Let’s face it, you’re going to have to include the mother-in-law in your wedding planning, no, not you’re wedding plans, the actual planning of your wedding.  Your father-in-law is almost certainly going to want to be as far from the whole thing as possible, likely protecting his pocketbook with Gollum-like ferocity.  You’re going to want to handle integrating your mother-in-law with grace, giving her enough power to make her feel important, but not enough to try to dictate how everything plays out.

Hear Her, Don’t Heed Her: This one is absolutely vital, they’re going to have a lot of advice, a lot of it.  So while they’re flapping their gums about all the things they think you “should” be doing, let most of it flow over you like the crashing of waves at the ocean.  She’ll be happy you heard her, and then you can go about doing things the way you want for your wedding.

Give Them Something To Do: We know that this can be a real challenge, they’re already trying to voice their opinion about every little thing.  The point is, they’re just wanting to be involved, and that’s not really something you should discourage.  There’s two ways of going about this, giving them the illusion of choices so they feel like they’re helping, and allocating her jobs you just don’t want to handle (hello catering decisions).  You’ll want to keep your finger on the pulse of her project, but if you can let her go, do.

Communication is Key: Admittedly we kind of just said this, but it bears expansion.  Communication is key, especially if you have a genuinely helpful mother-in-law.  If you aren’t openly talking about the planning process, you’re going to wind up having conflicts down the road that you have only yourself to blame for.  Check in on her project and make sure she involves you in key decisions so you know she’s keeping to your vision.

Show Your Appreciation: Even if she really isn’t doing much, make sure that you express your appreciation frequently.  It will make her feel good about the contributions she’s made, and perhaps keep her from trying to take on more than you’re comfortable with her handling.  It also means you’ll reduce bitterness and resentment for the effort they put in to projects (they probably asked for).

These four little steps will help you get through your wedding planning process with everyone feeling like they were welcome and involved in the process.  This is a big day for everyone including your mother-in-law, and you want to make sure it’s filled with good memories.  It’s also a great opportunity to cement the relationship with the other woman you’ll be spending the rest of your life with.