Some brides are close to their fiancé's family before the engagement, but for some couples who don't live anywhere near his parents, they may have met only a few times. When the big engagement is announced, all of the dynamics suddenly change. Usually we talk about stress the bride endures in dealing with her own mother, but the Mother of the Groom (MOG) can be just as complicated. While you certainly don't have to give the MOG a role in the wedding planning, sometimes finding things to make her feel more involved is critical to her happiness — and peace in your own household. Her son is her baby and you're going to be taking him away from her to some extent. This is a good time to improve relations with the woman who will be grandmother to your children rather than start things off on the wrong foot.
Here are three ideas for keeping the peace with the woman who gave birth to your fiancé:
1. If the MOG lives nearby, you should have lunch with her to fill her in on your plans and make her feel included. If she lives out of town, the couple should absolutely plan a visit to his parents at some point early in the wedding planning process. It doesn't mean that you have to take her suggestions. Just tell her your plans, hear her out on her ideas, and then figure out if there's anything that you both agree on that you could involve her in.
2. Rather than just saying "no" if his mom makes some outrageous suggestions, hold your tongue during the first conversation. You are marrying into this family and you will have to deal with her forever. Your better bet is to take her ideas and wants into consideration and then figure out which battles are worth fighting. Let her win on something. Maybe you didn't want to have a flower girl and ring bearer but his mother is insistent you use her grandchildren. Ask yourself if you truly care. If you can live with it, give her the pleasure of showing off her family.
3. Traditionally, the groom's parents paid for specific parts of the wedding — the rehearsal dinner, the bride's flowers, the bar at the reception and a few other things. If his parents want to pay for some things and want to be involved in planning them, you have to find a way to let them help, even if it's really just an illusion. You can find a way to let the MOG think she's making the decisions — even if you're just feeding her a little bit of what she wants to hear.
Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.