BRIDAL BLOG

The Show Man

The room changes when Chase Nobis enters. Suddenly—people gather around him to hear what he has to say. But behind his—what many would call—energetic “rock star persona” and “boyish good looks”—lies a brilliant entrepreneur with the business of weddings on his mind.

Since 2009, Chase Nobis has been the stalwart leader of the Lansing Bridal Association (LBA), which produces the most successful bridal shows in Mid-Michigan. Thousands of people have no problem showing up—to see the world of weddings at its finest. Nobis greets brides and grooms personally as he “works HIS room.” He could very well be likened to a “maestro” waving the wand to his orchestra of wedding vendors; fine tuning their precise placement; and coordinating timing to show off their best harmoniously. He allows other business vendors such as realtors and legal consultants (in their blog) to showcase as well—all for the benefit of brides and their families.

To make things work in LBA, Chase Nobis surrounds himself with a trusted—tight inner circle made up of a board of directors, an executive assistant, interns and volunteers. Interns are screened and carefully chosen to work on many day-to-day tasks. On any given day, he may show up in shorts and change into a suit or tuxedo—depending on what needs to get done. He’s a man of many talents and versatility.

I sat down with Mr. Nobis to go more in depth about what he does:

Why did you focus on the bridal industry?
“I recognized a need for businesses in the wedding industry to reach brides. We started the West Michigan Bridal Association back in 2004 just for that reason. You see, I couldn’t get into bridal shows to get enough leads and make connections and sales. So we started that as a non-profit 501c3 and put on bridal shows to connect wedding vendors with the multitude of brides in West Michigan.

And the same thing was true in Lansing—there was a need—because no one else had produced a bridal show in the fall that went anywhere. They were very unsuccessful in the past and I knew they were possible; it just needed someone to take the “bull by the horns” and run with it. That’s when I put together a great a group of wedding leaders to help get it started because it’s a team effort. It’s not me—it’s not one person—it’s a team effort. But my company benefits from this by being in the bridal show just like all of the other vendors. So that’s what I get out of it.”

What is your favorite part of the job (the LBA)?
“I love the day of the bridal show. Seeing brides excited and giddy about meeting all of the potential vendors and the excitement of their wedding; you can see it in their eyes and all the fun they’re having. One of my other favorite parts is having the interns on staff with us. Man, they are dynamic, they are fun, they are educated and are educating me—we couldn’t do it without them. I learn so much about the business. They are leading the way in social media marketing and better ways to communicate with our target demographic—which is 26 year old women.”

If you could structure anything any differently, what would you do; and how would you do it?
“I think I’d like to do more bridal shows throughout the year, but that takes time to build.”

Is there anything that has gone wrong?
“Oh yeah, there’s politics involved in this business. For example, if someone doesn’t like their booth placement, there can get some sore feelings. That’s why we have a board of directors; so it’s not just a dictatorship where I say this is how things are going to be. There are checks and balances, and we have leaders in the industry to make sure everything is fair for all vendors. It doesn’t mean a particular vendor isn’t going to be unhappy with our decisions; but we know and we can trust that the decisions we make as a board are benefiting all of the association—and not just one person. That’s important.”

What is your educational background?
“I have a degree in journalism from Michigan State University. I started out with an emphasis in broadcasting as I wanted to be a news anchor. I started out as a DJ right out of college, for the company I eventually bought. Who knew I would buy Complete weddings + events and then 25 years later— I’m still running that wedding company. Complete weddings + events has become one of the largest wedding companies in the United States.

I’m really not using my journalism degree much because there are people that are on our staff that are far better than I. But it really got me into the wedding industry and I really appreciate having that educational background–even though it’s not directly suited to what I’m doing now. Life experience has gotten me where I am though.”

How do you balance family time, the Bridal Association and other business ventures?
“I think one of the most important things about success is the people you surround yourself with. And finding good people that have a common value, business ethic, and common goals is critically important. The LBA has a board of directors and interns that are all striving to do just that. Frankly, like I said, it’s not one person; it’s all of us. Even the other members make the LBA successful—so it’s not all on my shoulders at all.

And then, in my full-time business as well, Complete Weddings + Events; I have great staff. Each department has it’s own manager, so the head of that department is the person that I work with. I have an operations manager who’s phenomenal—who helps take most of the workload off.

