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Help! My in-laws are becoming outlaws

Don’t let a few differences of opinion blow up into huge family drama

 Your future in-laws are a very important part of your partner’s past and present and soon will become a very real presence in your own life. It’s best to try and handle any problems or conflicts with grace and composure.  Here are a few of the most common differences of opinion that arise between couples, their parents and the future in-laws:

My mother-in-law wants me to wear her dress!  If this is a dress that has been in your partner’s family for generations, it’s a little more difficult to “pull the plug” on this idea, especially if you’re the daughter your future mother-in-law never had. For her, it’s a very sentimental gesture and an honor she would like to bestow upon you.  This is when you’ll have to employ tact and kindness, while still letting her know you have a particular style in mind for your own wedding. Maybe you can offer to take her to one of your dress fittings so she can see for herself how happy you are in a dress of your own choosing.

My in-laws (or parents) have a different vision for the wedding than we do.  You want something small and intimate while your folks/in-laws want a grand church affair.  If you want your families included in your wedding plans, it’s important not to dismiss any or all of their ideas outright. Let them feel their ideas are being heard and do listen — one of their suggestions might end up being a very important part of your big day.  Be polite, and remind them that this is your and your partner’s big day, before your temper flares.

They are contributing financially to our wedding so they feel they have a big say in our day.  Things do get trickier when it is their money that is financing your wedding. To help reign in their expectations, show them your budget breakdown early on and let them see for themselves how you have allocated the funds.  Present a united front with your partner and tell them this is what the two of you want and that you’d love their support.  If money becomes the root of all these issues, you may consider declining their offer of financing your wedding and you and your partner can fund it yourself, severing all those “expectation strings.”

The in-laws want to add another 50 guests.  You’ll have to grab control of the guest list numbers early on in the wedding process by laying out a few rules up front.  Give them a set number of guests they can invite, once you know the capacity of your reception venue.

Reverse psychology  If your parents or future in-laws simply won’t back down or feel like they are being excluded from decision-making, keep them busy. Designate jobs that are easy to carry out and they will feel like they are making their own decisions about things, when they are really helping you out by checking things off the list for you. This will keep them busy enough that they won’t have time to criticize or comment on other aspects of your wedding planning.

Communication is key  Sometimes it’s just a simple matter of communication. People don’t always recognize their own bad behavior, so you may have to tell them, without being rude. You can tell them you really appreciate their advice, but you would like to consider their ideas before committing.  If you have to be more assertive, then say, “That’s not going to work for me,” and say why. Setting your boundaries early will let everyone know where they stand from the beginning. Source: How to get along with your future mother-in-law • Give her specific tasks related to the wedding that she can take ownership of and make her own. • Ask her to come along with you to a wedding related event, such as a cake tasting or dress fitting. • Put her in charge whenever you need a break from making decisions. For example, if you can’t decide between three photographers, let her make the final choice. Giving her doses of power like this will help make her feel involved. • Let her know your “non-negotiables.” If there are certain things you want absolute control over, let her know ahead of time so she won’t step on your toes. • Pull in a detail from her wedding. One of the nicest things you could do is to include a detail, item or tradition in your wedding from her own big day. Perhaps you could use framed photos from her wedding or serve a dish she remembers from her reception. • Let her pick out her dress, so she can feel ultra confident in what she’s wearing to your wedding. Source: The Knot

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