Good software for laying out a wedding?
February 10, 2015 5:44 AM   Subscribe

We have booked a big room for our wedding, and I would like to produce a professional looking room plan. Any suggestions for good software? What do event planners use? I have experience with drafting software but only expensive programs like AutoCAD that I don't currently have access to. Mac or PC is fine.
posted by smackfu to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Why not have the event staff help you with this? It's their bailiwick.

Smartdraw is free, if you really want.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:49 AM on February 10, 2015

Why not have the event staff help you with this?

I wish. It's a non-profit museum, and they barely even use computers.
posted by smackfu at 5:57 AM on February 10, 2015

I'm not sure if it will fit the bill for you but I used Sketchup to do this for a kind of complex-shaped site at a local park. I took dimensions at the site and then took dimensions from all the rental tables, etc., just to see how everything was going to fit, and you can add things like pigs and beer kegs to make sure everything is realistic in terms of fit. The link goes to a post from my now-defunct wedding blog with some sketches.

But that might be more suited for the type of sanity check that I was looking for vs. a professional drawing that people can operate by.
posted by ftm at 6:05 AM on February 10, 2015

Sketch is kind of like a lightweight Illustrator, and it has a free trial. The interface is really nice.
posted by the_blizz at 6:07 AM on February 10, 2015

Our wedding hall was pretty straightforward but we used Google Sketchup and it worked well. I don't know if people would consider it professional but it was neat and legible and had the right dimensions.
posted by brilliantine at 6:17 AM on February 10, 2015

I'm an event planner & I sometimes use SketchUp Pro. You have to be careful with the dimensions, but if you just want a general idea of the layout, it's nice.

I have not used these features, but I might look into the following:

Linen Tablecloth
All Seated
Social Tables (This one might cost money)
posted by Rage-chel at 6:18 AM on February 10, 2015 [4 favorites]

Another vote for Sketch Up, you can learn it in about an hour from their tutorial videos, well enough to do what you're asking. Also you should be able to do a 30 day trial of CAD if you don't need to update the room plan. (We didn't end up being able to plan it out until 30 days before, because we didn't have a head count until the very last month anyway). Although if you just need a plan view to manage tables and chairs the seating planner pagelet on The Knot's website is pretty good if you're already using The Knot for any reason, it syncs with your guest list and everything.

(Also most of our vendors were surprised at my CAD drawn room plan and I believe were expecting a crayon drawing on a napkin. So probably you could do this in any image program and be fine.)

Congrats on your wedding!
posted by edbles at 6:47 AM on February 10, 2015 [1 favorite]

I learned FloorPlanner in about 10 minutes.
posted by anthropomorphic at 10:06 AM on February 10, 2015

All Seated looks quite good, especially since they have standard banquet shapes preloaded and support doing the seating chart. I wish I could figure out their business model since it really seems totally free for my use.
posted by smackfu at 10:08 AM on February 10, 2015

Just in case you prefer more of a CAD interface (than something like Illustrator), then there are free CAD apps like DoubleCAD (which has a free version), and the open source, but very basic libreCAD. I should warn you that if you've been used to AutoCAD though, then these will seem a bit crappy to use.
posted by theyexpectresults at 3:45 PM on February 10, 2015

I ended up learning Sketch Up and used that. It has a relatively weird interface, but after watching some YouTube tutorials, I sort of got the hang of it. Still often baffling.

The Flash based web ones weren't as precise as I wanted (to get the room layout correct especially the support columns) and tended to have terrible output. Usually just a capture of the screen images. So they didn't really work out.

Also, we did the seating by hand using little slips of paper, so didn't need that functionality. If you do, then the Flash ones are your best bet.
posted by smackfu at 10:58 AM on November 5, 2015

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