How Many People Should You Invite To Your Wedding? Our Experts Weigh In

how many people should I invite to my wedding

Jennifer Skulski

Published: Feb 2, 2022

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It’s time for the age-old question of: How many people should I invite to my wedding? Finalizing your wedding guest list with your significant other can be a challenging process. Who must you include? Who can you leave out? Should you trim your guest list further?

While there’s no one specific number of guests that all weddings should have, there are definitely many factors to consider when determining the right number for you and your partner. Let’s dive in to help you answer that pressing question: How many people should I invite to my wedding?

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Factors To Consider When Creating Your Guest List

Style Of Your Wedding

For starters, you and your significant other need to agree upon the style of wedding you’re hoping for. Have you always dreamed of a large wedding surrounded by friends, family, and extended family?

Or perhaps a micro-wedding sounds more appealing to you. Maybe you want an intimate gathering with only your closest contacts. Or maybe you want to meet in the middle with a mid-sized celebration. 

Whatever style or size range you’re looking for, let’s break down how big those wedding types traditionally are.

micro-wedding style

Intimate Wedding

An intimate wedding is for those couples seeking a meaningful ceremony with only their nearest and dearest by their sides. Perhaps you’re planning an intimate backyard wedding or heading to city hall for a small courthouse wedding.

The average guest list size for an intimate wedding would be less than 50 guests. With this wedding style, you’ll want to keep your guest list minimal with just your immediate family and closest friends to create that intimate atmosphere. The best part is, with a creative wedding hashtag even if you have an intimate wedding all your family and friends can be apart of the celebration through social media!

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Small Wedding

Having a small wedding is the perfect style for guests looking to celebrate their union in a subtle yet fun environment. If you’re looking for your wedding to be an event in which almost everyone knows one another, then a small wedding is the one for you.

Wondering how many people should I invite to my wedding if I’m planning a small wedding? Well, the average size of a small wedding is between 50 and 75 wedding guests. You can use this range as your guideline.

Medium Wedding

A mid-sized wedding is great for those couples looking to compromise with their guest list ideas or for those who simply want an average-sized wedding. Not too big yet not too small. A medium wedding size is all about inviting a comfortable number of guests that’ll get your celebration to be bursting with activity, yet not feel overly crowded.

If you’re planning a medium wedding, on average you’ll be inviting between 75 and 150 guests.

Large Wedding

Having a large wedding may not be everyone’s style, but for those who do want a big gathering, they’ve probably been dreaming about this epic celebration for quite some time. If you really want to bring the party and get a chance to celebrate with all your family, extended family, and all your friends, then feel free to create a lengthy guest list.

Curious about how many people should I invite to my wedding to make it considered a large wedding? Pretty much as many as you’d like! Large weddings are typically classified as any ceremony with over 150 guests. Sometimes around 300 guests can be invited to a larger scale wedding.

Pro Tip: The more people you invite to celebrate your big day, the more you’ll end up getting from your wedding or honeymoon registry!

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Your Venue

After deciding on the style of wedding you want in terms of the atmosphere and number range of guests you’ll likely invite, you’ll need to consider your venue space. Oftentimes couples select their venue based on their guest list. When booking a venue, you need to ensure that the number of guests you wish to host will all comfortably fit at your venue of choice.

Once the venue is selected, this will more firmly lock in the answer to the question, how many people should I invite to my wedding? You’ll now have to stick within the range of people the venue allows according to size, fire codes, and how many tables can practically fit. 

wedding reception number of guests to invite to wedding

Your Wedding Budget

When it comes to deciding how many people should I invite to my wedding, think about the wedding budget. The number of guests you invite to your wedding will directly correlate to the overall price of your wedding day.

Adding additional guests typically drives your wedding budget up as you’ll be paying for the mailing of more invitations, the extra cost per plate for dinner and dessert, the cost for extra tables and place settings, and the cost of additional wedding favors.

