My In-Laws Want to Come on My Honeymoon

They know what happens on honeymoons, right?


Q: My fiancé and I are facing a family conundrum in planning our honeymoon. We’ve planned a destination wedding to Kauai, which is a very small island (about two hours to drive all the way around, there’s only one main road). We’ve invited guests and family to hang out the week before hand, so there will be plenty of time for catching up and getting to know people, etc. etc. Okay. So, we’d like to honeymoon on island the week after the wedding. As far as we can tell, most of our guests will be going home to get back to school, lives, etc. But my future-mother- and father-in-law have decided that they want to stay for the week after the wedding. We’ve tried to convince them to head to the other side of the island from where we were planning to honeymoon, but they’re not biting—they want to stay really close to us. In fact, when I hinted that we were planning to honeymoon there, my future-mother-in-law was super excited and starting talking about organizing luncheons with everyone who’s still on-island. Hints about privacy and wanting quiet time alone as a couple just aren’t getting through.

So, my question is, is it appropriate for us to simply tell my fiancé’s parents that we don’t want them to stay for the week after the wedding? They’re contributing financially to the wedding, and they’re super, super excited—we live on the opposite coast, so they don’t get to see their only son very often and they can’t come two weeks before the wedding because of vacation time. We don’t want to hurt any feelings, but also really don’t want to spend our honeymoon worried about running into parents and lunching with guests! We’ve though about honeymooning elsewhere, but then we would have to pay extra for airfare and we’re on a pretty tight budget as-is. Any advice on how to handle this?


A: Dear Anonymous,

Yes. That’s appropriate.

I don’t love telling people where and where not to put parameters with their parents. That’s usually unique to each couple. But you want your honeymoon to yourself? Yes. That’s a completely appropriate place for a boundary. Do it.

Of course, you can find a nicer way to say it than, “We don’t want you there.” But if hints are getting you nowhere, you will need to be frank. “We were hoping to have this honeymoon time to ourselves, just the two of us, without any one else.” It’s completely fair to let them know that you had planned on just winding down, relaxing, and enjoying each other during that week. You don’t even need to mention sexytimes or make crude hand gestures to get the point across. Downtime is reason enough.

I can understand their excitement overwhelming their memory of, ahem, all that a honeymoon entails. But maybe a little nudge will remind them right quick. And when you give them the chance to think about it, I’m hopeful (after some possible initial hurt feelings) they’ll realize that a week to yourselves on your honeymoon just makes sense. It’s what a honeymoon is, after all. Your fiancé may know the best ways to communicate with them so they get the point, have limited hurt feelings, and will respond accordingly.

To soften the blow, see if you and your fiancé can figure out sometime soon to visit them. Cushion your, “We want to be alone,” with a nice big, “BUT, maybe we can schedule a trip to come out your way for a visit.” Also, emphasize that whole friggin week before the wedding when you all will be visiting and enjoying one another. This isn’t about avoiding spending time with them. It’s about this one specific week being off limits. Get that across to them any way you can.

Unfortunately, you can’t flat out ban your in-laws from staying that extra week. Short of hiring someone to physically place them in a boat after the wedding, there’s no stopping them from vacationing where they want, when they want. This is all about letting them know that you need alone time, and hoping that in response, they respect your wishes. Like so many of the boundaries you’ll be setting with parents for the rest of your married lives. Set the boundary, then let them respect it. Keep reiterating that boundary, with increasing firmness, if necessary. Figuring out how to enforce those boundaries so your family hears them and respects them is something you’ll have to do eventually, so you might as well start practicing now. But, hopefully, “We’d like to be alone,” is clear enough that your in-laws can start this whole thing off on a happy, respectful foot.

TEAM PRACTICAL, HOW DO YOU gently let your family know when you need some space?

If you would like to ask Team Practical a question please don’t be shy! You can email Liz at: askteampractical [at] apracticalwedding [dot] com. If you would prefer to not be named, anonymous questions are also accepted. Though it really makes our day when you come up with a clever sign-off!

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  • vegankitchendiaries

    I have so much pity for the letter writer, I really do, but… HA HA! Goodness, what a PICKLE!

    • Becca

      This was me, too! I actually had a laugh-out-loud moment with the title. Oh. Man.

      • vegankitchendiaries

        Yes, TITLE ALONE produced much guffawing over here…

        • Becca

          (P.S. When will we get to see more of your wedding! As someone who’s biracial and gold sequin-loving, I can’t wait!)

          • vegankitchendiaries

            Dude, you and me both. I don’t even know when to expect pics back!! (And also very sincere thanks for saying that, Sequin Sista!)

          • River

            Seconded by that other biracial, gold sequin-loving gal!! :-)

          • vegankitchendiaries

            Let’s start our own site called A Practical Glittery Half-caste Wedding! Too niche?

          • River


  • Jaime Willis

    I would punt on the tough talk with the in-laws and instead hop to another island for the honeymoon week. If you have the week before the wedding in Kauai, you can fit in a few things you wanted to see there, and then leave the island after the wedding. Even more sneaky, I wouldn’t mention it unless directly asked. Like, “Oh! Our travel agent [or this awesome travel website/our good friend] found us an amazing honeymoon deal on Maui, so we decided to do that instead.” You get the privacy you want without having a awkward discussion with the new in-laws. :)

    • anon

      yup, this was my first thought. and inter-island flights are pretty reasonably priced. And you’d get to experience a totally different island.

    • Lauren from NH

      I feel like the tough talk is an important exercise though. The writer and her future spouse are in the right. Honeymoons are private time, not family time. As an example for where this would be relevant in the future, after a couple has their first child usually they want some quiet time. If the spouse’s parents think they are going to be moving in for the first month or six?! it would be nice to already have some practice saying we need some just-us space.

      • anon

        I think that boundaries could be set by explaining why you are choosing to go to another island, but you can’t make them leave the island the wedding is on. But you can say that you don’t want to intentionally see anyone else.

        I am flying from the east coast to Hawaii for a wedding in September. We are staying for the week after the wedding because that is what our schedules allow. I do not know what the couple’s honeymoon plans are, but if they expected everyone to physically remove themselves from the island I would find it absurd! I do not expect to see the couple in that week, though I would not be surprised if we made plans to hang out IF they were also staying on that island.

        Related: I went to a wedding last month where the couple rented a big lake house for their honeymoon and invited any and all family and friends to stay with them for the week. So the boundary may not exist for everyone.

        I think if the writer doesn’t want to honeymoon on an small island with her family and wedding guests she may need to consider going elsewhere. Or they can decline planned luncheons, etc. But risk running into people on popular beaches or restaurants.

        • Jenna

          I think there’s a difference between expecting everyone to leave the island and just asking that guests/family members not expect the couple to spend time with them after the wedding and not try to horn in on their couple-time. Where this couple is already planning a whole week of visiting with everyone before the actual wedding, it seems like they’ve allowed plenty of time to see people AND have communicated pretty clearly to everyone who *isn’t* the groom’s parents that they are taking the following week for themselves.

        • vegankitchendiaries

          Piping up to say YES this boundary does NOT exist for everyone.

          I took a week off work to get married. I was already out of holiday time so I had to take some unpaid leave. Also, I just started my job a few weeks earlier! So, no honeymoon. What we did do was take money from the wedding budget and booked a country house in an especially beautiful town about 90 minutes outside of Vancouver. We invited any friends and family who’d put in some serious graft for the wedding as well as friends who’d flown in from out of town/out of the country. Ta da: Friendymoon!!

          I was worried I’d regret it… A lot of people (and a lot of APWers even) told me again and again that I would but actually… it was AWESOME. It’s such a rare treat to see my BFFs from Sydney and if we hadn’t invited them to join the ‘wedding retreat’ we would have only spoken to them briefly at the reception! The whole time we were up there we felt great about the decision. Different folks for different folks, etc.

