Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

DEAR ABBY: My fiance and I are looking forward to being married soon. The problem is, he wants a traditional wedding with bridesmaids and groomsmen, and I prefer a wedding at the courthouse.

I'm not good at planning parties, and we have almost no budget to work with. We will be paying for all of this out of pocket. We have a venue booked on a beach. However, the amount of planning that's going into this weeklong wedding/family vacation -- with all invitees attending -- is becoming too much.

My future mother-in-law doesn't care for me, and dealing with her is stressful. My fiance is not planning the wedding. I am, by default. I really don't want to do this, and we can't hire a wedding planner. Do you have any suggestions on how to compromise on this situation? -- WEDDED UN-BLISS IN TEXAS

DEAR WEDDED UN-BLISS: There are solid reasons it is recommended that engaged couples have premarital counseling to work out any disagreements before the vows are spoken. I'm suggesting it for you. Your celebration should be kept low-key and inexpensive, and you do not have to explain or apologize to anyone for it.

I would like to caution you, however, to think twice about going through with this marriage. From where I sit, you will have a built-in mother-in-law problem because the woman doesn't like you, as well as an irresponsible husband who is unwilling to compromise. It doesn't take a crystal ball to predict that you will have some serious challenges to contend with.


DEAR ABBY: Neighbor "Bill" has lived across the street for 30 years. Our kids grew up together, and we socialized at least once a month with him and his wife. Three years ago, she left him, and his daughter moved out of town. My wife and I were among the few who helped to support him emotionally.

Bill is pleasant and presentable. The problem is, he's the cheapest man on the face of the Earth. We have almost identical well-paying professional jobs. My wife and I travel extensively, attend events, have new cars and eat well. Bill has a 20-year-old car he won't even pay to wash. He travels only when he can stay at a friend's house, and must be hard-pressed to pay for anything. He's kind of a leech in that he waits for invitations where he can get by on the cheap. This makes for a very dull and challenging companion.

My wife is neutral, but it has really gotten to me. Her take is to just not invite Bill if it bothers me so much. I'm willing to support him emotionally, but not financially at the same time. Mutual friends agree with me. Your thoughts? -- JUST ABOUT OVER BILL

DEAR JUST ABOUT OVER: My thought is that the friendship with Bill may have run its course. And if your neighbor should ask you why, tell him what you have shared with me -- that you're tired of footing the bill for Bill.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

More like Dear Abby