Your engagement is an incredibly exciting time, and it should be. For who knows how long you’ve been pinning ideas for your dream wedding—now, not only do you end up with the love of your life, but you also get to throw a party celebrating all that you are as a couple. As any future or past bride knows, there are a million tiny decisions that go into wedding planning—while we know you’re excited to pick and choose every little thing, it’s important to remember that there are other people who will want to be included in the process, such as family and friends.
There are some traditional roles family members take (typically you’ll bring your mom wedding dress shopping and your dad will prepare a toast), but when it comes to including your future in-laws, the whole inclusion thing can get a little muddled. There are no hard and fast rules for when to include your mother-in-law, and situations vary from bride to bride based on how close you are to the other person’s family (and, let’s be honest, how easy they are to deal with). We talked to five real brides to hear about how they navigated this tricky topic, and how they included their MILs in their big day.
Make Her an Honorary Bridesmaid (For Some Things)
“I wanted her to be involved in the wedding planning process so for my bridal shower, my mom, MOH and bridesmaids had a planning and prepping day before the shower where they did some crafty things, made favors, and had wine and cheese. They made it like a little party instead of it being a stressful event. My mother in law was so happy to be involved and it was also bonding time for her and my mother.” –Christina
Let Her Opt In
“I decided to include my mother-in-law on everything, I felt it was easier that way (and less risky). She then decided what she wanted to come to or not, and she picked a few things that meant most.” –Meagan
Ask Her Which Parts of Planning She Wants to Be Involved In
“My MIL lives in Colorado, so she wasn't able to come to everything but she was very excited about the menu planning, so we made sure to include her in that. She came to the venue when we picked the menu and then came back for the tasting.” –Jillian
Give Her a Project
“For our escort cards, my husband and I collected postcards from places that were meaningful to us and to our guests. I wrote the names and tables on the "address" part of each postcard, and we asked family and friends to leave us messages on them in lieu of a guest book. Since my mother-in-law loves hunting for antique and vintage objects, she was the perfect person to help us collect old postcards.” –Jaimie
Offer Your Help, Too
“I told my MIL I would love to help her with anything she was planning, so I was excited when my MIL asked me to come with her to get her Mother of the Groom dress. It was a fun experience and I was with her when she chose the dress.”