1. Before proposing
Guys, while asking your girlfriend's father for her hand in marriage may seem like an antiquated tradition, most dads still appreciate the gesture. Ladies, whether you think this practice is totally absurd (Dad finds out about my engagement before I do? No way!) or super sweet, let your man know—subtly, by commenting on a friend's or sibling's proposal, or directly, if you've been openly discussing your own upcoming engagement.
2. Making the guest list
It's no secret that drafting and finalizing your guest list can lead to a disagreement or two (or 10), but involving your parents early on is the best way to identify and address potential conflicts before they evolve into serious drama. You may consider letting your parents own a piece of the guest list…especially if they're involved in financing your wedding. This may be your day, but in many ways it is theirs as well. They are so excited to celebrate this milestone with you, the family, and their friends. If, however, your parents have 600 close friends, and your heart is set on a small affair, stand firm! You also get to draw the line at toddlers even if your mom says excluding family—no matter their bedtime or penchant for wailing at inopportune moments—is a no-no.
3. Deciding who walks you down the aisle
While most parents (and guests!) find the wedding ceremony itself deeply moving, nothing quite compares with walking a son or daughter down the aisle. It's a proud moment, and your parents will appreciate being included in a discussion of who will accompany you to the altar. You may have always pictured your dad "giving you away," but when your mom pipes up to say that she would love to loop her arm through your free elbow, her enthusiasm might alter your perspective.
4. Picking the wedding location
Thinking of getting hitched on a remote island in the South Pacific? You may want to make sure your parents (plus grandparents, siblings, and anyone else you can't imagine marrying without) can swing the extras that a far-flung destination wedding requires, including accommodation, long flights, and the additional time off work, if you want your nearest and dearest at your wedding.