The wedding guest list can easily spiral out of control and blow a budget faster than you can say “I do.” Set your guidelines in the beginning and stick to them. Expect between 10% to 25% of your wedding invitations to be declined.
Begin by calculating your maximum number of invites by using the formula below. If you are unsure of the per person cost use the average wedding reception food cost which ranges from $30 to $50 per person.
(Food Budget / Cost per Head) Avg. % of Declined Invites = Maximum Invites
Example: Wedding budget: $25,000, Food budget: (24%) $6,000, Cost per head: $40, Decline rate: 15%, Maximum number of guest: 172
Now that you know the maximum number of guest that your budget will allow, it’s time to create the list. A traditional way to start would be to divide your maximum number into 4 portions allowing the bride, groom, and the bride and groom’s parents to each make up the list. Although the list can be made up any way you see fit, this is a great way to get the ball rolling.
Who do you invite? Invite friends and family whom you want to share a very special day in your life. If your list becomes out of hand, or proves to be too over whelming, try organizing your list. Make a list according to closeness starting with family followed by friends and, of course, don’t forget your officiant.
- Family Members (parents, grandparents, siblings)
- Additional Family (other family)
- Close Friends (brides’, grooms’ and parents’)
- Additional Friends (other friends)
A couple of final notes. Don’t invite people for the sole purpose of exploiting them for a gift. Be thoughtful and considerate of your guests’ feelings. If it feels wrong, it probably is. Learn more about proper wedding invitation etiquette.