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What is the Average Number of Guests at a Wedding?

After two years of micro-weddings and elopements, weddings are getting larger again. But what is the average number of guests at a wedding in 2022?

One of the most important—if not the most important tasks during wedding preparation, is determining your guest list. Your wedding venue, overall budget, and many other things will be hugely influenced by the number of guests you have. But sometimes it can be hard to know how many you should have. How many is too many? How few is too few? Knowing what the average number of guests at a wedding is, can be a really useful tool when hashing out your headcount.

What is the Average Number of Guests at a Wedding

Being able to compare your wedding to the national average could stop you from overextending yourself during the planning process. Or on the flip side, allow you to invite a few more loved ones than you previously thought it was OK to do.

As you can probably guess, the average number of guests at a wedding was greatly affected by Covid-19 in 2020 and 2021, but we're thrilled to report that it's bouncing back to pre-pandemic levels. Which has been so delightful to see.

The Average Number of Guests at a Wedding

Firstly, it's important to understand that no two weddings are the same, and that an average should only be used as a guide. Not a rule. Furthermore, the size of weddings also differs culturally. For example, an African or Asian wedding, could expect 350-500 guests, and up to 1,000 guests for a large wedding. Which, as we'll discover, is much higher than the 'average' in the UK.

In the UK, according to a survey by Hitched, the average number of guests at a wedding is 82-day guests and 103 evening guests. Does that seem small or large to you? How does your initial headcount compare to the average in the UK?

If you're struggling to decide whether your wedding is small, medium, or large – we thought we'd also help you break it down.

What Number of Guests are Invited to Each Size of Wedding?

Again, these figures may vary slightly depending on your background, but a small wedding normally has 50 or fewer guests, a medium wedding has 50-100 guests, and a large wedding has over 100 in attendance.

If your family normally celebrates a wedding with up to 300 people, a 100-person celebration may feel a little intimate to you. Similarly, if you've only ever gone to extremely intimate weddings, a reception with 80 attendees may feel rather grand, so keep in mind that these figures will be slightly different for everyone.

real curvy bride with family average number of wedding guests

What Size of Wedding is Right for you?

Unfortunately, budget is the most important consideration here. No couple should force themselves into a perilous financial situation for a single day of their lives. Therefore, it's critical to consider, and create a reasonable wedding budget well before you even look at wedding invite designs.

When deciding on guest count, one of the first tasks you should do is list everyone you'd want to invite to your wedding. This will help you roughly work out what wedding bracket you are falling into, or how many people you need to reduce down by.

Then consider whether reducing your guest list may cause issues. If your close family includes aunts, uncles, and cousins, your decision is already decided for you. Inviting some, but not others may cause quite a bit of friction within the family. While feeling obligated to cut a friend from the list, just to accommodate cousins you only see once a year, may not sit well with you.

At the end of the day, this is your wedding, and the people present at it are what makes it what it is. There will always be some friction involved in any guest list decision, so just weigh that up against who you dream of being there with you on your big day.

Your Wedding Budget Will Affect Your Guest Size

Emotions, and family ties aside, your budget, as we mentioned, will play a major part in the size of your wedding. The largest chunk of your budget will be taken up by venue hire, which averages around £5,406. With the addition of dresses, suits, food, drinks, hen/stag, decor, flowers, accessories, honeymoon, and other costs, it's no wonder that the typical wedding of 82 day guests and 103 nighttime guests costs around £30,000.

If that final figure feels a lot higher than you expected, or can afford, you may need to reassess your wedding guest count, and possibly reduce the numbers. As the size of your guest list is often the main contributing factor to a larger budget.

How Do You Want Your Wedding to Feel?

If you're fortunate enough to be able to afford a wedding budget that can accommodate 100+ day visitors, it doesn't mean you have to.

Post pandemic, so many couples are prioritising the guest experience and preferring to spend more money on fewer guests. Concentrating on things that are truly important to you. That could mean having a destination wedding, hiring a live band and a DJ, ordering caterers from a Michelin-starred restaurant, or choosing your dream wedding dress!

Talk to each other, openly discuss things with your family, and decide what is truly best for you. Even if that means one less second cousin doesn't get invited!


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