Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: My fiance and I are 25 and 26 and are discussing our wedding plans. We have decided that we want to have a courthouse wedding because we don't want to spend thousands of dollars on a big ceremony. Our families have been extremely vocal about their disapproval. They said we would be robbing them of their experience. We explained to them that they could still come to the courthouse to witness our union, but that was not good enough. My mom actually started crying. I do not know what to do. My gut is saying that my fiance and I should continue to do what we feel is the most appropriate thing for us. Please help me come up with the best compromise and the correct words to address our families.

-- Conflicted Bride

DEAR CONFLICTED: I think that on some level everybody lives vicariously through marrying couples. When you announce your intentions it is one of those times when family members feel it is their right -- and their business -- to weigh in on something that is actually very intimate.

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You have to be strong enough to risk disappointing your families and resilient enough to realize that everybody will survive this disappointment.

You say, "I realize you are disappointed, but this is how we want to do it. We hope you will be there with us and join us for lunch afterward. It will be a very happy day for us, and we can't wait to share it with you."

DEAR AMY: This is for "Unexpected Widow." When my young son died, I went to a grief counselor. She told me she was going to help me "get through it." She said, "You will never get over it, but gradually the pain will subside." Some events will be difficult (birthday, holidays and other memorable family times) but you cannot use a calendar date because change happens gradually.

-- Mom With Experience

DEAR MOM: How wise. Thank you.