Commenter Neil posted up his two cents on Bauer's blog and wrote up his detailed instructions on getting through the dreaded affair:

It depends on whether the priority is going to dinner or having the strangers meet. If the priority is for the strangers to meet, maybe a restaurant isn't the best place.

At a restaurant, everyone's on their best behaviour and you don't get a good measure of the strangers across the table. There's so much other stuff going on that dilutes the influence of the potential relatives, but maybe that's a good thing. The fondue or hot pot idea helps bring people forward, rather than seat covers to be endured, which is a good thing.

I'd take a ferry to Tiburon for lunch on Saturday, and make sure they have an adult beverage on the ferry. The strangers can walk around, pair off for "guy talk" and "girl talk", stroll around after lunch, etc. Or a Bay Cruise like Hornblower, same rationale.

What I'd really do, though, is have them round for dinner. It gives the young couple an opportunity to show how they work as a couple. If they don't cook, they can always order take-out. The food is subordinate to the social interactions. If the couple are comfortable together, the parents will feed off of that. Of course, all this assumes there isn't a hidden reason for expecting awkwardness.

Very detailed, there, Neil. Do you do this often? Don't feel bad if you do. We were all taking notes just then.

But, where does everyone else go to introduce their parents to one another? Leave suggestions in the comments. Funny/embarrassing stories are more than welcome.

Photo by DaseinDesign.