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Mother in Law Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

‘My MIL Is Flipping Out Because I Don’t Want Her in the Delivery Room’

 Married Life, Moms, Mother in Law  Comments Off on ‘My MIL Is Flipping Out Because I Don’t Want Her in the Delivery Room’
May 252016
MIL in delivery room

Photo: Getty Images

Pregnancy can be a stressful time to begin with, so adding family drama is enough to send any expectant mom over the edge. In BabyWeinerDrama's case, conflict with in-laws is making her new arrival a less-than-blissful time.

She's decided that she wants her husband and mom — but nobody else — in the room with her when she gives birth, and her mother-in-law isn't taking that decision so well, to say the least.

"I really like my MIL. She's kind, warm, and funny. She's also incredibly sheltered, a little whiny, and tends to make everything about her, including the birth of my child," she wrote. "My MIL has been up in arms ever since she found out that my mother would be in the delivery room. At first she assumed that she was going to be there, too but I told her, as gently as possible, that I wouldn't be comfortable having her in there as I will be exposed, swearing, sweating, and just generally a mess."

She wont' take "no" for an answer, though. She even tried to convince her son to let her in anyway. BabyWeinerDrama's not sure what would be worse: having her MIL in the room, or continuing this argument. Reddit weighed in:

"Hold your ground, tell your husband to sort it, and tell the labor and delivery nurses that the only people who get a front row seat to the vagina show are your mom and husband. If she ignores your husband and tries to bully her way in, the nurses will stop that quick. Don't be bullied into having her in the room." —LilaFaith

See more: 5 Reasons You Might Not Be Getting Your Period (Besides the Obvious)

"I would tell her that if she can't respect your wishes on this and is even remotely difficult at all on the day of your delivery, she can expect to not be allowed into the room after the birth either. And I would be very, very 100 percent clear with the hospital staff that she is NOT ALLOWED in the delivery room. The staff is generally absolutely used to handling situations like this." —wombatzilla

"Tell the nurses when you're delivering that you do not want her in the delivery room when you're giving birth. They'll take care of the rest. As for how to deal with your MIL before the birth, just stop the conversation if she tries to bring it up: 'We've talked about this before and my mind won't change.' Remember, you owe her no explanation, and 'no' is a complete sentence by itself. This woman is behaving irrationally, and there's no way to combat irrationality with logic." —eshtive353

See more: "My Boyfriend Is Pushing the Whole Baby Thing"

"Don't tell her when you go into labor. Don't have her at the hospital. I'm sorry, but screaming at you over the phone means she loses those privileges (they're a gift, not a right). If you're worried she's going to burst in without permission, you'll feel anxious while giving birth. Being anxious about anything other than you and your baby is just going to make giving birth all that much harder. You don't have to put yourself through that for her." —Trintron

What do you think: Should she let her MIL into the delivery room? Should she even let her into the hospital if she keeps acting like this? Sound off in the comments on Facebook!

See more: 2 Important Ovarian Cancer Symptoms That Shouldn't Be Ignored

Real Brides Share Heartwarming Mother-in-Law Stories (You’ll Wish These Were Your MILs!)

 Moms, Mother in Law  Comments Off on Real Brides Share Heartwarming Mother-in-Law Stories (You’ll Wish These Were Your MILs!)
May 012016

Photo: Getty Images

Mother-in-laws get a bad rap. (After all, we don't give them the nickname monster-in-law for nothing.) But not all mother-in-laws are bad. And, in fact, some are just plain amazing. So to celebrate those wonderful women, five brides are here to share their most heartwarming mother-in-law stories.

1. Nikki admits she may not have been the best match for her now-husband before they tied the knot. "When we married, I didn't really have my life together," she says, "and I cringe at what my mother-in-law must have thought of me marrying her son." But Nikki's mother-in-law kept any doubts she may have had to herself. "She displayed the most selfless, unconditional love to me," Nikki says. "Over the next ten years, her unconditional kindness and love changed me as a person and I realized I was given the greatest gift: A mother-in-law who chose to love me through hard times, even through times when I probably wasn't good enough for her son. To this day, she has never said an unkind word to me, and she has always been quick to point out all my good qualities and encouraged my unique gifts."

