Okay, so you have your final guest count, you know how many tables you have, and how they will be set up —how do you arrange all these people without losing your minds? I like to suggest a super easy paper alternative that can be done with things you likely have sitting in your house.
Write each guest’s name on a post-it note, and line up as many half sheets of plain paper as you have tables. Then proceed to stick those suckers down, and move people around until you have the appropriate number of people at each table, and you are satisfied with the arrangement. Take a picture, or, better, transcribe this list into a bullet point list or spreadsheet, just add a column labeled “table number” to it!.
I generally encourage people to ask their closest friends and family members for input on the seating chart—you may be surprised to learn that your parents would really rather be at a table with their college friends instead of their siblings. I also encourage people to think about mixing up groups of friends and family. At a friend’s wedding a few years ago they put a lot of thought into blending groups—everyone had at least one person at their table they already knew, but then other people who the couple thought they might have something in common with. Almost everyone commented on how lovely it was to have the chance to talk with people they might not have otherwise (and really, I love my extended family, but I know them well—I personally think it’s much more interesting to sit at a table with cousins from the other side of the aisle than one made up of just my cousins, who I likely just spent all of cocktail hour chatting with).
And, if you’re currently in the weeds of post-it-note hell, just remember—your guests are adults (or have an adult with them); they love you and are happy to be there, and will hopefully be gracious about whatever table they end up being placed at. If not—just remember that a well-stocked bar can go a long way towards soothing things.