It’s Not ‘They Do’

Stop worrying about the parents’ wishes and enjoy your zany, Vegas-style nuptials

Dear Carolyn,

I’ve been living with a guy for about eight years. We used to talk about getting married but never really did anything about actually tying the knot. Imagine my surprise when suddenly, out of the blue, my sweet, lovable boyfriend dropped to his knees and asked me to marry him!

We have decided to go to Vegas the next time he gets a load near there. I know it’s tacky, but I think if you do a Vegas wedding, you should do it all the way. I want an Elvis impersonator and the wedding chapel and a white dress and all of that. My problem is that our families are horrified and want us to have a church wedding in our hometown. My parents say they will “die” if we go through with our plans. His mother mostly just cries when we talk about it. I try to console them and comfort them but am worn out. Should I just give in and do what they want?


Dear Sally,

First, congratulations! It’s rare to hear from a happy bride. Usually, emails from brides are written in ALL CAPS. Now, let’s talk about your parents. They will not die. I mean, they will eventually die but not because you are having a Vegas wedding. Ignore everyone’s theatrics and go about the business of planning a happy, zany wedding that fits both of your personalities. You don’t owe anyone the wedding they think you should have. When you stop apologizing and cease wringing your hands over their reaction, they will eventually stop their nonsense. It’s hard to be dramatic when nobody is paying any attention. This advice also works well with regard to toddlers, teenagers and some dogs.

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

This is in response to your advice to the woman who was abused as a child. I understand that your advice to forgive and move on is good advice. In fact, I’ve spent a lot of money and time getting that message from a professional. (No offense to you!) You admitted that it’s easier said than done, and that is true, too. But I’m writing because I want you to tell her, from someone who has been there, that it is the only way to survive. You have to forgive and let it go. I let my childhood torment me for most of my life and ruin every chance for happiness that came my way. Now that I am free of all the resentment, I am at peace.

Thank you for tackling this subject.


Dear Kelly,

You are most welcome. It pains me to give advice I know is so hard to execute. But I believe that once you let go of the past and immerse yourself in the “now” you can navigate the future more gently.

I’m just say’n.

Dear Carolyn,

I have a two-part question: Do stupid people know they are stupid? And how can you tell if their stupid is fixable or not?

No pressure or anything, but my life depends on this answer.


Dear Jake,

In my experience, the truly stupid don’t know they are stupid. While everyone can screw something up from time to time, the stupids don’t recognize their limitations. In fact, they are blind to their lack of awareness. Most people will seek out answers, but the truly stupid think they have all the answers. You know you’ve run across unfixable stupid by how they don’t recognize smart.

I’m now very curious as to why your life depends on this? Do you work for BP?

I’m just say’n.