          • Jade

            Thank you for this comment. FH and I haven’t planned a honeymoon, and personally I’m just happy if we get a little alone time during our destination wedding; I think it’s awesome that my family and his will be there to greet us post-wedding! The honeymoon isn’t even A Thing in my culture, so I’ve never thought much about it, I’m more concerned with having everyone dear to me close by to celebrate!

          • vegankitchendiaries

            Awesome! If it feels “you” it will probably be fine!

          • ART

            friendymoon… <3 <3

    • JDrives

      The LW mentioned that leaving the island might not fit into their already-tight budget, though. Interisland flights can run up to $200 per person (ex: Kauai to Maui is $204pp), plus what if they already have their flight home planned and would have to pay to change their departure destination? Since we don’t know (and don’t NEED to know) their budget, we can’t assume it’s just that simple for them to change their plans. My vote is definitely for setting boundaries with parents in this case, even if leaving the island is a possibility, for the reasons outlined by Lauren from NH above (below?).

      However, LW, if it’s doable for you, MAUI IS AWESOME. Seriously. We’re honeymooning there ourselves so I’m super biased, but I’m telling you. So great.

      • MDBethann

        I’ve been to all 4 major Hawaiian islands and while I found Kauai to be the prettiest, Maui & the Big Island are stunning in their own rights and both have a lot of neat things to see and do. The Big Island also didn’t strike me to be quite as expensive as the other islands.

        You also can’t go wrong with Oahu, but it is a lot more commercial and a lot busier.

        I am surprised that the future-in-laws want to basically tag along on the honeymoon. I hope their son is willing and able to set some boundaries with them, whether or not the couple decide to stay on Kauai

      • Bets

        Maybe the LW could convince her in laws to go to Maui or some of the other islands instead? That way MIL still gets an awesome vacation, and LW gets privacy without breaking their budget.

  • Lauren from NH

    WOW! –stunned silence– never thought that would be an issue.

    It can be so infuriating when people don’t respect unspoken, yet obvious, boundaries. Last year my partner I trained to for a half-marathon in my home town (8-9 hours drive from where we and his family live). The whole point of participating was to run with my siblings and have an occasion to visit my family, who I am down to seeing 2-3 times a years since I moved to be with my mister.

    I shit you not, a week before the race, his sister (30+) tries to invite herself. She says she wants to come up to watch and cheer us on. I was livid. It was the most selfish thing I had ever heard. I barely see my family and you want to crash my precious weekend with everyone??? WTF NO! I told my guy to call her back immediately and squash the idea. He discouraged her and it was resolved, but as he later explained to me, she thought she was being the sweetest person on the Earth.

    Just goes to show, the boundary can be so obvious and yet that does nothing to keep some people charging right through it. Then you just have to be direct, because if they don’t already it get it, they are not going to. I wouldn’t skip the rude hand gestures if needed (well maybe in my head I am just venting to my partner), but boundaries are fucking important!

    • anon

      I’m sorry, but not being in your (running) shoes, but that doesn’t seem that she was being selfish, it sounds like she wanted to support you. Boundaries are important, but does seem like it was intended as a sweet gesture.

    • ART

      I’m not sure I would have known that that was an “obvious” boundary, either – a race being a public event and all. I’m glad your fiance was able to talk her out of it since that’s what you wanted, but I can see myself wanting an opportunity to meet and hang out with my brother’s (hypothetical) fiancee’s family and not realizing that it would be considered extremely selfish to suggest that.

      • ART

        …though I’m not quite 30 yet, maybe then it will be clear! ;)

    • Anon

      I would try not to be too hard on the sister. It sounds like she may have been trying to come & support you for your race by cheering you on. If I were the sister, honestly the thought would probably never have occured to me that this was supposed to be family time only. I know I’ve appreciated when people have cheered me on at races in the past, so I’d have probably done something similar without knowing this wasn’t something you wanted.

      • Lauren from NH

        Since a lot of you seem to feel this way I am becoming somewhat curious as to what I am missing. Is it generally fine with you if people just invite themselves along for a weekend visit to your family you have planned?

        • Nope.

          Actually yes? I see my family about 3-4 times a year max (they’re about six states away). I’m long-distance wedding planning in my hometown, and a bridesmaid offered to come with me for a weekend to help with planning errands. If I framed the trip as, “Wow, I haven’t seen my parents in six months, I’m so excited to go to Cleveland,” and she invited herself along, I might be mildly annoyed. But I framed the trip as “I’m going to Cleveland to do X,” and she wanted to contribute to X. I think that’s the problem — unless you explicitly communicated to your sister-in-law that the actual purpose of your trip was to spend time with your family, she thought she was contributing to the purpose of your trip… which was to run a marathon and have a nice weekend.

          • Lauren from NH

            I see most of you saying this applies to friends and family and I think there was the disconnect. My partner’s sister is his family, not mine (I am just waiting to get flack for this), and while she has been polite with me, I would not call us friendly. Additionally the purpose of the trip was clear which is my feelings were so sharp in this case.

          • Teppy

            It sounds like, for you, this was a rare family trip that happened to coincide with a race. I misunderstood from your initial post — it was unclear that your partner’s sister knew she would be intruding on a special trip and decided to invite herself anyway. I thought she was just trying to be supportive and didn’t realize that your focus was your family, not the race.

        • Jules

          It seems like she simply saw it as a race during which you happened to visit your family, rather than a [private] family vacation that she was crashing. Running 13 miles is a big effin’ deal, so I’m just assuming she was trying to be supportive of you. Was she aware that you guys were basically spending the weekend with your family? That you weren’t going to have time outside of the race to spend with her? That the focus was actually the family time and not the race?

          It would be a lot different if, say, you told her about a Christmas visit you were going on, and she was like, “Oh, dandy! I’ll just come too!” AND keep in mind that even something like that…well, it depends on the dynamic between the families.

          That being said, I think it’s fine to have mentioned that it was going to be a family thing and have taken the actions you did. It’s good you were clear and didn’t silently fume over it :)

        • anon

          I just got back from a once a year family vacation, and one top of that some of the family had not made it to this annual event in 10 years! This vaca is in the woods, with tents (i.e. logistics). When my vacation came up in conversation with close girlfriends a couple months ago, they asked if they could come up for a night. I thought it was an odd request, a long drive for one night, and I wasn’t sure where we’d put another tent…but I didn’t think it was rude that they wanted to see my special vaca spot and hang with my family.

          My girlfriends didn’t end up making it, but to answer your question, I wouldn’t have turned them away or thought it rude.

        • Anon

          For me, if I decided to come see my brother’s girlfriend run, I’d think that would be cool with them, and would probably expect that we’d carpool and hang out. If their schedules were different, I’d probably drive myself, but still plan to hang out.
          If it was a friend, but not “family,” I’d probably still think that maybe they’d like to carpool to share driving, but would also realize that I might need to drive myself because they probably would have their own plans. I’d probably expect that we’d hang out some, but would totally understand it if there were some things they were doing with their family.
          So for me, it’s the relationship, I guess.

        • ElisabethJoanne

          My husband’s an only child, and even he doesn’t like his parents, but…If my in-laws asked to come on a trip to see one of my sisters, we’d shut it down but not think it selfish or rude (socially awkward, yes, but they’re immigrants and there are additional reasons awkwardness comes with the territory). My father’s brother has attended family-reunion-style vacations with my mother’s family. My mother’s family tends to be the more-the-merrier type.

          I don’t know how I’d feel if I’d planned a trip and described it as “this special thing with my sisters.” Honestly, if it was a special trip with my sisters, my husband wouldn’t come, so, yeah having in-laws around would be awkward.

