If you and your fiancé have large families or want all of your friends and families’ friends to celebrate on your wedding day, you will most likely have a long guest list! Before you begin panicking, let us help you with a few thoughts that will help keep everything in control and in budget.
The first thing that you should tackle: make sure that you visit your venue in person and can envision all of your wedding guests in that space! Most venues will tell you what the guest capacity is, but it will help you (and your sanity!) to go with your planner or coordinator and talk about the layout, floor plan, and logistics of accommodating your friends and family. Remember to picture all of the tables, chairs, decor, centerpieces, where the food stations or dessert tables will be, where the dance floor will be set up, and the location of your DJ and photobooth! If the venue that you are considering does not accommodate your guests, it may be time to check out larger spaces for your nuptials.
Visiting With Guests
Your wedding guests are coming to see and celebrate you and your fiancé—but having over 200 attendees creates a challenge to spend time with every single one of them, especially if you are having a shorter reception or if you are hoping to spend a long time out on the dance floor! To try and maximize your time with everyone, you can plan to do a first look and take wedding photos before the wedding so you can attend your cocktail hour and mingle with your guests. If many of your guests are traveling from out of town, you can also extend an invitation to your rehearsal dinner and treat it more like a welcome dinner where you can spend quality time with them!
One of the biggest expenses that will grow with your guest list is allocated to your dinner and drinks. Sit down with your fiancé and planner to go over your priorities and decide whether buffet or pre-plated dinners, or free or cash bar would work best for your reception and budget. Another thing to consider, wedding favors are not a necessity and can easily be cut or reallocated if your budget is tight. They are a thoughtful touch, but can be overlooked at the end of the reception!
If many of your guests are attending from out of town or if your wedding is in multiple locations, it might be a good idea to provide transportation for them! Remember with 200+ guests, many may not be familiar with the area and will be trying to maneuver public transportation, ride services, rental cars, or drives between your venues or locations—not to mention possible traffic and parking issues if your wedding is in the city. If you have not set aside part of your budget to provide transportation, make sure your wedding invitation or website has detailed directions and maps to any locations on your wedding day.
Hopefully, these considerations will help the rest of your wedding planning flow smoothly! Let us know how you are planning on handling these issues in the comments!