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by Abigail Van Buren

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DEAR ABBY: Here's a topper for your "can you top this" collection. My wife and I attended a lovely wedding. The groom was a 45-year-old physician; his bride is a 38-year-old professional. It was a first marriage for both, a lavish affair with a reception and formal dinner following the ceremony.

Six weeks later, we received the following e-mail from the newlyweds: "Dear Friends: We're back from our glorious honeymoon romp through the game parks of East Africa, and still basking in the glow of our wedding.

"Tomorrow we're meeting with the catering manager at the hotel where our wedding was held, because we're disputing the liquor bill from the wedding dinner. Their claim works out to seven drinks per person! This is separate from the wine and champagne served during dinner.

"Would you please e-mail us the number and kind of drinks you drank at our wedding? We are meeting at 9 a.m. so we need your response ASAP. Thank you (all) for making our wedding so special."

Abby, my wife and I are aghast at this request. What's your take on this? -- APPALLED IN LEUCADIA, CALIF.

DEAR APPALLED: That bill must have been a sobering reality after an intoxicating honeymoon. Either some guests from another wedding wandered into the doctor's reception, or a horde of free-loaders bellied up to the bar. Whatever the cause, the problem needs investigation.