In a recent letter to our AskMartha e-mail box, askMartha@marthastewartweddings.com, Amber is having a destination wedding and wishes she knew how many people would decline. The venue holds a set number, and she'd hate to cut the list only to find out that they could have squeezed in 15 more people, "if only she'd known."
It's hard to have any sort of mathematical guidance for this. Some planners and books have said "count on a 10% decline rate;" others have said 20%. But I've spokeN to brides who had 100% -- especially in the era of save-the-dates and advance planning. And then, there are families that aren't quite so close. . . .
Add to it that Amber's destination is in the United States (in fact, in the same state as a chunk of her guest list), and I don't think she can assume the "destination" designation will keep people from attending.
My vote: Trim the list to fit the venue (with only the tiniest of overages), and let go of the regret.
What sort of decline rate are you experiencing? And has the location of the wedding affected it?