(Closed) What was your budget and how big was your guest list?

posted 7 years ago in Money
Post # 32
3041 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

Our final count was 93 guests and we spent roughly 25k. Its completely doable but you may have to lower costs/expectations on photography, videography, dj, etc…


Some of our breakdown was:


DJ – 1200

Cake – 1200

Venue – 2400

Caterer (food & service) – 5000

Chavari Chairs – 900

Alcohol (we bought our own and caterer served) – 1500

Photographer – 4000

Videography – 1500

Florist – 2000


If you keep costs down on your cake, photographers, videographers, dj, and have a reasonable catering cost, its totally doable. Anywhere you can cut costs will help! I made the mistake of spending almost 4k on dresses to finally find my final 2. But I sold one for double what I paid, so it evens out somewhat. My jewelry was also quite expensive & I paid for makeup which was 500$. So if you make a few sacrifices, you can do it:)

Post # 33
44 posts

Oh the great guest list debate!!! lol I can TOTALLY sympathize with you on this one! My fiancé and I wanted to have 100-120 people at our wedding, then my parents gave me a list of 87 people to invite….. that’s right 87!! lol So my fiancé and I put together our list and it came out to be about 70 friends that we wanted to invite, my fiancés family gave us about 56 invites all in all we have a little over 200 invitees, that is not including the additional 12 people that my mom sent me THIS MORNING, we sent our invites out 2 weeks ago and she is still sending me additions to the list!!


So our budget, my parents gave us 20,000 for the wedding, my fiancés mom gave us 7,000 for flowers and plane tickets for our honeymoon, and fiancés dad is paying for liquor and rehearsal dinner. Fiancé and I are picking up the rest of the tab, I think in the end we will spend about 30,000 when all is said and done.


We are now shooting for 150-160 guests, but in all reality with the rate of RSVP’s we may end up with 175. Here is my suggestion to you, make your list and make sure it includes EVERYONE that YOU WANT to have there (we did not compromise on our list, all 70 of the people on it are important to us) Then come up with a number that you want to have there, for example 100. Then tell your families that they have (x) number of people that they can invite. IF they are not ok with that then here is where the negotiations can come in. My parents have agreed to pay the additional cost of any guest count above the 120 that we initially wanted, it was that important to them to invite all of their people. So we have a spreadsheet and we have an extra column for the overages for any additional guests (additional chairs, tables, food, centerpieces etc.), it’s not more than like 3,000 so I think it works out for everyone in the end. The guest list issue seems to be one of those that is really hard to navigate but you just have to be open and honest and work through it together with your families! Good luck!!!!

Post # 34
894 posts
Busy bee

Wow! I feel like the odd one here with my budget compared to my guest list.

We invited 470 people expecting aroung 350. ( I have a HUGE family that we communicate with regularly-about 100 first cousins, plus thier husbands/wives, and their kids.) 

Our budget is $15,000.

We are also getting married in my hometown which is allowing us to have some perks. We found a venue that allowed us to bring in a caterer. We are also having him do the bar so he is not charging us full price for our meal because he can make money that way too.

Post # 35
1554 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

View original reply

Budget: $35K

Guest Invited: 256

Guest Attended: 156

Catholic Ceremony, Ballroom plated dinner, Hosted craft beer & wine bar with Bourbon, cocktail hour apps, pianist for cocktail hour, DJ, & Photobooth

Post # 36
8434 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

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carolinabelle:  It’s probably going to be all over the place because some people are including rings, honeymoons, extra events, etc.  In addition, some may have cash bars while others are hosting open bars, some people pay for their wedding party’s attire while others may not; so there are a lot of varying factors.  Really it just comes down to what you can afford comfortably and how you feel you should host your guests.

Post # 37
2115 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

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carolinabelle:  wedding was a year ago but expected about 100 people and it was semi destination. budget was 5000 prob ended up at 6000 and around it seemed like 60 people. catering was interesting because i had someone back out last min!! so had to go for heavy apps at 1200 bucks! but wasnt sure how many people would show so i got it for more people then showed up. but at least there was def enough

Post # 38
9565 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

Were planning for 150 at 60k (without rings, honeymoon, rehearsal dinner) but hoping it shakes out to be closer to 120 so we can be a bit under.

Its the rentals that makes it so expensive. Ah the tent wedding!

Post # 39
2521 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

Our budget was 25k for about 185 invited guests.  Where I live that is being extremely frugal and doing a lot of DIY to keep the costs low.  We probably will have about 125 attending (over half our guests are from out of town).  That budget doesn’t include the rings, rehearsal dinner, or our honeymoon though.  

Post # 40
214 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

Ours is about $26,000 for 250 people. That includes paying for 70 of our family and friends to stay 2 nights at a location nearby. We’ll be covering all the food for them for them from Friday lunch through Sunday lunch. It also includes our rings and our “mini-moon” to Iowa to get legally married since we can’t do it where we live. We’ll just relax for a couple days and do whatever we feel like doing when we get there, so the cost is definitely just an estimate.

ETA: The only costs we’re covering for our bridal party are their lodging and food for the weekend. They’re purchasing their own outfits and the ones from out of town are paying for their own flights. We’re also having an open bar, but we’re providing all the alcohol for it. Hopefully that helps you compare things a bit. We’re in the Midwest (Kansas City area)

  • This reply was modified 7 years ago by mcp8011.
Post # 41
1505 posts
Bumble bee

We are inviting 80, expecting about 65-70 to come. Budget of $10,000 increased to about $13,000 because we decided to add a few things/upgrade things from the original budget. That includes rings but not the honeymoon or rehearsal dinner.

Post # 42
489 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

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MrsBuesleBee:  we had 203 guests with roughly the same budget!  I loved my tent wedding 🙂

Post # 43
596 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

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carolinabelle: We created our guest list right away too. We knew we wanted to set our budget at no more than $10,000 so we had to figure out how many mouths to feed and what that cost would look like. We came up with a list of 140 people, and that was with our ‘maybe’ guests as well, 125 if you do not include them. We wanted to include them though just in case we were able to invite them all.

I looked online at dozens of venues and caterers to see what their prices looked like. I figured out how much it would be per person and where that would fit in my budget. I came to about $25-$35 per person for food if I wanted to stay under my budget (and that is really low for food per person on average). I also included tax because that in itself is a good chunck of change.

It definitely took some time but we have finally found a venue who has their own in house caterer and was all within out budget, tax, service cost and all.

We didn’t want to hurt any feelings with our families so it was important to include everyone and then price out, and then decide who to cut. Hope it makes sense and good luck haha.

Post # 30
397 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2014 - Norton Country Club

Guest list of 170, expecting closer to 120 on the actual day… budget of $15,000 (does not include honeymoon)

Post # 44
2963 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

we invited 309 people, anticipated about 250. our budget was 7-10k. we ended up spending right around 10k

Post # 45
421 posts
Helper bee

Wow. Your budgets are scaring me! I hope to keep it under 10k for 100ish guests. We are also going to rent an untraditional venue, like a cottage rental instead of something where they have done it many times and they plan it all for you


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