Each Wednesday, we tackle wedding etiquette. At times, it’s a reader question or one from a colleague, friend or family member and other times we’ll cover a popular issue. This week, we’re talking about introducing you and your spouse-to-be’s parents to one another.
Question: My boyfriend and I just got engaged. We’ve been dating for two years, so obviously we’ve met one another’s parents, but our parents haven’t yet met. My parents live locally and his are about an hour away. How do we handle parent introductions?
Answer: Congratulations on your engagement! It’s great that you are thinking about the introductions right away, which will head awkwardness and hurt feelings off at the pass. Since his parents live in another city, invite them in for a long weekend. Plan a nice dinner the first night. Talk it over with your parents to see if they might agree to host a casual brunch or a luncheon the next day. This will offer one more formal occasion for the initial meeting at dinner. Then the luncheon will be less formal, once they’ve gotten to know one another and a little more intimate, since it’s at your parent’s home. If your parents can’t or don’t want to host them, go out for a casual brunch or lunch at a favorite spot. In New Orleans, Salú Bistro and Bar on Magazine Street is a great casual option and Commander’s Palace has a divine weekend brunch if you want to go all out (don’t forget the dress code). Let the rest of the weekend be dictated by the parents. If they hit it off, there is plenty of open time for them to socialize over coffee or drinks and, or maybe work in another dinner. If not, they’ve met their obligations and will have time to visit with you and your fiancé. The main point is to get them together, so that they aren’t meeting for the first time during the wedding festivities.
For anyone whose parents live far enough away from one another that a weekend visit is out of the question due to time or budget constraints, at the very least do a phone, Skype, email or snail mail introduction to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
Do you have a solution to share or a wedding etiquette question? Respond in the comments or email Melanie@MyNewOrleans.com.