2. Stephanie's own mother passed away when she was pregnant with her first child. So after her son was born, it was especially meaningful to Stephanie to have her mother-in-law by her side. "She came to stay with our family for a month to help care for both him and me, manage our household, and give me pointers on caring for my first baby," Stephanie says. "The pregnancy and birth were a joyful but bittersweet time for me, but my mother-in-law has always been there for me when I've had questions or needed advice about raising my son, while never trying to replace my own mother. I'm sure she knows I would have rather shared that special time with my own mother, and I hope she knows how grateful I am to her for stepping in when I most needed somebody."

See More: So, You're Not Crazy About Your Mother In Law

3. Dana feared her Southern mother-in-law didn't like her. But after putting serious time into the kitchen, whipping up real greens, fried chicken, and macaroni and cheese, her fears were soon put to rest. "I knew that she had accepted me into the family when the week before our wedding she shared her recipe for her sour cream pound cake," Dana recalls. "She had never shared it with anyone in the past, and hasn't since. I was so honored. It was like she was trusting me with her son and her legacy."

4. Christina's Canadian wedding was a destination affair for her family, who lives in Great Britain, and many of whom might not have been able to make the wedding if not for her mother-in-law. "My mother-in-law opened her home to my whole family to come and stay in Canada for the wedding," Christina says. "There were people everywhere, taking up every bed in her house. She even borrowed RVs and trailers from friends and had them parked outside her house so my family could be more comfortably accommodated. It was absolutely amazing, the way she just extended her home to my whole family so that they could be there for my big day."

5. After Stacy had an emergency C-section, her mother-in-law didn't hesitate to come to her side. "I was in terrible pain and called her within hours of returning home from the hospital," Stacy recalls. "She called off work and came down the next morning to stay with me for several days." But that wasn't all. When Stacy got pregnant with her second child, "she found out the date of a planned C-section this time, and took off three weeks to be with me and my toddler. She was by my side the entire three weeks and kept the baby for me at nights while I rested. She was a godsend those first few weeks."

7 Ways to Deal With a Momzilla

 Moms, Mother in Law, Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Groom  Comments Off on 7 Ways to Deal With a Momzilla
Mar 262016
How to Deal with a Momzilla

Photo: Getty Images

When you're in wedding planning mode, you may ask for help from your mom. Or, your mom may jump in and give you all kinds of help you never asked for in the first place. Either way, planning a wedding side-by-side with your mom can be a really fun experience, but it can also be a little rocky — especially if your mom starts to turn into a momzilla. Here are seven ways to handle your mom, if that begins to happen, so that your relationship isn't pulled apart by your wedding.

1. Give her some space
The best thing you can do when you feel like your mom is transforming into a momzilla is to give her some space. Don't try to argue with her or turn the tense conversation into one that screams anger. When the conversation spins out of control, take a step back.

2. Let her know what you'd like her help with
If your mom is making you feel a bit overwhelmed, it's because she wants to help you out. Look over your to-do list and give her some tasks that she can take on and do for you. Or, ask her to choose things she wants to do.

3. Keep communicating
Even if your conversations with your mom get you all riled up, try to keep communicating with her. Even if it's through text or email, it's better than ignoring her altogether. In the end, that may make the situation a bit worse.

4. Let her know when you get stressed
If you're starting to feel stressed or finding yourself on the verge of mid-day anxiety attacks, let your mom know that you are feeling this way. Instead of saying, "Mom, you are stressing me out." Be more specific. Let her know what actions make you feel on the edge.

5. Remind her that it's your big day
If your mom is beginning to pick vendors and make plans for your wedding that are not what you want, it's important to remind her that this your big day and your once in a lifetime party — not hers.

See More: The Advantages of Letting Your Mom Plan Your Wedding

6. Remember it's okay to say no
If something bugs you about a centerpiece design or a vendor that your mom picked out for you, remember that it is okay to say no.

7. Have a heart to heart
In the end, she is your mom. Don't let the chaos of a wedding shake up your relationship. When things get heated or stressful, take a step back and have a conversation with her — letting her know what is making you feel this way.

