Anyone planning a wedding knows that family drama—around budget, opinions on décor, or asking a sibling to be in a wedding party—is likely going to come into play. That universal phenomenon was captured in a hilarious way in the Steve Martin and Diane Keaton-led classics Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride Part II back in the '90s. Well, family drama has certainly not been divorced from the wedding experience since, so a 2022 remake with a brand-new cast was definitely in order. The latest installment of Father of the Bride, premiering today, June 16, on HBOMax, stars Adria Arjona as Sophie, the new bride-to-be, and Andy Garcia and Gloria Estefan as her parents.
After playing a character that definitely sees a fair share of family drama on a cinematic scale, as well as having her own experience of tying the knot back in 2019, actress Arjona has a wealth of advice for couples looking to navigate tricky situations when planning their own weddings. Ahead, Brides asked Arjona to share some secrets on how to improve family tensions and make your wedding a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
Getting Family Approval
Before wedding planning can even begin, it's important for your spouse-to-be to share their plans with your closest family members and, hopefully, get their approval. In real life, Arjona's family knew her fiancé before they got engaged and said it a celebratory experience when the couple shared the big news; that wasn't the case for Sophie in the Father of the Bride . Not only does Sophie reveal that she is engaged in a surprise announcement to her family, but they also had never even met or learned about her fiancé, Adan, beforehand. In fact, Sophie even went against tradition and is the one who proposes.
Arjona explains to Brides, "With Sophie, it was like wait, wait, wait. Who are you engaged to? Who is this man? I had to almost sell Adan a bit. If they don't know him, I think more than anything, comfort your parents. You want to be like, 'Trust me. He's a good guy, and I really feel like you're gonna love him.'"
"Support from family is always a plus," continues Arjona. "To me, it's really important. But, it also depends on your family dynamic. If you don't have the support of your loved ones, it's hurtful, but that shouldn't be an ultimatum. If you are so sure that you love a person and that's the person for you, time heals it all. And, I think that if your family sees that you're happy at the end of the day, that's the only thing that should matter. Through the course of years and time, they will fall in love with that other person, no matter what can make you happy."
It's no surprise that finances can cause stress when planning a wedding. In Father of the Bride, both the fathers of the bride and groom have strong opinions about what a wedding should look like, and those feelings ultimately lead to budget arguments. Whether one side of the family is paying, both sides are paying, or the couple is paying, Arjona notes that the spouses-to-be need to dictate their wishes and desires for their dream wedding. However, defining a budget with the entire family at the beginning of the planning process is an easy way to help mitigate issues.
"You have to meet in the middle. I think that there's a balance to it all. Especially financially, there's always a middle ground," explains Arjona. "I really believe that it should be a budget that should be given. The bride and the groom need to be able to decide however they want to spend that money. There's no there's no reason why anyone else should have an opinion."
For Arjona's own wedding, she was able to come up with some smart solutions that helped her come in under budget. "I'm a big fan of bargaining and and I know that I did that on my own wedding with little tricks," shares the actress. "For example, I licensed my alcohol instead of buying my alcohol. So whatever bottle wasn't opened, I didn't have to pay for it. That's a deal that I brought in with a liquor store, and we saved so much money that way."
Arjona also suggests taking on a DIY project or two. "Renting designed plates were so expensive that I just I made ceramic plates," she says. "Every single plate was custom designed for my wedding, and it actually ended up being cheaper than getting rentals."
It takes a village to put on a wedding. That said, passing off planning responsibilities to family members can occasionally create more stress than help. In the movie, Sophie has her sister design her wedding and bridesmaids' dresses within a month. As you can imagine, time constraints definitely lead to some chaos. While Arjona says it's important to delegate tasks, you should do so wisely.
"It's your wedding day and I think people should be willing to help you. Manage your own expectations and just being realistic with the people that you're giving a task to," Arjona advises. "Like are you able to do this or are you not? If you pressure someone to do something, they'll either do a bad job or they won't do it 100 percent, and then you'll be disappointed. I think have a really honest conversation of 'Are you able to do this? Are you not able to do this.' Be honest."
Give Flexibility With Fashion
As the couple of the hour, you can dictate the fashion aesthetic of your wedding with dress codes and wedding party outfit choices, but Arjona emphasizes that you should be empathetic and flexible with designs so siblings, cousins, and friends are all happy. "I allowed my bridesmaids to pick whatever shape they wanted. I just picked the material and I also made it affordable for them," the actress explains. "I think that shape is something that everyone should pick on their own. I think shapes are really specific to everybody's body types. I think they all felt beautiful because at the end of the day, I wanted them to feel beautiful."
Make Family Feel Included
Weddings are generally big family affairs, and you don't want to make any close relatives feel left out of the festivities. In addition to giving your family invites, Arjona recommends giving honorary roles to your nearest and dearest throughout your wedding events.
"I gave everyone a place," Arjona says of her own wedding. "My brother was my ring man and my little cousins were like my flower girls. I had my mom and my husband's mom do Las Arras, which is a big tradition where they put a big rosary on top of you. Then, my dad walked me down the aisle. So everyone in my family had something to do within the ceremony. Then, when it came to the party, it was just all about me and my husband."