DEAR ABBY: I'm getting married soon. My mom says we should have one side of the church reserved for my fiancé'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. My fiancé says he doesn't care, but I do! I want our guests blended in celebration of our union. 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. If there is an imbalance in the number of guests, an usher can correct it by seating the guests on both sides of the room without regard to who invited them.

DEAR ABBY: My husband and I own five parrots. One of them, "Petie," is starting to pick up words and sounds like crazy. 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. How should we handle the situation if he starts repeating the sounds of our bedroom activities when guests are over?

— 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."