Your calling a bunch of wedding venues and the first thing they ask is “how many guests are you expecting?” at first you think…

“well, I’m not sure… maybe 100?” But why does that matter? Then your mind starts wandering and thinking about price increases… restrictions… or some other crazy third thing. At least that’s how I remember it.

Can you relate?

Before you go shopping for a venue, there is something to be said about this simple question and that is EXACTLY what we are going to talk about today!

By the end of this post, all of those crazy ideas will have been put to rest, and you will be off to worry about the next exciting thing on your wedding planning checklist!


First of all… what is a headcount for anyway?

The wedding headcount is requested by venues because of their property restrictions by law. In order for them to legally host a wedding or any sort of event on their property, they must abide by the maximum occupancy policy set by the fire department. Exceeding this number could mean putting their event license on the line, therefore your event would be a liability for them… not a good fit.


Will a higher headcount affect our cost after we’ve booked the location?

Your venue will request to have a final headcount submitted to them 30 days before your wedding date. At this time they have already pre-qualified your wedding as acceptable for their location size based on your honest estimated guest count.

The higher guest count will not affect your budget. However, you could be facing a more uncomfortable situation of figuring out how to remain within their maximum occupancy number. Most times, however, the venue coordinator will have made sure your event falls well beneath their maximum occupancy level.

Here’s my best advice…

If you are looking to book your wedding venue my best advice is to ensure that you are booking a location that has a maximum occupancy of at least 25% higher than your estimated guest count.

Maybe you’ve already booked your venue and the final headcount day is coming and you gave them a certain number upfront, but the actual RSVP’d total went a bit higher. If this is the case, your next step is to communicate with the Venue to make sure they can accommodate the total amount of people you expect to have there.

Now, I want to know…

What venues are you hoping to look at for your wedding and what is the total number of guests you expect to have there? Let me know in the comments below!

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