Post # 1
Going anonymous because my venue is fairly well known in my area, and it would be very easy to put me together with my wedding date and… anyway:
We’re right up against our venue’s size limitation. We know, literally, and exactly, that there is room for 8 more guests than is “legal” for a seated dinner according to fire code and their stated policy, because they sent us the floor plan and we made our own table arrangement! For what it’s worth, the room fits 150 for a “standing reception,” only 120 for a seated reception. It is a dedicated events/banquet hall, not a museum or anything like that.
Right now we’re limiting guests very stringently to be SURE we won’t go over 120. But I keep wondering — if 125 or 128 guests show up, would they actually get bounced? Would we get fined? This venue does probably 50-100 weddings a year, so I’m sure it has happened to someone before just by accident.
But I don’t want to cause any huge problems obviously, nor to have any guests die because of overcrowding in case of a fire and they all trip over the extra 8 people.
So…. how bad would it *really* be to invite a few more people and take the risk of going a few people over what’s technically allowed? I honestly have no idea but obviously can’t ask our coordinator.
Post # 3
- Wedding: March 2010 - Calamigos Ranch
I think it’s probably a bad idea to attempt it, but if you invite 125 or 128 people, you will almost certainly get enough declines to be in the safe area again. Good luck!
Post # 4
Well my venue does a head count the day of… you might want to make sure they won’t do that.
Post # 5
@angeleri: thanks for the heads up! good thing they let you know about that! See, we’re not paying them by the head so I hope that’s not the case… we wouldn’t be cheating them out of any $.
Post # 6
@Neele: yeah like I said we are doing all our own rentals so there’s no reason they would *need* to count, but I guess the on-site coordinator might still do a count! But then would they bounce some guests… hmmm. Maybe I could put the kids’ table on the patio!
Post # 7
What you need to do is take a hard look at your guest list and find a safe number to invite that will bring you at or below the max guest list. If the guest list is mostly locals, you will get a high percentage of attendance. If you have many more out-of-towners, it will be lower. There are variations within that, but that is what you need to figure out. Are you, for example, inviting a huge contingency of cousins out of obligation that you haven’t seen in 5+ years and who live on the other side of the county and have no money (that is me)? There are plenty of ways to invite more than the max.
I am inviting 225, and expect between 125 and 150. Our guest list has a ton of our adult cousins (52 between us, with their spouses), a good number of colleagues and clients who likely won’t attend, and broke friends from college living on the other side of the country. No one lives closer than 2 hours away, and the vast majority will have to fly and rent a car and drive 3+ hours. Hence my major over-invite.
Post # 8
Thanks monitajb! It’s hard, because every person’s family and community is different 🙂 Sounds like you’ve done a lot of good thinking! I am curious if any newlyweds have dealt with a major overflow situation and what they did. It must just happen occasionally, I just wonder how bad it is….
Post # 9
I imagine they’d fine you but not throw people out, I’m just guessing though. You could if you felt brave chat with the coordinator about her most difficult weddings, and did any of them go over the limit? Only if you can be really subtle, though, I know I wouldn’t be able to! Or anonymously ask a local fire marshal.
Post # 10
I don’t understand why you would risk it since it is a fire hazard and thus illegal. They may or may not do a headcount but it’s better to have fewer guests if your venue does not hold that many due to local fire safety regulations. If you must invite more people than the venue safely holds and allows, then find a larger venue. Every venue has different policies so there is no way to predict what every single one will do if you attempt this.
Post # 11
@Hopewell: I love this idea!
@Selene: believe me, I tried to plan realistically about venue size … now that we are under contract, the extra #s of people are totally unpredictable things like, for example, my Future Father-In-Law giving me his guest list without realizing that he should have invited his friends’ spouses (FMIL found out he did this and yelled at him, so we are trying to make things right). The world won’t end if we can’t accommodate them, but I don’t want him to end up feeling embarrassed….
Post # 12
Honestly, do you REALLY want to put your guests lives at risk? I know 8 doesn’t sound like a lot, but let’s just say one of the cans of sterno under one of the displays falls over and poof, fire. 8 extra people could mean 60 extra seconds in the building, smoke billowing around you and it being almost impossible to get out, especially around another table.
This leaves a bad taste in my mouth, sorry. My dad is a firefighter and two years ago, his good friend and 8 other guys died in a furniture store fire because there was too much stuff (against code) in the building, and they couldn’t see to get out. It was like a ticking time bomb. I would never, ever put someone else’s life at risk after that.
Post # 13
I say if you love your venue, you don’t want to put them at risk. They are held by those standards legally, and although they’d probably love for you to be able to have the extra 8, they cannot allow it. I would say avoid the extras if possible…but it probably won’t be the end of the world.