The seating situation.

Hello, hive! Worst blogger ever here! Things over at the Filly stable have been crazy lately – lots of checks to write, lists to check, bags to pack, and things to gather. So, naturally, some things fell by the wayside. My bad, you guys.

Anyway, remember my magical weighted guest list that I used to predict my final head count? My prediction was 160; we have 158 guests attending the wedding. Not too shabby!

Of course, these 158 people need to sit somewhere. And we can only fit 6-9 people at a table, so we’re going to have to split everybody up somehow. And using my best friend, Excel, I was able to make it pretty easy!

Okay, everybody. Open up your wedding planning spreadsheets. All of the screenshots in this post are modified versions of my actual wedding spreadsheet.

step 1

Insert a new column. I did it next to the guest’s name, but it doesn’t matter. In this new column, you’ll want to detail the guest’s relationship to you. You want to be REALLY specific, because ultimately, these groupings are going to be the base for creating your tables. So just saying “Filly – family” isn’t specific enough. “Filly – maternal family” is better. Instead of “Stallion – friend”, try “Stallion – high school friend”. The more specific you can get, the better.

Important note: the spreadsheet I’m using for this example only contains the guests who are attending the wedding. If you don’t want to create a new spreadsheet of guests who have RSVPed yes, you can put everyone who has RSVPed no into their own relationship category so you don’t accidentally include them in your head count.

step 2

Here’s where it gets fun! There are actually a couple of ways to do this, but the easiest is by creating a pivot table. I love me a pivot table. Under the “Data” menu, select “Pivot Table Report”.

step 3

Follow the steps of the wizard.

step 4

The wizard automatically filled in the range for me, selecting every active cell in the spreadsheet. If it doesn’t do this for you, you can select it yourself, or for the purposes of this exercise, all you really need are columns B and C.

step 5

Make sure you have the wizard create your pivot table in a new tab!

step 6

And you’ll end up with something like this.

step 7

Boring, right? But here’s where the magic happens! See the gray box, which contains all the column headers from the “Guest list” tab? You can drag these into different parts of the pivot table to have it calculate different things. In this case, we’re aiming to get the count of guests in each relationship category.

First, drag the “Relationship” header into the row field. Next, drag the “No. in Party” header into the data items field. You’ll end up with something like this.

step 8

Now you have the exact head counts for each relationship category, and using these head counts, you can easily put tables together. For instance, I have 8 college friends – that’s one table! Smaller groups can be put together; for instance, my 6 coworkers and Stallion’s 3 coworkers make a table of 9. Larger groups, like my family friends numbering 16 attendees, can be split into multiple tables.

Having all my different relationship categories in front of me made it dead simple to put our tables together. It’s much easier to work with 16 different categories than 158 different names. Honestly, once we used this pivot table to get started, our tables practically did themselves. (That said, now that I’ve done it myself, I will NEVER complain about my assigned seat/table at an event ever again!)

How did you determine seating assignments for your guests?


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