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How many people should I invite to my wedding?

Settle your wedding guest list woes and choose the right number of attendees for your big day

Bride and groom sitting at wedding breakfast outdoors
Chloe Best
Chloe BestLifestyle Features Editor
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There are many stressful factors involved when planning a wedding, and choosing your guest list is undoubtedly one of them.

No doubt you'll each have your list of non-negotiable wedding guests, but as that extends to acquaintances, family friends and distant relatives your parents insist you really should invite, where do you draw the line?

The answer to how many people you should invite to your wedding will vary depending on how you both envision your big day and where you plan on hosting it. An intimate wedding means you'll naturally have to cap numbers, whereas a much bigger celebration means all your friends and family would be welcome, plus ones and all. 

A couple dancing at their wedding reception© iStock
Choosing how many people to invite to your wedding depends on a number of factors

How many people should I invite to my wedding?

There are several factors to consider when trying to decide on your guest list, and some will have a big impact on how many people you can ultimately invite, such as the size of your venue and your budget. 

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What is your budget?

The amount you have to spend on your venue, wedding breakfast and other elements of your big day will play a big part in your decision about how many people to invite to your wedding. These 20 tips to plan a wedding on a budget could save you thousands on your nuptials.

How big is your venue?

If you've already chosen your wedding venue, its size will influence how many guests are able to attend. Many venues have an upper limit for how many guests can be seated both in the ceremony and for the reception, so you will need to choose somewhere big enough to suit your guest list, or tailor the number of invites you send as a result.

How many guests will attend from each side?

Ideally, you and your partner would have an even 50/50 split of guests, but if one of you has a bigger family or extended friendship group this could tip the balance. This could mean you invite a greater number of guests overall, or if budget and other factors don't allow, you may need to reduce the number of invitees.

What type of wedding are you planning?

The style of your nuptials also play a big part in the guest list, so take some time to consider how you envisage your wedding. Do you want to be at the centre of a huge celebration or would you prefer something a little more intimate? This will help you to decide how many people you should invite to your wedding, and adjust your guest list accordingly.

READ: 21 beautiful wedding themes for every type of couple

Elopement wedding – two to six guests

Whether you want to avoid the fanfare of a big wedding or just want a simple ceremony to focus only on the commitment you and your partner are making, an elopement wedding can be a good fit for some couples. 

Not only may you find that this is a more budget-friendly option, you could also plan an elopement wedding at much shorter notice, as with fewer guests and RSVPs to worry about there is a lot less wedding planning to do.

A just married couple in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris© iStock
Elopement weddings can take the stress out of choosing a guest list

Some couples may choose to go it alone and not invite anyone they know to an elopement wedding to avoid the politics about who did and didn't make the cut, but you could also choose a handful of your closest friends and family to join you and witness your special occasion.

There are a lot of pros to planning an elopement wedding, but they do have their cons too. Perhaps you might look back and wish you'd invited more people to share in your wedding celebrations, or you may miss out on some key wedding traditions due to your smaller guest list, so there is a lot to consider when choosing a wedding this small.

Intimate wedding – ten to 20 guests

If you want to bridge the gap between an elopement wedding and a bigger affair, enter the intimate micro wedding, where you could invite ten to 20 of your nearest and dearest to celebrate with you.

READ: Does a micro wedding really cut costs? How much you can actually save

This has many of the same benefits as an elopement wedding, being a more budget-friendly and flexible alternative to a bigger wedding. You may also find that it means you're not tied to specific wedding venues for your reception too, as a private dining room at a restaurant, a hotel or even your own back garden could work instead.

Friends and Family wedding – 25 to 75 people

A couple dancing at their wedding reception© iStock
A friends and family wedding can be a more intimate choice

This is the ideal style of wedding for couples who don't want to blow the budget but still want to celebrate their love with an array of their close family and friends. You could invite anywhere between 25 to 75 guests who you can't imagine spending your big day without, but can avoid adding old acquaintances, co-workers and neighbours to the list.

A friends and family wedding takes some pressure off couples who don't want to host a huge wedding but still don't want any of their loved ones to miss out. However, you should consider the size of your venue when planning to make sure it suits the number of attendees you're inviting, so you're not left with a room that looks sparse and under-filled due to the size of your guest list.

Destination wedding – 20 to 60 people

If you've always dreamed of saying 'I do' on a private sandbank in the Maldives or at a luxurious resort in Greece, a destination wedding could be for you. But while the idea of tying the knot in a far-flung location is undeniably beautiful, you may find it naturally caps your guest list due to the expense and time commitment it requires from your family and friends.

Often, people will need to take more annual leave from work to attend a destination wedding, or tie it in to a longer holiday at your destination of choice. While this can be great to keep the celebrations going for longer beyond just your wedding day, it may mean that only your closest family and friends are willing to make the commitment.

A bride and groom at a beachfront destination wedding ceremony© iStock
A destination wedding may impact the number of guests who are able to attend

A classic-size wedding – 100 to 120 guests

Allowing you the freedom to invite everyone you want to without feeling like you have to exclude anyone, it's no surprise a classic-size wedding with 100 guests is a popular choice for a lot of couples.

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READ: Who should sit on the top table at your wedding? Dos and Don'ts

Many wedding venues are tailored to host parties of this size, and you may find that it gives you the freedom to say yes to plus ones or those old friends and extended family you don't get to see as often as you'd like.

Of course, with a larger guest list comes a few more things to think about, including budget for the extra meals, drinks and table decorations, as well as more RSVPs to chase.

A super-size wedding – 150+

A large wedding reception room with beautiful flower displays© iStock
Hosting a large wedding with over 150 guests means you can invite everyone you know

They call it a big day for a reason, right? If you want your wedding to be nothing less than a big celebration, then a super-sized guest list of 150 guests or even more is sure to fit the bill.

With room for all your friends and family, along with co-workers, plus ones, family friends and more, there's no worry about anyone feeling snubbed here. However, with a bigger party comes bigger responsibility – and a bigger budget. So only take on a wedding of this size if you really want to, and have the means to pay for it, as naturally there will be more planning and expenditure involved to host and cater for all of your guests.

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