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Regrets? We’ve had a few…

…but then again, too few to mention?

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Six months to go and we’re deep in the heart of Guest List territory. Things are getting brutal. The combination of my mahussive family and… well the rest of the people we would like to be there is causing us quite the quandry. We’ve set the limit at 200… but now we’re thinking of working the figures. Well, I said ‘We’. But we all know we mean ‘I’.

A quick scout about on Google and I’ve found the tidbit of information I’ve been looking for, on Premier Bride: “Usually about 25 percent of invitees will be unable to attend, giving you some leeway.” That means we could potentially invite up to 40 more guests in the hope of having a nice round 200 on the day. I know what you’re thinking. Part of me just doesn’t want to acknowledge it.

So, to Twitter. I asked, “Wedding Peeps! How true is the maxim that about 20% of invited guests will not attend the wedding?” – and the figures came rolling in – 20%, 10-5%, 0%. Oh. Right.

So, brides-to-be, I’d like to know how you are handling this quandry. My logical mind tells me not to play russian roulette with our guest list, but part of me likes to live on the edge.

I haven’t even mentioned the budgetary implications for this. I mean, if you have 20% fewer guests than anticipated, your food bill will be 20% lower. Does that mean a new honeymoon wardrobe, or are you over-inviting and hoping for the usual regret rate? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear what you think.

Reply card from a selection at Pretty as a Picture.

UPDATE: Well in the end, the figures went as follows for us:

Invited: 232

Nos: 48

Attrition rate: A perfect 20%

Our approach was to invite as many people as we wanted and see who could come. A few factors influenced the high attrition rate in our case – the reception was away from the city and as it was in November, some of the people we invited who worked shift had ran out of holidays to take. If we were planning a smaller wedding I have no doubt that this rate would have been very different.

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  1. Nicola

    Hi Lisa,

    Well I for one am over-inviting & relying on a few regrets! We’ve budgeted for around 100 guests but so far the invite list is 133! We do have some wriggle room in the budget though so if we’re up over the 100 a bit it should be fine…I may have heart-failure though if every single person accepts ;)

    • Lisa

      Sounds like you’re the same as myself, like to live on the edge! :) From what I’ve heard though the regret rate will be 10-20 percent so I’m sure there’ll be room for everyone

  2. Lou

    I think it has more to do with relationships than pure numbers…so if you extend the invite list to say cousins/friends who you are not as close to, the refusal rate may be higher, so around the 20%/30% mark at this stage. You might find only a 5% refusal rate from closer friends and family iykwim? HTH!

  3. I Lou is right, it depends on how close the guests are. Usually a smaller wedding means closer family and friends so lower attrition rate, the bigger the wedding the larger the %. For our wedding of 120 we’re working off a 10% regret rate. Well we’re hoping that’s all!

  4. Emma

    I asked for a quote from the caterer for eighty guests. We told the caterer that we were going to invite some more, but had expected some regrets. His solution? For any number above eighty, the meal will be half price. Within reason, of course. So if we end up with 95, only full price meals for the first 80 guests, then the rest will be half price – good thing, since we sort of forgot to include ourselves in that 80 count, assuming most would make it.

  5. Katie Lou

    HI Lisa
    Im a newly engaged gal (2mths to be exact) and yes it is very exciting, my worry is my fiance’s huge wedding guest list 170!!! (im a Dublin girl not use to big weddings) i have 70. Im not including cousins or uncles or aunts i havent talked to in years. Im not inviting the whole neighbourhood just 2 or 3 neighbours, but he is the opposite. He is inviting about 50 neighbours that really he doesnt know but its the done thing in the country. His mother and him wrote out his list one night and i was just shocked by this list and the excuse was well his parents were invited to these neighbours childrens weddings so the done thing is to pay back the invite and when i question it, they say sure they wont even come to the wedding!!! Im really banking on this 25% fall out rate, please say its true!- knowing my luck it will be all on my guests side!! My dream wedding would be to have 80 people in total, immediate family and close friends and some aunts and uncles – the people that care about you. But this wedding my fiance and his mother is propsing is going to be a conference, im going to have to get name tags for people ! Maybe i could get sponsorship from local companies, this wedding was brought to you by Margo’s hairdressing and Bloom Florists!! Please tell me that 25% rate is true!

    • Lisa

      Katie Lou that sounds a bit like our guest ratio: Mr Joy is from a small family and I am from rather a large one! He jokes that if the bride’s family sit on one side of the church and the groom’s family on the other, the result would be about as one-sided as a Barcelona vs Blackpool game (my family being Barcelona).
      Planning a wedding is a big learning experience and one of the first lessons you learn is compromise – not just with your husband-to-be, but also with your family and with his family. I think this is even more prescient if you decide to marry locally to where you live/grew up.
      The location can be a big factor affecting the attrition rate (have you considered a destination wedding or one somewhere down the country?). The day of the week is another (midweek weddings in general have a bigger regret rate unless it’s a very small affair). And the third thing that affects it is the number of guests. If a portion of your guest list is made up of neighbours and acquaintances, this portion is less likely to RSVP positively (obviously they still can though, depending on how the other factors work out).
      The main thing is to plan the wedding that you are happy with, first and foremost. Best of luck with the planning!

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