How to Calculate the Number of Wedding Guests

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One of the largest expenses a bride and groom have at their wedding is the food served at the reception. For this reason, it's important to have a good estimate of the number of guests who will attend; it is also helpful when purchasing wedding favors and ordering the cake. Sending RSVP cards and calling those who do not reply are often the best way to know how many guests will attend. But there are other ways to calculate the number of wedding guests to expect.

Married couple
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Step 1

Double the number of invitations that were mailed out to estimate how many guests will attend because most invitations represent two people.

Wedding invitation
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Step 2

Multiply the number of guests invited by 33 percent. This number signifies the amount of people who will likely won't attend your wedding.

Wedding guests
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Step 3

Subtract the expected number of declined invitations from the total amount of guests invited for an estimate of how many guests you can expect.

Guests at wedding
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Step 4

Use this number to estimate costs in the wedding budget such as the menu and wedding favors. It is also helpful when choosing a venue to determine how much space will be needed.

Wedded couple at wedding reception
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Tips & Warnings

  • If "Save the date" cards were sent, or if the invitations are mailed eight weeks before the wedding, it is likely that more guests will attend.
  • Send out RSVP cards, or list the RSVP on the invitation. This way, the number of attendees can be more accurately calculated.
  • To estimate out-of-town guests, expect 90 percent of family members and 40 percent of old friends.
  • The average amount of guests who attend destination weddings is 50 percent.
  • Set aside extra money to cover guests who did not respond or changed their mind at the last minute.
  • For a more accurate estimate, the bride can call all the guests invited for their response.
  • Do not invite more guests in anticipation of a certain amount of people showing up if you are limited on space and money. Be prepared to deal with hurt feelings if sending out invitations to a "B list" after receiving regrets from the original mailing.

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