DEAR ABBY: I am a 21-year-old, happily married woman. "Nolan" and I were married in 2002 and only recently informed my parents. Two years ago, I just wanted to be married to Nolan. I knew my family would not approve, so we eloped. Nolan's family knew about our elopement and are happy for us.
We planned to have a large family wedding "later." I have been planning my perfect wedding since I was 5.
Now my grandmother says that having a reception would be a good idea, but a "wedding" with a dress and attendants would be in very bad taste. I disagree -- but am I being selfish? I love my family, but I am going to have only one ceremony in my life.
I was thinking we could have it in the church and I could have bridesmaids and everything. I won't wear white -- my gown would be ivory. What do you think? -- MARRIED "BRIDE-TO-BE"
DEAR MARRIED: Your grandmother is a wise lady, and you should listen to her because she's right. A reception to celebrate your marriage would be far more tasteful than staging the wedding you skipped when you eloped. However, if and when you and Nolan decide to renew your vows -- perhaps on your fifth anniversary -- the ceremony you have in mind would be more appropriate at that time.
DEAR ABBY: I have a beautiful, loving niece, "Marissa," who just turned 30. She desperately wants to be married and have children.
Marissa has been dating a man for two years. Last week, he told her that she's the one he wants to marry and have children with, but he's not ready to do it yet.
We have tried to talk to Marissa and encourage her to go out with friends and enjoy life, but she can't seem to do it. Every time she hears that someone has gotten engaged or become pregnant, she gets depressed. Have you any words of wisdom for Marissa? We have exhausted our supply. Please print this. When I see your answer, I'll run it right over to her apartment. -- CARING AUNT IN OHIO
DEAR AUNT: If Marissa won't listen to you and those who love her, she's not going to be receptive to "wisdom" from me. She does, however, need some answers before she devotes any more time to her boyfriend.
After two years, why isn't he ready for marriage? Is he not ready emotionally? Financially? Does he still have wild oats to sow?
Her biological clock is ticking. If he really plans to have a family with her, a talk with her ob-gyn might speed him to the altar. If it doesn't, she should move on.
DEAR ABBY: Recently the adult children of some casual acquaintances sent us a letter informing us that their parents would be celebrating an anniversary soon. In it, they requested we send money so they could give their parents a two-week vacation.
The children explained that they couldn't afford to pay for the trip, but wanted to do something special for their parents. They intend to put the names of all the donors on a card with the tickets and mail it to their parents as a "surprise." I think we should ignore it. What do you think our response should be? -- ANONYMOUS IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR ANONYMOUS: Do with it what you do with other unsolicited requests for donations.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600