How to Make Everyone Behave

Meddling moms, diva bridesmaids, outlaw in-laws: learn how to manage everyone without losing your cool.

Inappropriate In-laws

groom with bride and his mom
Photo Credit: Creatrix Photography

There’s that old saying, “A daughter is a daughter for life, a son is a son until he finds a wife.” The essence of this saying may be lurking behind your future mother-in-law’s outrageous behavior. “A wedding signifies that it’s time for a son to cut the apron strings and to make his future wife the number one woman in his life,” says Paul. “A transfer of allegiance from mother to wife takes place and this may not be easy for his mom or his whole family.”

Include the in-laws. Often, in-laws feel left out, pure and simple. This happened to Madeline, 29. “My in-laws were upset that we didn’t invite more of their friends. At the wedding, my mother-in-law acted displeased the whole time. It was mortifying! I think it was her way of getting even.” Though you don’t have to do everything they want, figure out how you can accommodate at least some of their wedding planning demands, so you start out on the right foot with your soon-to-be family. Find out how to connect with your future mother-in-law ► 

Be clear about their role. Not too long ago, there were traditional divisions of wedding planning responsibilities. For example, the bride’s family paid for the wedding and the groom’s paid for the rehearsal dinner. “But times have changed, and these things can’t be assumed anymore,” says Schact. So sit down with your in-laws and decide what they will be responsible for. Say something like, “We understand this process can be difficult. But we want everyone to be happy, so let’s agree upon what your roles are now.” “Just don’t ask your soon-to-be mother-in-law to be your wedding planner. For me, that ended in disaster,” says Beth, 25.

Let your fiancé do the talking. If there are issues with the in-laws, let your groom-to-be step into the fray and show his family that the two of you are a wedding planning team. “It’s part of his transition to manhood and a symbolic start to your life together,” says Paul.

Next: Diva Bridesmaids ►