Now I’ve gotten to the point that one of my luxuries in this business that most people in this business don’t have—is that I don’t work weekends! Except the bridal show! I truly enjoy my weekends as that’s my family time. It’s important to me that I can go home at night and spend the time with my family. There’s minor things here and there that I need to address, but I know if I need to; I can devote one hundred percent to my time to my family and the other stuff will wait. And I’ve got good people who can figure it out.”

Anything else you’d like to tell everyone?

“I think one of the big things I want to make sure that people understand is that the LBA is designed specifically to help both vendors and brides. That’s my number one goal—putting those two together and give the brides the BEST vendors that we can which encourages the vendors to always strive to be better. I want everyone to succeed. It’s never been just about Complete Weddings + Events; however, we do get great return from the bridal shows. But it’s all about helping ALL of the vendors.”

 

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This isn’t the end—it’s just the beginning for the Chase Nobis and the Lansing Bridal Association. Stay tuned for more exciting shows with the most talented vendors in the wedding industry!

Guest Blog: Your New Marriage: Are you creating a blended family?

The majority of families have shifted from the traditional nuclear family of father, mother and child to a nation in which the majority of families are divorced. Most people move on to remarriage or some other form of living together. The US Bureau of Census indicates that 1,300 step-families are forming every day.

The joining of two parents and their respective children can create various challenges especially since children may be accustomed to different parenting styles or routines. To handle those challenges, the adults may wish to plan to face the challenges by talking with one another and their children about the differences in parenting styles before the remarriage and how to handle any conflicts in a positive manner.

There are also outside resources available for the blended family. There are thousands of books, online websites, and blogs containing great advice for the blended family. Some families may benefit from family counseling both before the remarriage and after the remarriage. This counseling may help to ease the tensions that arise in newly blended families.

In the creation of this new family, there may be ex-spouses or significant others. It is important to not assume that the ex-spouse or significant other is against the union of this new blended family. Like it or not, the ex will be part of the family.

There may be court orders dictating holidays, vacations, and the overall routine of the new family. This can create tension in some households; however, the court orders are the “default order.” This means that the adults can compromise the schedule if both parties agree to deviate from the order. If there is a dispute between the parties about the custody schedule, the courts will enforce the order entered by the court.

If tensions develop between the adults, there are consultants available such as counselors, therapists, and mediators available to help resolve the differences between the parties. It is best to try to utilize those resources before returning to court.

Modifying the custody order may not be an option. The order regarding child custody is not easily modified, especially, if there is an established custodial environment. If there is a change in circumstances, the court may modify the custody order; however, everyday changes such as a remarriage is not a basis to change the custody order.

Life changes can be exciting. The challenges of a blended marriage can be minimized with proper planning, patience, communication, and negotiation.

Torree J. Breen is the chair of the Family Law Practice Group and is a member of the firm’s Litigation Group.  She also serves as Secretary on the firm’s Board of Directors.  Ms. Breen specializes in family law, divorce, child custody disputes, no-fault litigation, insurance coverage, and handicapped accessible housing coverage.  In 2016, Ms. Breen was awarded a Regional Leadership Award by the Women’s Lawyers Association of Michigan for her outstanding legal, leadership and mentoring skills in the community.  Ms. Breen was selected as one of the Top Ten Family Law Attorneys in Michigan in 2014 and 2015 by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys (NAFLA).   She was recognized as being among the Top Ten Family Law Attorneys as selected by The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys (AIFLA) for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Ms. Breen has received a Certificate of Completion in the area of Family Law issued by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education and the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

2017 Fall Bridal Show Winners

Congratulations to our 2017 Fall Bridal Show Door Prize Winners!!

Names are in Alphabetical order by Last Name!

If you won, contact the vendor for information on how to collect your prize!

And while you’re here, take a moment to check out the other awesome blogs we have! Don’t forget: When you choose a Lansing Bridal Association Member, you are CHOOSING EXCELLENCE!