          • Lauren from NH

            You are getting at something there. I guess the issue really boils down to that it was MY trip for the purpose of time with MY family and in wanting my partner to get to know them better, I wanted him to participate. His sister was not being selfish in that she was thinking of supporting him racing, but here is the problem that can’t be simply stated in a comment and wasn’t really the point at all of my response to the original post, she did not think of me. It was my trip and she did not think of me or it would have been clear that this was not a trip she should join. And this is a chronic problem with his family (who are also immigrants) that they have insulated themselves so much that they only think of their own and at the end of the day I am not one of them. So my time with my family does not have value. So maybe selfish was the wrong word, but I have been dealing with this for 6 years and to me it was a clear and relevant example.

    • stayce

      Maybe there’s something in your story that’s not obvious to me, but just from reading this, your boyfriend’s sister wanting to come cheer you guys on while you ran a marathon doesn’t really sound selfish. I get that you wanted to have family-only time, but I’m not hearing where the boundary-crossing is. In-laws wanting to hang out on your super-romantic island honeymoon and have family bonding time, now that’s boundary crossing.

      • anon

        I do want to defend the MIL a bit, it is not as if they are saying they want to join you on your honeymoon when you fly from Boston to Hawaii (“Oh Honey, the kids are taking a vaca, we should go too!”) They are planning to stay on at the wedding location, which they probably paid a lot of money to get to, and where they may not really be able to relax or fully enjoy pre-wedding.

        I think it’s TOTALLY reasonable to not see your inlaws (or anyone) on your honeymoon, and steps should be taken to achieve this, but I don’t think what the MIL is suggesting is SOOO absurd.

        • Jules

          Agreed. Not as absurd as the title suggested. It’s a more passive thing than I thought it was going to be.

    • Kayjayoh

      Obviously I’m missing some bit of family dynamic, and I can definitely understand you not wanting her around, but somehow I’m missing the “she’s so selfish” outrage at her wanting to cheer you guys on in a half-marathon.

    • Nope.

      I don’t know, I would never have interpreted that as even potentially breaking a boundary, if I were the sister. I would have thought that it would be fun/nice for you to have another person to cheer you on — and a fun weekend away. I never would have considered it “obvious” that you didn’t want me there.

    • Juliet

      I think your story is a great example of how boundaries are different for everybody and they need to be shared in order for others to know they are there. Clearly I don’t know all of the details, but I gotta say just from your short description of your story it sounds like your partner’s sister probably was just trying to be supportive and likely had no idea you saw this as special time with your family. I’m glad your partner told her so she was able to see that she was stepping on a family event. Boundaries are only helpful if they are articulated- otherwise they are just things you get annoyed by and vent about to girlfriends during happy hour :)

      Same goes for the situation with the advice asker, though it might be more obvious socially that parents aren’t invited to honeymoons, maybe her FMIL’s honeymoon was more of a family trip, or she didn’t have one, or she doesn’t see anything odd about spending time with the newlyweds since they will be in the same place.

      • enfp

        Agreed. My partner and I were eager for our families to interact before our wedding. We were particularly looking forward to introducing his sister and her family to my brother and his family. Though his sister lives in another province and we don’t get to visit much, my partner would have been thrilled if my brother had joined us in visiting his sister! In fact, my partner was disappointed that my brother wasn’t able to join in one of his family events over the holidays.

      • Jules

        Tangential question, how do you deal with people who DO cross the personal-life boundary? As in, maybe your friend did something to upset you [an uninvited critique of a relationship, let’s say], and you were so mad you didn’t talk about it at first because you didn’t want to say something you regretted.

        With this particular friend, hypothetically, let’s also say she pries. Like, asking very direct things that you’re not totally comfortable with answering, but if you don’t answer, she’ll ask you why not. [Your new salary, if you’ve had sex with someone, and so on…] So it’s a general problem.

        • Whitney S.

          There is an advice blog that does a great job of addressing how to deal with these types of things (Captain Awkward). I think you say “I’m not going to talk about this” Then she says, “BUT WHY?!” and you say, “Because, I’m not comfortable discussing this, and if you keep pressing me I’m going to hang up/go somewhere else.” But then of course you have to calmly leave or hang up when they double down. How have some many people gotten through life so clueless?

          • Kristen M


          • Jules

            I really could have used approach that when she asked me about salary, but she works in the same industry, so the response would have been because it’s sometimes useful to know what people make in entry level jobs. BUT. Data is available for that (that’s how I knew I secured a good offer..), and I really didn’t mind that one time…..It’s only afterwards when she kept asking all these questions when I realized I hadn’t answered for the sake of it.

            The sex thing…we were still in our early 20’s when people didn’t openly talk about it in our group (most of them are waiting), so it felt really awkward for me to be put on the spot. Normally I wouldn’t have minded sharing that, but the situation was uncomfortable.

            And weirdly, with a friend who doesn’t respect those boundaries, I’m even less open than I would have been on my own. I find myself not wanting to talk to her much, as if hoarding the info about my life now will undo things I wish she didn’t know.

          • KC

            Yep – if people push boundaries, then the “what I extend willingly” boundaries move in the direction opposite to their pushing.

            I feel like, in theory, this means that even if I “give” a bit at some point, it’s more likely to still be in a safe zone, and even if they use the information in a way I’d prefer they didn’t, they still only have access to more broadly-known data and can’t abuse that as much as they could if they had more access.

            Also, I just plain hate boundary pushing and viscerally want to disincentivize it. So. Enough reasons. :-)

          • Jules

            I did that once when she pressed me for a reason why I wasn’t comfortable speculating on others’ relationships with a group of our girlfriends. (We were sitting around and someone asked who was going to be next to get married, which launched a whole assessment of the couples that we knew…)

            “So I’m just curious, why aren’t you comfortable talking about who’s getting married next?”
            “I don’t know; I guess I just don’t like it when we speculate because I feel like it puts pressure on people, and I know what that’s like.”
            “OK, well, fair enough, but it’s just a fun thing so I’m just curious why it bothers you.”

            I guess the next step is just telling her BECAUSE I’M NOT since obviously any reason I give will still be rejected…

          • Whitney S.

            Exactly. Friends respect one another. You being uncomfortable is enough.

          • Violet

            Wow, this is a tough one! Maybe as another option if she presses after you’ve said it makes you feel comfortable, you could say, “I’m having a hard time understanding why you’re still asking when I’ve said it makes me, your friend, feel uncomfortable.” And let that hang in the air for a minute. I agree with Whitney S.- a friend respects another friend’s comfort.

          • Jules

            THAT. I think I’ll use that in the future. And I know it will eventually crop up because she’s just a direct person.

            Most of the time I think people aren’t *trying* to be rude/selfish/whatever; they’re just ignorant.

    • Jules

      I’m glad you got your situation resolved! That, to me, is a far less obvious boundary than bothering a couple on their honeymoon. But, kudos to you for nicely setting things in order. I definitely wouldn’t have known to not come either!

    • Lauren from NH

      To elaborate, since crashing my VERY LIMITED family time hasn’t seemed to remotely explain my feelings, his family has repeated dismissed the value of spending time with my family. “Oh you are going home for Thanksgiving/Christmas?” (Back when we did holidays separate.) Meanwhile their family is their number one priority (Double standard?). We had only two days of maybe 12 or so a year I get with my family, where as we drive 20 minutes to see his family at least every 2 weeks for a half day visit. So yes, I considered it selfish.

      • nikki

        I think some people missed the point of your comment, which appears to me as: People don’t know what they don’t know.

        Unless the OP tells her family that honeymooning with them sounds retched (in nicer terms), they may not realize it. They may view this trip as a vacation and not as a honeymoon for the couple. Being upfront about how you see the situation (it’s my HONEYMOON!) may enlighten people who saw it a completely different way (family vacation!).

