If only a crystal ball could tell you how many wedding guests will attend your big day. Right?
Ordering food, wedding favors and event programs all hinge on a guest count. So how do you get that magic number? Asking your guests to RSVP can help, but some won’t return those postcards or give reliable replies.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created even more concern for couples seeking a reliable wedding guest count. Relatives and friends may suddenly change their minds about attending based on the most recent recommendations by health officials. An announcement that face masks will be provided could prompt some guests to commit.
How about using some math and science to predict attendance? We’ve created a wedding guest calculator that takes your guest information and figures it for you! We don’t guarantee it will give you the exact number of guests attending your wedding, but it’s designed to give you a good estimate.
Wedding guest calculator
Do your own math
Guest estimating or “guesting” takes time if you want an accurate number.
Debi Buckley, a Certified Wedding Planner for Southern California Wedding Resources, called her method of estimating attendance a “science.”
“However, it is never an exact science,” she said. “A general overall percentage between 75-85 percent of wedding guests usually attend.”
The breakdown: 85 percent of local guests, 55 percent of out-of-town guests, and 35 percent of destination wedding guests will show up, Buckley said.
But then it gets murky. Intimate (smaller) weddings get near-perfect attendance but bigger ones get less, she said.
“If you have a wedding with over 200 invited guests, you may only have 75 percent in attendance,” Buckley explained.
If you have the time and tenacity, she advises factoring in the bride and groom’s relationship with each person on the wedding guest list for a more accurate estimate. And no matter how many people you think will arrive, she suggests preparing a budget for 100 percent attendance.
Factors to consider
Bentley Davis of Colloquy Music said the general formulas used to estimate guests, particularly couples, aren’t very reliable.
“While the formulas work for a typical couple, there really is no such thing as a typical couple,” said Davis, whose daughter recently was wed.
Attendance can be light if there are a lot of out-of-town guests, she said. On the flip side, if most guests are local, expect a crowd, Davis added.
Unfortunately, there are other factors that could mess up your guest count. Things like nasty weather and an increase in COVID-19 and other illness outbreaks can greatly impact your numbers.
Tally favors for wedding guests
Kim Forrest, Editor and Trends Expert at WeddingWire, said the average attendance for weddings is 85 percent of invitees but predicting the number of favors for guests can be a little trickier.
“While it depends on your favor, the rule of thumb is to order enough for one per person or one per household/couple,” Forrest said.
She noted that guests are more apt to take home favors that are edible such as candy, cookies or personalized M&Ms. Looking for ideas? We can help in this department!
More is better
Totally Promotional believes it’s best to plan for a big turnout. Running out of food, chairs or party favors is NOT how you want your guests to remember your special day.