One of the most exciting things about preparing for our wedding was finding out who would be able to come and celebrate with us. When we were receiving RSVPs our main focus was who would be able to celebrate with us on our wedding day, but we were also concerned with the counts. On the one hand, even though we had budgeted for the (unlikely) scenario that each and every one of our 258 invited adult guests would RSVP yes, that was a BIG, scary number. On the other hand, given that so many of our guests would have to fly to attend our wedding, we knew that there was some chance that we wouldn’t meet our minimum of 200 guests.
Image credit: Quick Meme
There are many ways to derive predictions of who will attend your wedding. Mrs. Squid gave a great review of some of the more popular techniques in her post here. My estimation technique was something similar to Mrs. Squid’s 90/10 (probably attending/probably not attending) in that I assigned individual predicted values to everyone on the guest list under two scenarios.
A “Projected Guest Count (Low)” and a “Projected Guest Count (Mid)”—for each I tried to make a realistic prediction about whether or not the guest would come; for the low I used not exactly “worst case” but “less than ideal,” and for the mid I used “if things went well” type reasoning.
The difference between this and other techniques is that I used a more varied measure of attendance (values between 0.10 and 1) than 90/10, and I tried to give a little more nuance then just out of town, flying, etc., because we had some guests who would fly cross country that were a definite and some guests that were relatively local that I wasn’t sure about. In other words, I made entirely subjective (if moderately systematic) guesses about who would come and who wouldn’t.
It turns out my “Low” count was the closest to the actual RSVP count. The low prediction had 181.4 adults attending, which would be a 70.3% acceptance rate, and we actually had 190 adults RSVP “Yes,” which is a 73.6% acceptance rate. To be honest, in the frenzy I wasn’t really paying attention to our overall acceptance rate. Looking at it afterward, I was a smidge sad; but this article on A Practical Wedding put it in perspective for me, showing that we’re actually at the high end of acceptance rates for a large wedding.
Given that we were under our minimum we invited my parents’ new neighbors and some of my colleagues from work. Since we had to pay for 200 adults, we were going to have 200 people there* come hell or high water!
The breakdown of our acceptances looks like this:
I know this graph looks SUPER skewed—as though 75% of the guests at our wedding were “mine.” In reality, the assignment of a guest to Mr. Crab (red) or to me (blue) was pretty arbitrary. Since we’ve been together so long many of my friends are now our mutual friends and vice versa. For the simplicity of the graph, I’ve assigned a guest to him or to me based on who brought the person into our lives. Lucky for me, it never bothered Mr. Crab that only about one quarter of the guests were “his,” but it’s probably because neither of us even considered an equally proportioned guest list.
How close did you get with your guest-list predictions? Did you have a super skewed guest list? Was it a problem?
*Turns out we did end up paying for guests that did not attend. Ultimate sad face.
- July 10
- Post-Doctoral Fellow, Criminal Justice Research
- Atrium at the Curtis Center