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by Abigail Van Buren

Wedding Album Photograph Leaves Mom in a Bad Light

DEAR READERS: I'll be on vacation between Aug. 18 and Aug. 31. Don't panic -- I've selected some of my favorite letters from past years to fill the gap. I hope you enjoy them.

DEAR ABBY: Here's a silly question that has become not so silly recently: About 16 years ago, my wife and I had a large wedding. Recently, apparently for the first time, my mother viewed our wedding album. She took an intense dislike to her appearance in a picture of my father and her dancing. This is the only picture of my parents in the album, Abby, but my mother has requested that we remove it and give it to her to destroy. She says she would hate to have her descendants see that likeness of her, and she reminded us that she never gave her permission to use this picture in the first place.

Both my wife and I think it is an excellent picture of my parents, and had we thought otherwise we would not have included it in our album. Since in our view the sole objection to this picture is an irrational one, which exists only in my mother's mind, and to destroy it would mean there would be no picture of my parents in our wedding album, we have refused her request.

Are we wrong? Or does my mother have a right to this picture? Ironically, I am a guidance counselor. -- FAMILY PROBLEM

DEAR FAMILY: It is your wedding album and it will undoubtedly outlast your annoyed mother. If she continues to fuss, remove the picture from the album, have it copied, give the original to her, and later place the copy in your album.

DEAR ABBY: In the last five years or so, most couples whom I have married have asked that I omit that portion of the service that asks if anyone present objects to the marriage that is about to take place. However, before each ceremony, I ask the bride and groom separately if they are sure they want to go through with the wedding. A number of times one or the other has said "No," the ceremony has been canceled with the church filled and the reception waiting. -- THE REV. W. LEE TRUMAN, FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, WHITTIER, CALIF.

DEAR MR. TRUMAN: With the church filled and reception waiting! Although it beats going through with the marriage, one can imagine the humiliation, heartache and headaches of all parties concerned -- not to mention the outrageous expense.

Your experience makes a strong case for insisting that all couples have premarital counseling, which nearly all churches, synagogues and temples now offer.

DEAR ABBY: My husband is 36, attractive and well-liked. He owns his own business, which requires some traveling and night entertaining, but he's always come home at a reasonable hour, ready, willing and able to make love to me, so I had no reason to worry.

One day last week before sending his suit to the dry cleaners, I checked the pockets and found a paper cocktail napkin on which was scribbled "Margo" and a telephone number. Then I did something I'm not very proud of. I wrote down the number and kept it.

When my husband came home, I casually handed him the cocktail napkin, saying, "This was in your pocket; it might be important."

He took it very matter-of-factly and said, "She's a woman with a wholesale jewelry connection. I was going to surprise you with something for your anniversary next month."

Later that evening when I was alone, I called the number and Margo answered. I told her I was interested in buying some jewelry, and she said I must have the wrong Margo because she was an airline stewardess!

So far I haven't told my husband about that call, but it's been bothering me. Should I tell him, or let it go? -- NEEDS ADVICE

DEAR NEEDS: Tell him. But wait until after your anniversary. One "surprise" deserves another.

DEAR READERS: If you would like your letter considered for publication, please include your name, area code and telephone number.

For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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