DEAR ABBY: I’m getting married soon. My mom says we should have one side of the church reserved for my fiance’s friends and family, and one side for ours. I disagree. Not only does it make me feel like we would be separating people when the occasion should be about unity, but he doesn’t have a whole lot of people coming. It could embarrass him if I have 100 guests on my side and he has 30 on his.

My fiance says he doesn’t care, but I do! I want our guests blended in celebration of our union. Because Mom and Dad are paying half, I think Mom should have some input, but I don’t feel right about her suggestion. What do you think? — UNITING, NOT DIVIDING

DEAR UNITING: I agree with your thinking. Although in the past brides’ and grooms’ guests were seated on opposite sides of the sanctuary, today the wedding “rules” have loosened considerably. While the bride’s and groom’s families usually sit on opposite sides in areas marked for them by ribbons, if there is an imbalance in the number of guests such as you have described, an usher can correct it by seating the guests on both sides of the room without regard to who invited them.

DEAR ABBY: Why do people act like it’s a disgrace for a son to be living with his mother? They don’t have that attitude when it’s a daughter. A lot of folks are without jobs right now, and I’m insulted that people feel the need to comment when sons move back home.

My house is paid for and my son is good company. He is not a complainer, we have a lot of the same interests, and he is constantly on the computer trying to find a job. I feel a lot safer now that he lives with me than I did living by myself, and I will miss him once he has found a job and moves out. — MOTHER OF A GOOD SON

DEAR MOTHER: Because many people are without jobs right now, many individuals — and entire families — are living under one roof. It has been this way since the Great Recession hit our economy, and a person would have to be living in a cave not to understand that it has been driven by necessity. I’m sad that people so often make comments without thinking about the effect they will have on the listener, but please don’t take them personally. They are made out of ignorance.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I own five parrots, one of which is a Miligold Macaw. “Petie” is a young bird and starting to pick up words and sounds like crazy. Something he has started mimicking has my husband and me embarrassed and worried.

When we go into our bedroom, Petie starts making “amorous” sounds. Honestly, it sounds like someone is at the height of romantic passion in the living room where his cage is located.

Petie practices other words and sounds at various times during the day. We enjoy having people over to the house, and it’s good for him to interact with them and be socialized. How should we handle the situation if he starts repeating the sounds of our bedroom activities when guests are over? Any suggestions? — DISCREET IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR DISCREET: You could tell your guests that Petie likes to watch R-rated movies on premium cable. But don’t be embarrassed that your bird has the sounds of pleasure to imitate. It would be worse if he were saying, “Not tonight; I have a headache.”

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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