When you’re planning your wedding, you might be thinking about what you’ll wear, where you want to have the ceremony, what food you want to serve, or how much you can spend. But have you thought about how important your guest list is for all of that? Before you even start making a budget for your wedding, you sit down with your future spouse about what guests you want to invite and figure out how many people there will be. Here’s why.

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Budget

The most significant way that your guest list affects your wedding is the budget. It might seem obvious that more guests means a bigger budget, but the extent to which it would affect your budget probably isn’t. A bigger guest lists means you will need:

  • Venue — you will need a bigger venue for the ceremony and reception to fit all your guests
  • Food & drink — you will need more food and drink for the reception, dinner, and party
  • Decorations — you will need to buy more decorations and centerpieces or materials to make them yourself
  • Invitations — you will need to buy more invitations or materials to make them and then send to everyone

Basically anything for your wedding that involves accommodating the guests means you will need to spend more money if you have a bigger guest list. This means that you might have to make a choice: reduce your guest list, or come up with cheaper alternatives to the above.

Venue

So now you realize that having more guests means you will have to book a bigger, and therefore probably more expensive, venue. But there are other ways that your venue choice will be affected aside from the budget.

  • Size — your choice of venue will be restricted to those that are big enough to fit everyone
  • Selection — you might have your heart a particular venue (or more than one) only to find out they’re too small
  • Accommodations — more hotel rooms, more bathrooms, bigger dance floor, bigger seating areas for ceremony and reception

There are ways to get around the extra cost. For example, you can always have an outdoor wedding, but you will then have to plan around the potential issue of bad weather. Either way, your choices for venues will be affected due to the size of your guest list.

Food & Drink

Similar to your choice of venue, there are ways to get around the increased cost to your food and drink budget. Here are some examples:

  • Selection — you can choose less expensive foods (e.g., chicken instead of steak)
  • Drink bar — you can choose to serve less alcohol and drinks, or less expensive drinks, or not have an open bar at all
  • Friends & family — enlist friends or family who are cooks or caterers who might give you a deal, or have a potluck dinner or dessert bar

However, just as with the venues you can see how you might have an ideal idea for food and drink that could be affected by having more guests. Either you will have to pay more for it all, or find less ideal alternatives to afford the greater quantity.  

Time & Effort

Think about all the work you, your spouse-to-be, your wedding party, and your other friends and family will be putting into setting up and taking down the event. If you need more of everything to accommodate the greater number of people attending, that means you will have to spend more time and effort on the following:

  • Invitations — if you’re making them yourself
  • Decorations — setting them up and taking them down, or making them yourself if you’re trying to save money
  • Seating — arranging seating for the ceremony, planning who sits at what table at the reception, and so on

The sheer scale of time and effort on your part might mean you have to spend money for others to do it for you, which adds to the budget. But if you choose to save on decorations and invitations or even food by doing it yourself so you can spend more on the venue or the food and drink, you’re going to be stuck with all the work.

Get the help you need from beginning to end or even just a little support and guidance along the way by hiring an experienced wedding planner to help you with all the details or organization and coordination of your wedding day.

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