Jen Glantz is a "Professional Bridesmaid" and the founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. She's the author of All My Friends Are Engaged and frequently wears old bridesmaid dresses to the grocery store and on first dates.

The Crazy Ways Mothers-In-Law Ruined These 3 Weddings

 Moms, Mother in Law  Comments Off on The Crazy Ways Mothers-In-Law Ruined These 3 Weddings
Mar 102016
Crazy Mother in Law Wedding Stories

Photo: New Line/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

Unfortunately, we all know someone with a monster-in-law — and even more dismaying, sometimes that person is us. But these horror stories are so shocking they are sure to make you feel better about your own mother-in-law, whose antics surely can't compete with this craziness.

"My mother-in-law pushed all my buttons — then bawled at my wedding."
When it comes to recalling the shenanigans her mother-in-law whipped out before and during her wedding, Kristen begins, "where do I start?" Her soon-to-be family member had a way of pushing each and every one of her buttons, she reports, including calling when her then-fiancé wasn't home to toss out insults — only to deny the bitter diatribes when he returned. Then the wedding day came. "My mother-in-law spent the majority of our wedding crying in a separate room about her ex-husband, who was also at the wedding," Kristen describes. "She was crying that she still loved him!" Talk about awkward. Luckily, Kristen says, her mother-in-law couldn't truly spoil the day, despite her best efforts. "She in no way ruined my wedding — I wouldn't give her that credit — but she made the two years up to the wedding hell for me and my husband," she says.

See More: Real Brides Reveal How They Won Over Their Mother-In-Laws

"My mother-in-law gave the worst wedding toast of all time."
Jennifer had a feeling her future mother-in-law might not like her — or be happy for her son's impending marriage. But when Jennifer's newest family member didn't mince words in her wedding toast, the bride no longer had to question the woman's true feelings about her relationship with her son. "In the worst wedding toast of all time," Jennifer describes, "my mother-in-law didn't congratulate us or say any of the nice things people would typically say. For her toast, she launched into a complaint about how her son would not do homework when he was a kid. She berated him for this throughout her little speech, like it was a grudge she's held for the last 32 years and this was finally her opportunity to share it with the world." Ouch! But Jennifer continues, "I can't say that she ruined the day, but she sure did hurt my husband's feelings. He hasn't talked to her since."

"My mother-in-law made out with one of the groomsmen."
Katie knew her future mother-in-law had a wild side. As she describes, "she was the kind of woman who would suggest shots if we were out at a restaurant. She once took a shot out of a man's belly button — with her son in view!" But Katie mistakenly believed she would behave on the couple's wedding day. "She didn't," Katie laments. "When we couldn't find her for the mother-son dance, we sent our maid-of-honor and best man to track her down. They found her in a car in the parking lot — with her legs wrapped around one of the groomsmen!" Though her mother-in-law pulled herself together in time to take a twirl, Katie has never forgiven her. "And my husband no longer speaks to the friend who took her into the backseat," she says.

4 Questions Your Future Mother-in-Law May Ask You Right Now — and How to Respond

 Brides Magazine February 2016 - March 2016, Etiquette, Moms, Mother in Law  Comments Off on 4 Questions Your Future Mother-in-Law May Ask You Right Now — and How to Respond
Feb 142016
questions mother in law may ask

Photo: Getty Images

Wedding planning can be stressful for any bride. Aside from trying to please all your guests and your family you'll have opinions coming in from your groom's side too. Your relationship with your future mother-in-law during wedding planning can range from practically strangers, to besties, to enemies (well, hopefully not total enemies).

If you and your future mother-in-law aren't super close it can be easy to snap into bridezilla mode when she asks you about the wedding. However, if her questions come off as pushy instead of helpful it may be hard to keep your cool. We talked to psychotherapist and author Deanna Brann about the best way to answer your mother-in-law's questions without starting a family feud.

If she says: "Just let me know if you want me to go dress shopping with you..."
You say: "My bridesmaids and I are going, but I'll let you know if that changes," says Brann. If you let her know you already have plans in place she won't feel like you've been stringing her along.

