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Beginner July 2020

Decline rate estimate???

Elizabeth, on November 17, 2019 at 6:44 PM Posted in Planning 0 13
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Alright lovely ladies, I need some help! Our venue needs an estimate for our guest count, and I truly have no idea. We've invited 224 people, but about 70 live at least 5 hours way, and the rest are about 40 minutes to 1.5 hours away. Any tips on how to guess? I'm thinking it will be about 160. Am I aiming too low? My wedding is on a Sunday of a holiday weekend.

13 Comments

  • Melle
    Rockstar June 2019
    Melle ·
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    Usually people say you can expect 20% decline rate. I actually did have about a 20% decline
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  • MOB So Cal
    January 2019
    MOB So Cal Online ·
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    It's hard to precict, especially with out of towners and a holiday weekend, but daughter's acceptance rate was exactly 80%. (For all but one unexpected acceptance and one unexpected decline, we predicted exactly who was going to come, but most declines were elderly and/or long distance. All along the ideal guest count was 100. They invited 127, which we could have accommodated without any problems, if by chance they all came. We had 101! However, it is really hard to guest. I have read many posts from brides who had about 100% acceptance, and others who had under 50%. All you can do is make your best guest given what you know about your guests.) Good luck!

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  • Mrs. Sarantos
    Master November 2019
    Mrs. Sarantos ·
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    I had 53% acceptance. Everyone has to travel since we’re all scattered.
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  • Gen
    Master June 2019
    Gen ·
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    I would estimate low rather than high because they’ll probably give you a minimum number based on your expected count. You can always add people later on (they’ll never tell you no to adding someone and paying more money lol) but you don’t want to be under your minimum or else you’ll end up paying for empty chairs.


    I’d tell them the truth... that you’re expecting around 160..... but it could be up to 224
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  • Gen
    Master June 2019
    Gen ·
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    Oh and we had about a 66% acceptance rate. 147 invited, 98 attended.


    But you really can’t guess your own rate based on other people’s weddings since everyone has such different situations.
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  • Kelly
    Champion October 2018
    Kelly ·
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    They probably just want to know how many you’re inviting. Usually they don’t need to know a final number until 2-4 weeks before.
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  • J
    Beginner June 2021
    Jacklyn ·
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    I think the most important thing is just what you are comfortable with. I went to some venues which required us pay for 150 guests which we did not want to pay for.


    I would follow up on why they need the number and if they will hold you to it. But yes I have heard to use 20% decline rate as a rule.

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  • M
    Dedicated October 2019
    M ·
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    We had our wedding about 1-5 hours away from most of our guest the Sunday of Columbus Day. We had a 30% decline rate. I think it also depends on how far in advance you send out STDs so they can plan for it!
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  • Christine
    Expert September 2020
    Christine ·
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    That's really tough! We're using a formula for our initial estimates since we have a lot of out-of-state guests - we're assuming 80% of our local guests will attend and 50% of our out-of-state guests will attend. Whether that ends up being accurate remains to be seen though. Smiley smile

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  • Sarah
    Devoted April 2022
    Sarah ·
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    A 20-25% decline rate is the rule of thumb; however, when talking to your vendor, I would give them your full guest list. It's extremely unlikely that everyone will come, but you should still plan to accommodate every single person you invite just in case.

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  • Meghan
    Rockstar October 2019
    Meghan Online ·
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    We had a few out of state guests, but every other guest had to travel 1-6 hours for our wedding. We invited 113. 100 RSVP'ed yes and 98 showed up (2 cancelled a day before due to family illness and the other had Mono).

    There is really no way to gauge this, unfortunately.

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  • Nicole
    Savvy November 2019
    Nicole ·
    • Flag

    First rule of thumb - never invite more people than your venue or budget can accommodate.


    We had a destination wedding where 90% of our guests were out of state. It was on a Saturday of a holiday weekend (November 9th). We invited about 240 - including kids and adults. Our final RSVP rate was 140 -- we predicted it would be 175 based on what people said leading up to the day of. Truth is, you will not know until you get all the responses back. Assume more will come and you won't be on the wrong side of surprised!

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  • Alejandra
    Super March 2019
    Alejandra ·
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    I had a 4% decline rate, it really depends on who you invite and knowing whether or not they'll make the effort to be there. My husband and I did a list of our family and friends and then narrowed it down to those that we knew we really wanted there and those who make every effort to be there. Our invitee list was 110 people, 100 RSVP'd and 4 could not make it last minute due to unforeseen events. Those who came from out of state/country we informed months in advance and those who had young children we also informed ahead of time as we planned a child free event. Our guests were appreciative that we informed them early on and had enough time to make necessary arrangements. Also our minimum for our venue was 100 and we felt comfortable with that number since it was a comfortable budget.

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