Ah yes, the in-laws. Even as you scan the first line of this article, I’m sure a part of you tensed up a bit just thinking of your future family members. I know, because as fantastic as my in-laws are (I really am one of the lucky ones), I still get a little tense. The fact is, families can be a bit overwhelming, especially when it comes to planning a wedding. So here are a few ways to let your future family members feel a little more involved in your day’s festivities… that is, without completely losing your mind anyway.

1.) Compromise on non-wedding related issues. A great example is holiday dinners. If they’re just not budging on inviting your husband’s ex-girlfriend that they all “just fell in love with” seven years ago, offer to give up something else, like Thanksgiving dinner at their house this year. That whole “I give a little here, you give a little there” stance should prove to be very useful when smoothing out negotiations.

2.) Offer to use their recipes. There’s nothing wrong with asking your mother-in-law to make a batch of her famous macaroni salad recipe to use at the wedding. They’ll probably be incredibly flattered that you consider their potato salad worthy of such an important day. It not only makes her feel like a much bigger part of your wedding than she really is, but it takes some of the work off you. Plus, at least one side of the family will probably love it; after all, it is famous for a reason.


3.) Incorporate their family heirlooms and traditions. As a woman dating a man who is the only child of his family, wedding talk holds a lot of pressure. It’s not like his mother has a daughter of her own that she can go dress shopping with, so the burden falls on me to make her feel involved in the process. Of course I will always have the final say when the time comes, but if she gives me a God-awful brooch to wear on my wedding day, it would go a long way for me to try to incorporate it somehow. I don’t have to wear it front and center on my wedding dress, but I might be able to use it as a hair piece or as an interesting addition to my bouquet.

4.) Consider their opinions on the smaller issues. Does it really matter which style of cursive your invitations are addressed in? Narrow down your options to two or three choices that you’re fine with either way, and let your overbearing sister-in-law make the final decision.

Party favors are fantastic way to incorporate both families on your wedding day. Even adding a tiny racecar sticker to favors will help his Nascar obsessed family feel a bit more welcome.

5.) Ask for advice. They don’t need to have their opinions displayed for all to see in order to feel involved. Wondering about what to do on your honeymoon in Barbados? Ask his mother, who went there last year for fun suggestions. Unsure about how soon to schedule wedding dress fittings? No? Well pretend like you’re clueless, and ask his sister for advice. Who cares if you already know the answer, she doesn’t know that, and it’ll make her feel needed and included.