        In the commenter’s case, it was seeing this trip as family time versus someone else seeing it as a chance to cheer family on during a race. We all bring different viewpoints to the table, so it’s always better to communicate yours then assuming someone is trying to sabotage you.

        • ART

          Agreed, and in the vein of people don’t know…going from 0 to extremely upset and offended is usually not that helpful, which is why it’s a good thing (for OP, for the above commenter, and for all of us) to practice that communication.

      • Amy March

        I still think it might be worth reassessing this one. Fun run with your siblings plus his sibling sounds nice and inclusive to me, and quite possibly her. I mean, fine to respond with “actually we just wanted to keep this one for Lauren and her siblings” but I think calling his sister selfish for trying to participate is really off base.

      • Jade

        I totally feel you on family time vs. in-law time. Family
        time means I go home to visit my parents and lie on the couch in sweatpants all
        tangled up with my siblings. But if any of my in-laws are coming too, then it
        becomes A Thing and I have to, like, be a host and comb my hair and stuff. And
        I don’t see my family nearly as much as the in-laws, it’s nice to be able to
        focus on them and us and not be drawn into my in-laws’ lives.

        • Lauren from NH

          Thank god! I knew there had to be at least one person (I know there are a whole lot more of you) who’s in-laws (btw not even officially engaged yet) are not a basket of puppies or your besties or even warm to begin with, who gets it!

          • Jade

            The funny thing is I feel like I hit the in-law jackpot! But they’re not MY family, you know? My family, we’re cut from the same cloth, we just GET each other on a very core level. I can’t get that connection from my in-laws (FH notwithstanding).

          • Lauren from NH

            Lucky duck! I’ve got a rough road (not being a martyr, just very different backgrounds coming together). And I so feel you on the MY family thing. We like to joke about my dad being in hell because he found that kind of stuff hilarious and so we carry on his humor to honor him. We can’t really share that with anyone else. Shit gets awkward!

          • msditz

            Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday because of family time, and now notsumuch because it has become a shared holiday — my in-laws come over to my parents’ house. And I get along with them fine, but now it is “A Thing” and not as relaxing for me as it once was.

      • Jessica

        You explaining this makes it seem a lot more clear–there are a lot more emotions and nuances involved than the original comment would imply. I would still give her the benefit of the doubt for wanting to come cheer you on being sweet because people do like to think if group A is invited and is family then the transitive property obviously applies, even when it doesn’t because relationships and feelings are not math. My mom found this out when my MIL used the transitive property to invite her family over to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving after discussing a possible shared holiday.

        Still stunned about how that turned out.

      • Whitney S.

        Hi! Another person here who gets this. Friends and family who find this by googling me: Please don’t assume that you are invited to everything I do. I love you, but really.

        Yeah, like SIL would totally be cool hanging with you and all your family? Is this what she was imagining?

        • Lauren from NH

          I really don’t know. It was like she wanted to spontaneously drive up on her own and then stay where?? And his family is huge on acknowledging people, so then it wouldn’t be cheer, accept or don’t accept sweaty hug, turn around and go home. If she was there it would be a dinner out and really change the whole dynamic. We cook together and curse and poke fun at each other. It was family time, plain and simple.

    • Violet

      Lots of people are jumping on this comment, and I agree the way it was worded with no other context that this doesn’t seem like an obvious boundary. But I’ll give ya the benefit of the doubt, the way I generally do for APW commenters.

      My MIL has a habit of doing things “for other people” when really, you can tell, it’s because she gets a sort of narcissistic kick out of being “needed.” It’s hard to explain to outsiders. An example would be for some reason she was worried about us on our honeymoon (I don’t know why, it’s not like she heard a news report our plane crashed, or anything). So she stewed about it for a day, telling all her family how worried she was, getting lots and lots of attention from them, and then ended up calling our hotel to ask the front desk if we’d checked in. To me, that does cross a boundary and is somewhat creepy. She told us about it maybe a year later. I told her it was inappropriate, but I can’t control her and it didn’t directly affect me at the time, so water under the bridge. I know how it can sound to outsiders like she did it because she cared and I’m unreasonable for being bothered by it, but it has more to do with a pattern of her behavior than this one thin. As in, really, she was addressing her own need to always be in-the-know and seen as a caring, worrying mom. I love her, but I dunno, it gets tricky…

      • Lauren from NH

        Yeah there’s a bit of history and cultural collision which for the sake of brevity I skipped over. I appreciate the benefit of the doubt.

        • Violet

          Sure thing lady!

      • Jamie

        Thanks for this. Lauren’s experience is clearly coming from a place of exasperation, just as yours was with your MIL calling to check on you. The way you describe your MIL was a huge learning experience for me during engagement/wedding (“well-intentioned” can have many meanings!). I think the writer will also recognize what you are describing. It’s tough, but we have to strike a balance between keeping our annoyances to ourselves and speaking up when the time is right. I do think the writer should try to speak up about honeymoon boundaries and not just change her plans like it’s no big thing.

        • Violet

          “strike a balance between keeping our annoyances to ourselves and speaking up when the time is right” Yes, exactly!

      • Jules

        GAH I KNOW SOMEONE LIKE THIS. Must be the center of all party planning, for one. One time, she forgot it was someone’s birthday in the office, and when we told her that we had secured a dessert for them that Friday, she was miffed. Wondered why we weren’t doing it on Monday (day after his bday) instead of Friday (uh, since when have we ever?), wondered why we couldn’t just write “Happy Birthday” on the dessert she had been planning to make (which always appears at our potlucks, and would be an obvious afterthought), got “concerned” about how we were paying for it (reported the girl who ordered it to our boss, who got upset that she bought $25 worth of pie on the company card….which is the usual method …)

        Difficult to explain, but yeah. I get it.

        • Violet

          Yep yep, that’s what I’m talking about! It’s sort of like, you have to experience it to really “get it,” you know?

      • ceschell

        Very insightful! I also know people who hover around their adult children with the intent of “helping and protecting” but intentionally or not it is actually patronizing. Their nervous parent(s) just become another person they have to take care of instead of enjoying the moment.

        • Violet

          I try to be patient with her because I know a big part of it is that she ties her identity to being a “mother.” Which is hard, as her kids are grown now, so she doesn’t quite know how to handle that aspect of her identity changing. I’ll never quite get why her primary of conception of mothering is “worrying,” but that’s a post for a different day.
          (And no assumptions from the Peanut Gallery! This was a single, working mom with friends and a social life, etc. I don’t want people to think I’m unintentionally making statements about SAHMs and all that. No Mommy Wars here.)

          • msditz

            This was so helpful for me to read right now! I am always trying to remember my in-laws are going through an “identity changing” moment right now, although currently it is around becoming grandparents. They have always been the boundary-pushing worrying parents as long as I have been with my husband, but when it was just focused on us it was easier to blow-off/solve with a quick, “that is none of your business” conversation (giving us advice on how to buy a car, way too many questions about our vacation plans, etc). But now that we have produced their first grandchild it has gone to another level. They are trying to parents my husband as well as their grandchild and it is infuriating. All of their comments and questions about formula, weight, sleep schedules, etc may sound like people trying to help to an outsider, but to me it sounds like they are telling us how to raise our child.

          • Violet

            Oh, I hear you!! My partner and I aren’t planning on kids yet, but we have already begun discussions on how we’re going to set up some boundaries around them vis a vis her. If you come up with any good strategies, please pass along!

    • Chris C.

