A week ago his parents and oldest brother, who is 15 years older (wife, two children, and daughter's boyfriend) drove in from Ohio. His sister (husband, two sons, and two french children staying with them) drove up from Virginia. We all convened at his other brother's (wife and daughter) house in Trumansburg.
I was happy to have met the T-burg family a few months earlier when we all went out to dinner celebrating John's birthday. Having familiar faces during the meeting of everyone else was helpful.
My Top 5 Suggestions:
1. Be on time. This is something I adhere for any and everything, but especially when making a good first impression. It's rude to keep people waiting. It's also rude to show up too early when people are still getting ready for your arrival so don't show up too early either!
2. Be informed. It's always good to do research before going on a job interview about the company or organization. It shows that you actually care about the work. Same goes for meeting the family. Ask you partner about their interests, careers, or recent vacations. It's a good way to start conversations and then to be a good listener.
3. Dress for the Occasion. There are different aspects to this. Whenever I have big events coming up, like a wedding or birthday party or interview, I try to correspond a haircut & wax with them; and that I did. It's good to know where you are going and what will be involved; you don't want to show up under or over dressed. The first night we had a casual dinner at the house. It was cooler that evening, so I wore a pair of jeans, sandals, a white tank top covered by a print cardigan. No over the top jewelry/makeup either. Under-dressed would have involved showing up wearing something I'd go to the gym or do yard work in. Over-dressed would have been wearing an evening dress appropriate for a fancy dinner or special occasion, (which I saved for the following night, when we went out to a nice restaurant on Seneca Lake, Stonecat Cafe, celebrating John's dad's 80th Birthday and his oldest brother's 55th birthday).
5. Be Polite. It should be obvious, but having restraint when controversial topics do arise, not stating how you think the chicken is over done on the grill, or helping clean up afterwards should be no-brainers, but time and time again I'm reminded common sense isn't very common. So have restraint, you don't have to throw in your two cents when you're first meeting the family! It's never nice to criticize someone else's cooking, and if you didn't have to prepare any food it's courteous to clean up! Oh, and flattery goes a long way, but be sincere. Don't let any anxiety make you blurt things out at awkward times. Breathe and be yourself (on your best behavior)!