Post # 1
My Fiance and I are inviting around 200 guests to our wedding. However, the chapel in which we’re having our ceremony only accommodates 115 people normally, 160 people at the absolute maximum. We knew that we were going to have to limit the number of people who came to the ceremony and that some guests will only be invited to the reception only (which is an entirely different ettiquette story altogether), but because the chapel is our university chapel, it has a lot of meaning for us and we really wanted to get married there. But we still wanted to have all our close friends with us for the reception (the eating and drinking and dancing part of our wedding!), so therefore our guest list is around 200.
We sent save-the-dates to everyone in March and told everyone that due to space limitations at the chapel not everyone will get an invitation to the ceremony and that we hoped people would understand. And now it’s time to actually decide who’s coming to the ceremony and who’s not. We’ve made two separate invitations: one for both the ceremony and the reception, and the other for the reception only.
We’re aiming to have 140 people attend the ceremony so that our guests would still be able to fit comfortably. About 80 of those people are our family, who’ve we already decided will definitely be invited to the ceremony. Fiance and I are having such a hard time trying to figure out who to invite for the rest of the 60 spots! I wish I didn’t have to make this kind of decision, but does anyone have any advice? I have it narrowed down to 80 people (non-family), and I’m kinda leaning towards just inviting all 80 and then hoping for the 80% attendance rate. What do you guys think??
I’ve thought about not inviting the people who are closer to us because they’re close to us and they’ll understand right? Or I thought about only inviting those who knew us for a certain length of time, or those who are going to have to fly to Boston for the wedding, but they all seem arbitrary and I end up thinking, “oh, what about THIS person? He/She HAS to be there!”
Anyway, I would be grateful for any advice 🙂 Thanks in advance!
Post # 3
Have you already cut out the “plus one”s for people who aren’t currently in a relationship?
We had to do that, because our venue could only accommodate a certain number of people, and frankly, I don’t want to be meeting someone for the first time on my wedding day. And by doing that, we have a bunch of single people who can meet each other at the wedding!
Post # 4
All the plus ones were people that Fiance and I have met already and they’ve been in a long term relationship with the guest, so I feel like then it’s not really a “plus one” anymore. I think there are only 1-2 other invitations where I wrote “and Guest” on the invitation. So even if we cut down on those people, it’s not cutting down on very many.
Post # 5
I’d say send invites as early as possible, with a good long RSVP date, and bump people up the list as you can. Be careful of it though. You don’t want people standing.
That said, I have a friend who does be delighted to get only a reception invite – it’s essentially just a nice night out then, and not such a long day.
Post # 6
I’d say invite everyone and hope for the 80%. With an 80% acceptance rate, you’ll be right at the 160 mark. If people are allowed to stand… then I wouldn’t worry too much about being above 160 people… as long as it isn’t a long ceremony. Plus, given that you already warned about capacity issues… if they show up late they should understand why they are refused entry into the church.
If you don’t like that idea… I’d say invite only family and a very few close friends. So… only invite about 90 people to the ceremony… I’d actually do even less if possible (so cut out non-immediate family as well). That way the majority of people are only invited to the reception, rather than there being a small minority who feel left out by not being invited to the ceremony. Essentially make it the norm to be only at the reception rather than the norm to be ceremony+reception.
Post # 7
These are all great suggestions. Thanks so much 🙂
Post # 8
I strongly, strongly recommend not inviting more than the building can accommodate. You cannot rely on an 80% acceptance; you should plan for 100%. We are having a large rehearsal dinner (150+), but the venue has a maximum. As the rsvp’s started rolling in, we were shocked by the number of yes’s we had thought would be no’s. You cannot uninvite someone after the fact.
I suggest two things: Draw clear lines and have A and B (and C and D . . .) lists. The Out of Town is a good line to draw, and a relatively easy one to explain. Having an A list and an early deadline means you can informally let the B-listers know about the ceremony as space becomes available. A simple “I accidentally sent you the wrong invitation! I’m so sorry!” can hide the fact that they were B-listers or, if you’re close, you can be honest.