      I’m doing my first marathon in October. My whole family is traveling to Chicago to cheer me on, and I’m really excited to spend time with them, since I only see them 1-2 times a year. But I would also be thrilled if my partner’s family or some of my friends decided to also come to Chicago to cheer for me. That would be anything BUT selfish in my mind — it’s a big deal to run a marathon, and someone wanting to take time out of their life to support me would make me feel really loved. Obviously, you’ve got some history with your partner’s family, but I think I’d tweak the first sentence of your last paragraph — the boundary can be so obvious TO YOU. But different people have different boundaries, and they have no way of knowing what yours are unless you’re really clear about them.

      • Lisa

        Unrelated, but our wedding is the day before the marathon, and we’re hoping to have breakfast somewhere the day after where we can watch since we always used to camp out at the mile 8 marker when my fiancé lived there. Best of luck in the race! Maybe we’ll see you there. ;)

  • I second that you can’t tell them when to go home- or where to vacation, I think the fact that you are staying makes this way too tough. One island over is key. You need to make it clear you are Departing the Wedding and Starting the Honeymoon. Only an actual journey will make that clear, otherwise, going away lunch? dinner that next night? It’s too hazy, and of course they will want to rehash with you and share photos etc. etc. as long as possible. You draw the line by Leaving the Wedding. And you’ll avoid a lot of hurt feelings.

  • Acres_Wild

    Oof. Boundaries with parents can be so hard over this kind of thing. Our situation is not as extreme, but D’s dad has recently taken to guilt-tripping him for not inviting him (dad) to things that we are doing together or D is doing with friends. Things like concerts, football games, etc. – he even got huffy that we didn’t invite him to our New Year’s party. D and I love his parents and they’re fun to hang out with, but sometimes you just don’t want to get drunk with your dad, you know? Or be the guy who brought his dad tailgating with a bunch of friends. Even if dad is a fun guy.

    Basically, D’s dad needs some friends his own age. I feel bad for him, but on the other hand, it’s not our responsibility to provide his social life. No real advice here, but I feel ya, LW.

  • Megan

    Iiiiii don’t know. I’d talk to your in-laws, but I’d give them the benefit of the doubt here, and go in with the assumption that this is all a big misunderstanding, not them being obtuse jerks. I think with destination weddings — which are often pitched as “vacation AND party! a whole week(end) of hang time in a great place!” — some of the standard boundaries between, say, wedding and honeymoon get blurred.

    • Jules

      Especially, I think, because not a TON of people have experience with destination weddings. And especially this generation of parent. I’m not sure destination weddings were a thing back then.

      It’s fairly obvious to me that I wouldn’t *expect* to meet up with the couple, but I would probably wonder what their expectations were if we all stayed local afterwards since you’re bound to at least run into each other.

    • nikki

      I agree. If I flew to Hawaii for a wedding, you best believe I will stay as long as I can. It may be wrong for the writer to assume that a lot of people aren’t sticking around. I would definitely hop to another island if solitude was what I wanted. Or plan one family event and be clear that’s it.

    • Violet

      That’s a really good point. I’m seeing more and more couples show up to a breakfast hosted by their family the morning after the wedding, etc., so maybe this line between family time and couple time is getting confusing for some people?

      • Megan

        Yes, I definitely think that’s also a factor. Lengthy after-parties, brunches, etc., + standard assumption that few couples are hightailing it out of the wedding to enjoy their first time alone together erodes the expectation that immediately post-wedding is totally sacred couple-only time.

      • snarkyteacher

        Yes. This is one reason we will probably do a delayed honeymoon. My mom’s family takes it as a big insult if you don’t spend ALL THE TIME together when you are visiting. Even at weddings. After weddings. It is a big insult if you don’t do a morning after brunch with the bride and groom there. Boundaries do not exist with them and as someone who has clear boundaries and is more of an introvert, having a totally separate honeymoon time will hopefully help.

        • Violet

          Oh man, my sympathies. It sounds like you’ve worked out a strategy that is going to work for you, which is what enforcing boundaries are all about!

    • K.

      Yeah, that’s what I was thinking. They don’t seem to realize that it’s a Honeymoon-with-a-capital-H, rather than downtime after the wedding. Seems like a quick explanation could explain it away. Sure, they might be disappointed as most people are when they expect one thing and end up with the complete opposite. But as long as you are kind in your explanation, no reasonable person could really fault you for it (…with admittedly “reasonable person” being the key words).

      Plus, different people have different definitions of honeymoons. My fiance’s best friend honeymooned with her wife…and her wife’s 15-year-old son. And they spent a lot of it visiting family. On the other hand, my cousin said that if anyone dared to call them while on their honeymoon, someone had better be dead. So it depends a lot of family culture and expectations. It’s good to get a grip on that now and decide with your partner what your personal expectations are, then manage that.

  • Jules

    As some others are pointing out, if you ABSOLUTELY can’t get them to change their plans (be direct…), you can always depart the area. Or you can stay put and not answer calls/meetup requests, giving a heads up that you’ll be “off the grid” for the next week, see you, thanks for coming, love you! (But also be prepared for run-ins, depending on the geography of the area.)

    But if they’re the type that will come knock on your door Sunday morning at 9am asking to go hiking, you’re probably better off leaving or getting your point across. This just means getting yourself to a healthy 10sqmi patch of your own. And don’t even disclose where you’re going so they can’t show up on your doorstep.

    Finally…while the parents are being absurd in wanting to “plan activities” with you guys, it just sounds like well-intentioned ignorance. If I were attending a destination wedding, I would totes try to stay after it and be a little offended if I was kicked out of the area. I just wouldn’t bother the new couple!

    • KC

      YES to don’t disclose where you’re going (unless, once they realize that you really don’t want to be running into them, they’re looking to move “away” from where they think you’ll be). “Another island” or “a different hotel” or “a secret getaway spot” or *something* to prevent well-intentioned “but we thought you’d love our fruit basket and the whole family doing a hula dancing flash mob on your doorstep” events.

  • Whitney S.

    Man, I LOL’d at this one because, giiiiiiiiiiirl I have been there. Like when we were getting married and MIL assumes that she can fly in and not get a car. I guess she didn’t see anything weird about us picking her up and driving her everywhere while doing wedding things, AND we can have her sitting in the back seat on the way to and from the ceremony and the morning after our wedding to take her to the airport. UM WAT.

    DO take this advice and know you are not a bitch, you a person with boundaries. And as someone who has been dealing with a boundary crossing MIL for 10 years, the sooner you do the easier your life will be.

    • Natalie

      oh, man, that’s bad. No morning post-wedding sex because you have to drive the MIL to the airport.

      • Whitney S.

        Yep. And as soon as I framed it that way to my fella, he was on the phone in a hot second. ;)

    • Meg Keene

      GIRL. Indeed.

    • Whitney, when you say “UM WAT,” my heart is filled with a deep and abiding sense of satisfaction.

  • kcaudad

    I hope the tropical storms don’t ruin your wedding plans! My sister handled this type of situation by going to a different resort on the other side of the island for the rest of the week after the actual wedding. In the Hawaiin islands area, you may be able to take a boat or ferry to another island and stay at a different resort for the rest of the week. If you stay on the same island and they insist on staying near you, be very frank with your future-in-laws that you will see them on a certain date(s) or for a certain event(s), and that is it! (Ex: we will see you on Tuesday for dinner or on Thrusday for snorkeling, but the rest of the week we are doing our own thing, ALONE!)

  • Meagan

    No. No. No. Great advice above but location specific- it’s not a huge island but its big enough.two weeks isn’t long for sexytime but if you are sightseeing, it’s way too small. Maybe point out the other islands attractions. Now for you: If you can move hotels to the other side, you really won’t see them. Shut those lunches down though. We loved the Koa Kea hotel and its teeny if you need a place to run to. Must have: Puka dogs – fruit relish is amazing! Have fun !

    • Lawyerette510

      Oh Puka dogs! The best hot dogs in the world!!!

