Post # 1
It seems that an issue that regularly comes up in planning a wedding is space for guests at a venue. I’m just curious why that comes up as an issue. Do others pick a venue first and then try making a guest list afterwards?
I guess I just wonder because every event I’ve ever planned (business lunch, happy hours, or wedding), I have done a quick tally of likely guests and limited my venue searches to only those that can hold at least that number. In fact, when I’m calling around to find out what can fit, I tend to add a bit more to the number just in case I’ve forgotten anyone.
With thinking about our wedding, I opened up a Google spreadsheet and started organizing all the names and addresses I already knew. It was fantastic for getting Christmas cards out earlier! It also gave me something I could share with my mom, and she added anyone from my side who she thought might be on our potential guest list. I haven’t run hard numbers past the SO, but I have an approximate count from him based on the family members he’ll feel like he has to invite. I added another 10 to that estimate just to start a search for venues. I also included some friends of his who he may ultimately say he doesn’t feel the need to invite.
I’m just curious to know if there is a common reason that someone would pick a venue before coming up with a guest count.
Post # 3
I do know one bride who picked her venue first. She’d always wanted to get married there. She made it work.
But we did it more like you did – came up with an initial list and used that to narrow the field both in terms of venue size and the scale of wedding we could afford.
Post # 4
We made our guest list, gave our parents’ their prospective guest lists. They approved. We thought we were good with 150 guests (saying yes, about 175 invited). We went a head looked at venues and booked on about 15 months out from our wedding. 3 months later grandma gets informed that her ENTIRE extended family is not invited, throws a fit. We reach a compromise, we’re now at 200. Throw in a few more dramas here and there, we ended up at abotu 210 invited. Luckily only 170 said yes. And we were able to squeeze (literally) 2 extra tables of 10 in. It was definitely tighter than I would have liked. 2 tables had guests’ seats literally up against the wall. But we were still under the legal maximum capacity of the venue so they allowed it. What made it tighter was also our added areas like a photobooth, candy buffet, and lounge and dance floor. Had we needed that 18th table we would have had to ax the lounge area, which would have sucked since we already paid for it.
Post # 5
I’ve wondered the same thing myself. The first thing we did was make a guest list. Everything else, including budget and venue, were based off of the guest list numbers.
Post # 6
We made a *very* rough guest list of people who we knew we definitely had to have at the wedding, then started looking at venues. The venue we ended up liking only fit slightly more than our *must invite* list, so that’s who we’re inviting. But if we’d ended up with a larger venue, we would have invited more people– more distant relatives, friends who we hadn’t kept in touch with for as long, people who it’d be really nice to see but who we didn’t feel were absolutely essential to our wedding. So a little bit of each for us I guess.
Post # 7
I think most people tend to think they have an estimate of what their guest list is, but when they actually type it out it adds up to a crazy number really quick.
We decided early we only wanted around 100 guests. Neither of us could envision a wedding with more than that, and honestly didn’t think we knew enough people to top that. We shopped around for a venue that could hold at least 150 because we wanted there to be extra space and not have the tables on top of each other.
After we knew what venue we wanted, we started working on our guest list and came up with 168 people…neither of us could believe we knew that many people. We ended up cutting it down to 95 (said bye bye to extended family and any friends that we haven’t seen in 6 months), because we had already made the executive (and budgetary) decision to not go above 100.
Post # 8
Many brides get their hearts set on a venue without thinking through logistics… I knew I’d be inviting a large number, but we also knew about how many to expect before people even rsvped, approximately 200-220… So, for example, venues that sat 180 were out of the question… It just seems logical, doesn’t it? 🙂
Post # 9
@kimberlyr22: This is something I’d like to understand a little more, if you don’t mind me asking about this process. Is there a reason you didn’t want to start jotting down names before you started planning? I realize that you said you just didn’t think that you knew that many people, but is that feeling so strong that it just didn’t strike you to start a list to gather addresses and such?
If this sounds like I’m being nit picky, I apologize. I’m just so curious about the thought process that goes into how people approach situations differently. Also, because I volunteer with groups that sometimes plan charity events and the like, getting a little insight into how others might approach planning could really give me a little more insight into working with some of the other folks.
