The dreaded first meet between both sets of parents. Will they like each other? Will one of them embarrass you? Will one of them embarrass themselves?! We joke! Introducing your parents to your future in-laws is a big moment in your relationship, but it’s not something you need to stress over.
Below we have put together a list of tips and tricks on how to introduce your parents to your future in-laws. Our guide can help make the entire experience an enjoyable one, rather than one you need to fret about.
In this article we will cover everything from how to approach the event, when to host, locations, as well as advice on how to navigate tricky relationship situations. Fear not, we have got you covered! Here’s how to introduce your parents to your in-laws.
Relax, don’t make it a bigger deal than it is
RELAX! As silly as it seems, keeping cool and not overthinking the situation is crucial. If you make it a bigger deal than it actually is, you invite the possibility of stress. Trust us. Over the course of the wedding planning experience, there are plenty of opportunities to stress out. Parents meeting future parents isn’t one of them! Save it for something exciting like deciding how much to choose a wedding date!
To start with, it’s best to understand that all of you are perhaps a little apprehensive about the situation. Provided you are all open, communicative and understanding of each other, parents meeting in-laws is an experience to look forward to rather than worry about.
Try to look forward to the situation, advance with an open mind, don’t lay down too many strict rules, don’t overanalyze the situation (too late if you are sitting there Googling “How to introduce your parents to your future in-laws”). Most importantly, don’t implode if things don’t quite go according to plan.
Like we say… Relax! This is fun!
Choose the right time – don’t wait until the wedding
Whatever you do, don’t leave it too late. Don’t plan it too close to your wedding date. It’s only inviting more stress during a rather stressful time. Do everything in advance. It will allow for more time to plan and of course, more time to overcome those inappropriate Dad jokes dropped during the appetizers!
In all seriousness, try to arrange the meet up either before the engagement, or shortly after the engagement. If you haven’t met already, hosting a simple meetup, or even a more extravagant meal, quite soon after the engagement is a great idea. Everybody is still buzzing after the happy moment of popping the question and saying yes! With everyone in a great mood, long before the wedding planning arguments have set in, it’s sure to be a joyful and happy experience for all involved.
Story Amour Tip: Arrange a more casual meet up shortly after the engagement. Think lunch in a cafe, a trip to the zoo, or perhaps just a walk around a park. You can then plan a more formal dining experience in the future, without the worries of how they will all get on with each other. That being said, there are going to be plenty of formal dining experiences in the lead up to your big day!
Choose the best location
Location, location, location. It’s all about the location. I swear we say that every time we discuss something that requires choosing an area to host an event. In all seriousness, choosing the right location for the right type of gathering can go a long way to setting the right ambience for your meetup.
In our opinion, you should first make a decision on what type of meetup you plan on hosting. If you are following the Story Amour tip of a casual approach, try to choose somewhere laid back and comfortable. A nice little cafe, a walk in a park, nothing too strenuous or formal. We mentioned the zoo before, think family friendly, PG rated locations.
Perhaps you are planning a slightly more proper dining experience? Well we would recommend choosing either your own home or a restaurant you know everyone will love. Choosing a neutral ground is the way to go. Don’t put pressure on one of the parties by hosting the event at their place. This will only add more stress.
Notice how everything is about keeping it casual and relaxed? Setting the right tone is definitely the approach to take. You can also take this approach into the actual food you serve, or the restaurant you visit. For example, cooking up a spicy hot curry might not be the best approach. Think of something less dangerous such as Italian. Everyone loves Italian food right? Sorry sorry! Recently visited Italy and my mind keeps wandering back to Aperol Spritz and amazing pasta!
Anyway, back to our advice on introducing parents and in-laws.
Send out the invites
Ok ok, you don’t actually have to send out physical invitations but once you’ve made a few decisions on timing and locations, it’s time to start asking your parents and in-laws to attend.
This is actually a little bit of a tricky one to navigate, it almost goes against our overall guidance of keeping things casual. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t as important as sending out and choosing your wedding invitations, but you should still go out of your way to make them understand that attendance is compulsory. They must attend!
Ok, take that with a pinch of salt but you should be clear and open with your invitation. Let them know that this is quite a significant moment as it will be the first time that both sides of the engagement come together. They will get it.
It’s important to provide all the details for the meet up, including the location, date, time etc. However, you should also try to be flexible. If one of the parties can’t make it, don’t panic. Simply rearrange and discuss with both sides a more convenient time and place that would work for all.
Once you have discussed and established all the details, send a final message across just outlining everything that’s been confirmed. This way everyone will be on the same page.
Keep all parties in the loop
It goes without saying, keeping all parties in the loop can go a long way to ensuring no unwanted stresses occur. The last thing you want is forgetting to tell one party that the location has changed. This can have negative impacts all round, perhaps even giving the wrong first impression.
In our opinion, you can go about ensuring everyone is in the know in two ways. You could set a group chat on WhatsApp, add all parties into the group, then go about updating the chat of any changes to the plan. Furthermore, you can keep it light-hearted by sharing more personal information in the group. Perhaps sharing the menu or discussing your favorite dish if you are attending a restaurant. This should help create a nice casual, friendly vibe within the group, helping to set the atmosphere for the meetup long before it actually happens.