Be sure to keep your wedding budget in mind as you’re deciding and calculating how many guests to invite. After all, you’ll want to keep that budget of yours on track!

wedding budget thoughts

Pro Tip: Your wedding budget is all about a balancing act. If you want more extravagant food, decor, and other items, splurge in these areas while cutting back on your guest list. Likewise, if you need to squeeze more guests into your budget, try cutting back on expendable areas like by not having an open bar or by moving your venue to an open space like a beach, park, or backyard.

Questions To Ask Yourself When Creating Your List (Quiz)

If you and your partner find yourselves struggling to create your ultimate guest list, there are a few important questions that can help guide you on who to invite, who not to invite, and how many guests you overall should have. Get started by taking this helpful quiz!

How To Start Building Your Wedding Guest List (Top Tips)

Begin With The ‘Crucial’ List

Start by listing out the people who absolutely, without a doubt need to be there on your wedding day. This ‘crucial’ list should consist of your immediate family, your best friends, and those you want to play a role in your wedding party.

crucial wedding list

Decide On Plus One’s

Do you and your partner want to offer plus one’s to your guests? If so, would you extend this offer to all your unmarried guests or only those in a relatively committed relationship? For example, some couples choose to extend plus one offers to their friends and family members who are engaged or at least have been in a relationship for two or more years. 

You’ll need to decide on your stance when it comes to your guests bringing additional people. If you’ve been dreaming of a large wedding full of happy faces, this probably isn’t a concern. Yet, if you’re looking to keep the ceremony small and intimate, with strictly familiar faces, you’ll want to be sterner with your plus one policy.

If you’re unsure of how drastically allowing plus ones would affect your guest list numbers, create a list of all the singular guests you’re inviting who would be showing up alone. Now hypothetically add an extra guest for each one on this shortlist and add it to your overall number. From here, you can decide whether or not plus ones would affect the size range of your wedding. 

wedding party photo

Establish Whether There Will Be Kids Or No Kids

Should you invite kids to your wedding? Some couples prefer to leave kids out of their wedding day, whether for monetary purposes or practical purposes as children would require additional accommodations in terms of entertainment and food. 

Perhaps among your family and friends, there are barely any children. If this is the case, choosing not to extend the invitation to the kids may be recommended as the children might be bored at a wedding without kids their age to play with.

On the contrary, maybe you have many nieces, nephews, friends with kids, or kids of your own and you truly want each and every one of them to be a part of your big day. If that’s the case, be sure to account for all these children when planning your wedding guest list.

flower girls and ring bearers for wedding

Pro Tip: Some couples also choose to have a kid-free ceremony yet invite them to celebrate at the reception. Decide what feels best for you and your partner’s specific dynamic and the atmosphere and celebration you’re looking to have on your big day. 

Decide If Either Family Gets Extra Invites

Families come in a variety of different shapes and sizes. As you begin inviting your family members, they may think of a list themselves of extended family and friends they wish to share in the joy of your big day.

Before you and your partner are caught off guard with this request, decide whether either side of your family will get any extra invites. If there’s no wiggle room within your guest list, hold true to your numbers. If you’re open to the idea of extra guests, talk to your family and see if there’s anyone you’re leaving out. 

wedding party: how many people should I invite to my wedding
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Add Any Recently Married Couples

Have all your friends been getting married recently? If you or your partner have been invited to or attended a wedding recently, it’s best to extend your wedding invitations to that same couple as well.

wedding party with married couples

Create A B-List

Once you send out the first wave of wedding invitations, you’ll now be patiently waiting for all those RSVPs to come back. You should prepare yourself in the event that certain guests can’t come or have other conflicts.

If guests are turning back RSVPs saying they can’t attend, but you and your partner are still trying to stay within a guest number range, you should be ready with a B-list of guests to invite as backups. Prepare a list of guests that you would like to have at your wedding but who didn’t initially make the cut due to trimming down your guest list. 

wedding invitation suite: how many people should I invite to my wedding

Other Wedding Events You Need A Guest List For 

The fun doesn’t stop after creating that initial wedding guest list. There are a few other wedding-related events that will require their own specific guest lists and invitations. Aside from asking yourself, how many people should I invite to my wedding, you’ll also need to ask how many people should I invite to my other wedding parties, rehearsals, and dinners?

