This is the Average Wedding Guest List Size in the US

Are big weddings back?
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
by
Hannah Nowack
Hannah Nowack The Knot Senior Weddings Editor
Hannah Nowack
Senior Editor, Weddings
  • Hannah writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a focus on real wedding coverage.
  • Hannah has a passion for DE&I and plays an integral role in ensuring The Knot content highlights all voices and all love stories.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Hannah was the Social Media Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings.
Updated Mar 04, 2024

Determining how to make your wedding guest list and the lucky folks that'll be on it are some of the top tasks on your checklist. The size of your guest list will affect your venue, budget and many other aspects of your big day. So, what's the average wedding size in the US? And how does yours compare? Good news: We've got the answer for you. Annually, we survey newlyweds across the country to get the most up-to-date, real-life data about what it looks like to get hitched at present. As part of our Real Weddings Study, we surveyed couples who got married in 2023 to see how many guests they invited to their weddings.

In this article:

Average Wedding Size

According to The Knot Real Weddings Study, the average wedding size in 2023 was 115 guests.

13% of couples invited between 1-50 guests, 30% of couples had 51-100 people in attendance and 57% of marriers invited 101+ guests to the big day. It's worth noting the definition of an average-sized wedding and average guest list varies greatly by generation. Gen X couples invite an average of 89 guests to their wedding, but that number grows as the age of the couple decreases. Millennials tend to invite 115 guests and Gen Z typically has the largest guest lists with 131 attendees, on average.

It's interesting to note that seasonality also has a bit of an impact on guest list size. For weddings in January, February and March the average guest count was 117. That number grew to 118 for April, May and June weddings. Weddings were largest at 121 for July, August and September, and then weddings in October, November and December typically see an average of 110 guests. Once you've determined what your just-right wedding size is and your preferred season, then you can get started on finding the vendors to bring your vision to life.

Wedding Size By Region

If you're wondering how you'll decide between wedding sizes, consider where your event will take place. The average wedding size varies by location—here's a rundown of the average wedding guest count by region:

  • Northeast: 109
  • Mid-Atlantic: 123
  • Midwest: 139
  • South/Southeast: 102
  • Southwest: 127
  • West: 102

Destination weddings typically have smaller guest counts than hometown weddings. The Real Weddings Study showed that US destination weddings had an average of 77 guests and those that took place abroad averaged at 69 guests, while hometown weddings had an average guest count of 122.

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What is Considered a Big Wedding?

What is considered a large wedding can vary between cultures and regions, but we consider any wedding over 100 people to be a big wedding. The Knot's Guest List Manager comes in handy no matter what your wedding size may be, but especially if you've got a long list of attendees. The free tool is easy to use and will help organize your guest list, gather addresses, collect and track RSVPs, share your list with VIPs and more.

What is Considered a Small Wedding?

If you find yourself punching "how many people is a small wedding" into Google on the reg, we've got your answer: Any intimate affair under 50 is considered a small wedding in our experience. But size isn't everything—there are so many small wedding ideas and small wedding venues that'll impress guests just as much as a blowout bash.

Wedding Size and Spend Per Guest

Our data found that, for 75% of couples, the most important factor while wedding planning was making sure guests were well taken care of and had a good time. And interestingly enough, this figure increased to 80% among couples who had over 101 guests at their nuptials. So regardless of whether a couple throws a big wedding or a small wedding, pairs are putting their dollars toward categories like food, entertainment and other elements that make the evening as enjoyable as possible for attendees.

On the flip side, seven in 10 newlyweds said the economy impacted their wedding in 2023, with roughly 40% resorting to reducing their guest list by an average of 29 people to accommodate inflation and other economic strains. Luckily, lovebirds are still well aware of the free tools they can use to cultivate a positive guest experience, like a wedding website on The Knot. 88% of couples created a wedding website to ensure their guests felt well-informed about the big day. Ultimately, even with those reduced budgets and headcounts, their funds were allocated accordingly, ensuring those who did remain on the guest list had the best time possible.

Find a Venue Space for Your Wedding Size

If you're still debating who to invite to your wedding and your guest list size, there's one particular vendor who will help you decide: Wedding venues have a maximum number of guests they can safely accommodate. Regardless of your preferences, you can find your dream venue (and one that'll accommodate your dream guest list) on The Knot. Search for options for weddings under 50 guests, from 51-100 guests and so on, even reaching those that can fit over 300 guests. Just hit the "Guest Capacity" filter option after you select your preferred venue location on the Knot Vendor Marketplace.

How Has the Average Number of Wedding Guests Changed Over the Years?

The average wedding size in 2022 was 117—an increase trending back toward pre-pandemic levels—and the average wedding size in 2023 of 115 shows that trend is still holding strong. In 2021, guest lists averaged 105. And in 2020, the average guest count was only 66. But, in 2019, the average wedding guest count was 131 and 2022 and 2023's figures are much more in line with 2019's headcounts. In short: People are continuing to ride that wave of celebration in a big way.

Although people are excited to party again, weddings are still slightly smaller than they were historically. Guest lists reached an all-time high 16 years ago in 2007 at 153. The number hovered around 136 in 2017 and 2018. And although the pandemic was much less of a consideration in 2023, some couples are still opting to trim their guest lists—instead to help mitigate rising costs from inflation. At present, guest lists may not be quite as big as they once were, but they're certainly back in a robust way and holding strong!

Cathryn Haight contributed to the reporting of this story.

*The Real Weddings Study captured responses from 9,138 US couples married between January 1 and December 31, 2023; respondents were recruited via email invitation from The Knot and/or WeddingWire membership. Respondents represent couples from all over the country with various ethnicities, income levels, race, age, sexual orientation and gender identity. To provide the most comprehensive view of 2023 trends, this report also includes findings from ad hoc studies conducted throughout the year. In a typical year, The Knot Worldwide conducts research with more than 300,000 couples, guests and wedding professionals globally.

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