How to Estimate Your Wedding Cost Per Guest

Your wedding cost per guest is the amount of money it costs to host each guest at your wedding.

No one likes to limit their guest list based on the budget. But weddings do cost a pretty penny, so it’s helpful to estimate how many guests you can afford to invite. For a rough estimate, take your wedding budget and divide by $50 for smaller towns, $100 for mid-size cities, and $200 for large urban areas. This isn’t a per head cost, just a helpful rule of thumb to determine how many guests you can afford to have attend. Typically 80% of your invited guests will attend and 20% will not be able to do so, so keep those figures in mind as you’re capping your guest list.

As you interview your vendors, you might want to keep a brief tally of your cost per guest. Vendors who charge on a per head basis may fit within your budget initially, but if your guest list expands, you might have to pay more. Extra guests may also mean adding more tables and chairs and other rentals, so stay aware of what you’re spending and make mental notes as to where you might need a cushion.

Pay special attention to your caterer, bartender, baker, rentals, and your venue (if the price fluctuates based on the guest list). For instance, if your caterer charges $25 a person plus an additional $10 per person for drinks, your baker charges $3.00 per slice, and your rentals cost $15 per table of eight seats, you’d have an estimated cost per guest of $40.

Your particular wedding cost per guest will vary based on where you’re located, the vendors you’re working with, and the formality of your wedding. But having an estimate of how many guests you can afford to invite and how much you will be paying per guest is helpful as you progress through your planning.