The other way would be to keep things private, while updating via a group chat in WhatsApp is always a good idea, some questions may feel a little more private. You should encourage all parents to ask any questions they may have, letting them know they can ask privately if they wish.
Being clear in the details, while encouraging communication all round, will go a long way to ensuring everything goes off with a hitch.
Brief all parties
Perhaps we are even overthinking things ourselves here, but briefing all parties beforehand can actually go a long way to smoothing out the process. Think about mentioning any taboo subjects that they should avoid in conversation. Perhaps brief them on each other’s likes and dislikes, hobbies and interests. Little details like this can help spark conversation in the future, plus it just makes everyone aware of the situation they are walking into. This is making it sound much more dramatic than it should be!
In all seriousness, just let things naturally pop up in conversation in the build up to the event. Know that your fiance’s mum has recently run a marathon, mention it passing. Know that your Dad loves vintage cars, mention it when talking.
Generally speaking, it’s all about providing a little more information to help make people comfortable, spark conversation points, and generally just let people get to know each other a little better.
In addition, a quick Story Amour tip, any briefs should be given by the son/daughter of their parents. If your fiance briefs your parents, they may feel they cannot be open with their thoughts. It’s likely that no matter how much time you have spent together, your parents will still be more comfortable with you briefing them rather than your other half. As a couple, simply have a conversation about any important notes before briefing your own parents.
Ah, this is where things can get a little tricky and harder to navigate. Divorce will always be a sensitive subject to broach. Heck, it’s going to be difficult to plan the event around certain marital complexities. However, if you keep an open dialogue, are open with your thoughts, it should all run smoothly.
We understand emotions can run deep for everyone, including yourself, just try to keep it together, be respectful, while also being inclusive of everyone related to the situation.
If there is particular bad-blood between certain parties, it’s probably worth arranging multiple gatherings. While it’s likely that everyone would remain on their best behavior, it’s probably worth removing the chance for confrontation.
Provided all your parents are on good terms, having one meetup with all parties is absolutely fine. Just remember to speak openly to all parties, request that they remain pleasant throughout and you shouldn’t go far wrong.
Finally, we previously mentioned briefing your parents before the event. You should also brief them specifically on the marital situation. Just so they know what they can and can’t say about the subject.
Plan ahead for the conversation
When people meet for the first time, it can be a little difficult to have a flowing conversation. Don’t worry, this is only natural. Without knowing each other too well, you will be unsure about what topics you can and can’t talk about.
Planning talking points and topics that can help spark conversation, is a great way to help the evening run smoothly. Make a list of hobbies or light-hearted points that can be comfortably discussed on the night. Try to avoid somewhat sensitive subjects such as politics and religion. The last thing you want is an awkward conversation about whether or not Trump 2024 is a go… Rolls eyes…
Furthermore, having a range of different stories to tell, whether that’s from your childhood memories, or even upcoming events you have planned, will go a long way to removing any awkwards silences. Story Amour tip: Family photo albums can help break the ice!
Prep topics of discussions. Keep them light-hearted and fun. Simple really. Let the conversation flow!
Pay or cook
Without doubt, it’s important to lay down the law when it comes to who pays. If planning a meal at home, don’t feel afraid to cook. However, if going to a restaurant, we highly recommend that you notify your intention to pay. This is an area that you shouldn’t back down on, no matter how pushy your parents can get.
There are many reasons why you should pay. Not only is it a kind gesture, it also ensures that none of the other parties are put in a position where they feel they have to pay or aggrieved that they aren’t allowed to pay. Creating a fair and balanced situation for all, can help alleviate any potential for tension.
If not visiting a restaurant, cooking is a fantastic way to show your appreciation for everyone, while also remaining on neutral ground in an environment that most will be comfortable in. It can also be a little more relaxed, giving you the opportunity to take everything at your own pace, without being rushed by bumptious waiters.
Overall, whether you pay for the meal, or cook yourself, the goal is to create equality for all. Removing the stresses of who picks up the tab allows everyone to focus on getting to know each other and become friendly. The main reason why you are all gathering.
Let them build a friendship
Last but not least, let them develop their own relationship. Don’t try to shoehorn them into situations they are uncomfortable with. Let them find their own way and create their own friendship. Trust us, this is best for all.
When it comes to introducing your parents to your future in-laws, generally the goal is for everyone to get to know each other, be comfortable in each other’s presence, and of course, create bonds that should go on forever. You micromanaging everything won’t help this relationship develop naturally.
To wrap things up
Knowing how to introduce your parents to your in-laws is a step along the wedding planning process that you will have to navigate. That being said, try to be positive. This is something to get excited about, moments to enjoy, and as a result, a time to make new memories as a new family.
Maintain an open mind throughout while keeping your cool and you will help nurture new relationships.
Be communicative and clear on any plans while letting each party know about any quirks or taboo subjects.
Relax, enjoy the gathering, keep things casual and everything will run smoothly. Enjoy!