Post # 1
I’m recently engaged and am in the middle of planning a guest list and trying to book a reception venue. The place my fiance and I love holds a max of 240 but as of now, we have 267 on our list! I would bet at least 20 won’t bring guests (currently included in my count) but what has been your experience with people RSVPing “no”? Am I out of luck on my dream venue location?
Post # 3
I would not make your guest list any bigger than your venue’s capacity, I’ve heard way too many horror stories about this.
As far as “how many will RSVP no”, there’s not really a standard answer to this. It depends on a lot of factors like how far it is from your guests, what else is going on at that time of year, and a ton of people’s individual plans.
Post # 4
The average wedding has 2/3 of the guest list attend.
Post # 5
I would assume that 0% of your guests will not be attending.
Post # 6
@MrsLoebbs: I think it varies a lot based on where your guests are located. Local guests are more likely to show up because it is much less expensive for them to travel to the wedding.
Post # 7
I wouldn’t risk it by guessing how many won’t come. With weddings, you’d be surprised who can make it, even from out-of-state.
When you’re guessing 20 won’t bring guests, does that mean you’re still extending a guest option to them? If they aren’t in a relationship, you don’t have to. Then for sure you’d know they won’t bring guests (even if you think they won’t, they might not want to go stag and will wrangle a date).
Post # 8
Have you thought about a “B” list? Within the first two weeks after you send out your invites, as soon as you get a no back, invite another person, etc. I did this and it worked out well. I was careful to invite the “B” people asap so they wouldn’t know they were in the second wave.
Post # 9
My advice: DON’T DO IT!
Either cut the guest list or find a new venue.
I am currently experiencing a lot of stress over this same thing (sort of). My venue can hold as many guests as I have coming, but I can’t afford to pay for them. I sent Save-The-Date Cards to too many people, for courtesy purposes (so I wouldn’t catch hell), because everyone kept telling me, “You should only expect half to two-thirds of your guests to show up!” Well, maybe, for most weddings, only half to two-thirds end up showing up, but ALL of the people I was expecting a “no” from have told me they are definitely coming. They have time off of work and travel arrangments made.
I cannot begin to express the level of screwed I am right now.
Post # 10
@asscherlover: I went on the assumption that people wouldn’t be able to travel to my wedding. I was so, so very wrong.
Post # 11
We have had about 95% acceptance, so I definitely wouldn’t add more than your venue can hold. :S
Post # 12
@les105: Ditto on the “don’t play with fire” re: space constraints.
And she’s right–the percentage of “nos” depends on how many Out of Town guests you’re having, when it is, how close you feel to people etc. etc. It’s *likely* that not all 267 people will be able to make it, but then again, under Murphy’s Law, the bride that desperately cannot exceed 240 people, will.
Safest to find a new place if you’re set on 267 people or cut 30 from the list.
Otherwise, it’s looked down upon, but here’s how to tactfully do a B-list: skim 30 people of the list to be your B-list. Mail your invites out early to everyone else (like 4 months instead of 2) and the second you get a decline, start working on the B’s. If you mail your B’s at least 2 months out from the event (and they aren’t like best buddies with someone else NOT on the B-list), then they probably won’t know. But once that 2 month-mark passes, bets are off. And keep your RSVP deadline in mind for the B’s–meaning, they’ll know if the RSVP deadline is suspiciously a week after receipt of the invite. That’s why you send the first batch out early.
Post # 13
I would not over invite. We invited 182 and our venue holds 160 ( with a dance floor, or 180 without a dance floor.. no way I’m giving up on a dance floor) We guessed we’d have lots of No’s especially from the out of town guests. Our RSVP date is next Friday.. So far.. we’ve had a total of 4 people not coming ( 2 people and 2 guests.. ) I’m starting to panic, so don’t cause yourself the added stress. If you have room after you get your RSVP’s then invite those extra people, but I highly recommend not over inviting.
Post # 14
We had mostly out of town guests and had a decline rate of about 25%. BUT we knew before we sent the invites that certain guests would decline (ill, elderly). As PPs have mentioned there is no sure fire way to know how many will decline. I would bet though that at least 20 would say no. But keep in mind, as the wedding draws nearer you do invite more people than you originally thought. Some relationships change, etc. Our original guest count was 130. Somehow we made it to 147 once invites were sent.
Post # 15
I think you will be fine. We gave all our single guests a +1 and maybe 1 out of the 15 or so is actually bringing a date (since they all know a ton of people at the wedding). We invited 190 (includes guests) and only 130 are coming. We are having the wedding where we currently live but have lots of family/friends that live out of state. I would take a look at your guest list and write down the people you really think will come. If you have a bunch of “doubtful they will come” then I wouldn’t worry.
Post # 16
Based on the stories I have heard, I think there’s a general rule of thumb on how many of your guests will attend:
- If you send out even a hair over the number of seats you can afford/fit, then you’ll have almost no one decline to attend.
- If you keep your guest list to something you can afford/fit in the venue, then you’ll have some no shows ranging anywhere from 5%-40%.
You are going to need an absolute minimum 12% decline rate in order for you to fit those folks. If you didn’t count yourselves, your parents, and/or your bridal party in the standard guest list, then you need even more to skip out. Even then, you will fill every inch of the room if that is their capacity. That is rarely comfortable for the guests.
I agree with others that you really need to find a new venue or revise the guest list. You’re begging for trouble if you absolute need double digit refusals just to fit in the venue. By the time you know for sure whether or not you cross the threshold, it’s too late to make alternate plans. In that case, what will you do? Will you call the last few guests to RSVP and tell them their invitation is rescinded or simply refuse to seat them?