DEAR ABBY: Nine months ago, my 30-year-old daughter, "Natalie," who lives on the West Coast, announced that she wished to be married in July in our East Coast waterfront home. I told her I'd be happy to host her wedding.
Last Christmas, she wrote our East Coast family members (who number over 60) asking them to save the date. On Natalie's trips home since the announcement, we have worked together to procure a minister, a band, and a tent for the reception. I put down a payment on the beach area of our community for the reception. I was even able to find private homes for guests to stay to reduce their expenses.
Out of the blue, last week Natalie called me and announced that she has changed her mind. She now intends to be married in August on the West Coast.
I don't want to put a damper on my daughter's wedding plans, but should I just humbly accept this last-minute change? Perhaps my vision of a wedding as the joining of the bride and groom -- as well as their two families -- is an outmoded concept. (Our large East Coast family will NOT be able to make the trek west.)
My Natalie is a hypersensitive child, and I am reluctant to tell her how disappointed and saddened I am by her sudden change of plans. Tell me, should I just MYOB? -- IN SHOCK IN SEVERNA PARK, MD.
DEAR IN SHOCK: Your daughter may be hypersensitive, but she would have to suffer from amnesia not to be aware of all the plans that you and the rest of her East Coast family have made. Tell her how you feel.
I believe a bride should have the wedding of her dreams -- but it doesn't give her the right to ride roughshod over the feelings of others.
Now: Contact the minister, the band, the homeowners, the tent supplier, etc., and ask them to return all or a portion of any deposits you have made. I wish you the best of luck, because I foresee a migraine in your near future.
DEAR ABBY: My husband and I live in a small neighborhood. We are one of about five families who have a swimming pool. Over the years we have told our next-door neighbors they are welcome to use our pool during the summer and while we are on vacation. They have two children, ages 6 and 12. We are not close friends, but have had them to our home on occasion. They have never reciprocated.
Last summer, after we returned from vacation, our neighbors "laughingly" informed us that they had invited two other couples (and their extended families) to OUR home for a pool party. We were shocked speechless.
We are entering "pool season" again. These neighbors are now waving and becoming friendlier. My husband and I are in firm agreement that we will NOT offer the pool for their family to use again this summer. Of course, this doesn't mean that while we are gone they will not invite themselves over anyway.
What do you think of their behavior? How would you handle this? -- NOT FEELING NEIGHBORLY IN TENNESSEE
DEAR NOT FEELING: Hospitality is supposed to be a two-way street. Your neighbors were not only rude, they were presumptuous. If their guests had been injured on your property, the liability would have been yours.
Waste no time in telling these people that you can no longer accommodate them because of the potential liability. Were I in your position, I would fence the pool and install key locks on the gates. Your swimming pool should be fenced anyway -- for your protection and the safety of small children in the neighborhood.
Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.
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