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Wedding Invitations: Time To Get Out The Calculator.

Your best friend in junior high. The cousin he met once. Your mom’s best friend’s kids. His dad’s co-workers.


When it comes to creating your wedding guest list, you have a lot to consider. How many people should you invite? How many of those people will actually attend? Who makes the cut—and how do you decide?


Getting all this hammered out early in the planning is important. Your guest list can help determine what type of facility you need for your wedding and reception. It can also help set your budget, although in many cases the budget actually dictates the guest list. Think about it. Every guest equals a place setting, a piece of cake, a chair, a wedding favor, the cost of the invitation, postage and more. Those third cousins really do add up.


So how do you figure all this out? First, decide how many people you CAN invite, based on things like budget and venue size. Remember, most couples get about a 70% acceptance rate on their wedding invitations, so you can invite about 30% more people than you can handle (if math isn’t your thing I’ll be glad to help). In essence, if you’re looking to host about 200 people, you can actually invite 285 people. Got it? Alright. Moving along.


(BTW, deciding who gets those one of those 285 invitations can be one of the hottest debates of your entire wedding. There are no perfect solutions here, but his side and her side need to reach a reasonable agreement. That is a whole new can of worms—you can look forward to in my next blog post.)


Now that you’ve decided how many people to invite, what comes next? Unfortunately, it’s another harsh reality…and more math. A rule of thumb is that wedding invites should run about 6% of your total wedding budget. This doesn’t include postage, and you’ll need a stamp for each invite and each RSVP card unless you’re directing your RSVP’s to your wedding website. See? It really does add up.


One more thing we need to “address” here is the “hollow invite.” These are the invitations you send out of obligation, knowing the guests won’t come. Your hollow invitations do not count toward the 70% rule, because you already know they recipients aren’t coming. But they DO count toward your wedding budget, so keep that in mind.


After you’ve licked, labeled and stamped all those invites (ugh), you can look forward to a deluge of RSVP’s. Remember, it’s inevitable that some guests won’t respond and will show anyway. It’s also inevitable that a few guests will respond and won’t show. No matter what your final RSVP count, you need to plan for extras, even if it means you pay for a few uneaten meals. Unfortunately, there is no fool proof way to calculate exactly how many people will come to your wedding. There are a lot of variables, so just use your best judgement and some sensible math and try to relax. If all this seems tricky and overwhelming, give me a call. This is just the beginning of what I can do for you!


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