by: Lauren

Happy Thursday friends! I’m going through paradise withdrawals, as I’ve just returned from a trip to the gorgeous island of Saint Lucia, scoping out wedding locations and honeymoon destinations. I cannot WAIT to share more about the trip with you all!

On this trip I was traveling with some people who weren’t quite as entrenched in weddings as I am. They were asking me questions about weddings in general, and I realized that what is common knowledge to me, isn’t quite as common to others. One of the common topics of conversation was wedding budgets and what weddings cost. After explaining the ins and outs of weddings a few times, I realized that there is one single thing that has a huge impact on a wedding budget- guests.

The 1 Thing That Has The Biggest Impact On a Wedding Budget

Sure, there are various elements of a wedding that contribute to a wedding budget. You have your venue, food, decor, rentals- and let’s not forget vendor services! But did you notice that out of those five things, four are contingent on the guests? That’s 80% of wedding costs being determined and impacted by the number of guests!

It kills me when I hear about someone wanting to have, say, 300 guests for their budget of $20,000. Doing some simple division, that comes out to $66 per person. You can hardly even get food for $66 per person- what about everything else that you need for a wedding to happen? Knowing the things that are possible for that same budget on a smaller scale, my heart breaks. What if you only had 50 guests with a $20,000 budget? That changes to $400 per guest, and yes, that number can certainly cover all of the other elements besides food. The number of guests that you have at your wedding will dictate everything else, and therefore, have the biggest impact on your wedding budget! (Note: The previous situations are purely for examples. I do not recommend looking at your wedding budget as “per person”. Also, I’m sure a 300 guest wedding with $20,000 can be done, but I myself have not done it. Again, purely for examples.)

So with that said, let’s break down the guest-impacted elements a little more:

Venue

You really should not be choosing your venue without knowing how many guests you will be having. Some venues can only fit 100 people, and some can fit 300. I bet you there’s a big difference between those two venues too, so it’s important to have an idea of your guest count ahead of time. On the other hand, if you find a venue with a lower capacity and fall in love with it, then this could certainly further influence your total guest count.

Food and Beverage

Simply put, food and beverages are consumed by your guests. The more guests you have, the more money you’re going to spend because that’s more food that you need. There’s really no way around it- unless you choose to not serve food!

Decor

The more guests you have, the more tables you have. And the more tables you have, the more centerpieces you will need. It’s a pretty simple formula, right?

Rentals

Again, just as with the decor, the more guests you have, the more tables you need, which leads to more linens and more chair rentals. And let’s not forget about china, glassware, and flatware to go along with your food and drinks.

As many of you know, I’m all about telling you the truth about weddings- and pure and simple, this is the truth. Weddings cost a pretty penny, but it’s not because weddings are pretty, overpriced, or you’re being “scammed” by the wedding industry- it’s because they involve usage and consumption of materials. In the end, you can have a *much* better wedding if you just have less guests!

If you want to stick to a lower budget (or just want to get the most bang for your buck) then I encourage you to keep in mind that one thing that has a huge impact on your budget- the guest count!

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I’d love to hear from you all- in what ways have you noticed your guest count having an impact on your wedding budget? 

Want to read more about Wedding Budgets? Go here!

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The 1 Thing That Has The Biggest Impact On a Wedding Budget

Lauren

Owner & Editor at Every Last Detail
Lauren Grove is the editor and owner of Every Last Detail. A clueless bride-turned-wedding planner, Lauren uses her experiences and knowledge to educate and inspire brides all over the world.

7 responses to The 1 Thing That Has The Biggest Impact On a Wedding Budget

We love your comments, but please remember to keep them kind and positive, as this is a place for inspiration and sharing information. We have the right to remove or not approve any negative or harmful comments.
  1. Erica Bull (a Vendor)

    By far the most popular thing I talk to my brides about when we’re discussing her budget. The number of guests effects almost every aspect of your wedding. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Valerie Gernhauser (a Vendor)

    Thank you and AMEN! I just did a post on budget planning last month on my own blog, and the biggest point I emphasized is the guest count. Everything you have pointed out is spot on, Lauren!

  3. Pingback: Favorite Links + Things of Interest: October 4, 2013 | The Budget Savvy Bride

  4. Krista | KJ and Co. (a Vendor)

    Simple math, but also scary math. I find couples are quick to slash their guest-list when they realize how quickly it all adds up just to feed guests. Gratuities and taxes add up, and they’re often forgotten about.

  5. Michelle Leo Events (a Vendor)

    SO SO TRUE! I tell my brides this all the time. If you want a large amount of guests at your wedding, you’d better have that larger budget to support feeding them, purchasing decor for all the tables THEY will sit at, all the beverages they will consume at your bar and so on and so on… It’s not rocket science. Bigger guest lists= bigger costs!

    XO,
    Michelle

  6. Amanda - Amanda Douglas Events (a Vendor)

    SO So SO true! I have brides that have 40 guests with a 30k budget, and then I have brides that have 150 guests and a 30k budget. Of course their weddings are vastly different!

  7. Jewel (a Vendor)

    So true & yet I hear things all the time like “I have $2,000 to feed 200 people.” Thanks for the great article!

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