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by Abigail Van Buren

Loud Music Ruins Reception for Many Wedding Guests

DEAR ABBY: "Lost My Appetite in South Carolina" (June 1) walked out of a wedding reception after waiting for a delayed dinner and suffering through the DJ's "loud, deafening rock 'n' roll music." You chided the writer and suggested he should have asked the hosts to lower the volume somewhat. It's my experience this doesn't work. Insanely loud music is part of the contemporary American culture.

I have walked out of at least two wedding receptions because of loud music. A wedding reception is supposed to be an event to enjoy and talk to people. Something is amiss when people are invited to a wedding and become a captive audience, forced to put up with intolerable conditions. Walking out is a reasonable response. -- PAUL IN CHESTERFIELD, MO.

DEAR PAUL: It was impossible to turn a deaf ear to the "volume" of letters I received supporting "Lost" for the reasons you expressed. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Spoiled brides and loopy parents treat weddings like Broadway productions. The guests are just extras in the extravaganza. If people have been invited for dinner and it isn't being served, they are justified in leaving.

I went to a wedding and was shocked to learn dinner wouldn't be served until five hours after the reception began because "the bride preferred to dance on an empty stomach." My husband and I left our gift and took our empty stomachs to a restaurant. We heard later that the mother of the bride was angry because more than a dozen guests also left before dinner, while the bride danced merrily on. -- J.G. IN LOS ANGELES

DEAR ABBY: You missed an opportunity to point out to your readers that special dinners are a time for family, friends and new acquaintances to renew, rekindle and update their lives and relationships. It might be wise for future wedding planners to instruct the DJ or band to play soft music -- or none at all -- during dinnertime. Remember, the "bash" goes on after dinner and lasts for hours. -- CATHY LEE IN GROSSE POINT FARMS, MICH.

DEAR ABBY: That letter made me furious! Because of the 30 extra guests we expected, we rented a larger room, hired an extra waiter and bartender and set up additional tables. Because some guests didn't show up and others left before the meal, we had couples left sitting alone at their tables.

The money we could have saved if some of those ungrateful people had simply declined in the RSVP could have gone to the newlyweds to start their household. Whatever happened to courtesy and good manners? -- DISAPPOINTED MOTHER IN TEXAS

DEAR ABBY: The comfort of one's guests must be considered in planning an event. I think it's perfectly acceptable for a guest to leave before dinner, stating, "I'm sorry, but the music has become too loud for me to stay." It is extremely rude of hosts to expect guests to tolerate dangerous, uncomfortable noise levels. -- VALUES MY HEARING IN N.Y.

DEAR ABBY: The "rule" that guests must eat dinner because it was paid for is right up there with the assumption that the price of the gift must be equal to the guests' share of the cost of the reception. Utter nonsense! It costs the same whether they eat while suffering from the deafening noise or discreetly making an escape. -- COMMON SENSE IN ILLINOIS

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)