The seating chart is arguably the second most stressful part of planning a wedding, following closely behind the guest list. It’s the first time you really have to manage each other's families and their quirks (we all have ‘em!), so it's no secret that settling on the seating can bring up a lot of emotions between different camps. As if trying to plan one of the most important days of your life isn’t stressful enough, everyone has their opinions on how things should go or what you should do. Things can get heated, but – thank goodness – there are ways to make the discussion a breeze. Here are some quick tips on how to whip up your seating chart in less than an hour without World War III erupting in your living room.

Don't let too many cooks in the kitchen
Agree on who will be involved with drawing up the seating chart and stick with it. Before you dive in, ask your family for any suggestions on where to seat people, but make it clear that they're only suggestions to consider.

Figure out how many guests to have per table
Table size is limited, and the last thing you want is folks knocking elbows while tucking into food. The number of people to put at each table is something you can probably decide on when scouting out the wedding venue. Once you've got that number (or a comfortable range), it's just a matter os slotting people in.

Decide which aspect of the seating is more important to you
Is making sure everyone has good banter important, or is keeping families together on one table more important? If mingling is your goal, don't be afraid to split families and groups (but not couples) up by age or closeness if you need to. Your cousins will likely have an even more brilliant time hanging out with your college roommates than with their parents. And if they miss anyone's company during dinner, they can reunite on the dance floor.

Use a pencil
Using a pencil means you won't be committed to just one mode of arranging the chart too early – anything that doesn't work can be erased. It pays to be flexible! Remember that your guests are there for the two of you, and your families too, which is enough to bind them together for a night.

Take care of the tricky ones first
Let's be honest – there will always be a handful of people on your guestlist who, as much as we love them, have difficult personalities. You know the type... either they won't get along with someone, or they'll rub some people the wrong way. Our solution; seat them first, and then use your amicable, easy-going guests as buffers.

If you're panicking over not getting a perfect combo of people together, remember why your guests are there in the first place – to celebrate you. It'll be hard to please everyone, and anyone who sits next to an unruly guest will surely forgive you. Don't worry if one table has more people than another either – chances are your guests will play musical chairs after filling up on nosh!

This article was contributed by Gabriela Bhaskar, writer and wedding photographer. Find her beautiful photos here.