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Ask Kate: Overbearing Mother-in-law

August 8, 2012

Kate Thompson has been offering heart-felt advice and sparklingly different wedding inspiration for ten years. She is married with two children, and often features in the national press. With her warm and caring nature and off-beat sense of humour, she'll answer every question with knowledgable insight and understanding to help and inspire or simply restore your peace of mind.


I am getting married in just over a year and am being torn between my family my fiance’s.

I have a very small family of just 5 people with no extended family at all where as my fiance has a very large family and quite an overbearing mother. She has no daughters and is insisting that she be involved in every part of our wedding including choosing my wedding dress with me.

She has two other sons who’s wives did not include her and keeps telling me that is is my duty to involve her. On the other side, my mum does not seem to want to be as involved or excited about the wedding as I would like her to be and I can’t help but feel it is as a result of my future mother in laws requests.

My parents are not too keen on my future in laws and I am very worried about them feeling uncomfortable on my wedding day.

What can I do to keep things calm between families?


It can sometimes be difficult to reconcile the two sets of parents. I can see nothing wrong in involving your mother-in-law in your dress-buying, particularly if your own mother is not that interested and it is always good to have a second opinion.

Your mother-in-law is clearly desperate to have a mother-daughter relationship with you and I think that’s wonderful and something to be encouraged for your future family relations. Try not to let her pressurise you into choosing something which you are not comfortable with though – it is your wedding.

It is possible that your own mother may be feeling a little left out if you are including your mother-in-law in your wedding plans, which could explain her apparent indifference. I am sure that she cares very deeply about your wedding plans, and would love to play a part, she might just not want to interfere. I would consider organising a special day of shopping, with afternoon tea or a nice lunch, with both mothers. That way they can get to know each other better, and both be involved.

If your parents are not keen on your future in-laws, perhaps you could arrange an informal evening; dinner or drinks, or even a trip to your venue or reception, to allow them to spend more time together and get to know each other. In a non-pressurised environment they may find that they get on quite well. If this fails, do not fear – they will be civil to one another on your wedding day, as it is equally important for both sets of parents that the day is perfect for you and your husband-to-be.

Kate x

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