Post # 1
My FI are recently engaged, we have met each other’s parents many times, but they have never met each other.
My parents: still married, love my FI, are dying to throw an engagement party and meet his family.
His parents: Divorced two years ago, Dad remarried very quickly, Mom is very very bitter, has not seen ex-husband since the divorce or met the new wife and step kids.
I’m not worried about everyone acting civil during the actual wedding, more so how/when we should introduce them to my parents. On separate days? Pre-engagement party? Should they meet each other before they meet my family? Is that too much pressure? Also, my FMIL has a tendency to not show up to things/schedule ridiculous other commitments during potentially uncomfortable situations.
My FI and I have talked about it a lot and have thought about getting some help from the rest of his family (aunts/uncles, etc), but maybe we should just go to his Mom and Dad directly and ask how they want to handle it? Should I tell my parents to back off the whole thing?
Thanks for your help, I know everyone’s family situation is different, but I’d love to hear about any advice/similar situations of yours.
Post # 3
I’d recommend going directly to Mom and Dad and ask delicately how they want to handle it. Explain (especially to Mom) that you do not want to make anyone uncomfortable. If you plan on having a lot of people at the Engagement Party then I would recommend a pre-engagement get together for just the parents to meet and socialize first.
Post # 4
My fiance’s parents are both divorced and remarried. It’s a bit different because there’s not much bitterness, but we did it seperately at first. We organized dinners for my parents to meet each set of his parents separately…that way we didn’t have to worry about any potential awkwardness at all. The idea is for your parents to get to know each other a bit, so make it as relaxed an environment as possible. We weren’t engaged when they all first met…we had an engagement party after we got engaged and everyone came and had a good time. The engagement party included some friends and other family members too, so the divorced couple didn’t need to interact with each other if they didn’t want to.
I would definitely suggest having them all meet on separate occassions first. You can still have an engagement party with everyone there, but give your parents a chance to meet each set of his on their own beforehand.
Post # 5
I would second Weazie’s suggestion of having your parents meet your FFIL and FMIL on two separate occasions so that FFIL and FMIL don’t have to deal with the awkwardness of being in a social situation together more than necessary (where necessary = rehearsal dinner and wedding).
Both of our sets of parents are still together, but what we did was this:
My FIL’s live 3 hours away, whereas my parents live in the same town as us. The FIL’s drove down to stay with us for a weekend and we sent the dads golfing the next morning because they both love golf so it gave them something to break the ice. We (me and FI) took our moms shopping and sightseeing around town; my mom loves showing off her hometown to OOT’ers so it was a good icebreaker on that side. Then we met up with the dads after their golf game and went out for dinner all together at a restaurant.
I think doing it the way we did it has the potential to go really well. In our case, both sets of parents took a strong dislike to the other set anyway, but they are both pretty judgmental people who are set in their ways, and each set lives a lifestyle that the other looks down upon, so we didn’t have high hopes. At least they can act civil towards each other when they’re in the same room. I do think we did the best we could and I do think that for a better combination of people, this was a nice way to get them to spend time together and give them something to do that acts as an icebreaker.
Post # 6
We’re in a similar situation – FI’s parents are divorced, dad remarried quickly, and mom is still upset by the situation. My mom (my dad passed away several years ago) has met his mom, and will hopefully meet his dad and dad’s wife in a few months when we take a trip to where his dad lives. We only had his mom at our engagement lunch (and some of his dad’s family, but not his dad). The first time they see one another since the divorce will be at the wedding – and the new wife may not come (her choice). I guess for us it’s easier this way. That said, I would definitely do the initial introductions separately to avoid as much awkwardness as possible. If they are going to be at the same events, I would make it big events so they don’t have to interact much if they don’t want to.
Post # 7
We were in a similar situation with my parents, but they’ve been divorced for so long now that everyone made nice for the wedding, etc. DH’s parents are divorced, but very amicable (spent holidays together for many years, etc.)
We tried to have the moms meet before the wedding, but it didn’t work out (DH’s parents live on either coast and mine in the middle). Everyone ended up meeting at the dinner 2 days before the wedding, but there were two dinner tables in separate rooms, with the mothers at one and the fathers at the other. So it can work out, but my dad didn’t really get to spend time with his mom and vice versa for my mom and his dad.
I think asking the divorced couple, specifically his mom, how she/they would like to handle it is the best approach. Otherwise, you end up with everyone together (hopefully) being civil, but it’s not the most relaxed situation.