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Like it or not, when you marry the man of your dreams you're also marrying into his family. And that means you and his mom have a whole lifetime of learning to get along. Why wait though? Whether you're currently BFFs, at odds or hardly know one another at all, start things off on the right note by including her in a few of the wedding festivities. It'll not only give you guys a great chance to bond, but hopefully create peace within the family for years to come.
1. Go dress shopping with her
Instead of asking your future MIL to help you say yes to the dress, let her know you'd love to come along to help pick out hers. "While it's a popular belief that it's a good idea to bring your mother-in-law with you to your dress appointment, Tracie Domino, founder of Tracie Domino Events, warns against this unless you know she has style ideas very similar to yours. "It wouldn't be great if you and your mother loved a gown and your future MIL tried to nix it. It would cause tension way too soon," she explains.
2. Plan the bridal shower together
If your future MIL lives in the same area as you do and your mom doesn't, let her throw a bridal shower on your behalf in town. "Give her most of the control, and she will feel special hosting the occasion," points out Domino. On the other hand, if your mom or maid of honor else is already hosting it and your mother-in-law is someone who tends to get a wee bit too involved, you can simply ask her to be a part of the planning, advises Stefanie Cove, Managing Partner at Yifat Oren & Associates. After all, "This is a good place to direct her energy (as opposed to on the actual wedding)."
3. Get crafty
Let's be real, there's no way you can finish all those DIY projects on your own so if you're future MIL is kind of crafty, take advantage, says Sandy Malone, owner of Weddings in Vieques. "You can also involve her in lots of tasks, like helping with your wedding invitations and perhaps even receiving shipped gifts for you if she's home a lot." Another fun thing to do together, according to Cove, is look at paper items (stationary, menus, signage, save the dates, etc.), the tabletop settings and other décor elements. "This way, she will feel like she is a part of the planning and decision making and gets to be a part of the creative process."
4. Invite her to the tasting
"If your in-laws are in town and you have the space, you can always invite them to your tasting — a treat that makes everyone feel honored," notes Cove. However, if that's a little too much bonding time for your tastes (pun intended!), you can always do lunch with your mother-in-law at a separate time and get vendor referrals. "While you don't have to take her cake tasting with you, I bet she's had a lot of good (and BAD) wedding cake over the years and can point you in the right direction," argues Malone.