Have you ever had a "whine and cheese" session with an engaged girlfriend about her nightmare future mother in law? Or perhaps it's your fiancГ©'s mom that scares the bejesus out of you when you think about what it's going to be like to plan your own wedding. Especially if she's the type of person that makes a simple family gathering for Thanksgiving a nightmarish process.
You can't avoid her completely because, let's face it, she's your fiancГ©'s mother and technically a wedding VIP. But there are ways to make things a little better, and you're going to need your fiancГ©'s help!
Set boundaries from the beginning.
If neither set of parents is helping plan (or helping pay) and you don't want them involved, make that clear from the beginning by kindly letting them know you've got it all under control. You only have to give as much detail as you want to give. But don't let it create a rift in your relationship.
Give her something to keep her busy.
If you don't want her involved in the wedding planning and she's gung-ho to get right in the middle of it, figure out what exactly you can let her take over that won't really matter to you and let it be her "baby." Invitations are a time-consuming pain in the butt but if she's willing to stuff and mail them, let her do it.
Pick your battles.
Try not to complain to your fiancГ© about every annoying email you get from your future mother in law, but if something is over-the-top, don't hesitate to forward it to him and discuss how to handle it. Try not to get into a war with your fiancГ©'s mother over something that is, honestly, only one day in the thousands you will spend married to each other.
Don't talk badly about your fiancГ©'s mother to his friends and family, even if they initiate it.
Not every cousin may love Aunt So-and-So, but the last thing you need is for that cousin to repeat your own snarky remark to her mother and have it get back to your future Mother-in-Law. Let them say what they will, but don't agree and don't contribute. Just file away what you're hearing for research purposes. It may come in handy later.
Try to initiate some wedding-related tasks with your fiancГ©'s mom if she's dying to be in the mix.
Bring her along when you shop for china - you don't have to actually register for anything she suggests. If she really wants you to register someplace specific because of her friends who will be sending gift, play along. It won't kill you to pick some over-the-top gifts if she wants to buy them or knows her friends will. If she actually does know flowers better than you, bring her along on your consult. Just remember you don't have to take her advice.
Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.