1. In-laws are part of the package—deal with it
Unless your betrothed is an orphan, your pending nuptials bring with it a pile of new family members with which to contend. While some brides may luck out with a lovely and supportive new brood, others, sadly, are burdened with the opposite. A super critical mother-in-law, an overbearing father-in-law, a sister-in-law from hell—like it or not these people are now a part of your life. You’ll need to suck it up and make your in-laws feel welcome and included to help avoid wedding day conflict and a lifetime of festering resentments.
2. Pay your own way
As painful as it may be to your bank account, resist the temptation to let your in-laws pay for anything wedding related. If you allow them to bankroll your big day, chances are they’ll feel entitled to make demands—if you’re not cool with that, kindly decline their cash. It may mean you have to scratch that champagne tower and giant swan ice sculpture off your list, but at least you’ll feel more in control.
3. Pick your battles
It’s unacceptable for future in-laws to pressure you to convert to a religion, sign a last-minute pre-nup or insist 50 of their closest friends be tacked on to your already bloated guest list. While you’re well within your rights to shut down such unreasonable demands, it might not be a big deal to relent on smaller requests. In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter if your in-laws tag along to food or cake tastings or have some say in the seating plan? Giving an inch doesn’t mean you’re weak, but it may help ease tensions.
4. Be the bigger person
As the big day approaches, the more frayed nerves will be and things can easily get blown out of proportion. Sure, your in-laws may have raised a critical eyebrow at your wine choice and your sister-in-law may have snickered at the pair of vintage earrings you gave her—in appreciation for all her “help”—but that probably doesn’t merit a meltdown or any form of retaliation. Take the high road and keep the peace (at least until the wedding’s over).
5. If all else fails – elope!
If, despite your best efforts, nothing is going to plan and the big day doesn’t seem worth the aggravation then it may be high time to end the insanity and elope. Your in-laws may not speak to you for a while, but enjoy this respite. When the babies come along it will all start up again.
Check out the crazy lengths the Griffin family will go to to keep the peace on their son’s big day, watch The Big Wedding—the hilarious new romantic comedy featuring Robert De Niro, Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon and Robin Williams. Opening April 26, 2013.