Oh the in-laws, if there’s a bear in the cave of your relationship, meeting the in-laws has got to be it. You’ve met them, you love them, but you really have no idea what the rest of their family is like. Meeting the in-laws is when that all changes, and like them or hate them, leaving a good impression is vital to happy wedding day bliss. In fact, it’s kind of the key to making sure your life with your future spouse doesn’t have a burr of tension that’s not going anywhere. File it down with these four rules to “surviving the in-laws”

Treat Her Like a Lady/Him Like a Prince: You want them to know that their baby (you’re always your parents baby) is in the hands of someone who will love them and take care of them. So keep your affection to ‘Church Social Acceptable’ and keep your playful jibes to a minimum, you don’t want to send the wrong impression.

Tradition… TRADITION!: Families tend to have their own internal set of traditions, things they’ve carried on together that bond them together through silly repetition. Embracing your in-laws traditions helps to reassure them that you’re there to join their family, not change it. So no matter how silly you feel wearing reindeer antlers and singing Ava Maria, you get out there and do it!

Don’t Get Political, or Religious: These conversations are the absolute pitfalls of good book-handsrelations. Unless you know, without a doubt, that you are in absolute agreement with their religious and political ties, just keep these topics off the table. If they insist on talking these subjects, non-committal answers and general noises of encouragement will let them dominate the conversation, and think you agree with them the whole way. The safest road for certain.

Compliment Their Home: A family’s home is the heart of who they are, and by taking an interest in their knick-knacks and obvious sources of pride you can be certain to win a warm and happy place in their hearts. This means that shadowbox full of trophies? Ask about it, they’re there for a reason.

There are a lot more things that can go wrong with a meeting with the in-laws, but these four basic guidelines will keep you out of harm’s way, at least for the most part. From here on in its all common sense and treading lightly while you find out who these people are. One more thing, nothing ingratiates yourself to the in-laws like including them in the wedding planning.