7 Ways Guest Lists Impact The Bottom Line

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Guest lists are one thing that will impact nearly every aspect of your event budget. Often, people don’t think to make one until it’s too late.

While certain costs will be fixed, no matter the number of guests you have, there are many more costs that will vary depending on the number of guests you have.

Below are the top 7 items that will vary in price relative to guest lists for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, wedding or other milestone celebration.

Food and Beverage

A good host provides some sort of food and beverage for their guests. Catering costs usually eat up (pun intended!) about 50% of the budget. So, this is the biggest area where higher number really impact the bottom line.

Chairs and Tables

All of those guests need a place to sit. Not all venues include these items, and sometimes the ones they do need an upgrade.

Drinkware, Dinnerware and Flatware

Depending on the type of meal you provide, you’ll need to eat it on something (a plate), with something (silverware) and have a drink to wash it down (glassware). The more people eating, the more glassware, china and silverware that is necessary.

Tablecloths and Napkins

For a seated meal, you’ll most likely need something to cover the table and for guests to wipe their hands and faces. The more guests you have, the more tables you’ll need to cover and more napkins you’ll need to have.


Not only will the tables need to have a linen, but they’ll also need something to go in the center. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but with 10 tables, costs multiply quickly.


Most of my clients give some sort of favor to their guests, either just the children or to adults and children. More guests mean more favors.


One invitation is needed per couple or family, but the more couples and families, the more you’ll need.

As you can see, the more people you invite, the more of these items you’ll need and the more money you’ll spend. Be careful when making that guest list! It really does make a difference.

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Author: Carmen Bodziak

Carmen Bodziak has been on the marketing team at Goodshuffle since 2019 and got into the business because of her passion for empowering business owners through technology. She loves connecting with the events industry both virtually and in-person, so say hi if you see her at a trade show! Outside of Goodshuffle, she loves to travel and spend time outdoors.