Engagement Party

An engagement party can be an exciting way to celebrate your good news. These types of parties can happen at the time of your engagement, or around 6 months before the wedding. The bride’s side of the family traditionally hosts this event, and it could be an excellent time for both sides of the family to start getting to know each other better in preparation for the wedding day.

As for the size of an engagement party, it should be a relatively small event. To make it more personal, consider only inviting close friends and family members on both sides. The size of this event will typically be around 10 to 50 people.

engagement party idea

Bridal Shower

The bridal shower is a fun celebration held a couple of months to a couple of weeks before the wedding day. This is a chance for the bride’s bridesmaids and close female family members and friends to spoil the bride and get her ready for her big day.

Traditionally, this event is relatively small to retain an intimate atmosphere. The bridal shower is usually hosted by one of the bridesmaids and involves on average around 5 to 15 guests. Remember, don’t invite anyone to the bridal shower who isn’t also invited to your wedding.

bridal shower celebration: how many people should I invite to my wedding
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Bachelorette/ Bachelor Party

When it comes to bachelorette and bachelor parties, you’ll be inviting only those members in your bridal party or wedding party. If you don’t have a wedding party, you’ll likely invite a few close friends to join in on the fun.

These types of parties are usually organized by the maid of honor or best man. The number of bridesmaids and groomsmen a couple has is typically around three to seven each.

bachelor party in NYC

Wedding Rehearsal Dinner

A wedding rehearsal dinner should primarily be reserved for those individuals who have a role to play on your wedding day such as your parents, the wedding party, the officiant, the flower girl and ring bearer, and any guest doing a reading or prayer during the ceremony. You’ll want to invite these guests to the event before the wedding in which the order of the ceremony gets properly rehearsed so everyone with a role knows what to do on the big day.

So, how many people should I invite to my wedding rehearsal dinner? Ultimately, that depends upon how big your wedding is and how many guests have big roles in the ceremony. This number is typically around 20 to 50 guests.

rehearsal dinner with lobster

Brunch (Post-Wedding)

After your wedding day is through, it’s popular to have a post-wedding brunch the next morning. This is typically a more intimate affair with only your immediate family and wedding party invited. Thus, the guest list for a post-wedding brunch is around 10 to 20 guests on average. 

wedding brunch: how many people should I invite to my wedding

Pro Tip: With all these important wedding-related events on the horizon and so many invites to send out, consider using Minted for all your invitation needs. Minted offers a great selection of save the date cards, bridal shower invitations, bachelorette and bachelor party cards, thank you notes, and more.

How Many People Should I Invite To My Wedding: Frequently Asked Questions

What percentage of wedding guests actually attend?

On average, between 75 and 85 percent of the guests you invite will actually attend your wedding. The chance of attendance is higher the more local your guests are. Remember to send out your wedding invitations well in advance in order to help guests save the date and be able to attend.

How many days before a wedding should invitations go out?

Couples should send their wedding invitations out to their guests 6 to 8 weeks prior to the wedding day. To give your guest list a lengthier notice, consider sending along save the date cards 4 and 6 months before your wedding.

What’s the average number of people invited to a wedding?

On average, couples invite around 131 guests to their wedding. Smaller ceremonies may only have around 50 guests while larger celebrations can see crowds in the 200s.

Make Your Guest List And Check It Twice

So, how many people should I invite to my wedding? Ultimately that’ll depend upon factors like your family size, the wedding style you want, the venue you booked, and the flexibility of your wedding budget.

Once you and your partner determine an appropriate range for the number of people you wish to invite, you’ll need to start making your list and finalizing it. Start with your immediate family and wedding party then expand your list from there until you reach the guest range that you’re comfortable with. Now start sending out those invites and tracking your RSVPs!

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