Singaporebrides | Relationships

January 2021

How to Introduce Your Parents to Your In-Laws

Introducing your parents to your in-laws is a milestone for you as a couple, and we have some tips to help you avoid awkwardness and get their in-law relationship off to a good start!

The first time you met your significant other’s parents, you were a nervous wreck. Now that it’s time for both sets of parents to meet, you’re breaking out in a sweat again. First impressions can last a long time, and this is a relationship that will last both your lifetimes, so you definitely want their first meeting to go well!

Here are 5 things to consider when you introduce your parents to your in-laws, to get their relationship off on the right foot. Even if they have had a chance to chat before, these tips will help them get to know one another a bit better, and are also useful for formal meetings such as your Guo Da Li!

1. When to meet

Chances are, your parents have already said the passing hi to your in-laws when you were dating, but before the wedding, you should definitely get them together for a proper get-to-know-you session. After all, they’re about to become family! Invite both sets of parents for a meal after you get engaged, and be sure to choose a time that’s convenient for each side. If your or your S.O.’s parents are divorced, you may need to arrange separate meetings so that every one has a chance to meet.

For Chinese families, the groom’s parents will usually extend an invitation to the bride’s parents for a first meeting. During this meeting, they might discuss wedding traditions such the dowry and gifts for the upcoming Guo Da Li betrothral ceremony.

Samantha and Jarred’s “Love You to the Moon and Back” Minimony at Open Farm Community by Justrealle Photography

2. Where to meet

You’ve settled on a time to introduce your parents to your in-laws, so all you need now is the perfect place. One set of parents might graciously offer to host at home, but it would actually be more comfortable for everyone to meet on neutral ground. That way, no one feels pressured to clean up their house or worried about getting their gourmet dishes out of the oven in the middle of conversation.

Choose a comfortable, mid-priced restaurant for the first meeting so nobody is nervous about fancy fine dining etiquette. If one set of parents is hosting, make sure that they’ve taken dining preferences or dietary restrictions for the other set of parents into account. Find somewhere quiet too, so that you can carry on a conversation.

3. How to prepare your parents

While you don’t need to dictate how your parents behave when introducing them to your in-laws, you should give them some background information so that they are prepared. Let your parents know some basic background information too, such as what your in-laws do, or if they have shared interests.

If your parents come from different cultures, share about your partner’s background and culture to avoid a possible faux pas. Give them a heads-up on sensitive issues to avoid, for example, if there has been a recent death or illness in the family. If one parent has a smoking habit or strong political views, let the other set of parents know not to bring the topic up. If one set of parents has a religious belief, prep the other set so no one is caught off-guard when someone prays before their meal or someone else says they don’t eat beef. All parents have their eccentricities, so if you foresee any clashes, have a quiet word that with person beforehand, just to be safe.

If you’re meeting to discuss Guo Da Li matters, you might like to discuss with your parents beforehand on what traditions you’d like to uphold or what gifts to request to minimise awkwardness. You don’t want to hear crickets after someone asks for 20 tables out of the blue.

4. What to talk about

Before the meeting, sit down with your partner and brainstorm some good conversation topics so you don’t have to resort to alcohol like Jake and Amy to keep tensions away. Act as hosts to facilitate the conversation and help everyone feel comfortable. Since you know both sets of parents, you and your partner can lead the conversation to common interests or the news, but beware of topics that could get too controversial!

Jayne and Anand’s Fairytale Multi-Cultural Wedding at Shangri-La Rasa Sentosa, Singapore by Dapper Pictures

5. Who pays the bill

Ah, the awkward check dance. Avoid it by knowing well in advance who’s paying the bill. The hosts—whoever extended the invitation—will pay the bill. If you, the couple, were the ones who initiated the first meeting, you’ll get the check.

Let Them Form Their Own Relationship

Finally, if you’ve done all you can to prepare both sets of parents for their first meeting and it doesn’t go as well as you hoped, don’t worry about it. People take a while to build relationships so don’t try too hard to force a friendship on them from the start. They will have plenty of time to get to know one another better as you all prepare for your wedding together, chat on your wedding day, and over the years as you celebrate birthdays, holidays, and children’s birthdays together. And if they still don’t get along, remember that their relationship doesn’t reflect on you as a couple!

Feature image from Hui Kin and Andie’s Paper Floral-Filled Wedding at Andaz The Glasshouse by Joy de Vi

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How to Introduce Your Parents to Your In-Laws