Monday, August 31, 2009

fuzzy math for weddings

After church yesterday I spent nearly three hours at my parents' kitchen table, typing information into mom's wedding software, recommended to her by my aunt who recently planned her own daughter's nuptials. The software serves many purposes -- budgeting, keeping track of meal selections, giving etiquette tips -- but we were after one thing and one thing only: the guest count.

Mom and I have both been dreading this, but we need to start gathering addresses and I need to order the paper on which to print our invitations, so we braced ourselves for the worst and got crackin'. I uploaded all of the names from my working list into the program and then had to go through and sort them into households (helpful for determining the number of invitations we'll need). Once we had everyone matched up correctly and with first and last names, we went down the list line by line, putting each guest into a invitation category (see chart below) and rating the likelihood of his or her attendance. The software gives you five choices between yes and no -- almost certain, likely, 50-50, unlikely, and highly unlikely -- and we tried to err on the side of people accepting our invitation.

Here's the latest pie-chart breakdown of the guest list,
though I'm certain I mislabeled a few folks...

When we were all done, Mom and I were relieved to see that the number the program computed as our projected attendance was 214 -- not too much bigger than our target crowd of 200. Of course, those 14 extra people would add a good chunk of change to the bill, but at least we don't have to try and cut, like, 60 people now. Glory!

What do you think -- would you trust a wedding-software formula to help you decide how many people to invite? Or is something like Emily Post's book of wedding etiquette, citing an industry-expert prediction that 15 - 20% of invited guests will decline, a more reliable source of guest-list wisdom?


  1. I sincerely HOPE that 15% business is accurate. Our invite list is at about 180, and we can't fit more than about 160 at tables! Do you like this wedding software? Is it worth purchasing?

  2. I think you can do a free trial of the software -- that's what my mom did before she bought it. I haven't spent a ton of time with it since it's on her computer, but it's got a lot of helpful features from what I can tell. It even tells you how to address each envelope according to the level of formality you choose and things like that. And if you buy it, it's only like $30 or $40 I think... hope that helps!

  3. This is pretty awesome. Who doesn't love a good pie graph?!?! Nice find.