Me: Short, brunette, thick eyebrows; sarcastic with very low and somewhat monotone voice.

Fiancé: Tall, handsome, bearded, laid-back with adorable Southern accent and quiet demeanor. When comfortable he comes out of his shell and makes immature jokes full of poop and curse words. Extremely adoring fiancé. Parents divorced when he was 7 and he manages to go back and forth at holidays without any griping.

(Future) Father-in-Law: Average height, bald, believes everyone should go to therapy, seeking his spiritual home (having decided not to be a Christian and that god exists, but is "definitely genderless"), retired physician, hearty laugh. Generally good-natured but the occasional ex-wife barb sneaks in, like telling me "what better way to go to Mother-in-Law's?" when I said I'd had too many cranberry margaritas.

Wife of Future FIL (Stepmother-in-Law?): Low voice with Southern accent, short brown hair, earnest, loves to talk about feelings and my fiancé's mother, who she says is "terrifying" and "poisoned [fiancé] against [her]." Also, my fiancé's parents "never should have been married." (Thanks, I'm marrying the product of that marriage, and I kinda appreciate that it happened.) Complains about being "just a stepmom" and repeatedly invokes the time my fiancé called her and said "hi, this is your son, Happy Birthday," which is sweet but also, I know him better than anyone and he can just be awkward - she's making way too much out of it. Constantly refers to me as her daughter-in-law and says out of nowhere she is not at all bothered that her extended family isn't invited to the wedding.

Future Mother-in-Law: Easily 5'9", possibly 5'10". I can't tell. Very pretty, always made up nicely, goes to the gym and eats healthy organic food. Positively furious about the divorce upwards of 30 years later. Talks derisively of FIL's hippie spiritual journeying, Stepmother's activist feminism, and her boyfriend's wimpiness. Has upwards of 30 bottles of wine in her closet. Begins "wine time" at exactly 5 PM every day. Witty, smart, and absolutely unforgiving, bringing up my fiancé's idiotic behavior at the beginning of our relationship at every visit. Has thrown out boyfriend of 6 years yet again after the events of Thanksgiving.


On-Again, Off-Again Boyfriend of Mother-in-Law: Bald, average height, no accent, makes killer martinis and quizzes me on my favorite authors as soon as I walk in the door. Storms out of Thanksgiving dinner because he feels a family friend has been rude to him. Storms out of dinner on Saturday for unknown reason. Is a vegetarian, but also a Republican (?).

Supporting cast

Family friend couple at MIL's: Liberal Southerners, still in love after 40-50 years, have known Fiancé his whole life. Very excited about the wedding and getting to know me at dinner, much to the chagrin of On-Again, Off-Again, from whom I stole valuable attention by being the new girl who finally got a 39-year-old dude to settle down, much to the shock of all of these people.


Our dog: Brown, wolflike, about 40 pounds. Not a genius. Will wander out of our or any backyard if she is not leashed.

FIL's dog: Tan and white, clingy, does not need leash outside like our dog does.

Future Brother-in-Law: Late 20s, sloppily handsome, blond, bearded, smokes medical-grade pot every day and still lives at home. Spouts a lot of wildlife factoids and witty jokes. I have no idea if he has a girlfriend (neither does Fiancé) or anything about any of his friends. Very mysterious but fun to be around.


Crying Cousin: Heavyset, blond, pretty, going through a crappy divorce. Has to defend herself against her tween daughter's accusations (in front of everyone) that she is never allowed to see her dad. Breaks down crying, understandably. Decent child actors needed for her children, who are 11 and 8. Several supporting aunts and uncles and cousins also need to be thrown in, but none of our encounters were particularly noteworthy except for watching my fiancé trying to work a Keurig machine with the hostess's help. Hilarious.

Note re: e-card image - Thanksgiving has only been a thing since 1863? Don't they mean 1683?