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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: You were off the mark in your response to "Mom in Connecticut." Even if she and her husband are paying for the wedding, it isn't their wedding. A bride and groom should be able to invite the people they love to enjoy this moment in their lives. For Mom to control the guest list so that "her" event won't be ruined is completely selfish. Mom appears to want to put on a perfect social event, while the groom wants to share one of the most important events in his life with his family. I shudder to think what else Mom may try to control in the young couple's future simply for the sake of appearances. -- ANOTHER MOTHER, SAYRE, OKLA.

DEAR MOTHER: Many readers sided with the groom, saying a wedding is a family affair, not an "adults only" event. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I disagree with "Mom in Connecticut" that children should not be at her daughter's wedding. If my sister hadn't allowed children at her wedding, I couldn't have attended because I had no one to care for my 5-year-old daughter.

The children were nieces and nephews of the groom. If it's important to him that his family attend the wedding -- kids and all -- then the bride's family should understand. It's his wedding, too.

A wedding should be a good time with your family around you, with the two families getting acquainted to make one big, happy family. -- LISA FELIX, TUCSON, ARIZ.

DEAR LISA: Read on to see how another family who faced the problem resolved it:

DEAR ABBY: My advice to the mom who is hosting a wedding at which she didn't want children is to arrange for a baby sitter at the reception to keep an eye on the little ones. The children could attend the early part of the reception, and then at an agreed-upon time, the sitter could take the children to another room or location and entertain them.

Abby, I have very fond childhood memories of my cousin's country club wedding reception. I was allowed to dress up and attend the big event for a little while. Of course, I got sleepy before the evening was over, but the children's party had a place for us wee ones to fall asleep while the adults partied on.

This approach would avoid bad feelings just as the marriage is beginning. -- FAITHFUL FAN IN TAMPA, FLA.

DEAR FAITHFUL FAN: A sitter and a separate children's party is an excellent idea. However, some parents think their little darlings belong with the adults for the entire evening, regardless of how fussy or rambunctious they may become, and other parents are unwilling to allow their children to be cared for by a stranger.

NOT CONFIDENTIAL TO MY READERS: You've heard this before, but it bears repeating:

"I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again." (WILLIAM PENN)

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS, and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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