You hear horror stories all the time about couples that over-estimate their wedding plans and end up below their minimum and pay $3K over their actual cost because that's what they committed to. And I had heard these stories and thought, "Well, that's just dumb. Why didn't they run the numbers and come up with a predicted acceptance rate and base it on that?"
Karma's a B y'all.
See, we invited roughly 185 people (give or take). The average acceptance rate for an out of town wedding is about 60-65%. Sooooo, with those numbers, our headcount should have been around 111 - 120. So we spoke with the coordinator and they set our minimum at 117 people and I thought, "That's OK, people will come!"
And during the whole planning process I actually figured on 130-150 people. We made 155 favors, we ordered 150 tags for said favors, we reserved 120 chairs for the ceremony (bridal party will be standing).
Our acceptance rate is a measly 44%. More people said no than yes. We didn't factor in the economy, the people with small children or health problems that wouldn't be able to travel. We didn't think that people would just out and out say no because it was too inconvenient for them.
And so, we are roughly $2700 from our minimum and scrambling to figure out a way to use it. You wouldn't think it would be so hard to spend it but the venue has restrictions and we only need so much food for everyone. Suffice it to say that no one will leave our reception hungry. It's impossible.
This does, however, put us in a great position for a rain plan. If we've got the money that we HAVE to spend, why not reserve the room? If we use it, great. If not, well that money would have gone to waste anyway. Believe me, PR is getting the same amount if we find ways to spend it or not. They'll either get an amazing tip or we will waste food just to use the money.
Things we've proposed to use the money:
1) Ceremony set up
2) Extend the bar hours
3) Late night snacks
4) Media equipment to project a slideshow
5) Lunch for our bridal parties
We'll see what works out. The good news is that we planned to spend the same amount all along. The bad news is that we may be spending it on nothing and that's a hard pill to swallow.
My advice to brides? Think small. If the venue has a minimum, calculate your predicted acceptance rate and then subtract another 10%. Trust me, it's better to underestimate and add guests than it is to pay for things you don't need.