that puts you in a terrible position.

    That said, I think all your options kind of suck.  Is the 70 number a fire code issue, or something else?  Is there any way to work with your venue to accommodate the other 10?  That would be my first try at a solution.  Although if it’s fire code, you’re going to be stuck.

    I wouldn’t assume 10 declines from 80. If you’re telling us you can’t possibly cut down from 80, I bet they’re all close friends and family.  People who are really going to want to be at your wedding.  10 declines would be more than a 10% decline rate.  It’s different for larger weddings that are more apt to have obligatory invites; the more you invite, the more will say no.  Although, you know your guest list.  Do you honestly think 10 will say no (be honest!!)?

    Keep in mind, if you invite 80, all 80 MIGHT say yes.  It’s not common, but look around on this site; it has happened that every last person says yes, or you might get 75 or something. What do you do in that instance?  How do you scramble the week before your wedding to cram in 5 people who might cause a fire code violation?

    Personally, I hate B-lists. I think they’re rude.  For a huge event, you can sometimes get away with saying you mailed the invites in batches, but with 80 people, they’ll talk, and you’ll get found out.  B-lists feel gross as a guest; you like me enough to have me there, but only if someone else you like better doesn’t come?

    You’re in a bad spot.  It sucks. But you need to talk to your venue first, and then if they say no way they can get to more than 70, you need to decide whether you’re willing to get found out doing a B-list with people you know well and love, whether you can cut your list a little more, or whether you’re willing to scramble the week before if you invite all 80 and more than 70 show. 

    Honestly if it were me, if the venue says they can’t accommodate more than 70, I’d be seeing about their cancellation fees and venue shopping for a place that can accommodate all of my nearest and dearest.

    Post # 7
    1793 posts
    Buzzing bee

    I would not assume you will have enough declines with that size of guest list.  We didn’t for our first DD’s wedding.

    She had a guest list of 84.  It was in the middle of Winter in Michigan (we have some pretty good Winters here in Michigan).  We had 80 people attend.  Everyone was SURE we would have at least  a 20% decline rate because ALL weddings do (we were actually told this!).  I got good advice on The Knot to plan for 100% attendance and I am so grateful I followed that advice.

    I also have to say that I intentionally chose a venue that would hold more people because I wanted everyone to be comfortable and I didn’t want the “sardine effect” of being crowded.  Maximum capacity usually has nothing to do with being comfortable and everything to do about the fire code and keeping the Fire Marshall happy.

    I would get your list down to 70 and have no B list.  People know when they have been B listed and that can hurt feelings.  I won’t do that.

    Post # 9
    8850 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA

    @ksus07:  I think inviting 70 people, then a b-list, is best in this situation. 

    Dont forget to include you and your FI in the list!!

    Post # 10
    221 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: September 2013

    We had planned for a guest list of approx 150… We ended up inviting 182. We have plenty of out of town family we figured would decline (Still no response from some) But at this point, invites have been out for 2 months, and we have had 5 guests decline. Obviously still waiting on a bunch of replies, but not the amount of declines we expected!

    Post # 11
    22 posts
    • Wedding: August 2013

    If you’ve already hacked the list down, I think it’s okay to invite all 80. Especially since they are spread out by some distance. It’s a given that some people wouldn’t be able to make the trip. A discreet “B” list is not insulting, it’s a matter of finances, room and logistics! (Of course, no one has to know they were 2nd round choices!)

    Also, it might be a good idea to mention to everyone you invite that the reception is on a boat… I know that’s usually on the invite… but be sure to put that since you might have some declines because of sea-sickness!!



    Post # 12
    72 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    I would say cut down your list. I sent out 100 invites with 100% of my guest list RSVP yes.

    Post # 13
    606 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: November 2013

    I’ve been trying to figure this out too. We’re inviting 105 to our wedding and our venue can hold a max of 100.  We also have a B list.  I’ve heard that the smaller the wedding the higher % of people will RSVP yes.  Maybe you can cut it to 75 invited guests?


    Post # 14
    232 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: August 2013

    @ksus07:  Only send out 70 invites . . and definitely don’t send out 70 save the dates! That was our mistake – locking ourselves into the wrong sub-set of our list! Our friend-group changed within the year and then we felt like idiots when we needed to tweak our guest list. Most people at the ends of the lists didn’t remember the save the dates anyway. Luckily, it all worked out. Don’t do “B list” as much as what I called “rolling invitations”. We sent out a massive amount of them to family fairly early, and then slowly worked our way back to the maximum as we got no’s. There were a few obvious B listers and some people who probably would have come if they’d gotten more warning, but at the end of the day, we have everyone there that we want who could come. People did rolling RSVP deadlines anyway (only ~75% of our people RSVPed on time). And if you are sending them in social chunks, you have the advantage of (1) not having to assemble that many invitations all at once; and (2) no one really knows anyway. We also added to the ends of social chunks if we thought people would be understanding since we had a huge number of people RSVP no (like most of one side of my family and half of the other).

    Post # 15
    98 posts
    Worker bee

    @pastrygirl:  That’s exactly the mistake we made! We should NOT have sent out so many Save the Dates. Now we feel like we are committed and some of the people who we thought no way will they come say they are coming! Yikes!

    Post # 16
    38 posts
    • Wedding: May 2014

    I just posted a similar post, tyring to figure out the same thing!

    I would assume only 10 guests over your max would be pretty safe!

    I have this irrational fear that I’m gonna invite only the “max number of guests” for our venue, and only half will show! lol.


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