If she says: "You really can't swing more invites for us?"
You say: "[Her son's name] and I have thought very carefully about the guest list, and we are comfortable with the head count," suggests Brann. Ideally include your fiancé in the conversation — or at the very least, drop his name. This one is a little trickier but it's important to stand your ground. If she still won't back down it may be time to have your fiancé step in and talk to her separately.

See More: 33 Must Take Photos of Kids at Your Wedding

If she says: "Have you considered a church ceremony?"
You say: "[Her son's name] and I have really thought about where we want to be married, and this is the venue that has the most meaning to us," says Brann. If your future mother-in-law is still weary of your ceremony location consider showing her some pictures of the space! Talk her through what you plan to do with the space to help ease her concerns.

If she says: "How much money did my friends give you as gifts?"
You say: "Oh, my goodness, we've been getting so many gifts that I'm not sure at this point," says Brann. When in doubt, she says, "Deflect, deflect, deflect!" Seriously, don't even think about naming a number.

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES February/March 2016 issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

Feb 072016

Plenty of women absolutely adore their mother-in-law. They talk about feeling like a part of the family even before the wedding — being offered heirloom jewelry as their something blue, receiving a loving toast at the rehearsal dinner. That said, most wives confess some tension with the "other woman" in their husband's life, and the feeling is mutual, says Deanna Brann, a licensed clinical psychotherapist and the author of Reluctantly Related: Secrets to Getting Along with Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law.

In a survey of 1,000 relationships, she says, 75 percent of both MILs and DILs reported less-than-fuzzy feelings, ranging from "I wish it were better" to "I can't be around her." Pop culture hasn't done moms-in-law any favors: From Jane Fonda's aptly named Monster-in-Law to the murderous Victoria Grayson on Revenge to that pinnacle of overbearingness, Marie from Everybody Loves Raymond, on-screen MILs are almost universally insufferable, interfering, passive-aggressive guilt-trip machines.

The fact is, your MIL is only human, and so are you, both reacting to a seismic shift in your relationships with her son and each other. Any time you're assuming a position long held by another (in this case, the most important woman in your fiancé's life), the transfer of power will be fraught, and even the most outwardly sunny relationship can harbor an undercurrent of tension, whether it's mild irritation or full-blown discord.

For Lauren Moore, a dietitian in Denver, it was the first. She'd fallen in love with her husband's short, feisty, bleached-blond mother the minute they met. "Remember in high school, there was one house everyone gravitated toward because of the mom?" says Moore, 28. "That's her. I can picture her serving pizza rolls all night to make sure the kids and their friends were fed and happy." Then came the Cookie Jar Incident: "She visited us and saw an empty cookie jar in our kitchen," she says. "She told Mike that if I didn't want to bake, she could send homemade cookies from Arizona to keep our jar full. I thought, 'Oh, shit, this woman is going to be overbearing.'"

Whether the trouble comes from cookies or controlling behavior, it's important for your mental and marital health to establish a cordial relationship with his mother, says Brann: "You don't have to be best friends, but at the very least you need to get to a point where you can be around each other without stress, tension, or drama." Here's how.

1. Think about how your big news affected her life.
"When you're a mom, you're in the driver's seat," says Brann. "Then you're in the passenger seat because he's growing up and can drive the car. Once he gets married, you're in the back and his wife is with him in the front." When you consider that kind of demotion, it's no surprise that issues arise; even the loveliest woman will feel a sting from being knocked a few rungs down the ladder. And often it's not just herself she's worried about: A University of Wisconsin study found that after their sons get engaged or married, mothers worry about their boys' well-being and wonder whether they'll be changed by their wife. Yes, these fears may be retro and irrational, but cut mama bear a little slack. "This is her child who's getting married," says Brann. You have a wedding to plan, but she has a son to surrender, and it takes time for most of us to adapt to a major life change.

2. Get to actually know her.
You probably have a sense of what kind of mother your MIL is— sweet or needy, bossy or nurturing. But if you want peace in the valley, lose the labels and find ways to see her as a real person and engage with her as such. This doesn't mean a standing Sunday brunch date, but hanging out separately with her during visits— maybe in the kitchen, where you might discover you're obsessed with the same Food Network show— can work wonders. "You want to express genuine interest and kindness and to find common ground, whether it's reading, traveling, or whatever," says Lesli Doares, marriage therapist and author of Blueprint for a Lasting Marriage: How to Create Your Happily Ever After with More Intention, Less Work. "Building that positive foundation early will help down the road."