    • Ooh, that’s where we’re staying this fall! Glad for the endorsement!

    • MDBethann

      I stayed at the Strawberry-Guava B&B. It was buried on a hillside in the woods but was really nice. Remote enough that you could hide from everyone but not so remote that I couldn’t easily get anywhere on Kauai I wanted to go.

  • Ragnhild

    On our honeymoon we happened to end up on Santorini (a tiny island) with our wedding photographers! It is only a 30 minute drive from one end of the island to the other, and we only saw them the day we decided to meet up. They are good friends, so it was actually fun! But when my dad texted and said they were on another “close” Greek island I freaked out a bit. Turns out “close” was a couple of hundred kilometers away, and I could breathe again. So you could be lucky and not meet them, but I might not want to risk it, and rather go somewhere else.

  • Natalie

    I concur with the suggestion to have a talk with the future in-laws about boundaries and needing the honeymoon time to be, you know, a honeymoon. But I would also hop on a plane to a different island after the wedding. Inter-island flights tend to be pretty cheap. You don’t have to tell the in-laws which island you’ll be going to, if you’re concerned that they would try to crash that trip as well. Just mention that you’ll be honeymooning off island, so they have a chance to decide to shorten their time on Kauai. But if they’ve really just got their hearts set on extra vacation time on Kauai, you moving your honeymoon to a different island ensures that you won’t be bumping into them at lunch, or on the beach, or have to constantly turn down invitations to dinner.

    • Anon

      That was my first thought, too. Just high-tail it to another island, which I imagine is not all that expensive to do.

      • KH_Tas

        We have to be careful about assuming what is and is not within people’s budgets without knowing them though

  • SChaLA

    This is unhelpful and only tangentially related, but when I was in middle school, we were taking a family trip to Hawaii to celebrate my parents’ 20th wedding anniversary. It was a big deal because my brother and I were going to have our own hotel room throughout the trip while my parents (for obvious reasons) were going to have a private one.

    Then my grandmother kind of guilt-tripped my parents into inviting her, and ended up sleeping in my parents’ hotel room every night.

    • Whitney S.

      HA! See this is why you start this shit early! Poor parentals….

      • Violet

        Yeah! I totally get where people are coming from with inter-island flight suggestion and whatnot, but if boundaries don’t get addressed early, they never get better. (Plus, I cringe to think more than one couple is experiencing this phenomenon, but maybe someone else is and doesn’t have an answer like “inter-island flight”).

        • carolynprobably

          Agreed, but as far as I can piece together, the flight and hotel arrangements have already been made. So even if they have the Big Boundary Talk, it may still be too late or too inconsiderate to ask the parents to change plans. In light of that, i.e. because it wasn’t shut down sooner in the earlier planning phases, then it seems like a fair and reasonable solution that the ones to rearrange plans should be the couple.

          • Violet

            I mean, the parents can still stay there on the same island, but the planning joint activities thing? I was thinking that could be the part to be shut down. But I’ve never been on that island, maybe they’ll be running into each other anyway…

          • carolynprobably

            Oh 100%. Clearly there’s two things going on- the general family boundary issues, and the more boots-on-the-ground ‘make sure my mother in law doesn’t see my sex-hair’ issues. Both clearly need to be addressed, and in a perfect world, at the same time.

            But I can totally see my husband not wanting to hurt his mom’s feelings and me not wanting to be the bride-bitch who ‘ruined’ their vacation. So physically removing themselves is an immediate solution to a bigger problem. I’m just saying, depending on the timing of the planning and how near the wedding is, sometimes you just throw money at a problem to make it go away for awhile.

          • Violet

            “sometimes you just throw money at a problem to make it go away for awhile” – Totally! I think I was focusing on the part where they were still trying to convince them to stay on the other side of the island, meaning, maybe it wasn’t settled yet? But it’s not clear, and I think you’re right about the issue-at-hand versus the Bigger Issue thing. They might have two different solutions.
            Also, “make sure my mother in law doesn’t see my sex-hair” – Hahaha! Thanks for the laugh!

          • Lawyerette510

            It’s small but not that small, I mean even if they are both staying in the Princeville/ Hanalei area, there are tons of beaches just in that area alone, not to mention the rest of the island.

          • Lawyerette510

            But can’t they still draw the boundary, most hotels are large as are the condo complexes, so even if they are in the same area, it doesn’t seem too late to say “you are welcome to do what you want, but this time is for us to connect as a couple and be unplugged from everything else, so we won’t be making any plans with you.”

    • River

      Totally related! I have a feeling that if the letter writer doesn’t set some boundaries pronto, a story like this will happen in her family fairly often…

    • Liz


      • SChaLA

        I know! I was on the phone with my mom when I saw this post and we just had to reminisce about that trip. Traveling is important in our family, and it was also important to my grandmother when she was raising my dad and aunt, so maybe she just knew the right sentimental buttons to press…but neither of my parents can or will say what they were thinking when they gave in!

    • Natalie

      oh, man. Yeah, this is the perfect illustration of why setting boundaries early is important. A 20th wedding anniversary trip with kids is not quite as obviously private time as a honeymoon, but I wouldn’t want a MIL crashing it, unless she was sleeping in the kids’ room and taking care of them.

  • Amy March

    “Mom, I should have shut this down sooner. You can’t seriously be suggesting seeing us on our honeymoon right? You’re welcome to stay on the island, but we won’t be meeting up with you for lunch or anything else. It’s our honeymoon and we want to be alone”.

    Signed, your loving son.

    And SOON! Don’t keep letting them make fake plans.

    • Juliet

      WORD. My FMIL is a real planner and has a tendency to really RUUUUUUN with an idea she gets excited about especially wedding/party related (Large home town after-wedding reception! 400 guests 3 DAYS after Christmas! Slideshow of photos from the wedding they weren’t invited to! etc., etc.) and the worst thing we can do is LET HER KEEP PLANNING while we try to think of a nice way to say we don’t want that. The tough but kind thing to do is just say “No, thank you” as soon as it comes up.

    • Meg Keene


    • JDrives

      This is a boss script.

  • Kristin

    OMG, this was almost starting to happen with us too! We are having a destination wedding in Maui. We are planning a group get together for the day after the wedding and after that we are changing hotels to the other side of the island to get away from everyone. My parents (and dad, specifically) keep asking if we want to do the road to Hana with them, or do biking with them, etc etc. We did decide to go to one luau with them, but that is it outside of the group get together.

    He keeps hinting that we should do things together, but I had to tell him, dad this is our honeymoon! And let him know we can always go back as a family some other time if he really wants.

    ETA: Also wanted to note that we haven’t told anyone which resort we are moving to after the wedding. Most of our guests are in the same hotel with us for the nights before, but after that we are outta there!

    • Natalie

      Haha. If it were me and my dad, I’d just ask him if he knows what goes on during honeymoons these days. It would embarrass the heck out of him, and he’d get the point pretty quickly. That’s not the kind of comment I’d make to my future MIL, though.

  • HannahESmith

    I had a similar situation, but with my husband’s grandparents. They generously gave us a cruise for a wedding gift, but they insisted that the entire extended family join us. Fortunately our wedding was in September, so we had to delay the cruise until the next summer. It ended up being a nice trip, but I was so glad our actual honeymoon didn’t involve my husband’s entire extended family.

  • Nell

    As much as people getting weddinged often have wishful thinking about how it will transform their relationships with their parents, I bet equal numbers of parents think, “My kid is getting married! Now we’re finally going to be best friends!”

    The money factor looms large, also. If we had had to pay for our own wedding, we probably . . . would not be having one. So how do we acknowledge generosity without caving to totally silly requests?

