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by Abigail Van Buren

Bossy Bride Rides Herd on Wedding Attendants

DEAR ABBY: I received the enclosed "memo" from a friend. When I read it, I was floored. Once you read it, I'm sure you'll understand why. What's your take on this? -- AGAPE IN SYRACUSE, N.Y.

DEAR AGAPE: If the document you sent me is on the level, the bride-to-be appears to have an abundance of unresolved control issues and an astounding lack of tact. Read on:

MEMO TO MY ATTENDANTS: Hey, girls! Mom has your dresses for the wedding. She'll bring them to the shower next weekend. You can pick them up there. "Allison" sent me an e-mail asking what style shoes and jewelry to wear. Great question, Allison! There are so many details. I keep forgetting to tell my girls what to do.

This is an excellent opportunity to go over my expectations for each of you:

About the shoes, please wear tasteful flats. Most of you are taller than me. I'd rather you not all tower over me.

I want all of you to wear your hair down. Since "Babs" and Allison have similar hair, I'd prefer that Babs straighten hers and let Allison be the curly-haired girl. After all, she's my friend and you are just bridesmaids! I'm sure you understand.

"Judy" and "Molly," you have both mentioned that you intend to shed a few pounds. This would be the perfect time! Watch your diets; we will all start weekly weigh-ins. Allison could use some trimming down, too.

Also, you should all stay away from alcohol for at least a week before the wedding. None of us should be puffy or bloated. I think this is mainly for Babs, as none of my ladies drink all that much.

Other than that, I don't have any real suggestions. Oh, please don't go tanning! I prefer to blend in with you than stand out as the pale one!

Judy, Allison and Molly, please call me. There are a few other things that I need to go over with you on this topic. Babs, you are "Scotty's" friend so I wouldn't presume to tell you what needs to be corrected -- plus, your own wedding is coming up after mine. So I'm sure you're already more than a little aware of what you need to work on.

See ya'll on Saturday. Babs, remember you'll attend the shower with us girls rather than the paintball fun with the boys. Dress accordingly, dear!

DEAR ABBY: I recently married a wonderful man. I am 31; "Cliff" is 42. His mother, "Margie," is the problem. She lives down the street. Margie bought furniture for our home and gives us money when we come up short. Because of this, she thinks she can stick her nose into our personal business whenever she wants.

Don't get me wrong; I appreciate everything Margie has done for us because, without her, we wouldn't be nearly as well fixed. But how do I get her to back off and let Cliff and me live our own lives? -- WANTS NO STRINGS ATTACHED IN OKLAHOMA

DEAR NO STRINGS: When you accept money, there are usually invisible "strings" attached. As long as you continue to accept your mother-in-law's money, you will have forfeited your right to "live your own lives." You won't truly regain your independence until you have repaid her the money.

For an excellent guide to becoming a better conversationalist and a more sociable person, order "How to Be Popular." Send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Popularity Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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