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Professional Wedding Planning Advice; What The Experts Want You to Know!

Congratulations on your engagement! Now to the planning! There are so many questions when it comes to planning a wedding from what dress you’re going to pick out to the desserts at the reception. One of the biggest stresses is how to ensure your two families “get along” not just throughout the planning process but on your wedding day. Joining two families is hard, especially when there are a lot of different personalities and beliefs.

We at San Diego Party Ride asked some of the top wedding and event planners in San Diego their tips to making this process as smooth as possible.

“Bringing two families together for a wedding can be very stressful on a couple.  What advice do you have for any bride and groom to avoid family drama on the big day?”



Whether you are trying to make mom happy or keep from arguing with your fiancé, having a neutral party can be a huge asset. You would be surprised at the change of environment when an event planner is running a meeting, versus the bride or groom or celebrant and family and friends. Less arguments occur and when there are debates on what is important they can be resolved more quickly with an objective and experience planning professional.

Throughout the process you will have a handful of vendors, your wedding party, and all of your guests. A guarantee is that many of these individuals will have questions and concerns, either leading up to your wedding, or more importantly, the day of. Instead of dealing with all the questions yourself, you can gladly say, “Please ask our event planner!

-Silvia Braga, Owner, Chavez Braga Productions



 Bringing two families together for a wedding day can be extremely stressful on a couple! Family drama caused by wedding planning is a big hurdle the soon to be honeymooners can use as an opportunity to grow closer as they approach their big day. Leaning on one another is such an important part of being married, and creating boundaries with your family allows you to team up together rather than letting it put a wedge between you. Banding together and discussing (over a glass of wine or your favorite beer, never hurt) how you are going to handle family issues before they arise, is the best way to tackle drama. Open communication is key and remembering that weddings can often bring out an impatient or, less than flattering side of family. Know that it is your time to celebrate. and your family really wants what is best for you. At the end of the day, you hope to only have one wedding, so take a deep breath, relax and enjoy the ride. 

– Veronica Carr, Owner, Type A Soiree Events



Some families might already be deeply entwined by the time the wedding rolls around, others might barely know each other.  If at all possible, it is important for both sides to at least have an opportunity to meet prior to the big day to create a sense of unity and connection.  Arranging the first meeting at a casual setting often feels the most comfortable.  A backyard barbecue or a gathering at a neutral location (aka – not any    of the parent’s homes) Sometimes this first meeting takes place at an engagement party, but it is nice to have something more intimate so the families can spend some uninterrupted time together.

– Shanda Escoto, The Wedding Planning Club



It is important for the couple to work together as a team, as well as having great communication, as it is vital in making all decisions as to who will and will not attend the Wedding. It needs to be unanimous between the two of them, especially if one of the couple has a guest that dislikes her/him or her/his Spouse-to-be. If the couple have different attitudes for such an important date, they would be inviting trouble to their Wedding. They both should talk to each other about the people being invited beforehand. They need to make sure they agree on the list before sending out the invites. Clear Communication is also the key to making sure that everything is agreed upon when making the guest list for the invites. It is also good to have with your Guests and Family members that way they understand what the couple is telling them and asking of them to do for the Wedding. ​Always make sure that everything is said clearly to the family members and to the guests about the situation that could arise during the Wedding. Especially when it comes to divorced parents and their new Spouse or Partner, you never know what to expect when everyone is in the same room and they all need understand that it is the Couples day and not for them to ruin it. Remember this is a special day and it should be pleasant and enjoyable between the couple as well as the guests during the Ceremony and the Reception. Whatever the couple does, they should not feel guilty about having a family with some members who don’t agree with each other. Every Family has their issues. Any unhappy situation can be avoided with careful planning and a lot of patience.  

– Dorothy J. Garcia, Majestyk Planners/Majestyk Events



 It is never easy to control the emotions and actions of your family on such an anticipated day for everyone. This part of my job is particularly satisfying because I love how my role in their wedding helps alleviate some of those more stressful moments that will arise. When the bride and groom can relax and their families can enjoy the day, I remember why I do what I do. So, in short, have someone to help facilitate and oversee the process and flow of the day. The more prepared everything is, the less stress there is on you and your families. 

