How To: Planning For a Large Guest List

Having more than 200 people at your wedding? Follow these tips to accommodate your guests comfortably when your list is large.


If you and your partner both come from huge families with lots of children, have tons of friends from throughout your lives and both of your parents have friends that couldn’t possibly miss your wedding, you’re likely going to have a big guest list. As in, maybe having 200-plus people at your wedding. Don’t worry, though! We have a few tips to help make sure everything stays within control—and budget.

First Things First, plan ahead with your Invitations!

Having alot of guests at your upcoming wedding can be daunting, however anything can be solved with a little planning. Especially when it comes to your Invitations! Make sure that you send out your RSVP’s and Invitations in a timely fashion. See Our Recommendations in our FAQ page for details!


Make sure the venue will comfortably fit all of your guests.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s a MUST: Always visit your venue before you book to ensure that all of your guests will have a place to sit and can comfortably mingle. Photos are lovely and rave word-of-mouth reviews are great, but until you see the venue with your own eyes, you can’t fully envision the floor plan and see where 25 guest tables, and subsequently, 25 large centerpieces, will fit, or the dance floor that can accommodate 200 people.

And with a large guest list, it’s easy for the space to get hot and stuffy quickly with hundreds of people dancing and walking around, so knowing important facts about the venue’s air conditioning and heating situation is key too. Otherwise, you might have people sweating and those hot plates of pasta and beef will go to waste.

Have a plan to (try your best) and see everyone.

Your wedding guests are coming to see and celebrate you—but having over 200 people means that it’s a challenge to spend time with every single one of them. A four or five hour reception is tough time constraint to navigate the crowds, spend time with each guest, enjoy your wedding day and take it all in at the same time (it’s a total whirlwind!).

To try and maximize your time with everyone, you can plan to do a first look and take photos before the wedding so you can attend your own cocktail hour and do some mingling there. Having a casual welcome party and/or rehearsal dinner is a good way to visit with out-of-towners, and having dinner pre-plated as soon as guests walk into the reception will speed the evening up. It takes a long time to get 200 people through the post ceremony events—especially if you do a receiving line. It may be your best bet to try and visit each reception table instead.

Give guests a reason to get up!

Even when it’s a formal plated dinner, why not break it up between the second and the third course? Either have dancing using a Great Emcee/DJ or make that third course something special that’s at a station—something that’s specific, thematic or your favorite dish you love making at home together.

next_Level_entertainment Image

Image Courtesy of Next Level Entertainment

“I like to think of a wedding reception as a way to create multiple parties within the room to keep lots of guests engaged,” says top Dallas/Ft Worth Event Producer, Leonardo Washington of Next Level Entertainment, who specializes in large-scale events. “We all know the popularity of activities like photo booths, but I say take it even a step further. I love when people can do interactive things, and when you can mix up the food.”

Use the five-year or five-minute rule of thumb.

Simply put, the more guests you have at your wedding, the more expensive it will be. And don’t assume that some folks won’t show up—every invitation and RSVP should be accounted for. To decide who should make the cut, use the five-year or five-minute rule of thumb.


That is: If you haven’t spoken to the people on your guest list within the last five years, they probably shouldn’t be on your guest list!

You can also use the five-minute rule too. If you can’t picture yourself wanting to spend five whole minutes with the person in question on your wedding day (which absolutely flies by!), then they should probably be left off the guest list.

One group that can also take up considerable space on your guest list are coworkers. To avoid any sticky situations, you can choose to not invite anyone, or keep it to a minimum of coworkers you consider friends.

Keep travel time in mind!

With a large wedding guest list, if you’re going to have your ceremony and reception in two separate locations, you have to think about the people coming in from out of town. If you’re having 200 guests, that means that 200 people who may not be familiar with the area are going to have to maneuver public transportation, ride services, or rental cars—not to mention possible traffic and parking issues in big cities.


If there’s no room in your budget to hire transportation for everyone, make sure your maps on your wedding website are extra-detailed. So think about the radius and the sphere of travel that people are gonna have to engaged in to celebrate with you, particularly for places like New York where there’s lots of traffic, and parking is incredibly expensive.

A bit of online research will go a long way and as usual we would love to hear what you have found and what you think will work best for your wedding.

Post your findings on our Facebook Page or email us to keep us in the loop!

By | 2018-08-01T23:46:00+00:00 July 2nd, 2016|How To|0 Comments

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.