(Closed) How do you choose a destination venue? Head count

posted 7 years ago in Destination Weddings
Post # 3
369 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@gingerkitten:  What helped us figure out numbers was to communicate with our closest friends and family to gauge how likely they were to come. Once we got that base number, that helped us somewhat figure out a venue size. We also made a spreadsheet of all the people we invited then made a projection on who thought would come. There have been a couple surprises but really, nothing crazy, since we had talked to many people beforehand. We sent out save the dates 10 months ahead of time, and invitations 7 months in advance (with a rsvp date 4 months in advance, since should know by then!)

Good luck!

Post # 5
1238 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

@gingerkitten:  We had a 50% yes rate for our RSVPs.  Some made the descision very early on. But it was difficult as some people will still left their descision till the last minute and others booked alternative accomodation anyway.  We sent out Save-The-Date Cards a year out and our invites 6 months out giving them 2 months to decide (so RSVP due date was 4 mnths out from wedding – thinking that most people should know by then or have booked flights).  But some people didnt return their RSVPs till 2 mnths after the deadline so 2 months before wedding, and some of these were yes’s.  So by then the hotel discount had expired and was fully booked out anyway.  I guess it depends how organised your guests are :-).  It might be easier to choose a venue where there is a lot of choice for accomodation if possible…

Post # 6
514 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@gingerkitten:  I am having a Destination Wedding, and I invited about 120 people. I am not sure how many I will have because I just sent my invites, but I think realistically ill have about 60-70. If you want to book a villa, I would get one that can hold the people you know will come (closest family and friends) if more people come I would help them figure out where to stay, but not worry about it as much. I had a wedding website with many links to house rental websites. For our venue, it can hold like 150 people. Its on the beach under a pavillion, so it wont feel too small or too big either way. If you are in an outdoor venue, it wont feel so wierd, like it would for a ballroom for 200 to only have 50.

Post # 7
2305 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

Im just tagging this to follow, because this is the thing i’m struggling with. We’re inviting a lot of people, and I fear chosing a venue for 200 people and only have 40 come and have to figure out what the hell to do.


Post # 8
9951 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2012

Hi @gingerkitten: doing a Destination Wedding at a Resort is pretty easy… as they take care of a lot of this stuff for you… doing it on your own (which I take it is your plan) can be harder.

Any hints on WHERE you are thinking of having the Wedding ?

I agree with sharkchomp: get yourself a spreadsheet going… a great way to keep track of people, addresses, paperwork sent, RSVPs Back etc (fine tune as time goes on… I have deleted and added columsn in the process… now have one that lists Gifts & Thank Yous)

We did two columns for Replies… POSSIBILITY and one for ACTUAL.  Guesstimating who’d be coming to our Back Home Reception (we actully Eloped for our Destination Wedding… just the 2 of us marrying on the beach)

Save the Dates are good for a Destination Wedding… just make sure you have your Guest List / Head Count well in hand first… because you don’t want to be sending out Save-The-Date Cards to folks you cannot afford to invite later !! (sooo many Brides here on WBee who have made that mistake)

Actual Invites with a Destination Wedding, and I’d say go for the maximum lead time which from an Etiquette stand-point can be 12 to 16 weeks in advance (3 to 4 months from the actual Wedding Date).  Important to note, as you may require more lead time that the standard 2 or 3 weeks for Caterers etc that you’d require at home.

Hope this helps,


Post # 9
444 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2013 - rolling hills of southern italy

I think these ladies are right. in the case of a dw, it might be best to get a final guest list/ head count first. I know it isn’t normal, but these people have to buy tickets, so they have to plan ahead too


Post # 10
3424 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

@gingerkitten:  I would send out save the dates as soon as you can and then try to get your invites out earlier. This can work If you are planning  to have the wedding somewhere other than the villa as the ceremony/reception sites need to be listed on the invites. 

 I tried to go the rent a home route and was planning on having the rehersal, wedding and reception there. That plan got nixed for a few reasons, a. we couldn’t find a place large enough and b. it was too much money And c. Fiance thought people would appreciate their privacy. so we went the resort route and everything is working out great! 

Post # 12
6117 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I was told you have to plan for 100% attendance even if it’s a Destination Wedding (maybe unless you have some for sure no shows, like great aunt Sue who is on bedrest and would never fly, etc).  Same goes for an at-home wedding.  Because there are DWs where every guest did show up.  If you got a villa for only 20, then cut down your guest list a lot. I think it would be too much of a stressball to try and predict who would show then get a venue based on that.




StD’s go out only after you have the venue booked.  That should be people’s cue to book their plane/hotel/car (and not wait for the actual invitation).



When we had a Destination Wedding in the works, we did a spreadsheet as well and calculated the probablity of them coming (0 to 1, with 0.5 being maybe, 0.7 being very likely, 1 being for sure, etc).  Multiplied that by the # of guests and sum the column.  That is one way to do it with math!  Then we just added 10% to that figure to buffer ourselves.  HOWEVER, our venue held 75 and we only invited 75.  We used the probability method just to guess how much dinner would be (but we could have afforded them all if they all showed up)>

Post # 13
4132 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

We got a general feeling before booking things as well. We’re getting married in Scotland and A LOT more people decided to come than we expected. Good, but I’m glad we asked up front before booking anything. 

not sure if you’ve looked into this yet, but want to mention it just in case – Italy has strange marriage requirement rules. Make sure to look into the fully before booking anything. 

Post # 16
4132 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

@gingerkitten:  option #2 🙂 wwe specifically asked the VIP types – parents, BFF’s etc. we said something like – we are thinking of doing the wedding in Scotland. Is that something that you think you could manage? For the others, it was more like – hey, we’re thinking of doing this thing in Scotland. Think you’d make it? 

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