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This Is the Average Wedding Guest List Size in the U.S.

How does yours stack up?
maddy sims the knot assistant editor
by Maddy Sims
maddy sims the knot assistant editor
Maddy Sims
Assistant Editor, Digital
  • Maddy writes for The Knot, with a specialty in beauty, sustainability, mental health and inclusivity.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Maddy wrote for several different publications, including Insider, Bustle, Real Simple and Apartment Therapy.
  • Maddy has a Bachelor's degree in magazine journalism and a Master's degree in health, science and environmental reporting (both of which are from Northwestern's Medill School ...
Updated Nov 13, 2020

Determining your guest list is one of the most—if not the most—important tasks on your wedding planning checklist. The size of your guest list will affect your venue, budget and so many other aspects of your wedding. As you create yours, you may be wondering what the average wedding size in the US is (and how yours compares). Good news: We've got the answer for you.
 
According to The Knot 2019 Real Weddings Study, the average wedding size is currently 131. In fact, this number has been slowly decreasing over the years. Our data indicates that the average wedding size reached an all-time high of 153 in 2007. For context, the number hovered at 136 in 2017 and 2018.

If you're wondering how you'll decide what size wedding you'll have with so many viable options, consider where you live. According to our study, guest list size varies by state. For example, events in cities like Chicago and New York City have an average wedding guest size of 146.  Weddings sizes in Miami tend to be smaller, though, with an average guest list count of 112. 

It's important to note that the average wedding size is just that—an average. Your guest list size depends on how much you've budgeted for your big day, as well as the kind of wedding you want. In fact, smaller weddings are on the rise as more couples around the country focus on giving guests an enriching experience. Our data found that, for 72 percent of couples, the most important factor while wedding planning was making sure guests were well taken care of and had a good time. In order to do so, 47 percent of all couples organized guest entertainment (like performers or fireworks)—a nine percent increase from 2018. 

As more couples are focused on guest experience, some opt for micro-weddings. Often with these celebrations, their budget aligns with the national average ($33,900 to be exact). So, with fewer guests and a larger price point, they're able to spend more on features like interactive food displays, live entertainment or additional wedding weekend parties. Some couples also opt to host a sequel wedding—a larger celebration that follows an intimate formal ceremony or elopement.  

If you're still debating your guest list size, there's one particular vendor who will help you decide: Venues have a maximum number of people they can safely accommodate. If you're dreaming of a sunny vineyard ceremony, you might not be able to invite every single person you know. However, if you're looking at a big hotel venue or a field out in nature, you may be able to open up the guest list. 

Before you begin putting your wedding guest list together, be sure to sit down with all of the decision makers (read: people contributing to the wedding) and get on the same page. By having the talk early on, you can avoid any snafus or hurt feelings later on. And if you need help navigating those conversations, consider working with a professional wedding planner. These pros have years of expertise under their belts and can act as a mediator during tricky conversations. 

Another reason it's a good idea to talk about your wedding size early on? Cutting people from your guest list can be extremely difficult and stressful—but a lot of couples face this issue (guests lists have a tendency to grow rapidly). Keep in mind that there are people you're not obligated to invite—even if you feel like you are. Once you've decided on a final head count, use The Knot Wedding Guest Manager to keep track of everyone.

Ultimately, as far as we're concerned, size doesn't matter—as long as your guest list includes those who matter most to you (and maybe a few stragglers from your mother-in-law's book club).

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