It is hard to rationalize why any of your friends or family members wouldn't want to come and join you in celebrating you big day. I find this especially hard when you are putting a year into wedding planning and you know how excited you are for the day to arrive. Believe it or not, the 75% rule (of all the guests you invite, plan for a 75% acceptance rate) tends to hold pretty true pending a few variables. Trust me, you will start to think that your wedding is different and - your friends wouldn't miss the dance party at your wedding for the world - but you don't know vacation plans or budget constraints that might interfere. I have listed out a few of the considerations that you will want to factor in when deciding how many guests to invite.
Begin by making a master list, if you had all of the money in the world, list out every name you would want to come to your wedding. Next, split your list into an A and B list. Your A list should consist of those friends and family members who you must have at your wedding. Rank your B list in order of if you had to chose, who would be chosen first. This may sound like a lot of work - but when you receive a RSVP replying No - this organized list will help you quickly send out a second round of invites if you so choose.
When budgeting, managing your guest list is the best way to help control costs so having this outlined for you will give you a clear picture of who is most important to have with you on your day. Many considerations will play into your final attendance number. It will help by factoring these items in earlier in the process for a more accurate count on who will actually attend. There are always certain family members that live across the country that you know will not make the trip, but you need to send an invite to anyways. If you are have a lot of out of town guests invited this tends to lower the expected attendance vs. a wedding which is inviting all local friends and family. It is easier to attend if you have lower travel time and less expenses, factor in a higher percent return of positive RSVPs with local guests. By sending out save-the-dates to your guests you will increase the number of guests who will set aside the date on their calendar, and plan activities around the weekend. By sending these reminders you will have a higher percentage on your A list coming to the wedding, and will not need to not invite as many on your B list.
The time of year of your wedding is also a huge factor to consider when planning your guest list. If you are planning a summer wedding, many families plan a year in advance for their summer vacations - so you have to expect a certain percentage to be unable to attend. If you are planning your event over a holiday weekend families will have prior commitments or during the school year - families with children might have difficulty getting away for a weekend. These are only three of the many considerations you will need to think about while planning your invite list. I typically suggest inviting about 10% over what your ceremony location can hold. If your wedding venue can hold 250 - you can feel comfortable inviting 275 at the very least. The 10% will change depending on the above factors related to your wedding.
What factors are you considering when deciding on your guest list? Are you finding the 75% rule to be true? Let us know why!