The Groom's Family
They're lovable, they're wacky, and they're your daughter's new in-laws! Or maybe you don't find them so lovable…but the wacky part is right on. You're trying to plan a wedding with these people, and things are either going well or not so well. What's your role and your responsibility as far as getting friendly with these folks goes?
Don't Push It
Just because your respective children have somehow managed to find each other in this world doesn't mean that you and the groom's family are going to be instant best friends, or even instant allies. You can't force a friendship, obviously, even if you feel it's in everyone's best interests.
If you're the outgoing, gregarious type and you sense that the groom's parents are much more reserved, you may actually intimidate them with your chatter, even though your intention is simply to encourage good will toward one another. If the situation is reversed — you're the one who is constantly subjected to a nonstop litany of their lives — you may feel as though spending an evening with these people is akin to experiencing hell firsthand.
Obviously, you can't force someone to change his or her behavior; you can, of course, change yours, or at least try to modify your own reaction to conduct you initially dislike.
Just remember, your contact with the groom's parents is probably going to be relatively short-lived. You'll be forced to have contact with them while the wedding is being planned. Afterwards, that contact will dwindle down to occasional sightings at your daughter's home, at which time, you'll realize that they're not half as bad as you previously thought they were — or at least they aren't so bad in thirty-minute increments.
For now, give them a wide margin to err within — let some things roll off your back even if you would normally take issue with them. No one will benefit from a hostile relationship between the two sets of parents. Do your part — in fact, do more than your part — to see that things remain on an even keel between you and your daughter's future in-laws.
Work It Out
As different as you may be from one another, during the whole planning of the wedding, you're going to have to find a way to work out those differences in a way that doesn't send your daughter to bed with a migraine. Or in tears. What does this mean to you?
It means that there can't be any shouting matches between you and the groom's parents, and there can't be any badmouthing going on, either. You're all adults, remember, and you're supposed to set a good example for the kids.
You don't want your daughter to look back on this time in her life — a time that's supposed to be
“Easier said than done,” you're thinking. “You don't know these people I'm dealing with.” And you may be right — but do it anyway.
Even if you find yourself in a worst-case situation where the groom's parents are bitter, disagreeable, patronizing folk, don't engage in combat with them directly. If they've treated you
Don't Assume the Worst
If you're from very different places in life (you're a mogul, and the groom's dad is a mechanic — or vice versa), your first inclination may be to assume that there's just no way you can be friendly with this other guy. You have nothing in common, and that's just the way it is.
Depending on which situation you're in, that attitude can be perceived as arrogant or as a sure sign of insecurity. The fact is everyone is human, right? It's everyone's right to be treated with respect, and
Give the groom's dad a fair chance before you make any judgments of his character; you might just find that the two of you have more in common than you thought — but you'll never know if you don't give him a fair shake.