When it comes to families, every couple is different. By the time some couples get engaged, their respective families have already met and spent plenty of time together. On the flip side, the post-engagement period might be the first time both families have the opportunity to meet and get to know each other.
If you’re recently engaged and have yet to introduce your family to your partner’s family, the thought of bringing everyone together can be stressful. As with so many wedding planning things, though, it doesn’t have to be. Here’s some advice on how to introduce your families after the engagement and how to help it all go smoothly.
When you get engaged, take as much time as you want (and need!) to bask in your post-engagement bliss. Once you’re ready to get started on wedding planning, though, one of the first tasks to tackle should include introducing your families.
In an ideal world, the sooner you can introduce your family and your partner’s family, the better. This gives everyone more time to get to know each other before the wedding. Plus, the sooner you make the introductions, the easier it is to include everyone—regardless of which family they come from—in the wedding planning process.
Getting engaged and planning a wedding is already an emotionally charged time. It’s true for you, it’s true for your partner, and it’s true for both of your families. So, you don’t want to add any unnecessary pressure to introducing your families by attaching the introduction to a pinnacle event. If possible, keep the meeting as light, casual, and laid-back as possible.
For example, instead of introducing your mother and soon-to-be mother-in-law on the day you go wedding dress shopping, schedule a low-key brunch a few weeks before the event so they can get acquainted in a more casual setting. Instead of inviting both families to help you choose a wedding location, invite them to your house for a casual BBQ so they can get to know each other before you jump right into the wedding planning world.
Keep it low-pressure and laid back. This will make the process much less stressful for you and your spouse.
Distance might prevent you from bringing you and your partner’s families together before the wedding—but that doesn’t mean you should skip the introduction!
If an in-person intro isn’t possible, schedule a digital get-together with you, your spouse, and your respective families. Video conferencing tools like Google Hangouts, Zoom, or even Facetime make it easy for you and any of your far-flung family members to get together in the same digital space and meet face-to-face—at least through a screen—before the big day.
If you really want your family and your partner’s family to bond before the wedding, give them a common, wedding-related goal to work toward.
For example, put your sibling and your partner’s sibling in charge of the decorations for the engagement party. They can even discuss engagement party ideas digitally over email and Facetime if distance is a factor. If proximity isn’t an issue, ask your father and your soon-to-be father-in-law to scout locations for your post-wedding brunch.
The point is, bringing both families to work on wedding projects is a win-win situation. Your families get to spend time together and get to know each other—and you get to check things off of your wedding planning checklist.
Hopefully, by the time your wedding rolls around, your family and your partner’s family have had the opportunity to get to know each other better—even just a little. Regardless, we recommend finding time in the days leading up to the wedding to bring them together again (or for the first time). This should be a time that’s separate from your wedding weekend events. It doesn’t have to be formal. Get together for dinner or even spend a night together by the hotel bar catching up. Coming together as a family unit ahead of the ceremony is a perfect send-off.
Remember, your wedding is a huge deal for both you and your partner’s families—and they both want to be involved and spend as much time with you as possible. Everyone’s families are different. Whether they meet in person or digitally, there’s a solution to introduce your families after the engagement in a stress-free way.