1. Style
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Estimating How Many Wedding Guests Will Attend

How to Estimate How Many People Will Accept Your Wedding Invitation


One of the most common questions brides and grooms have is "How many of our invited wedding guests will accept and actually show up?" Figuring out how many people to invite is an art, not a science, but there are some guides to help you out.

Once you've started your wedding guest list, and gathered names, separate your list into out-of-town and local.

Local guests

If you send your invitations out 6 to 8 weeks in advance, the likelihood is that most of them will come. So estimate that 85% of them will attend. Don't forget to account for plus ones, if you've invited them.

Out-of-town guests

This depends slightly on the relative wealth of your out-of-town guests and how many of them are family. Got a wealthy crowd that's mostly family? Estimate that 85% of them will attend. But if most of your out-of-town guests are old college buddies that you haven't seen in years, your acceptance rate is probably closer to 40%. For most couples, a safe estimate of acceptance rate for out-of-town guests is 55%

Absolute Maximums

If you've got a ceremony that will absolutely not seat more than 60 people, then you should be a bit more conservative than the numbers above.

Once you've got your decline rates figured, add them together:

(# of out of town guests * 65%) + (# of local guests * 90%) = total # estimated to attend.

So if you have 150 people on your guest list, 50 of which are out-of-towners, and 100 are local, your equation will look like this:
(50*65%)+ (100*90%)= 122.5.

So, approximately 123 people will attend.

Please note, as I said, this is an art, not a science. So it's a good idea to make an a list and a b list. Send your a list invitations out 8 weeks in advance. As you start to get acceptances and declines, you can start inviting some of the people from your b list.

Read more about starting your wedding guest list.
Related Video
Organize a Wedding Guest List Spreadsheet

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.