  • ElisabethJoanne

    Story 1: My family regularly vacationed with my grandparents on Kauai. As my mother tells the story now, I guess the first time, when I was 1, wasn’t so great. But the second time, when I was 7 and my sister was 1, was the best vacation ever. It was helpful having extra adults around, but each family had its own condo, and there was no pressure to spend too much time together. We went back every time my grandparents offered thereafter. [My grandparents owned a timeshare and spent several weeks every year.]

    Story 1b: We did something similar with the other side of the family for my parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. It wasn’t the greatest, but I think it was good. My grandparents, great aunt, and uncle were also on that trip, and I don’t think that childless adult : parents : children proportion was as good as in Kauai.

    Story 2: My husband and I have been offered similar vacations in Heidelburg, St. Petersburg (Russia), and Haifa, all where he has relatives. I rejected the most recent offer, to St. Petersburg, partly because of work, and partly because I didn’t think I’d enjoy the trip. It’s not a place I feel comfortable exploring alone, and so I’d be stuck with a bunch of relatives I don’t know and don’t share a language with, and my husband, who has verious medical conditions and just personality-wise wouldn’t be the best guide in that situation. But I’m considering Israel in the spring, with the proviso that we not start with the relatives in Haifa, ’cause that will mean me alone with the in-laws the first several mornings while my husband sleeps off jet-lag.

    tldr: While I totally get that honeymoons are different, inter-generational, family trips can be great, especially on Kauai. But every family will be different.

  • snarkyteacher

    Gah, I can totally see my parents trying to pull something like this. I think if your future in laws are like mine (and it sounds like they are), then saying “we’re going to stay off the grid/spend time alone/etc” would not be well received and would lead to guilt ridden conversations. Island hopping, “last minute” without telling them where exactly may be the way to go, even if it means one less night so you can afford it. In 6 years together, we’ve learned that with my parents, honesty up front first is worth a try (i.e. we’d like some alone time), but usually we’ll have to resort to less honest ways (island hopping last minute and not telling them where). I hate that but setting boundaries just doesn’t work. His mom on the other hand, totally cool and we could be IN her house and she would still leave us alone for 3 days unless we sought her out (true story).

  • honeycomehome

    Yes, it’s totally appropriate to tell your in-laws what you want, and what you hope for on your honeymoon.

    But it is also totally appropriate for your in-laws to tell you what they want, and what they hope for from the wedding.

    I don’t think this is a situation where someone is “more right” than anyone else. Of course you want alone time with your new spouse. Of course his parents want to see you two on the rare occasion that you’re all somewhere together. There will be time before the wedding, but they will have to be “on” as much as you will, since it’ll be their family that is there, too. Maybe they want the chance to see you in a less intense setting, and that’s understandable.

    There’s compromise to be struck. Maybe you say that you need 24 or 48 hours post-wedding with zero contact. Maybe you only agree to meet for one lunch and one last drink the night before they/you head out. However it works out, you’ll fly home alone and it’ll be months before you see them again. That’s something to keep in mind, too.

    • MC

      I kind of disagree. Yes, they have the right to tell the LW and her fiance what their hopes and expectations are, but the chance to be alone with your newly married selves right after the wedding is kind of once in a lifetime. If the married couple wants to use that opportunity to be away from friends & family for a week, that takes precedence over the in-laws’ desire for a family vacation. Family vacations can happen anytime. That’s why I like Liz’s suggestion of trying to find another, non-honeymoon time to visit them.

      • KEA1

        Agreed…the wedding is not the same as the honeymoon, so unless the in-laws are paying for the honeymoon too, their right to expect their wishes to be honored kinda ends as soon as the last dance ends (or whatever ends the wedding). Offering to visit in the near future or some other compromise would certainly be a kind thing for the couple to do. But If they want their honeymoon not to involve luncheons etc planned by members of their family, they have every right to make that call.

        • Natalie

          I’d argue that even if the in-laws are paying for part of the honeymoon, the newlyweds are under no obligation to turn their honeymoon into a family vacation. Giving someone a gift does not give one the right to dictate how that gift is used.

        • Katherine

          Not that I have a solution, but it’s not clear to me that promising to visit soon is a viable alternative. Cross country trips are expensive, both in terms of time & money. And making a promise that you can’t necessarily keep sets other long term issues.

          • KEA1

            Good point. I think it’s useful to have *some* way of explaining to the in-laws that this isn’t a blanket, “we don’t ever want to spend time with you,” but it’s true that if they aren’t tuning in to the couple’s (very much justified) wishes for honeymoon privacy, they might also read more into promises to visit than what the couple intended. ={

      • Teppy

        100% agree. It’s appropriate for the future in-laws to tell the couple what they hope for from the wedding. The WEDDING. This is not about the wedding. It’s about the honeymoon, which is a whole separate sexy kettle of fish.

        Meg (and the other staff) has said before that the ceremony is absolutely about the couple, but the larger wedding is about the guests as much as the couple. But the honeymoon? Again, that’s absolutely about the couple…unless THEY want to make it a larger family event. In this case, the couple doesn’t. And that’s okay. That’s how honeymoons usually go.

        • ART

          I’m sorry, but I don’t think there has ever been a sexy kettle of fish. (shudders)

      • Lawyerette510

        I agree with you MC. I think respecting a couple’s chance to honeymoon alone is a matter of right and wrong, and while the wedding celebrations are about the community, the honeymoon is not.

    • Liz

      I’ve been trying to figure out why I disagree. I think this is less about the wedding, and not even really about honeymoon as a traditionally sex oriented time. It’s about the new family being made here, and how that new family spends its time is very much a place for boundary discussion.

      The closest thing I can compare it to off the top of my head is holidays. Yep, your family is allowed to voice what they hope for with regard to how much they see you (how you spend your time) during the holidays. But when it comes down to it, only you as a couple really get to determine, “Here is how we will spend our time.”

      Your parents could, in theory, crash your Thanksgiving meal at home. But hopefully instead they’d just respect the boundary of, “We’d like to be alone” (despite their hurt feelings or disappointment). Just like these parents could, in theory, swing by the couple’s hotel room with a surprise breakfast, but I think we’re all crossing our fingers that instead they’re respectful, and don’t.

      ….as I type, I think it’s also worth noting that I live down the street from my own parents. So, yeah. Time boundaries!

      • Lawyerette510

        I agree that it’s less about the sex-oriented time, and more about the time together as a new family. My favorite part of our honeymoon was just staring at each other with these big grins we couldn’t stop smiling. It was like we were just in this little love bubble together and even though we were just in Sonoma county where go regularly, it was so special being in that moment together just the two of us.

  • Anonymous for this

    Is it bad that my first reaction to this post title was a resounding ” oh HELL NO!”?

    • KEA1

      hah, mine was too. Verbatim. ;)

    • Jules

      Hahaha, but once I opened it, it wasn’t what I thought….I pictured the parents literally tagging along the day after the wedding, wanting to come on the flight, etc etc…

    • Jess

      Nope, that was mine. My words were as follows:

      Wait… What?
      Oh HELL NO!!

  • macaroni

    Oooh this is a tough one. I totally sympathize, because our wedding is semi-destination (my parents live on the island where the wedding is taking place, but many guests are traveling from out-of-town or out-of-state), and a lot of my family is spending the week after the wedding at the beach for vacation/family time. We’re not taking our “for real” honeymoon until Jan/Feb, so we’re staying on island for a few days after the wedding to decompress before returning to work. Initially we talked about staying at a nice hotel near my parents’ house, then we realized if we went for walks on the beach we would inevitably run into family and friends. Thankfully it’s a (fairly) large island and we can be somewhat secluded.