Featured Vendor – America’s Bride

America’s Bride is a full service bridal salon located at the north end of Grand Rapids. It is a local family owned and operated business, specializing in: Wedding Gowns, Bridesmaid dresses as well as Tuxedo & Suit Rentals. We also offer all the accessories a bride and her wedding party could need. The store is open 6 days a week; closed on Mondays.

Please tell us about your business. What services are you able to provide for brides and weddings?

We believe in the beauty and vision of each bride as we strive to provide her, and her guests, with the best possible personalized dress shopping experience. We have dedicated and knowledgeable one on one consultants with every bride. Our gowns are not only beautiful, but affordable as we keep quality, beauty and value in mind when selecting gowns to display in our store. Come have a one of a kind experience…. and try on something beautiful, at America‘s Bride.

Why does your business like working with brides, or at weddings?

For those of us that work at America‘s Bride it really is all about the dress. We love weddings, we love the romance, the story behind the bride and groom and how they met, we love hearing about the proposal story… but at the wedding, for us, it is all about: what is the bride wearing?! How does she look? Is she sweet? Does she have the romantic look? Is she wearing a sexy silhouette? Is she the princess becoming the queen?

When we work with a bride, she describes to us how she sees herself on her big day, and we help her find the perfect dress to accompany that vision, and if she lets us, we are honored to make her entire wedding party look become a reality.

What can your business provide to brides or weddings that is unique from competitors?

America‘s Bride provides brides and their party with attire and accessories for the big day. What sets us apart from other stores is a combination of a lot of things including: a personalized parking space, a dedicated one on one consultant, a 20 foot long white limo cough & 15 foot long granite runway with a walls of mirrors, extra large dressing rooms, and hundreds upon hundreds of the latest fashions / most affordable wedding dresses to select from. We will work tirelessly in order to make sure that their wedding is how they have always dreamed it to be, in their special dress. We make it our personal duty to ensure the happiness / satisfaction of each of our brides.

Tell us about your packages. Do you have any bridal, group, or special wedding discounts?

America‘s Bride works with a wide range of budgets. We have sample gowns ranging from $100 – $500, and order-able gowns topping out at $2500 but as low as $349. We also have many different promotions we run through out the year. A constant promotion is our bundle discount of 10% off to the bridal party for maids dresses and or tuxedo/suit rentals when the bride purchases her gown with us. A military discount is always honored as well.

What else do you want to share or want brides to know about your business? What kind of message are you looking for brides to understand about your business?

Appointments are highly recommended. We will absolutely help a walk in customer if we have the availability, however we only see 2 brides at a time to provide her with our personalized and experienced bridal fitting. Appointments can be made on our website if they are at least 24 hours ahead of time. Check out our Facebook page for the newest arrival in gowns, and don’t forget to follow us to be the first to hear of the latest promotion.

Are there any special offers you’d like to make brides aware of?

Exclusive Offer: Receive $50 off your veil or a free pair of David Tutera Louisa Earrings with your bridal gown purchase.

Featured Vendor – Hawkins Photography

Hawkins Photography is passionate about helping you capture your precious memories. We asked them to tell us a little bit about what makes them stand out among the many photographers out there. Let them tell you, in their own words, what makes them unique.

Please tell us about your business. What services are you able to provide for brides and weddings?

[We are a] full service, family owned photographer, offering a full service, all inclusive package with built in installment plan.

Why does your business like working with brides, or at weddings?

We love getting to be part of your love story. Every wedding is unique, and being part of yours is a privilege and an honor.

What can your business provide to brides or weddings that is unique from competitors?

Hawkins Photography is humbled to be part of your special day and understand what an honor it is to be chosen. When we photograph your wedding, we take on the responsibility to ensure you don’t miss a single beautiful memory by not offering time limits on your wedding day and providing every photo taken in digital form. You hire us to capture your memories, but they are still YOUR memories.

Tell us about your packages. Do you have any bridal, group, or special wedding discounts?

We only offer one package – the right way to do a wedding, including an engagement session so you get comfortable with your photographer, attending your rehearsal so we know what happens and all of the technical details to make sure we get the best possible photo of every moment, no time limits on the wedding day, and many more benefits. We do have additional options including video, photo booth and a photographic guest book. We’d love to talk to you and tell you all about the options.

What else do you want to share or want brides to know about your business? What kind of message are you looking for brides to understand about your business?