And the best time to start is before the wedding, says Brann. "Try to involve her in some way so she feels she's a part of things and not just another guest," she explains. This is what one of Sandy Petrovic's daughters-in-law did before marrying her son in 2013. "It was huge for me when she invited me with her mother and maid of honor to pick out her dress and then to do hair and makeup with the bridal party," she says. "Although I didn't have much of a say in the planning, it was so meaningful that I was included, and I felt like I was a part of it."

If you're not prepared to go that far, even small gestures, like occasionally updating your MIL on how the planning is going, will reassure her that she'll have a role in her son's new life with you. That's what Kelly, an Army wife near Seattle, did. "My mother-in-law is a very blunt person, so I would tell her about things only once we confirmed them," she says. "I kept her in the loop on everything but didn't ask her opinion." That's a great way to manage an in-your-face MIL, says Jen Glantz, professional bridesmaid and founder of Bridesmaid for Hire. "Give her a call to let her know whenever something big happens," she says. You can also send snaps of your flower arrangements or from the venue visit to make her feel like she's part of the process.

And if it seems that your MIL couldn't care less about the planning? Update her anyway. Caitlin's mother-in-law had kept her distance throughout a seven-year courtship with her son, so Caitlin, who's 28 and lives in Indianapolis, didn't even think to include her in the wedding planning. "It felt like it would have been weird," she says. "Now, three years after the wedding, family members say she still has bad feelings about not being asked to participate in decisions that I had no idea she even cared about."

See More: 30 Emotional Mother of the Bride Moments

3. Enlist your husband's help in setting boundaries.
Lisa, 40, a New York marketing exec, wishes she and her husband had come up with a solid game plan to deal with her "narcissistic" MIL before matters came to a head. "My mother-in-law pushed my buttons in strange ways on multiple occasions," says Lisa. "It drove me crazy when every time we visited for the weekend, she'd say I looked tired and why didn't I go upstairs and take a nap. I'd already told her I wasn't a napper, so I felt like she was being passive-aggressive, but I continued to answer politely that I wasn't tired."

Finally, after Lisa had heard it one time too many, she barked at her to never, ever suggest it again. Her mother-in-law burst into tears, her fiancé fled the room, and the incident sparked six months of silent treatment. "I should have been more respectful, but my husband should not have left the room," says Lisa. "Since then, he and I have become a team. And when his parents come to town, they stay in a hotel."

When you have a MIL who just doesn't get it, showing a united front and setting clear parameters of where she fits into your new family unit is key to keeping your marriage happy. If something's getting under your skin, talk to your husband, and if he isn't feeling your pain (most sons are inured to their mom's shortcomings), don't resort to name-calling and labeling, says Doares. "He'll be too busy defending her to address the specific behavior," she says. So instead of whisper-shouting in the kitchen, "Your mom's doing that thing again!" wait until it's just the two of you and say, "Can you tell your mom that she should call before she comes over? Imagine if she rang the bell when we were naked!"

If he talks to her and she still doesn't make adjustments, you and your husband need to agree on consequences. (Yep, just like with a two-year-old.) When she tries to barge in on Sunday mornings, answer the door and tell her you're busy. "Stand your ground, and eventually she will respect your wishes," says Brann. And keep in mind that she's not the only guilty party here. "Mothers can't dominate their adult sons unless they allow them to," says Karin Anderson Abrell, a psychologist in Chicago. Of course, you won't call your guy out on that; just cite specific times when you feel hurt and need him to stand up to his mom so that you can be a strong husband-wife team— without her sitting in the middle.