    Annnyway, long story before advice: my tip would be to talk to the parents, and try to explain (as gently, yet firmly, as possible) that you were looking forward to relaxing/decompressing/having alone time after the wedding, and suggest leaving formal plans up in the air for now. We have decided that going into it we aren’t planning on doing dinner/brunch/etc. with family, but if we decide spur of the moment that we want to see folks before we leave town, we aren’t against it. I’d keep things as open-ended as possible, and then if mid-to-late week you feel like socializing, reach out. Otherwise, they’re adults and they can entertain themselves!

  • Abbey

    I was in a somewhat similar situation last October. We got married on Maui, and then honeymooned on Kauai for a few days. Turned out that my parents and their friends also booked a trip to Kauai at the same time as our honeymoon. My husband was worried that we’d be running into them all the time. We had independently booked places on opposite sides of the island, and it worked out great. We were all over the island and so were they, but we never saw them at all. Kauai is a (relatively) big place, although I could see how it would be difficult if you were in the same hotel or complex. You may already have plans locked in, but have you looked at flights between islands? They can be very affordable (I think we paid less than $100 per person). We really enjoyed the reset of switching islands after getting married. It felt like we could breathe a bit and move away from the family/friend craziness of the wedding to just focus on us.

  • Sarah

    Her fiancé needs to deal with his own parents. It is not the writer’s job. It could start an unfortunate dynamic between he and her new in laws, which she clearly wants to avoid. His parents, he has to set the boundaries. If he won’t address this issue with his parents, the writer and her fiancé need to have a serious discussion about why he won’t, and how they both plan to address boundary issues with their parents in the future.

    • Heather

      YES. THIS.

  • KB

    I may be in the minority here, but just addressing the question asked… I do think it’s inappropriate for you to tell the in laws that you don’t want them to stay the week after the wedding. Especially since it sounds like they weren’t sure of your plans until recently, and after they had made their own plans. It would be one thing if they were following you to a different location, knowing it was your honeymoon…. but in this case, they’ll already be there, and are extending their trip, which is a reasonable thing for them to want to do.

    I think it would be appropriate for you to be firm – and not hint – that you won’t be making plans with them during the rest of your stay.

    I would have been really bummed to see my in laws on my honeymoon, so I totally get it. But once plans have been made, I don’t think you can tell them to cut their vacation short.

  • Jennifer Cary Diers

    We were expected (“expected,” as in, it was not optional) to attend a breakfast at 10am the morning after our wedding. My MIL required this and could not be dissuaded, despite a frank discussion beforehand. She actually booked the room in the hotel for it and invited everyone, so we would be jerks if we did not show up. We had to open presents in front of a bunch of people. We were up late at the reception, and then up a little later (hint hint), so we were totally disheveled, tired, and grouchy. They took so many photos of us, too.

    In retrospect, we should have told them no. Just no. We seriously considered not showing up that morning. Opening gifts was not a reasonable excuse to be up that early, or to be expected to host people when we should have had a lazy, romantic morning in bed together. We missed out on our amazing suite because we had to pack up and check out as soon as the event was over. I told my sister-in-law and brother to say “no freaking way!” to this tradition at their own weddings, but they didn’t and they hated it too.

    The real problem is that I still harbor resentment about it, and so does my husband. I’m usually quick to forgive, but this really felt like a violation of our time. It still bothers me to think about it, and it bothers me that it bothers me. Midwestern guilt at work.

    No one should expect to see the bride and groom after the wedding. For any reason. If they offer some time together, okay, but it should be up to them. These traditions are incredibly rude.

    • All Spice

      “I’d be as direct as possible. But if your in-laws are like mine, it might not matter.”

      We might be distant relatives by marriage! You could have written this about my in-laws….

    • Marcela

      I found out when we woke up after the wedding that my newly minted husband of just over 12 hours had arranged for us to have breakfast with his parents and sister and her in-laws. I was not pleased. We still work on the boundaries thing.

  • Tania

    We went on honeymoon with my parents and 14 of our friends! Had a great time! That said, I completely agree with Liz’s advice. Gently ask the in-laws to holiday elsewhere!

    • StevenPortland

      As I write this, the first set of relatives are arriving from the airport. We, too, are spending our honeymoon with the in-laws. 15 of us are renting a beach house all next week. Not what I had imagined doing, but the kids will LOVE it. It will be a great time.

  • Philippa

    We had a very similar kind of problem in that my future in laws seemed to expect us to stay with them, in the house they are renting in my parents village for the few days before the wedding, ON OUR WEDDING NIGHT.

    Long story short, gentle but firm positions on the issue were explained, boundaries were set, all sorted. There have been a number of gentle boundary conversations so far with the in-laws…

    I think my FMIL was just so excited about the chance to spend time with her son, she really didn’t quite understand that we might not have the same expectations… and actually, with each of the boundary conversations we’ve had with both sets of parents, they have been on the whole pretty understanding after they’ve heard WHY we want to do something differently.

    Lots of luck – you’re definitely not alone!! xx

  • Ashley

    My suggestion: go to Maui or the Big Island. I lived in the Hawaiian Islands for 7 years, and it’ll be agreat opportunity to explore another island. You’ll probably be able to see most of Kauai on the first week (it’s really small), plus it will give you some privacy!

  • I think this is kind of funny, actually. My wife and I deliberately planned our wedding date around a week we could spend with her father and stepmother. Yes, friends, we spent the week after our wedding with my in-laws. On purpose. We planned it that way a year in advance. Why? Because we live on opposite coasts. I wanted to get to know my in-laws. My wife hadn’t spent time in a real way with her father since she was in the fifth grade (long story). We had an awesome time at a timeshare in Richmond, VA. Everybody got to do the things they wanted to do, we spent time together and apart. No, there was no sexytime but we have our whole lives for that. I would not change one iota of that decision. Building a relationship with my in-laws was worth every minute. This life is short, friends. I’m so very grateful for the time that we all had together, just hanging out. It was great. I would write a post about it but I’ve submitted two posts thus far and they haven’t been printed so I’m not keen to do it again. You’re just going to have to take my word for it that this really isn’t the worst idea in the world.

  • La’Marisa-Andrea

    Well since you’re having a destination wedding, it’s not unusual that some of your guests would use this opportunity to also vacation so no, you can’t tell someone, even your parents, where to vacation and when. I think it’s pretty unreasonable to tell someone, hey please come out to Kaui for our wedding but you can’t stay after the wedding bc we want to honeymoon here. That’s just..bizarre IMO. If they want to stay in Kaui for a week after, then that’s what they get to do. What you CAN do, however, is enjoy the time alone and honeymoon. So I don’t think you need to feel obligated to socialize with them in any whatsoever and you can kindly tell them so. But asking them to leave Kaui? No.

  • Manda

    Similarly, but not quite the same, my future MIL has been suggesting we have our honeymoon on a cruise with the rest of their family. She’s stressed that it’s a big ship and we’ll be able to do things on our own and have our own cabin, etc, but to me, that’s not a honeymoon. That’s just a big family vacation. For us, our honeymoon will also be our first vacation alone as a married couple, and I want that to be special and unique to us. I don’t want to spend our first week of married life with all my in-laws, especially since we do not live very far from them and we see them fairly often already. Fortunately, I’m not worried about hurt feelings. I’ve already told her we’d rather not do that and it hasn’t been a big deal.

  • Dian Xiao

    It might be a good idea to find why they want to stay a week after. Is it because they want to enjoy Hawaii some more? Want to spend quality time with you guys? If they just want some more Hawaii time, I feel like it might be nicer to say hey stay but we want “us time” and don’t really want to spend energy coordinating/meeting up with them. I feel like there are enough activities, excursions on Kauai that you won’t necessarily run into them. If it’s more quality time, you could say hey let’s do another trip another time or we’ll come visit.

  • Jaiden Everett

    Ridiculous that “honeymoon” would have to be explained to anyone..the in-laws are just plain rude and intrusive. They should leave when everyone else does and stop making plans.