Post # 10
We made our guest list first, and then picked a venue from there. We also picked a venue based on our budget for vendors (i.e. can we bring our own alcohol, can we afford to host food & beverage with the preferred caterers at the venue), which it seems like a lot of people don’t factor in, either. It’s weird to me, but every couple has different priorities, and a specific venue must be a priority for some more than it was for us.
Post # 11
@atalante: On your bride who picked a venue first, I totally understand that. A woman I know whose wedding I’ve actually helped her on with DIY has a venue that she’s wanted to use since she was a little girl. She had to seriously cap her guest list because of it, and is concerned because the rain plan location will mean some people will stand during the ceremony (which isn’t too long). I think she was worried about talking wedding with me since I wasn’t invited, but I totally understood her position and never thought poorly of her because she made her plans around the venue constraints. The only reason she may have an issue is if the weather doesn’t cooperate, but I think people will be more than forgiving if that’s the case.
I guess it just confuses me if someone does this same thing, but then seems shocked when the numbers don’t work in their favor.
Post # 12
I made a list of my family and had fiance dictate (because he was incapable of writing it down himself so I wrote it for him) his half. Then I checked with my Future Mother-In-Law to see if we missed anyone. Then we looked at venues, and realized our dream venue had a minimum of 175 and we were at 165. So we added some people :). My dad added a few people from his side, and I know Future Mother-In-Law will invite as many extra people as I let her. She won’t ask to add anyone unless I tell her we need more people though. Currently were at 186, with an additional 20 people on the “Blist” that are my friends/coworkers who I’m not as close to. My side is a lot smaller than FI’s because I invited fewer friends, so some of my Blist might get added before his. I’m hoping we don’t need to add people though. I plan on sending out no more than 200 invitations because thats the maximum and I will worry about too many yeses if I send out extra invitations.
Post # 13
We originally thought that we’d have no more than 70 people. Then, luckily, I decided to write it down. Ended up at about 125 for our first rough draft. So we looked at places that could hold up to 150, although we’re not really expecting that many, I’d rather be prepared and be able to make it happen should the need arise. There is no way I’d ever send out an invite for more than the seated capacity of my venue–those are the girls that boggle my mind. I can’t see how you would think it would be ok to send out 200 invites with only 150 spaces–how could you function knowing that you *have* to have 50 declines and hoping that it happens? It makes my hair grey thinking about it.
Post # 14
@LibertyBelle: Our reasoning for not jotting down the list first was we had decided early on that 100 was going to be the cut-off. If that meant not inviting cousins, acquaintances, etc., we were okay with that. Our families are both very low-key and anything above a 100-person wedding would have been frowned upon (at this point, our 100-person wedding is being frowned upon).
Also, none of the venues we looked at had a headcount smaller than 175. In the planning stages we did look at a much smaller venue, but that was after my dad freaked out about us having a big wedding (100 people to my dad is huge), so we started planning a very small, intimate wedding until my dad realized that while 100 seemed to big, 30 seemed too small. Then we scratched the small wedding and went back to our original planning.
When we did finally sit down and start putting together our list we were shocked at the number we came to. Granted these included plus-1s that we had not originally considered. But, again, we weren’t swayed by this number because we weren’t going to invite that many anyway. I think if we had been planning a bigger wedding, we would have written the guest list down first before looking at venues, but because we knew we weren’t going over 100, we didn’t think it necessary to write out the guest list.
Also, we didn’t sign a contract with a venue before doing the guest list, we just checked several out before making the guest list.
Post # 15
What happened to me is that originally my parents offered us money for the wedding and said we could do anything we wanted with it. We created a guest list and decided to have ~50 people. I did a lot of research to find a venue that wouldn’t be a gigantic ballroom, and found a venue that would hold up to 90 people for the reception. At the time I was actually afraid we wouldn’t fill it and it would look overwhelming for the small amount of people. HA.
Then my parents started pulling the “well we’re giving you all this money, can’t we invite who we want?” And they started adding extended family and friends of theirs. Then my Fiance was like “well, I cut people off the guest list, but your parents are adding more.” So I told him to add the additional people he wanted.
So we ended up with 115 people invited when only 90 will fit comfortably in our venue. Luckily, up to 108 will fit UNcomfortably.
My advice would be to make sure everyone who gets a say in teh guest list (financial contributors), including any parents and both you and Fiance are perfectly happy with the guest list before booking a venue.