If it didn't happen before you got engaged, having both the bride and groom's parents meet before the wedding is an absolute must. The one thing that can throw a wrench in the whole gathering? If one set (or both sets) of parents is divorced. Whether it was a contentious split or not, our etiquette experts are here to help arrange appropriate introductions between both moms, dads, and even step parents.
Wedding tradition calls for the groom's parents to reach out to the bride's mother and father post-engagement if they had not yet met. So, if the bride's parents are no longer married, the groom's parents should make a call to both her mom and dad, separately. First, they should contact the parent the bride is closest to or lived with while growing up. And, logically, this means that they'll also arrange separate get togethers with the separated mother and father, plus, if it's called for, their current spouses.
If the groom's parents are divorced the bride's mom and dad do the same: they reach out to each parents separately and arrange individual intros.
Most complicated is, of course, if both sets of the betrothed's parents are divorced. When this happens custom calls for the groom's parent that feels most motivated to meet up with the others initiate making plans, with the help of his or her son and future daughter-in-law. This situation though, is of course the trickiest, and the engaged couple may need to step in to make communication and meet-ups happen. All of this goes without saying that the soon-to-be married couple should do their best to make both parents feel comfortable — as much as you want to share this process with your loves ones, you shouldn't force anyone into a social situation they don't want to be in.