The Etiquette of Parents Meeting Parents

An engagement season can be magical as a couple busily plan their wedding, shares their excitement with those close to them, and bask in pre-wedding festivities. No matter the length of the engagement, one of the crucial tasks during this time is for the couples' parents to meet and get better acquainted.After all -- they're about to become family!

Whose parents reach out first? Traditionally, if the couple’s parents have not met one another, it is the groom’s parents, or specifically mother, who arrange this meeting. However, this is one of those traditions that is more for the sake of tradition than for practical, modern application. In fact, it dates back to when brides would move in with the groom's family, thus making the groom's side a dominant figure in the marriage. Even if the bride's parents wish to adhere to tradition, if no invitation or arrangement has been communicated within the first few days or weeks following the engagement announcement, it is perfectly acceptable for them to take the initiative. His parents may even be waiting for hers to make the first move.

How to make contact As a parent, don’t be afraid to get the other parent’s phone number(s), and introduce yourself with a friendly call. If you’re comfortable with technology, you could suggest video chatting through a program like Skype for a more in-person vibe. If your schedules are very busy, or you find it difficult to coordinate, it is acceptable to use email, although this is seen as more of a last resort. From there you can arrange a time to meet in person that works best for everyone. In the event that distance prevents you from getting together in person before the big day, stay in touch throughout the engagement and wedding planning process.

What about divorced parents? If the other parents and/or yourself are divorced, the first question to field is how pleasant the relationship is between exes. This is a conversation to have with the bride/groom regarding their parents. If the relationships between all exes are on good terms, there's no reason not to all come together for this wonderful moment. If any relationship is not on the best of terms, you should decide to meet separately, but as close to the date as possible so as to avoid hurt feelings.

In any case, it's a good thing to keep in mind that whether or not you all become best friends, this is a time to think about the kids you share, and the grandkids you might share someday.

Posted by Kendall Arelleis, Event Coordinator with The 530 Bride