Wedding Guest List Size: Tips For Your Destination Wedding

Planning your guest list is an essential part of your wedding planning process, but where does it all start? More importantly, where does it end, especially for a destination wedding? Many questions will definitely cross your mind when selecting the people you want to invite to your special day! The average wedding guest list size isn’t a magic number because it is your wedding day and on this day, the people you care about most should be part of that list. On that note, having a destination wedding can also help you hone in on who you really want to be part of your special day and there are several great ways to create and stick to your target guest list size.

What is the average wedding guest list size for a destination wedding?

Traditionally, destination wedding guest lists are on a smaller scale than weddings hosted locally. The result? A much more intimate experience especially since the number of attendees is reduced to only a select group of your loved ones! This also means that a genuine connection can be created easily among your guests throughout the entire wedding experience. On average, a destination wedding guest list size ranges from anywhere as low as 30 guests to as high as 150.

For a destination wedding, the average and ideal wedding size is often 60 attendees. This is typically considered a “small” to “medium-sized” wedding as you’ll read more below. Therefore, in consideration of the whole wedding planning process, this is a manageable headcount when planning your wedding from afar.

So let’s start by breaking down the average wedding guest list by type of wedding:

An elopement or a “minimony”

If you haven’t heard already, elopements and “minimonies” have become a huge deal (no thanks to the pandemic) due to large groups being unable to gather, including for weddings or special events. Elopements are the smallest and most private wedding ceremony option, with less than 10 people attending, such as the couple and witnesses.
“Minimonies” aka mini ceremonies have become a new way of having an intimate celebration with the closest and dearest people in your life. The number of attendees for a minimony usually ranges from 10 – 25 guests. Not surprisingly, these numbers are much smaller than the average wedding guest list size, but a great option when planning your destination wedding. If you decide to elope or have a minimony, you’ll definitely enjoy the flexibility and company of your loved ones with much less planning!

Photo: Daniela Tanzi

Small wedding guest list size

The general guest list size for a small wedding is usually up to 50 guests. This guest list size accounts for a fair amount of friends and family, along with keeping a more intimate ambiance. A wedding guest list size of 25 – 50 guests is very manageable for a destination wedding. Imagine being able to plan a three-day celebration and experience the ease of a small wedding! Best part? If you’re planning a destination wedding in Italy for example, this could mean having your wedding guests lodge in one location such as a villa near Lake Como or organizing a close-knit group accommodation in a stunning borgo or farmhouse overlooking the beautiful Tuscan countryside.

Medium weddings

A medium-sized wedding is usually in the range of 75 – 100 guests. This guest list size applies to both a local wedding and a destination wedding. With this wedding guest list size, you can include your closest friends, friends from childhood, and even your extended family. This is a fair wedding guest list size but could be challenging to manage on your own so you should definitely leverage the support of your wedding planner especially of you’re planning a destination wedding. However, a wedding guest list size of 75-100 guests will also allow you to have a bigger celebration and will make more room for you to enjoy your fairytale wedding abroad with all of your favorite people!

Photos: Tim Tab Studios | Florals: Pollen Floral Design | Wedding Planner: Liven Up Events

Large weddings

Photo: Donny Zavala

Generally, a large wedding is anything over 150+ guests. Have everyone and almost anyone celebrating your special day abroad! However, this also means you’ll need a hefty wedding budget along with a fantastic wedding planner. This guest list includes all your friends, family, cousins, neighbors, coworkers, pets, and whoever you want there! A large wedding can mean a more grand celebration and with that comes many different opportunities to extend the party over a few days. Win win!

Tips and Considerations When Creating your Destination Wedding Guest List Size

1. Honor your budget

Don’t forget the other special number when planning your dream wedding – your budget! Honoring your budget helps you pay attention to your guest list size and assists with managing that number. Going over your budget can lead to other challenges so sticking to your guest list size will help minimize that, especially when planning a destination wedding. You can read up here on how to better manage your destination wedding budget.

2. Pay attention to the capacity of the wedding venue

In general, wedding venues have capacity restrictions that will help you keep your guest list size to your desired number. Whether your wedding is at a boutique hotel with an ocean view or tucked away in an Italian castle, allow your wedding venue to help keep your guest list in check.

Photo: Keenan Barber

3. Invite other guests via Zoom

The pandemic introduced the many benefits of Zoom, especially increasing the ability to connect with people near and far, and that includes wedding guests for destination weddings. Creating a Zoom link to invite all your dearest friends and family can help manage your wedding guest list size. Also, inviting other wedding guests through Zoom can help you feel a little less bad for not being able to invite them to your wedding day. On the flip side, maybe this person was invited, but not able to attend for other reasons. Either way, remember that Zoom can be an easy hack to keep your wedding guest list at your desired number.

4. Invite the people you care about most

This is your wedding after all so invite the people who make you feel good and that will make your day even more special! Close your eyes and imagine all the people you want there – now make sure you send them an invite! Of course, communicate with your future lifelong partner, but ensuring you have the people who help keep your heart full will guarantee a perfect wedding day. In reality, they should be the majority of your wedding guests, if not all of them!  

Photo: Donny Zavola Photography

Altogether, your wedding guest size is not a “one size fits all” type of model, but keep in mind that size does matter. Whether or not you’re leaning towards a more intimate ceremony, having your target wedding guest list size in mind is a great first step to setting your wedding budget. But most importantly, make sure to surround yourself with the people who you love and who love you back on your special day.

It’s known that planning a wedding (especially a destination wedding) can be stressful, so hopefully these tips will help you manage your wedding guest list size. In the meanwhile, if you’re looking for more support and tips to plan and sort out all the details of your big (or small) wedding in Italy, then head to WedBoard where you can explore and chat directly with the most beautiful venues and highly talented wedding planners in Italy!

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Feature Image Credits: Photographer: Roberta Perrone

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