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How far in advance to book reception?

I am having major trouble with deciding on a restaurant for our reception dinner. We invited 33 people, plus us 2 and 2 photographers, total 37 people. Problem is I have NO idea how many will attend, it could easily be all 35, or could be 15! How am I supposed to know what size private room to book? RSVP's are not due until 5 months before the wedding. Room sizes and F+B minimum vary greatly for 15 or 35 people. How far in advance did you book your venue? I am afraid all the best places will be booked up for my date by the time I know guest numbers.



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Re: How far in advance to book reception?

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    a13049a13049 member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment Name Dropper
    I booked mine the day we booked our ceremony. Depending on your date you could have more flexibility, but it's vegas and it's never really dead. If you are looking somewhere thT has multiple options see if they will allow you to book with the possibility to upgrade. 5 months for rsvps is extremely early, even for a DW. I had people who were def coming or def not coming 5 months out who had changed heir mind when it got closer. Even at a month out people were still booking rooms and flights.
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    We booked ours at the end of Jan for an early Oct wedding. We estimated at 45 people and three months out we are on track for around that.
    Agree with a13049 above - RSVPs will change so much, especially coming from the UK. We had people who were very probable to come that are now not coming due to a combo of costs/health issues etc. Our RSVP date was three months before and we're still waiting on about 20 people
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    We booked ours about a year out.  I knew exactly what I wanted, no matter how many people are showing up. :)  I didn't want to lose it.  But, if we have a really small RSVP number, I'm hoping they will work with me on minimums.  If not, we're prepared for that too... 
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    I'm having the same issue. I may book 2 locations since most will let you out 30 days in advance :) 
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    a13049a13049 member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment Name Dropper
    If you book far out in advance and have a small number of guest you can upgrade you menus, dessert and alcohol options, also. Worse case senario, if you don't hit the minimums then they will ring up an open menu item at the difference so they still get their minimum. This shouldn't really affect your budget because you should budget as if 100% RSVP yes because, yes sometimes it happens
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    Five months is super early for RSVPs. Some people might not know their work schedules or whether or not they can afford it by then. Is there any chance you can move that date closer to the wedding?

    Book the room that will hold 100% of your guests. You always want to plan on 100%. As the declines start coming in, you can ask the venue about switching to a smaller room. If a smaller room isn't available, most venues have other ways to help you reach your minimum, whether it's adding an appetizer, upgrading the bar package, adding fancy linens, etc.
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    Thanks ladies. 2 locations is an idea.. I didn't think that deposits would be refundable though, need to check that once I've decided on some place.
    Arrgh this is difficult, I suppose I have to book for 100% attendance then and hope I won't end up with just 50%!

    Due to popular demand I'll have to change the RSVP date then, invites not been sent out yet anyway, so that was just a thought :)



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    I'm booking in the next month or so (Wedding in Feb 2015) I'm booking with Maggianos and they told me I could give my final numbers as late as 3 days before, as long as you have an idea they can book the size room you need. I would just ask because I have a few rogue guests that could flake out on me. Good Luck!
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    I'm in the UK too, all my guests just told me right away if they were coming I didn't do invites. I assume their pretty close family and friends is there no way of finding out if they will go just through a general conversation. With such an outlay (flights and hotel for a week from the UK around £1500) you would think most people would know if they were planning to go. In my experience we in the UK don't have the same issues getting time off work either than our friends in the US as we seem to get quite a bit more annual leave.
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    On average for destination weddings it is a 66% RSVP Yes rate. Ours was spot on and so was my brothers. We invited 79 people and 50 people attended. The Venue we picked had a minimum of 50 people and was booking 18 months out. We booked it Oct 2012 for our May 2014 wedding. Maybe find a Venue that is willing to be flexable. Like let you put down a deposit for the max guest count but will allow you to change it smaller if need be. Have you considered an In-suite reception?
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    a13049a13049 member
    5 Love Its First Anniversary First Comment Name Dropper
    I wouldn't base anything off of average stats, especially because every wedding site and company and magazine quotes a different average for destination weddings. There is too many variables. It seems like the small group of our friends and family we could just ask and people would have an idea, but life happens and people we thought we for sure yes aren't coming and prions we didn't think would come are. I think asking for an RSVP greater than 30 days is to much
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    ours was 40 days in advance and honestly I should have done it at 30 days bc i had a ton of people about two weeks AFTER our RSVP date say they were coming, at 40 days we had 40 people confirmed and then a few weeks after we had more and more people confirming 
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