How Many People Should You Invite to A Destination Wedding

Wedding-32Inviting people to a destination wedding seems more complex than it really is.

Most couples, however, get too overwhelmed by the invitation process.

The problem lies in the fact that there are no rules that govern the invitation process.

Some people invite co-workers and others don’t. Some allow kids and others do not. Furthermore, there is no correct “size” for a destination wedding. You may want a small intimate affair while your parents expect a big blowout.

So is there an easy way to figure out what is right for you?

Let’s start by answering these questions.

Question 1: What is your personal preference?

There is going to be no shortage of opinions as to how big your wedding should be. The most important thing is to figure out what kind of wedding you both want. What are your personal preferences? Do you want a small destination wedding or a large one where everyone’s invited.

To help you decide, here are the four most common types of destination weddings.

  • Elopement
  • The Intimate Wedding (10-25 wedding guests)
  • The Friends And Family Wedding (40-100 wedding guests)
  • The Come one, come all destination wedding (100+ wedding guests)

Let’s start by going over the misunderstood elopement wedding.


This kind of wedding is one where the couple simply fly off to some great location to get married without inviting anyone. While you may think that most of these are last minute type weddings, that is not always the case. Many couples simply want a private ceremony with no one around.

Privacy and intimacy is what they cherish so they choose to invite no one. Many of these couple do have a celebration when they come home where they end up inviting friends and family.

The Intimate Wedding

Planning a destination wedding for a small intimate wedding (usually less than 20-25 people) is simple in terms of planning. You can book a romantic hotel and personalize your wedding any way you want. With a small size, a wedding planner is also not a necessity. But this is not the most common type of destination wedding.

The Friends And Family Wedding

Most destination weddings have around 60 friends and family attending. This kind of wedding is bigger than the intimate wedding mentioned above, but is still small enough to be able to plan on your own. This sized wedding allows you to host a wedding in small out of the way places like an intimate vineyard or a boutique hotel.

Alternately, if you want a hassle free wedding, then book a wedding package at an all inclusive resort. Every detail will be taken care of and you will end up getting a free ceremony out of it.

The Come One Come All Wedding

Just like the name suggests, this is kind of wedding where you invite everyone you know from work, daycare, family, friends, hairdressers and anyone else that you want to attend the wedding.

To plan this kind of destination wedding, you will need two things, a large budget, and a wedding planner. If you are looking to plan a wedding this size, make sure to consider an all inclusive resort as they are most suitable for a large number of guests.

Regardless if your personal preference, another factor that will play a huge part in how many you will invite is your budget.

Question 2: What is your budget?

People cost money, especially at weddings. The more people you invite to a destination wedding, the more expensive everything will be. So the question you have to ask is “How many people can we afford to invite?”

Knowing the answer to this ahead of time will save you a lot of angst in the future.

Many couples overextend themselves by not setting up a budget. And that’s when they start racking up credit card bills. And you should not start off your married life with a bunch of debt.

So if you budget calls for a smaller wedding, then invite lesser people right from the start

Will people be offended that you did not invite them?

People are fairly understanding when it comes to destination weddings. Most assume that this kind of event is for close family and friends anyway so many don’t expect an invite. Plus, you can throw a small wedding celebration party afterwards and invite people then.

Knowing how many people you can afford to have at your wedding is one thing, but that is only half the equation. You have to also know how many will show up.

Question 3: How Many People Will Show Up?

It makes little sense to plan a ceremony, dinner, and wedding reception for 100 people if you don’t take into account how many will decline your invites. After all, not everyone you invite will be able to attend.

In fact, half of the people you invite will turn down the invitation. For some, it will be a monetary issue and for others, it will be a logistical one. In order to only invite those closest to you, maintain an ‘A’ and ‘B’ list of guests. Start by inviting people on your ‘A’ list and as people decline, start sending out the ‘B’ list invitations.

Having a well planned destination wedding budget, and taking into account your own personal preferences will give you a good idea of how many to invite.


  • If people are turning down invites because of cost, then consider getting group rates for hotels to help lower the cost. In addition, many couples will also rent a large house that wedding guests pay for. Doing so results in much lower per person costs than hotels and resorts.
  • Make sure to invite people at least four to six months before the destination wedding. They are going to need that much time to plan their trip, ask for vacation time, and make reservations.
  • Don’t feel pressured to invite someone who you don’t care for. They will bring negative energy to the event and you will end up regretting the invite. It’s your wedding and the only people that should be present are the ones you want. So any third cousins, co-workers, and acquaintances that you don’t like should not get an invite.
  • A good way to decide who to invite is whether you have had dinner with them in six months. If no, then don’t bother with an invite.

What should you read next?

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