Ideas & Advice

Big, small or grand! The magic number of guests to invite

Here's the breakdown of how many guests you should invite for your wedding - from intimate to grand celebrations.
 

I always tell bride-to-be planning for their wedding celebration to always consider their budget and the number of guests they want to invite.

This will help you determine the venue and type of celebration you can have. If you can confirm this from the start, your wedding prep will be a lot easier!

Cheryl & Justin's wedding dinner at The Ritz Carlton Millenia's Garden Pavilion, photo: Gabriel Mendes

Whether you’re planning for a big or small wedding, just make sure the celebration is something you want and will be comfortable with.

More importantly, plan something within your means and never ever get into debt at the start of your married life because of your wedding celebrations!

 

Intimate

20-30 guests

Suitable for couples who don’t like the fuss of a grand celebration and prefer to celebrate their day with just their immediate family and really close friends. They may not even want others beyond their small circle of acquaintances to know they’re getting hitched!

Taiwanese singer Yoga Lin, 29, got married to his wife, Kiki Ting, 32, in a woodlands-themed solemnisation ceremony in Karuizawa, Japan, in front of 30 family and friends.

Think intimate lunch and dinner at home or a restaurant. Or perhaps even brunch and a tea buffet after the tea ceremony.

The best part? Really easy to organize and you won’t have to stress over the budget.

 

Small

40-70 guests

You want to share your big day with people you love and care about, but don’t want to get too much into planning for it. Family, friends and colleagues will probably be invited but the list will be strictly edited.

A perfect number for destination weddings or celebrations held at smaller venues – usually hipster cafes or restaurants, beach bars and other smaller establishments.

For those who ask why they weren’t invited, just tell them you wanted something simple and small. There will be people who won’t be happy about being cut from the list though!

You can choose to have a more formal celebration or something more casual, but because of the smaller number of guests you will have more time to socialize and interact with them.

 

Medium

80 -150 guests

If you’re the sociable and the gregarious type, you will probably have quite a number of must-invite friends to add to your list. Anything from 8 to 15 tables counts as a medium sized celebration.

Depending on how many people you eventually invite you can choose to have it at a hotel venue function room, a smaller ballroom or a canopied setup at a beautiful al fresco style café or restaurant - provided they have ample garden space outside.

Vannessa & Sean's rustic barn wedding with 150 guests, photo: Stories by Ash

Cost is still manageable, and the good part is that you won’t have friends or colleagues asking why they weren’t invited!

 

Big

200 – 400 guests

Most hotel venues have ballrooms and customized wedding packages that cater to a celebration of 20 - 40 tables. Unless you have a lot of people to invite, a sizable part of the invite list will be from your parents and in-laws.

Felicia & Wee's oriental and retro themed banquet for their family and friends, photo: Feldberyl Images

Just make sure to go through the list with them to ensure that they keep within the budget and number you’ve planned for.

The number of tables will also give you some room for last minute RSVP confirmations and additional guests that other guests insist on pulling along for the occasion – without informing you in advance.

 

Grand!

500 and beyond

So we’ve all heard about those wedding spectacles (or even been invited to one!), where there’s more than a thousand guests! 

Actress and singer Cheryl Wee and Roy Fong had a grand and lavish bash at The Ritz Carlton Millenia with over 600 guests, photo: Trouve Photography 

Either you and your newly-minted husband have a lot of friends and tons of relatives, or your parents and in-laws insist on inviting everyone they know, or you just really want to make your big day a truly memorable one! Celebrations of this size require a big budget and lots of planning!

You probably need a wedding planner to help you with all the coordination and wedding prep, and be prepared  to spend months, if not a year, in advance planning for the event. And be prepared not to recoup the entire cost of your celebrations from the ang pows!

 

See also: WHAT MOST COUPLES LOOK FOR IN THEIR WEDDING VENUES & WHY YOU SHOULD TOO!

​​