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DEAR ABBY: More than once I have noticed letters in your column from parents trying to pay for their daughter's wedding without bankrupting themselves, so I devised the following plan for my daughter's wedding to protect myself and our sanity.

I gave her a set amount for the total to be spent. If the wedding cost less, I would give her the difference in cash. If it cost more, she and her fiance would pay the difference.She had her wedding at Balboa Park in San Diego. Her mother made her wedding dress. A close friend was a photographer, and he gave her the pictures as a wedding gift. We bought many of the flowers at the market. By spending her money carefully, she had a nice check waiting for her when they returned from the honeymoon.

This plan enabled all of us to enjoy a beautiful wedding and to keep our tempers and sanity intact. I hope this plan will help your readers to enjoy their daughters' weddings with a minimum of stress. - DR. E. PARKE SELLARD, FALLBROOK, CALIF.

DEAR DR. SELLARD: I hope so, too, because I hear from too many parents who feel obligated to finance the equivalent of a Broadway extravaganza. Parents should spend no more for a wedding than they can comfortably afford. And incidentally, more couples are paying for their own weddings these days, which makes sense to me.

DEAR ABBY: Your advice to "Arizona Sister" to investigate the possibility of purchasing two seats on an airplane so that her 285-pound sister could come to visit her was preposterous!

To undertake such a great expense when roomy, comfortable rail passenger service is available at an economical rate is unnecessarily extravagant.

It is a testimony to our culture that "Arizona Sister's" first and only thought would be to make use of air transportation for such a trip, when a more energy-efficient, environmentally benign and downright pleasant form of transportation is available. Take the train! - DANIEL B. LOVEGREN, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF RAILROAD PASSENGERS, REGION XII

DEAR MR. LOVEGREN: Thank you for the wake-up call. I had forgotten how relaxing and luxurious a trip on a train can be if time is not a factor.

I'm reminded of these lyrics to an old Al Dubin/Harry Warren song, "Shuffle Off to Buffalo": "To Niagara in a sleeper, there's no honeymoon that's cheaper, and the train goes slow. . . . "

DEAR ABBY: You will probably receive thousands of clever limericks. I found this one in a very old Richard Henry Little Linebook, published yearly by the Chicago Tribune's "Voice of the People":

There was a young maid from St. Paul,

Who wore a paper dress to a ball.

The dress caught fire

And burned her entire

Front page, sports section and all.


DEAR ABBY: I also enjoy limericks - clean ones. May I submit one of my own:

There once was a fellow named Ray,

Who rode Ruth on his bike one fine day,

The bike took a lunge,

And Ruth took a plunge,

And "ruthlessly" Ray sped away.


Everything you'll need to know about planning a wedding can be found in Abby's booklet, "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." To order, send a long, business-size, 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, IL 61054. (Postage is included.)