4. Be the change you want to see.
Whether your mother-in-law missteps because she's having a hard time letting go or she deliberately tries to undermine you at every turn, take the high road whenever you can. "Remember, this is your husband's mother," says Susan Shapiro Barash, author of Mothers-in-Law and Daughters-in-Law. "For that reason alone, you have to make allowances." Emily, 35, from Tampa, wanted to cry every time she visited her domineering, matriarchal mother-in-law in Spain. "For the first four years, she refused to say my name and would only call me 'the American,'" says Emily. "When I tried to speak Spanish, she shook her hand and said, 'Stop talking! Your Spanish hurts my ears!' She criticized the way I held my fork and knife, the way I dressed, even my weight." Because Emily knew her husband's family was important to him, she decided to make a real effort. She combed the Internet to find a worthy addition to her MIL's collection of ceramic ducks and brought updated family photos on every visit.

It transformed their relationship. "Now my mother-in-law hugs me and has even started to say 'I love you,'" she says. "I wish my younger self had had the confidence to do this sooner." Lauren Moore also adjusted her mindset after the Cookie Jar Incident. "I came to realize that the full jar was a symbol to my mother-in-law of hospitality, of welcoming people into your home— the things I love about her," she says.

5. And if all else fails, remind yourself that she did raise an awesome guy.
Don't worry if things get off to a rocky start; you've got years to work on this. Be patient and keep perspective. "Assuming your husband's values remain aligned with his parents', you likely have similar core values, ethics, and morals," says Anderson Abrell. Even if it's hard to find common ground, you share at least one crucial thing with your MIL: love for her son. Says Kelly, whose mother-in-law is prone to very abrasive backseat driving: "At the end of the day, she brought up an amazing man, and for that, I love her." Besides, if you plan to have kids, there's a good chance you'll be her one day.

Want more genius planning tips? For the best wedding dresses, advice, and big-day inspiration, pick up the BRIDES February/March issue, on newsstands now and available for download here!

A Wedding Planner Reveals: The Worst Mother of the Bride Ever

 Moms, Mother in Law, Mother of the Bride, Mother of the Groom  Comments Off on A Wedding Planner Reveals: The Worst Mother of the Bride Ever
Feb 032016
Worst Mother of the Bride Ever

Photo: New Line Cinema/Courtesy Neal Peters Collection

Sandy Malone, star of TLC's Wedding Island, is the owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico. Here, the pro-planner dishes on the worst mother of the bride behavior she's ever seen.

You and the groom planned (and paid for) a certain number of hours for your wedding reception, and that's all you get. The cocktail hour starts at the appointed time, regardless of whether your wedding ceremony was on schedule, and the clock starts ticking whether or not there's anybody there to enjoy it. And the party ends at the pre-designated time.

Unless you're getting married at a wedding-mill type of venue where every vendor is included, it's very difficult to extend the wedding reception at the last minute. You can't just keep the DJ and send everybody else home. There's cleanup and teardown to be done once your guests have left. Most couples understand this, and are well aware of how much they'd be spending to add extra time. But they're not the ones who get upset the party is ending. It's usually a drunk guest or parent who wants to party all night long.

The most terribly-behaved mother of the bride I've ever dealt with totally lost it when her daughter's wedding reception ended earlier than she wanted. It began late because she wasn't ready on time. On this wedding day, it was all about the MOB, not her daughter.

She showed up two hours late for her hair appointment and made them redo it four times, delaying the ceremony by 45 minutes. The bride was ready and waiting the whole time, as were their guests. The wedding reception started an hour behind schedule, and there was only an hour left when toasts began, so we asked them to be brief. The mother of the bride talked for 22 minutes without taking a breath. Mostly about herself, and a little bit about the bride. She never mentioned the groom. Why let the bride and groom crowd her spotlight, right?

When it was time to shut things down, we hadn't done the bouquet and garter toss, or the last dance yet, so I asked management and the DJ to give us a few extra minutes. Afterwards, we sent the partygoers off to the after-party pre-planned in the bar, while our crew began teardown.

Shortly thereafter, the MOB informed me that we would be adding three hours to the wedding reception. I was baffled. The DJ was unplugged, the lights were on. Décor was being packed up. The bridal couple and their guests were enjoying late night snacks in the bar. I told her that, unfortunately, it was too late. And she began screaming.

See More: Every Single Responsibility of the Mother of the Bride

I tried to ignore her and continued to do cleanup. She followed me around the venue, getting louder and louder as I worked. The venue's management joined me and backed me up — the event could not be extended.

