Ah, yes, including the in-laws. Even as you scan the first line of this article, I’m sure a part of you tensed up 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.

How to Include the In-laws

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, whom they all “just fell in love” seven years ago, offer to give up something else, like Thanksgiving dinner at their house this year. That “I give a little here, you give a little there” stance should prove 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 at the wedding. They’ll probably be incredibly flattered that you consider their potato salad worthy of such an important day. It makes her feel like a much bigger part of your wedding than she really is and takes some of the work off you. Plus, at least one side of the family will probably love it; 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 will 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 hairpiece or as an interesting addition to my bouquet.

Additional Ways

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 you’re fine with either way and let your overbearing sister-in-law make the final decision. Party favors are a fantastic way to incorporate both families on your wedding day. Adding a tiny racecar sticker to favors will help his Nascar-obsessed family feel more welcome.

5.) Ask for advice. They don’t need to have their opinions displayed for all to see 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 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.