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How to Ditch the Dama Drama & Dodge Quincezilla Syndrome

Choosing the chicas who will be part of the court of honor for the most important celebration of your life thus far can be a lot of fun—and sometimes a lot of hassle. You may have to face problems like your best friend not being able to afford the dress, or someone else missing far too many dance practices, not to mention having to deal with romantic squabbles between the girls and guys.

You already have enough on your plate without having to spend too much of your time playing peacekeeper or juggling personalities. So before you choose exactly who will stand—and dance—alongside you on your big day, check out these tips. You might not be able to abolish all the dama drama, but you’ll be able to eliminate a lot of it!

1. Agree on a Budget for the Dresses

Unless your family is paying for all the Quinceanera attire, you’ll need to give your girls affordable options. So ask each one her budget in advance and find a dress in a price range that will work for everybody.

If the majority of your girls can’t afford the dresses you want, you might need to either choose a different dress or have the one you like customized—maybe less beading or a simpler, more cost-effective skirt. Yes, it’s your party, and you get to make the choices, but be kind. Especially if your BFF can’t afford the outfit, it’s better to select a different dress than to replace a good friend!

2. Consider Everybody’s Body Types

No matter how much you may have in common size-wise, even maybe sharing clothes, every girl’s body is different, and formal clothing fits differently than jeans and a t-shirt or even a sundress. So take 1 or 2 of your best friends shopping with you to find 2 or 3 styles you like and then take everyone else to the shop to try on the samples.

There are plenty of dresses available with adjustable bodices like the bridesmaid dresses that can be styled differently for each girl. But if you can’t find a dress that makes everyone look really good, opt for separates. It’s very popular right now to have everyone wear a fancy blouse and skirt, maybe a glittery top and a simple tulle skirt. And skirts are really easy to sew at home.

The point is that, as the Quinceanera, you have quite a few responsibilities and one of them is to do everything you can to make your entire court look good. So even if you’ve pretty much got things nailed down, but it turns out the dress or outfit just doesn’t look right on one of your girls, it’s up to you to find something that will work.

But guess what? You can do it!

3. Commit Everyone to the Dance Practice Schedule

One of the first guidelines when it comes to choosing your court is to ask each person if they can make time for the dance practices, and if they say they cannot, then it’s OK not to have them in your court. But if they say yes, then you have to find a way to schedule practices so that the majority can come to each practice.

Ask if there are prior commitments: Ask each of your damas if they have any serious prior commitments—perhaps a family wedding or another Quinceanera, or a work schedule that can’t be altered—before you start trying to schedule practice sessions. It is absolutely crucial for everybody to come to enough practices to feel confident with the waltz. But the secret to a fabulous bile sopresa (surprise dance) is practice!

Consider excusing damas from the surprise dance: If too many of your damas can’t make enough practice sessions, you might have to consider excusing them from the surprise dance and do something with the guys. One of the easiest solutions is to do the bachata with two male dancers—which can be a lot of fun because it totally makes you the solo star!

Don’t make the chambelanes struggle: It also won’t go over so well if your chambelanes feel under-rehearsed because their partners didn’t show up often enough. That will ruin your waltz, no matter how simple the routine!

4. Avoid Couples

The last thing you want to do is have couples in your court. Your damas might not be thrilled not to have their guys beside them, but you can handle it like a wedding: Just because a bridesmaid has a husband or fiancé, that doesn’t automatically put him in the wedding party. The same goes for your damas’ boyfriends.

If you have couples, you’re only asking for trouble. Not only will they be prone to argue during dance practice, what happens if they break up? Then you’ll have a real mess because they won’t want to dance with each other so they won’t learn the dance correctly. And to make drastic changes in your court only a few weeks before your Quince? No way!

So just make it a policy not to have any couples in your court. It’s worth the money to pay for a few more plus-one’s in order to keep the peace.

5. Help Them Keep their Cool

Your Quinceanera will be fabulous specifically because of your damas’ support, so you need to make it as easy as possible for them to help you. It’s not that difficult. Just keep in mind a few things that are good common sense and your Quinceanera planning time will be much easier on you and everyone else, especially your damas.

    • Don’t get easily irritated: When it comes to Quinceanera planning, Murphy’s Law rules and something will go wrong, even if it’s a minor detail. So keep your cool with the big things and do the very best you can to let the little stuff roll off your back.
    • Don’t forget which one gave you what gift: Your biggest after-Quinceanera obligation is to write thank you notes, and you absolutely must write the right thank you note to the right person thanking them for the right gift. The easiest solution is to assign someone ahead of time to help you out. As you open each gift—whether it’s right there at your reception, or later at home, or with a few people that night—have someone write down a description of the gift and the full name of the person it came from. Then all you have to do is consult that list to write your thank you notes. No worries!
    • Do offer pro portraits: It’s easy to remember to do all those group shots with your court, but make sure each of your damas has a chance for both a single portrait of herself and also a pro photo of her with her date or a formal pose with friends she chooses. Tell your damas ahead of time that you plan to have a private photo for each of them. It’s not often that anyone gets to have a formal personal portrait so also, if you can, give each girl one copy of the professional photo as a gift after your party.
    • Do be the Peacemaker: Talk to each dama privately from time to time. Tell her it’s OK to tell you if something’s making her unhappy. Then ask her, very politely, to not complain in front of the others. You can’t make everyone happy all of the time, but if each of your girls knows she has your ear—and especially that you talk in private and never embarrass anyone in front of the others—you will be well on your way to the grown up young woman that your Quinceanera stands for!

 If All Else Fails, Don’t Choose Damas!

There’s no rule that you have to have couples. If you can see that there will be too much arguing and drama, you can always opt to have a chambelanes-only court. It might be better to do guys-only than to start eliminating damas who give you trouble. That’ll only make you look like you’re playing favorites.

Besides, who wouldn’t want to be the only girl doted on by 7 guys for one entire day? Your Quinceanera is all about you anyway. So balance the drama, or eliminate it all together and you’ll surely shine!