We are different from other wedding photographers because we don’t believe you should be worried about scheduling your memories to happen in a specific block of hours. The memories that make your wedding day special will happen when they happen. It’s our job to be there to capture it when they do, so every package we offer includes unlimited time. Every wedding is a blend of the traditional and the moments that make it uniquely yours. We attend your wedding rehearsal to make sure we know what those unique moments are and where we need to be to make sure we capture the moments for you – that’s OUR job. Your job is to relax and experience your day. Please call for a private one on one consultation. Your wedding photographer will be with you during the most important day of your life, and you need to ensure that he or she is not only a great photographer, but also a good personality fit. We would love the opportunity to sit down with you talk to you about our passion to make sure you have the best experience possible.

Are there any special offers you’d like to make brides aware of?

Exclusive Offer – Coupon Code HAWKLBA – get $150 off your photographic guest book.

Guest Blogger – Prepare for your Destination Wedding

Do you have dreams of having a romantic wedding on a tropical island on the beach or maybe a vineyard in a rustic Mediterranean country in Europe? If you yearn for a small intimate affair between you and your closest friends and family in a foreign country, you need more than a plane and a passport to make sure that your dreams come true.

If you are planning to wed outside the United States, you need to educate yourself about the marriage requirements of that country. Just like the United States, the foreign country will require proof of residency, such as a valid United States passport, birth certificate or other proof of residency. In addition to birth certificates, some countries may also require divorce decrees or death certificates to authenticate your eligibility for marriage. Those countries may also require that those documents are authenticated in the United States by a consular official from the country in which you plan to wed. (Consular assistance is help and advice provided by the diplomatic agents of a country to citizens of that country—who are living or traveling overseas). Some countries may also require that the document proving birth, death or divorce be translated into the local language. This process can be time consuming and expensive.

In addition to the proper identification, some countries may require blood tests and/or other medical tests to be completed by the parties. Some countries may even require you or your spouse-to-be to have resided in their country for a set period of time prior to the wedding.
Most foreign countries may require an “Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry.” This document proves you have the legal capacity to marry. There is no government-issued “Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry” in the United States. Most countries will accept a statement from you attesting to your ability to marry, if your signature on the affidavit has been notarized by a United States consular officer.

If you have already planned your wedding and realize that you have not met the local rules of your foreign country and do not have the time to meet that country’s requirement, do not fret. You can always go forward with the ceremony for yourself and your guests and make arrangements to be legally married in the United States in a private ceremony before or after your destination wedding. Obviously, if you have not complied with the laws established by the foreign country, your marriage in that country will not be valid.

The embassy or tourist information bureau of the country in which the marriage is to be performed is the best source of information about marriage in that country. In addition, American embassies and consulates abroad frequently have information about marriage in the country in which they are located. For more information, you can also visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.htmlhttps://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/passports.html.

Torree J. Breen is the chair of the Family Law Practice Group and is a member of the firm’s Litigation Group.  She also serves as Secretary on the firm’s Board of Directors.  Ms. Breen specializes in family law, divorce, child custody disputes, no-fault litigation, insurance coverage, and handicapped accessible housing coverage.  In 2016, Ms. Breen was awarded a Regional Leadership Award by the Women’s Lawyers Association of Michigan for her outstanding legal, leadership and mentoring skills in the community.  Ms. Breen was selected as one of the Top Ten Family Law Attorneys in Michigan in 2014 and 2015 by the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys (NAFLA).   She was recognized as being among the Top Ten Family Law Attorneys as selected by The American Institute of Family Law Attorneys (AIFLA) for 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Ms. Breen has received a Certificate of Completion in the area of Family Law issued by the Institute of Continuing Legal Education and the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Michigan.

A Bride on a Budget

The average cost of a wedding today can be tens of thousands of dollars, and I think it’s safe to say that this average is one people would be happy to be below. In today’s day and age the concept of a Bride on a budget is a very popular one. Maybe you’re getting married during or right out of college and have limited funds. Perhaps you’re saving up for a home, or for children, and don’t see the average price tag as a possibility. Whichever the hundreds of possible reasons it could be, if you are trying to save money on your wedding, you are not alone. We have put together a list of things to keep in mind when on a budget, and a few tips that might help save a little money.

