Published Feb. 16, 2008

Q: I'm recently engaged. Most of what I've heard so far from family and friends is what I should do, what they want out of me, and requests to explain why I'm not interested in doing X or Y.

I don't want to be rude, but my attempts at getting people to respect my wishes aren't working.

A: You're letting me plan your wedding? It must be "my day"!

You need:

- A budget. If the total comes from but doesn't drain your savings, you're beholden to none but each other.

- A location. Choose without apology if you like it, can afford it, and make it accessible to those who matter.

- An officiant, representing your beliefs as a couple.

- Enough refreshments and seating to make your guests comfortable; invitations; a head count that reflects both your budget and vision; music to keep things festive; and a dress that doesn't scream "fairy dust poisoning."

Unless that's your preference. This blueprint is about marriage, on the couple's terms. Assuming your terms aren't "vanity" and "waste," the only people you'll really offend are those who want things done their way, not yours.

Here's what you don't need: anyone's respect. Want, yes, not need. It's between you and your fiance.

Pay-per-view problems

Q: My friend of more than 15 years stayed overnight two consecutive Sundays when he was in town to see his doctor about the possible recurrence of his cancer. Both nights he ordered pay-per-view porn while sleeping on the couch in the basement. My girlfriend of six years is upset and doesn't want him staying at our house anymore. Do you think that is justified, or overkill?

A: Your question could easily have read: "During two overnight stays at our house, a friend of mine ordered pay-per-view porn. My girlfriend doesn't want him staying at our house anymore."

But you added very specific details. Meaning, you want the answer to reflect: that these visits matter, this friend matters, his circumstances matter, and this girlfriend matters.

If that's what you wanted me to see, then make those points to your girlfriend. You love and respect her but would like to give this friend a break.

It's a fair position. And since she also makes a fair point, you get to have the conversation with your friend about laying off/reimbursing the pay-per-view.

That is, if you manage to sway her, because otherwise her veto stands. In a home shared by two equals, a "no" from one person means "no."

Washington Post Writers Group