There is often stress when it comes with dealing with your future in-laws once you become engaged, usually due to balancing their expectations and planning the wedding you actually want. However, it’s not just the parents you have to adapt to, but also the siblings of your beloved.
Depending on the closeness of the family, you may face some territorial jealousy as you become a constant presence. If your personalities just don’t mesh, it’s unlikely you’ll ever become best friends, and that’s okay. That said, it is best if you can build a comfortable relationship, as you’ll likely be spending holidays and family gatherings together for the rest of your lives. It’s up to you to put in the effort, and it will most likely take multiple attempts to fully establish a friendship.
Whether you're going to be best friends or only see them once a year, here are our tips on how to bond with your future sibling-in-law so that everything goes smoothly.
If you live nearby, schedule hangout times – whether it’s dinner, drinks, or even an appointment to get mani/pedis. It's okay if these hangouts start with you and your future spouse; however, if you hit it off or you want him/her to be a groomsman/bridesmaid, try a one-on-one hangout!
If you live far away, definitely add them on social media and make conversation about things you have in common, such as a favorite TV show they posted a status about. Even just the slightest comment or like can go a long way in making them feel like you care.
It’s okay not to include them in the bridal party if it doesn’t feel right to you, but be sure to invite them to pre-wedding events when appropriate. However, as long as there are no extenuating circumstances and you think it would mean a lot to them, we do recommend having all siblings in the bridal party if there's room. If not, consider asking them to do a reading or something else important for the big day!
One way to instantly make them feel like part of your family is to give them gifts for their birthdays, rather than simply signing your name on the card your future spouse purchased. Make it personal!
Make the time and effort to go on double (or triple, etc. depending on how many siblings your beloved has!) dates together. Making their significant other feel included will go a long way and help you all feel more like family.
Respect that your sweetheart and their siblings have had a relationship long before you came into the picture. As much as you may become the most important person to your future spouse, the sibling relationship still matters. Let them have their time alone without causing trouble.
Talk about more than just your future spouse and their sibling – get to know each other as individuals. If you're completely different and don't have similar interests, ask questions and listen to learn more about them.
While we want you to cultivate a wonderful friendship, don't get too close that you feel immediately comfortable reaching out when it comes to relationship troubles – things can get messy fast.
Outside of any impending wedding festivities, work together to plan a family event to show you care about being a part of their clan now. If you don't have a lot of time, a simple offering of bringing an appetizer can go a long way!
Opening photo by Justine Ungaro; From Real Wedding: Modern Wedding at Historic Washington, D.C. Ballroom