• One of the most important things to do is set a firm budget, and stick to it. It is easy to decide you want to keep the price tag on your wedding low, but it is another thing to make it happen. You should pick a number you are comfortable with spending ahead of time, then do your research on what and where you will need to spend. Without a budget, you will for sure end up spending more than you wanted.

• Don’t automatically dismiss using vendors for DIY (do it yourself) projects. Often when on a budget the first thing that comes to mind is forgoing using vendors for services, and replacing them with DIY projects. While DIY can help in the saving department, they can also end up hurting your wallet. While spending the money necessary to complete some of these projects, you may accidentally spend more than you would have if you had used a vendor. Business owners in the wedding industry understand that most couples are looking to stay on a budget, and many will be able to work with you and your price tag to make your day fabulous. Smith Floral in Lansing is a great example. They are known for working with any budget, and not turning away brides.

• Look for vendors that offer packages, or more than one service. Often, they will offer deals or discounts if you use them for more than one service.

• Keep the guest list more intimate. By having less people at your wedding, you will ultimately have a smaller price tag. Invite only those you are closest too, and if there are others that you wish to celebrate with but just don’t make the cut think about having a larger reception, or party at a later date once you have saved a bit more.

Have your wedding on a less popular day of the week. Usually venues and such will be less expensive on less popular days of the week (NOT SATURDAYS). Try having your wedding on a Sunday, or weekday. Go for an afternoon instead of evening to further lower the cost.

• Have a longer engagement. By extending the engagement period you will have more time to save money and do more research on better deals.

• Consider asking for wedding help instead of gifts.
Instead registering, ask your friends and family if they might like to make donations toward your wedding. Also, if you are looking to find ways to help fund your honeymoon, there are sites you can register with that will allow people to give money toward that instead of gifts.

• Try not to stress over the very small details!
Things like cocktail napkins or signs aren’t going to make or break your wedding. Concentrate on the big-ticket items, like food, music, etc. Instead of trying to get it to look just like the Pinterest picture you saw.

• Don’t immediately count out a DJ.
Often times the DJ doesn’t just play music. They are responsible for things like making announcements and keeping the party going. Without a DJ to do this, those responsibilities will fall on one of your guests, or even yourself. And that might not be what you want them, or yourself, to focus on. Just like other vendors, DJs understand budgets and can work with you.

• Check the LBA newsletter for coupons!
We send out a newsletter each month to brides and sometimes they will contain a coupon from one of our vendors!

A wedding on a budget may feel impossible, or stressful at the least, but it doesn’t have to be. There are so many ways these days to save money on a wedding and hopefully these tips and suggestions will help you to make your wedding’s price tag as beautiful as your special day.

Written by LBA Intern: Kelsey Reitzloff

A Brides Guide to Tipping Wedding Vendors $$$

Should you, or should you not tip your wedding vendor? This is an interesting question and one asked by many brides.

1. Some of you may think you are not required to tip the people who serviced your wedding—and you are certainly right. But this is voluntary and done with discretion where tipping is allowed. Also, find out if a gratuity is included in your vendor contract so there are no misunderstandings.

2. You can assign your wedding coordinator, the best man or woman—to give out tips. They can be prepared in envelopes and delivered after your wedding. This frees you and your new spouse from having to worry about it.

3. You can give a vendor a corsage or boutonniere to wear. All vendors should be given a thank you card, and pictures (for their website where applicable). Ask for business cards and refer them to your friends and family. The Lansing Bridal Association always appreciates honest feedback and referrals for their award-winning efforts!

Who you should tip:

Vendor Amount When to Tip
Hairstylist & Make-Up Artist 15% – 20%  At the end of the service
Wedding Transportation 10% – 15% of your total bill At the end of the night or after the last ride.
Bartenders 10% – 15% of your total bill

(make sure to check your contract to make sure it wasn’t already included.)

At the end of the night
Alter boys or girls $10 – $15 each
Valet Parking Attendants $1 – $2 per car

(can give more if they are getting cars in bad weather, such as snow or rain)

Waitstaff

 15% –20 % of the food and drink fee

(again, check to make sure this wasn’t already covered in your contract)

At the end of the night you can give it to the matre d’
Restroom and/or Coatroom Attendants

$1 – $2 per guest

(may be included in venue contract)

Officiant Donate $50 – $150 to the church or synagog, and it is optional to tip the officiant directly an additional $50-$100.

