Everyone knows planning a wedding can be stressful. Often a couple's first interaction with their future in-laws takes place during wedding planning and decision making. Walking on eggshells through the planning process and months after the wedding is not a way to start a relationship with your fiancé’s parents. Here are a few tips to keep future awkwardness at bay.
You're becoming part of a new family
Whether you know your future in-laws or not, they are about to become your family too. Make planning a time to get to know the people who raised and grew up with your significant other. Remember, relationships take time and effort. You may not agree on everything cultural, religious, or political, but chances are they have a lot to learn from you too.
Listen and Learn
Take time to really get to know your future in-laws. Don’t be afraid to share details about yourself along the way. It's important to develop a relationship with them apart from your fiancé.
Have a welcoming attitude
Be inclusive when you need help or would like opinions on something. In the end, it is your day and ultimately your decision, but your future mother-in-law would be honored if you asked her for a few planning tips!
Prep a basic plan for your fiancé first
Be sure to discuss wedding details with your fiancé before presenting them to the in-laws. Discussing the strengths of each set of parents with your fiancé and creating an outline delegating a few to-do’s for each set of parents is never a bad idea. After making a basic plan with your fiancé, present it to both your parents. Find out what expectations parents have and what they think is important. Although you may not agree with a few ideas, it is important to know if they would like to honor someone who has died, if they wanted an interfaith officiant, etc. Consider and decline ideas gracefully if needed.
Stand up for yourself
After considering their ideas communicate what you have incorporated and gracefully explain ideas you won't be using. Yes, this is your wedding. However, you need to keep in mind there are many people contributing to your special day. If your future in-laws are overwhelming, tell them you have a vision of how the day would go and you would be happy to share it with them. Be sure to point out areas that you are willing to accept advice and don't take it personally if your fiancé's parents like expressing their opinions. It might just be their style. At the end of the day, they want to be appreciated and involved in some way.
Establish your footing in the family
Families often have their own way of communicating. It can be hard to fit in with a group that has an overwhelming number of experiences that you weren't a part of. Be intentional about engaging each member of the family. In the end, you need to be growing together as a couple and as this happens, your in-laws will realize you’re here to stay.
Establish a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law relationship
Set boundaries. It is important to establish a relationship with your mother-in-law apart from your fiancé. Be sure to talk about more than just the wedding; Take her to lunch, go shopping or hit the spa. Avoid venting to your fiancé too much about his mother. It puts him in an awkward position where he is forced to choose sides.
Remember, the wedding day is just one day, but your in-laws are forever.