How to Calculate the Number of Wedding Guests

by Cyndi Bass ; Updated September 28, 2017

One of the largest expenses a bride and groom have at their wedding is the food served at the reception. For this reason, it's important to have a good estimate of the number of guests who will attend; it is also helpful when purchasing wedding favors and ordering the cake. Sending RSVP cards and calling those who do not reply are often the best way to know how many guests will attend. But there are other ways to calculate the number of wedding guests to expect.

Double the number of invitations that were mailed out to estimate how many guests will attend because most invitations represent two people.

Multiply the number of guests invited by 33 percent. This number signifies the amount of people who will likely won't attend your wedding.

Subtract the expected number of declined invitations from the total amount of guests invited for an estimate of how many guests you can expect.

Use this number to estimate costs in the wedding budget such as the menu and wedding favors. It is also helpful when choosing a venue to determine how much space will be needed.


  • If "Save the date" cards were sent, or if the invitations are mailed eight weeks before the wedding, it is likely that more guests will attend.

    Send out RSVP cards, or list the RSVP on the invitation. This way, the number of attendees can be more accurately calculated.

    To estimate out-of-town guests, expect 90 percent of family members and 40 percent of old friends.

    The average amount of guests who attend destination weddings is 50 percent.

    Set aside extra money to cover guests who did not respond or changed their mind at the last minute.

    For a more accurate estimate, the bride can call all the guests invited for their response.

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About the Author

Cyndi Bass has been writing professionally since 2000. She specializes in writing about self-help, weight loss, health, credit, families, parenting and government assistance programs. Her experience includes ghostwriting for numerous websites, blogs and newsletters. She has worked in social services in the credit industry and she holds a human service certificate from the University of California at Davis.