It was embarrassing and humiliating, even though I didn't do anything wrong, because her behavior drew quite a crowd. My staff ran video to cover us (we always do when a drunk person behaves crazily) just in case the situation escalated.

The wedding was flawless and the night would have been perfect if the mother of the bride had behaved herself. Instead, things ended on a dark note. She was hands down the worst one I've dealt with — in more than 500 weddings.

Sandy Malone is the owner of Sandy Malone Weddings & Events, a full-service traditional and destination wedding planning company and Do-It-Yourself wedding planning consulting service for DIY brides and grooms based in the Washington, DC area. Sandy is the star of TLC's reality show Wedding Island, about her destination wedding planning company, Weddings in Vieques. Sandy's book How to Plan Your Own Destination Wedding: Do-It-Yourself Tips from an Experienced Professional, will be released on March 1st, but is available online for pre-orders now where books are sold.

Dec 292015
How to Win Over Your In-Laws

Photo: Getty Images

True story: "A couple I worked with recently was hesitant to talk about their in-laws, because they felt they were not a big priority," retells People, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent. "After all, they were marrying each other, not their in-laws." But that couple was missing the mark, the psychologist explains.

"In-laws are important to your lives together," Duffy says. "Your spouse would not be who he is were it not for that family that raised him. And if you really think about it, you are likely to spend as much time with your in-laws, for the rest of your life, as you will with your own parents. They are family." With that in mind, here are surefire ways to win over your newest, very important family members.

Show your in-laws they really are family.
You've got a marriage certificate that shows they're now part of your family tree, but don't let that document speak for itself. "Be explicit with them that you consider them family, and that you are excited for the part of your life you will be sharing with them," advises Duffy. "This will help address and ease the biggest anxiety many in-laws have: that they will be losing their son or daughter."

See More: How to Travel With Your In-Laws

Offer to lend a hand.
The quickest way to win over any hostess, including your mother-in-law, is by showing her you value her efforts and her home and are always willing to lend a hand. "Ask to help out in the kitchen when at their house," suggests Duffy. "Let them know that you won't always treat their home like a vacation."

Thank them for the wonderful job they did raising your spouse.
This seemingly cheesy gesture is sure to hit home. Why? By taking your in-laws aside and sincerely thanking them for the gift of your spouse, Duffy says, you are honoring the greatest contribution they've made to your life. "Many in-laws feel as if that connection isn't made," Duffy says, "and that causes them to feel dismissed."

Not only will this move surely win over your in-laws, but it will mean something to your spouse, too. "I find that married people truly appreciate when their spouses connect with and prioritize their parents' importance in their lives," explains Duffy. "It's a highly attractive quality, and it makes for a far less complicated, fragmented married life."

Visit your in-laws alone.
Hiding behind your spouse every time you see your in-laws won't win you any points. "If possible, visit them sometimes without your spouse," suggests Duffy. "This will show them you really want to develop a relationship with them." Take this move a step farther, he suggests, by "asking for their help in finding gifts for your new spouse. They will feel useful and trusted, and part of the joy of your marriage."

How to Impress Your In-Laws On Their First Overnight Visit

 Mother in Law, Planning Tips  Comments Off on How to Impress Your In-Laws On Their First Overnight Visit
Dec 272015
Impress In-laws on First Overnight Visit

Photo: Getty Images

'Tis the time of year your in-laws, sometimes stay overnight. With those long-term stays can come some serious stress. "First holidays with the in-laws can be a bit of a shocker for newly-married couples," commiserates John Duffy, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist and author of The Available Parent.

Not only can close quarters suddenly feel cramped, he says, but privacy now comes at a premium. "Plus, the holidays are an emotionally-charged time for most people," Duffy points out. "Holiday traditions may clash, power struggles may ensue, and losses may be felt." But you can flawlessly host your in-laws and impress them in the process with these expert tips.

Make their guest room a getaway.
Go above and beyond to make your guest room a respite for your in-laws to truly enjoy. "Set it up with fresh flowers and nice linens and bedding," suggests Duffy. "If your home is noisy, invest in a white noise machine for their room to eat up some of that sound. They will appreciate feeling like welcome guests in a home-away-from-home. And a picture of them, or the four of you together, would be a bulls-eye."

