Unless your culture dictates differently, the American cultural norm is that the mother-in-law is an innocent bystander, as far as weddings are concerned. She is supposed to just be thankful her son or daughter found such a gem, and go along for the ride following instructions.
But with the holidays coming up, you might want to consider involving your M.I.L. in your planning process -- at least a little bit. That way, she feels like part of the event and you get to bond before the big day. Here are five ideas for including your M.I.L. that won't encourage her to give you too many of her opinions.
Attend a bridal event together.
If you have an opportunity, and you're early in your planning process, invite your M.I.L. to go with you to a bridal showcase. You'll get a sense of your local vendors, and the two of you will have the chance for a great female bonding experience -- plus, no decisions need to be made.
Invite her along to select appointments.
Perhaps, just to be safe, take her to the ones at which you aren't expected to make decisions, especially if you'd prefer not to have her input. For example: Often a musician will invite you to drop by at another wedding he is performing for -- you may ask your M.I.L. to join you for this, and include a dinner before or after to make an evening of it.
Send her email updates.
If your M.I.L.-to-be lives far away, keep her involved by sharing key decisions and details you're really excited about. There's no need to send her a message every time you book a vendor or find a new wedding shoe option, but sending her a photo of your dress or pictures you took of your venue will make her feel in the loop, and get her excited about the wedding.
Prepare a showcase of your own.
Put all of your photos and inspirations together in a presentation, and invite her over to "share" what you and her son/daughter have chosen. If she lives far away, send her the link to your wedding Pinterest board so she can keep up with your planning and vision, pin by pin.
Have a dress chat.
I have heard countless M.I.L.s fret about what they will be expected to wear. Here is where you can dictate color (options please, she may just not look good in silver) but allow her to chose the style that suits her best. Go shopping together to ease her mind, and allow yourselves some time together.