– Kayla Harrington, Owner, Jane West Events



One thing I always tell couples is to have someone there as the buffer, someone that can help defuse any situation and to help keep your vision just how you wanted it. Not only that but make sure that before your big day you talk about the importance of having a relaxing and stress-free day. Communication really is key, your families are just as excited to be there to celebrate your special day but they might not understand when something should be brought up or when it can be handled discreetly. After the rehearsal, my team and I always pull the family aside and go over the plans for the following day, we take this time to talk about how they can help make the wedding day go smoothly and that if anything may arise they should come to us first.  Remember to have fun and take time to enjoy YOUR day!

– Sarah Dillenbeck, Owner, Sarah Dillenbeck Events



My big advice on bringing families together on the BIG DAY is to communicate important times and to let each family member know how much it means that they are there. Feelings can be hurt (aka drama) when family members feel “not needed” or have “no idea what is going on.” And even though the day has been carefully planned and photo, dinner, and rehearsal times have been communicated, it’s when we try to control interactions and feelings that we become stressed. Trust me, this is energy best saved for the dance floor! One great unspoken service that we wedding planners provide is often we become neutral buffers and diffusers when even the slightest amount of stress is sensed. We are there to make the bride and groom’s day relaxed and stress-free as possible! We want to see smiles, happy tears and a seamless union of two families that will be cherished forever!

– Jenny Smorzewski, Owner, Events by Jenny



In everyday life, we are surrounded by stress. Stress from our jobs, paying bills, drama on Facebook (ok, so that’s kind of a joke,) but you get the idea.  One big stressor can be family, especially if you have lots of opinionated family members (looking at you, Aunt Susan!) Not to mention, it’s no longer just YOUR family that wants their voice heard but also your fiancé’s… oh boy…

I overhear people tell my clients things like “don’t be stressed, it’s your wedding!” as if that will instantly make it all go away, but the truth is, sometimes it just doesn’t until the big day arrives. And guess what, some family dynamics do drive the drama train.  You know what though? THAT’S OK!  Have a chat with those you may be worried about, remind them that this is YOUR day and you would appreciate their support and respect. Let your Wedding Coordinator know who to keep an eye out for, in the event you have any concerns. An experienced Coordinator, with your permission, can have a conversation with that person if they do start to cause drama on your big day.

It’ll be more unnecessary stress for you to take up brainpower worrying about how your adult family members choose to treat each other.  Planning your wedding may create enough anxiety, that I remind my clients to try and not worry about things that are out of their control. Sometimes, drama is inevitable, but if you have a positive frame of mind and an experienced Wedding Coordinator, drama can’t get you down, girl!

– Rachel “The Redhead” Weinshanker, San Diego Life Events



Bringing two families together for a wedding can be very stressful on a couple. The advice I give to the bride and groom is to have clear communication. This begins with having a wedding weekend timeline created and sent by the wedding planner. This timeline will include pertinent information for the family on times, places and duties so that the couple is not inundated with questions right before the wedding. I also recommend on the day of the wedding that EVERYONE eats and stays hydrated! One last thing I recommend is if there is a side of the family who doesn’t speak English too well, then having some of the vendors (such as the coordinator and DJ) who are fluent in that language to help those family member feels included!

– Diana Romero, Owner, At Your Side Planning



Biggest advice I have is to remember that we are celebrating this special event for the couple that we so dearly love. It helps to ensure the guests that may have conflict to be seated opposite sides of the room. I would also highly advice to hire a Wedding Coordinator to alleviate any disagreements and potential encounters that can happen. I have run into this in quite a few of my events and I believe being the middle man keeps everyone at ease.

– LV Manalo, Event Coordinator & Designer, Odineva Events & Designs



It is important to remember that your wedding day is about celebrating you and your love! It is helpful to present a unified front with your fiancé regarding all wedding related measures.  If one of you is concerned about potential issues on the Big Day, it is best to discuss the matter with a neutral party and seek counsel beforehand. This will teach you to respond, rather than react on the day of your wedding. 

– Alyssa Orito, Owner, Aly Ann Events




My advice to the newly engaged  couples to avoid drama is to include them from the beginning  by asking parents about who they  want to invite to the wedding and  if they’ll be helping with the  budget. Figuring out what is most  important to each family and  catering to that will help you  prioritize the budget. For  example, something that parents  might care a lot about is making  sure that guests have a lot of tasty food to eat. Knowing  this, the couple may want to ensure that there’s a  healthy budget set aside for catering. As much as the  day is about the two of you, it’s a very special occasion  for family members as well! 

– Sonya Mo, Owner, Events by Sonya