Who is optional to tip:

Vendor Amount When to tip
Business Owners Your discretion You don’t have to tip the owner of a business, unless you believe that they have gone beyond the call of duty, and you’d like to show then your appreciation.
Ceremony or Reception Musicians $15-$25 per musician At the end of the night (or service if they are only there for part of the day)
DJ’s $50 – $150 I have made this one bold because if your DJ is the company owner, it is optional to tip them. However, if your DJ works for the company (but is not the owner) it is generally preferred to give them a tip.
Photography and Videographer $50 – $200 Same as DJ’s. If the photographer/videographer owns the company, tipping is considered optional. If you were happy with their service it is nice (and appreciated) gesture to send a thank you note.
Florist Not necessary, but you can tip the delivery staff and/or set-up staff.

$10 – $15 per person.

Wedding Cake Delivery/Set-up $5 – $10 per person
Wedding Coordinator $50
Wedding Planner 15% or a personal gift At the end of the night
Banquet, Catering Manager or
Maitre D’
$200+ At the end of the night

I NEVER expect a tip. I’ve gotten tipped a handful of times, and every time I was surprised. My goal is to give my clients the best possible service I can; with or without a tip. I just want their wedding day to be as stress-free (on my end) as possible and to give them a physical representation of memories that will last forever. I love getting handwritten thank you notes from couples!

Amber Johnston

Photographer - Owner, Amber J Photography LLC

Written by Cheryl Jiminez (with inspiration from Amber Johnston; owner of Amber J Photography LLC)
Choose Excellence – Choose The Lansing Bridal Association!

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Is Someone in Your Wedding Party Blue?

Alice (bride-to-be) and her friend Carrie—went wedding gown shopping. Alice knew her friend would give sound advice and was eager to help her—find her dream dress. Instead, it turned into an embarassing disagreement over every dress. Alice later found out that the trip brought back memories to Carrie about a wedding proposal she expected, but never got.

It is quite natural for friends (and even family) to feel separate and sometimes—a bit envious of you. Some singles in your wedding party may feel like—what I call— “inflatable” bridesmaids and groomsmen. They may secretly say to themselves, “I’m so tired of NOT getting married?”

Social media has made it easier to be updated and share (and “over-share”) details about the upcoming wedding. However, this can make things worse at times when others may not be so happy for you—or—who you chose to marry. (Some may get on social media and boldly proclaim it).

It is tempting to react to online “rants” and other distressing words or pictures. Keep your important tasks in front of you and try to stay calm. We all have disagreeable moments and opinions, but— this is your wedding—not theirs.

  • If you know that someone in your wedding party is putting on a “brave face” and it is difficult them; talk it out if possible. “Over involving” [certain people] with such things as wedding gown shopping etc, —may be a bit much. It’s better to be honest, than to have friendships or other relationships ruined.
  • Some bridesmaids, groomsmen, or family members—may be stretched financially and are simply too embarrassed to admit it. Things like choosing wedding attire that they can wear again is trendy and welcoming to many.
  • If you can before your wedding, you and your spouse-to-be can schedule group events. It can include an activity that makes your wedding party (and family members) feel appreciated and special. A relaxing time at Fahrenheit Massage, and sporting events such as The Lansing Lugnuts, can be calming for the them (and you). The event planners and venues in the Lansing Bridal Association have ideas that can make rehearsal dinners and showers great places to “mix and mingle” as well.
  • Besides the traditional garter and bridal bouquet toss at your wedding, you may opt to have a special “mini ceremony” for single guests. You could present them each with a small gift or even a flower. (I did that at my wedding).

Above all, hopefully your friends and family know they are not losing you, but gaining another part of you—sharing in your happiness—especially those anticipating their own wedding!

Let the Lansing Bridal Association assist you with your wedding needs. They are industry-leading professionals dedicated to making your special day a success and one to remember.

Choose Excellence – Choose the Lansing Bridal Association

Written by Cheryl Jiminez

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