How to Survive Family Gatherings—i.e. Your Wedding Day—When Politics Get in the Way

Can everyone just STFU?

Updated 05/09/17

Anthony Hoang of Lover of Mine

As the saying goes, you can't choose your family; we know it also applies to in-laws. Just because you love your partner doesn't mean you'll see eye to eye (or be best friends) with his or her family all the time. One of the biggest topics to cause family drama? Politics. Whether it's a holiday gathering, the rehearsal dinner, or the actual wedding day, our experts have a few tips to help you survive a politically charged family event—no matter whom you voted for.

The easiest way to avoid political problems: Avoid the topic altogether. Yes, there may be a headline that has you (or your mother-in-law) totally fired up, but do your best to keep conversation focused on something a little less heated. That doesn't mean you need to spend the whole night talking about the weather, but come to the table with a few subjects that everyone will enjoy discussing, whether it's brainstorming honeymoon locations or picking must-play songs for your wedding day.

Of course, there's always a chance something will come up. Do your best to avoid getting worked up, even if you have all the facts in mind for the perfect response. Try to defuse the situation by saying, "As much as this topic interests me, I know that we don't agree and I'd rather talk about something we can all be excited about," and then change the subject. You have every right to try not to fight with your in-laws! If things do get a little intense, excuse yourself and head to the restroom or into the kitchen for some water. Take a deep breath, remind yourself that you can all still love one another even if you have dramatically different political stances, and head back to the group.

Remember that you have the ability to set (and change) the tone of the conversation—on your wedding day and beyond. No one will fault you for choosing not to have an argument, and hopefully being respectful of your family's and in-laws' opinions will encourage them to do the same for you!

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