We recently came across a pretty scary story from a woman in the midst of wedding planning: She wrote into Salon.com’s advice column seeking counsel because her future mother-in-law wanted to wear her old wedding dress to her son’s wedding. (Yes, you read that right.)

While we’d bet (hope!) that this MIL’s request is way far from the norm, it got us thinking about the tricky dynamic between a bride-to-be and her future mom-in-law: You want to include her, show her respect, and, let’s be real, make sure she likes you. But you also want to be true to yourself and your wedding vision in the process.With this in mind, here are five very common scenarios that can play out during planning and some advice on how to handle them gracefully.via Lover.ly
Photo by Nosnibor137/Bigstock.com
1. She wants to be involved in everything—including some of the planning tasks you’d like to do with just your mom.
Especially for MILs who don’t have daughters of their own, wedding planning can be a chance to tap into their girly sides and play with all the pretty stuff. However, you may want to, say, go dress shopping with just your mom and you might feel pressured to include your partner’s mom, too. Rather than veer from what you really want, find a compromise that suits you: For example, you might shop for and choose a gown with your mom, but include your mom-in-law-to-be at your fitting. That way, she feels part of the process but you and your own mom get that special moment of finding the dress together, too.
2. She has lots of opinions—about stuff she’s not paying for.
Sometimes, you just have to give in to the art of nodding along and then changing the subject at your first chance. Yes, your MIL thinks you should serve filet mignon. Or, on the other end of the spectrum, perhaps she believes that paper plates are just fine for your wedding dinner. Honestly, she can think whatever she wants: Ultimately, the decision lies with those who are paying the bills.

3. Her tastes are very, very different than yours—and she wants to do the rehearsal dinner on her own.
If you’re not the type who wants to plan two events—the night before and the big day—and you feel like you can relinquish control, just show up and be happy with whatever she chooses, then try to detach yourself, for your own sanity. However, if you want to guide her (or think it might be necessary to do so), offer to set up a bundle for the event through which you can share ideas. You’ll get to bond with her over swapping your favorite tablescapes and flower arrangements and she might be more open to other options after seeing how many creative directions there really are.

4. She’s super scatterbrained and calls you multiple times asking the same questions about the same planning issues.
Maybe she’s got a lot on her plate. Maybe she’s never planned any events before. Whatever the case may be, this is the time to direct your MIL over to her spouse-to-be. Your partner can (gently) tell her that she needs to stop bugging you with constant questions and assist her with whatever issues she’s having with planning, the wedding logistics, and so on.

5. She’s being really negative about the wedding planning process for no apparent reason.
For some people, wedding planning is just not fun. Or, perhaps, she’s worried about the budget, anxious about seeing her side of the family, or having some other issue that’s totally unbeknown to you. Whatever the case may be, her negativity shouldn’t drag you down. If you can, limit talking with her about the wedding to only when necessary or ask your fiancé to chat with her as needed. You might even consider politely telling her (or asking your partner to tell her) that her Debbie Downer attitude is hurting your feelings, or what have you. She might not even realize how she’s sounding to others and may need a wake-up call.


—By Natasha Burton