See More: What to Do When Your In-Laws Catch You Having Sex

Consider their meal preferences.
Call your in-laws prior to their arrival to ask what they might like to eat, or if they have any dietary concerns of which you should be aware, says Ruth Nemzoff, Ph.D., parenting expert and author of Don't Roll Your Eyes: Making In-Laws Into Family. "If you enjoy cooking, consider asking them to choose between a couple of your best dishes," she suggests, "and do your homework and ask what your spouse thinks would be appropriate."

Create a new tradition together.
Welcoming your in-laws into your world is one thing. But creating a new tradition you can look forward to as a family each year takes your relationship to a new level. Bonus: It doesn't have to be a big deal. "You might want to play a game at night, or break out guitars and have a sing along," suggests Duffy. "They will feel like family."

Real Brides Share: ‘How I Won Over My Mother-in-law to Be’

 Moms, Mother in Law, Relationships  Comments Off on Real Brides Share: ‘How I Won Over My Mother-in-law to Be’
Dec 252015
How I Won Over Future Mother In Law

Photo: Getty Images

You've got his love, but the path to marriage and a life together is certainly easier if the woman who gave birth to him is totally on board. Here, real bride's dish on how they bonded with their future mother-in-laws and avoided the dreaded monster-in-law situation.

"The first time I met my now mother-in-law was right before my boyfriend was going to propose. He and I flew to Houston and there was some awkwardness. She asked me if I wanted to join her on a 10-mile walk in the middle of the day heat of Houston, TX. I nearly got heatstroke but I felt after that like we were friends!" —Katie

"When we first got engaged Steve and I spent a lot of time with my family. The few times we stopped by his parents, I felt a wave of coldness from his mom. Finally Steve said to me, 'She's afraid when I'm married I'll never see her.' That was an Oprah 'aha' moment. From then on I called his mom regularly, asked her advice on wedding stuff, visited regularly with Steve, and she started calling me daughter. As long as she didn't expect me to call her mom, that was fine!" —Amy

"My fiancé's mother and I had absolutely nothing in common— except Seth, of course. So there were lots of silences when we were around each other. Worse, I felt she disapproved of my lifestyle. I admit I'm a workaholic and she was a stay at home mom who raised three kids. So I started asking her for cooking lessons, gardening lessons, how to knit— homey things, so she'd know I was interested in who she and was and what she could teach me. We bonded and I learned how to make a fabulous coq a vin." —Regina

"At first I treated Ed's mom the way I treat mine. If I didn't like something she liked, I'd say so. I'd make small jokes at her expense— the way we do in our family. Only the result here was three months before my wedding the woman whose son I was marrying could barely stand to be in the same room as me. So I invited her to brunch at the fancy new spot in town and begged for a second chance. I asked her what kind of daughter of law she wanted me to be. She said someone who treated her with respect and dignity. So now I save the wisecracking for my mom and treat Ed's mom with deference. And we're one big, happy extended family." —Beth

See More: Tips to Help You Resolve Any Fight With Your Mother-In-Law

"Tom's mother was uncomfortable around me in the beginning. Tom was her only son and she clearly wasn't ready for him to be married. So I started asking her to show me pictures of him when he was a baby, to talk about his time in Little League, and asked her to share his favorite recipes. She no longer felt threatened but like my teacher— the person who held the key to what made Tom tick." —Ann

"When Bill told his mom we were getting married she was wary— was I really the right person for her precious boy? So I invited her to get together with my mom so they could share stories about their kids. Once my about to be mother-in-law realized I came from a kind, loving, good home she relaxed and jumped happily into wedding planning." —Kim

"Once I told her how much I adored her son, what a good job she'd done raising him, she warmed up and we began to develop a great relationship. I'm now married seven years and I consider Bob's mom like a second mother." —Risa

"She didn't like me until I got pregnant right after the wedding. Suddenly I was her favorite person in the world." —Ally

Sherry Amatenstein is a New York City-based marriage therapist and author.

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