A Washingtonian Wedding: Marrying Into the Family

When it comes to in-laws, remember the Golden Rule.

In-laws tend to get a bad rap. And unfortunately, I’ve heard stories that back up their reputation. One woman’s mother-in-law wore a white dress to her wedding, in hopes of overshadowing her daughter-in-law. Yikes. There are tales of in-laws who refuse to admit the bride or groom into the family, in-laws who are indifferent, mean, and even evil. Ever seen the movie Hush? There are those families who meddle excessively and fail to relinquish control over their son or daughter. Meet the Parents is a prime and incredibly awkward example.
Thank the Lord, mine are none of the above. In fact, they’re wonderful. This weekend, Drew and I flew to Nashville for another wedding and stayed with his parents. We ate lovely breakfasts, lunches, and dinners with his parents. We enjoyed lunch with his brother and uncle, visited with his grandparents, swam in his uncle’s pool, listened to his storyteller grandfather captivate with anecdotes of Purple Martin birds and Ireland, attended church with the whole family, and shared a spread of amazing desserts with them. They showered us with love, wedding gifts, and amazing Southern food. I feel so thankful for Drew’s family. I think I’d want to be close with them even sans Drew, because they’re so great.

But if your in-law experience is less pleasant, here’s one piece of advice, cliché but tried and true. Imagine yourself in their shoes. Your in-laws are entrusting their son or daughter to you and, in a small way, losing him or her to you. You’ll be your spouse’s primary confidant, most intimate friend, life partner. It’s got to be a lot to take in as a parent. So, be kind, be understanding, be loving… all the golden-rule stuff.
Of course there are horror stories, but for the most part, your future in-laws want to like you, just as you want to like them. There’s a mutual desire to get along, to be that happy family. And if you love your to-be husband or wife with the kind of love necessary for marriage, you should seek to love all of that person—his or her family included.


Emily, a Washington bride-to-be, writes every Friday about planning her wedding, which will be in Nashville this fall. To follow her adventures from the beginning, click here.

As much as we've loved having Emily writing about her engagement experiences with us, her wedding is fast approaching—so we're looking for a replacement blogger. Are you engaged and planning a wedding? Do you want to share your lessons learned, your trials and tribulations, and lots more with Washingtonians? If you're interested, send an e-mail with why you think you'd make a great wedding blogger to Lynne Shallcross at

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