Yet, it would be unusual to proceed without a few uncomfortable social situations along the blissful way.
Once you’re engaged, you’ll be meeting the in-laws and introducing families, moving along formally on the path to uniting kin, and your future family. Unless you’re high school sweethearts, you probably haven’t met each other’s parents and siblings. Even though you’re planning on being your perfect self during this encounter, having the right small talk ammunition can be the key to setting off a great first impression.
Give a compliment. Tell your fiancé’s mom how much you like her shoes, or her home. Or better yet, compliment her on the amazing child she raised, the person with whom you can’t wait to spend your life. Compliments automatically make people feel more comfortable and can often be an excellent launching pad for conversation.
Be polite. Politeness is paramount when interacting with your future in-laws. Generally, whatever you learned in kindergarten is a good rule to follow: share the speaking floor, say “please” and “thank you”, and be respectful. If you don’t demonstrate manners at this meeting, your relationship with your in-laws could be off to a rocky start.
Ask questions. This is a great opportunity to ask questions about your in-law’s family history, traditions, or specific values. Not only will you seem considerate for caring, but you’ll gain some interesting insight into the person you’re marrying and be able to incorporate your fiance’s family legacy into the wedding.
Stay on neutral topics. In your first meeting with your new family, don’t ramble on about your deep connection to some ancient and eccentric spiritual belief. By avoiding hot topics like religion and politics, the conversation will keep the mood light. That’s not to say you should hide who you are, but reserve those more comprehensive conversation topics for a more appropriate time.
Control your cocktails. Don’t let your drinking get out of hand when initially meeting your in-laws (or throughout the entire wedding process). If everyone is having a cocktail, slowly sip one graciously, and leave it at that. Over consumption of alcohol can lead to bad behavior, inappropriate remarks, and embarrassing conduct that you can’t take back. You want to be married forever, not leave a bad impression forever.
Introduce your families to one another. Now that you’ve aced meeting your in-laws, it’s time for both families to make an acquaintance. If that means introducing your liberal, outspoken New York parents to your fiancé’s conservative, reserved Nebraska parents, so be it. Breathe. Ensuring that the meeting is effortless means following all of the above rules, which continue to apply throughout your entire wedding process.
Give clear indications on possible conversation topics. Fill your family in on some interesting facts about your future family. Things such as occupation, favorite hobbies, and general likes and dislikes, are a good place to start. If you provide your family with some specific insights, they will be more equipped with conversation clues.
Follow up. After the meeting, send a thank you email to everyone and attach a picture or two. By doing this, you will open up new lines of communication, giving everyone a chance to say anything they may not have had a chance to say and this will help to keep the conversation flowing. By tying up loose ends, you’ll feel more comfortable tying the knot.