Dear Amy: Should we relinquish control of our wedding if we aren't paying for it?
My husband and I got married last month. It was a small, intimate wedding with just our close friends and family. It was a one-of-a-kind wedding that was very unique to us. We loved it.
My mother-in-law, though, wasn't quite so thrilled. It wasn't traditional enough. It wasn't big enough. And it didn't have every single extended friend and family member in attendance. Now, she's booked us another venue and is paying for a second wedding in their hometown. Since this is several states away from us and we aren't going to be able to visit before the ceremony, they are planning everything without us.
Originally, we were OK with this. We know that weddings aren't just about us and want to be able to include close friends and family that couldn't make it to our first ceremony.
Things are spiraling out of control. They've stopped including us in the decisions and are nitpicking any requests we do make. They've invited more than 100 people. There are bridesmaids and groomsmen. There's another isle to walk down and an officiant. There's a band and a photo booth. There are invitations and color schemes and decorations that are ... not our style at all.
We've tried to tell them that we want final say on everything. Just give us options or, at the very least, a heads-up on anything that they're going to buy. But is that selfish? We just had the wedding of our dreams. Should we let the family have the wedding of theirs?
-- Confused Bride
Dear Confused: You are already married. I repeat. You are already married.
If your in-laws want to throw a big fancy reception or party for you, that's great. Band, flowers, photo booth, the whole schmear, but you are already married.
You should not agree to participate in this repeat ceremony. Why? Because you don't want to. You should thank them for their generosity and let them throw whatever party they want to throw, but put your foot down about what you will and will not do regarding participating in a dog-and-pony wedding show and/or religious ceremony for your mother-in-law's benefit.
Dear Amy: I have a very good friend that I have known for more than 30 years. Over the last few years, we've really begun spending time together, doing girls' nights out, road trips, etc.
We've taken two recent road trips with our kids. Over the summer, during a seven-hour car ride, I noticed her teen daughter's body odor.
The three of us took a short overnight road trip this past weekend, and I (once again) noticed it. In my friend's home, she has a kitty litter and dog smell that would overload the senses of a bloodhound. Your nose is greeted with this as soon as the front door opens.
We're like sisters, but I am deathly afraid of hurting her feelings, or stepping on her mom toes.
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We have a judgment-free friendship, and I fear that this would damage that trust.
Amy, how can I approach this subject with her diplomatically?
-- Severely Overloaded Senses
Dear SOS: This is one of the most challenging issues to deal with diplomatically. You should try, however, because being a true friend means that you occasionally have to deliver tough truths.
Doing this does not violate your "no judgment" relationship. You aren't placing a value judgment about how your friend lives; you are giving her a discreet notice about something she might not be aware of.
People who live among very strong pet odors often don't seem to notice; the nose simply adjusts to noxious fumes.
You can say to your friend, privately, "Hey, I'm just giving you a heads-up that I noticed 'Julia's' body odor this past weekend. I noticed it last summer, too, but thought it might be a temporary thing. I know it's challenging with teens, but I thought you might want to go over some hygiene issues with her. Or I could try, if you think she would be open to that."
Dear Amy: I loved your answer to "Mother," who walked in on her son in a sexually intimate moment with his (male) friend. You are so right. No matter the sexuality, no young adult wants their mother to know this much about them, or, God forbid, witness it. Ewww! Mom, get out!
-- Mom Too
Dear Mom: This mother couldn't seem to unsee this, or stop talking about it.
(You can contact Amy Dickinson via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers may send postal mail to Amy Dickinson, c/o Tribune Content Agency, 16650 Westgrove Drive, Suite 175, Addison, Texas, 75001. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or "like" her on Facebook.)