Ready for your parents to meet the parents? That’s a big step, but it’s one you’re going to have to make before your wedding day. Marriage is about bonding two families together, so introducing them is an absolute must. While you may have some jitters about their first encounter - understandable, they’re bound to tell some cringe-worthy stories about you - there are a few things you can do to make it go down without a hitch.
Here’s how to introduce your parents to your in-laws.
Don’t wait until the wedding
While you may be tempted to put it off as long as possible, your parents should not be shaking hands with your in-laws for the first time at your ceremony venue. Try to schedule a little meet n’ greet fairly soon after your engagement. This can be tough if they live in different cities or countries, but, trust me, they’re just excited as you and will make it work. If your parents are divorced and on not-so-good terms, try and schedule two separate meetings to keep things light.
Pick the perfect setting
You’ll want to give this meeting the right ambience, so put a little thought into the venue. Skip picking a super swanky restaurant and go with something casual and quiet instead, like an intimate local eatery or even your own home. The name of the game is making everyone feel comfortable.
Give your parents a few notes
No, you don’t have to go through your in-laws Ancestry.com profiles and dive deeply into all their likes and dislikes, but you should be able to give your parents a little info on them. Let them know their hobbies, jobs and interests to give them some icebreaker material. What you shouldn’t do is tell them how to act, meeting new people can be awkward and you don’t want them to feel weird about their conversation style or mannerisms.
Brainstorm talking points
Because this is sort of a blind date situation for them, it may be a bit difficult to get the conversation started. I mean, sure, they have a mutual interest in your relationship, but they probably don’t know a whole lot about each other. That’s where you come in. Brainstorm a few talking points with your fiancé(e) before you head out so that you can help get ‘em gabbing. Try and put things out there like “so, dad Bill here likes [insert mutually liked hobby], too” or “didn’t you guys both vacation in [insert holiday destination here]?”.
Monitor the conversation
Don’t let things get too tense. If you see one of your ‘rents steering the conversation into stormy waters, paddle it back out. Seriously, leave politics and religion at the door if they don’t share similar thoughts. Nobody wants to debate Conservatives vs. Liberals, especially when they’re meeting for the first time.
Know who’s picking up the bill (it’s you)
Yes, one of the perks about dining out with your parents is that they’re usually more than happy to pick up the tab, but this time it’s your turn. You don’t want to deal with any awkward moments when the bill gets brought out, so be prepared to throw your credit card down first. You may even want to let them know that it’s your treat at the get-go.
Let them form their own relationship
If your ‘rents and future in-laws don’t click at the get-go, don’t stress. It takes a while for people to build relationships and not everyone becomes besties right off the bat. Don’t try to force the friendship too hard and remember they’ll have plenty of time to warm up to each other in the years to come.