What have you LIKED at a wedding?

justjudeFebruary 7, 2004

I was fascinated by the thread about wedding customs that you don't like. And every once in a while I saw some suggestions for things that people did like instead.

I think it would be great if we shared some things we've seen at weddings (our own or someone else's) that we thought were wonderful. surely we can piggyback on one another's good ideas!

Being a minister, I've seen (and occasionally suggested) some sweet things at weddings. Once the B&G gave flowers to their mothers as they turned away from the altar and started the recessional. Once the couple asked me to tell the (charming and wholesome) story of how they met as part of the ceremony.

What have you seen at weddings that you liked or apreciated?


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So often the father of the groom is a "non-entity" at a wedding. At DS's wedding he & his bride had my husband (the FOG) do the Scripture reading.

At DD's wedding a few months later she and her groom went even further...both sets of parents went up together to light the family candles on the Unity Candle set. Then the mothers sat down, and the fathers, together, offered a blessing/prayer for the couple. We had many, many comments from guests on how special that was.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2004 at 11:41PM
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Another thing that DD did at her wedding was to have several of her and her groom's much-younger cousins be bell ringers. There were nine of them, 4- to 12-years-old. Immediately after the candles were lit, before the entrance by the bridal party, the bell ringers came in single file ringing crystal "dinner" bells. It was a beautiful, joyful sound. The only additional cost were the bells (about $3 each) at Michael's, and small thank-you gifts ($2-$8). The kids didn't come to rehearsal -- we just had them come about an hour early on the day of the wedding, and we explained to the 2 oldest what they were supposed to do, and told the younger ones to "follow the leaders". The kids just wore the clothes they would have worn otherwise.

It was unique, and a memory-making thing for the children.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2004 at 11:51PM
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At a wedding last year the mother of the bride created a slide presentation to be shown during the father/daughter dance. All of the pictures were of the bride and her dad as she was growing up. It was a unique time to show such a thing and it had people in tears.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2004 at 12:27AM
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Seeing flower girls and/or ring bearers all dressed up in pretty little dresses or handsome little tuxes walking down the aisle makes me smile.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2004 at 2:23AM
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I always enjoy the personal touches in addition to or instead of the traditional things.

For example, at my wedding I had a special dance with my grandfather. My grandparents were always the center of our family and since my grandmother died we have all become that much closer to my grandfather. We danced to one of his favorite songs- Let me call you sweetheart - and by the middle of the song my mom, brother, aunt and cousins were all dancing with us in one big circle. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room.

At a wedding I recently attended the bride's father was absent shall we say for most of the bride's life. Rather than doing a father - daughter dance- she explained to everyone that when her and her sister were young and her father was away - they used to sing "aint no mountain high enough" into wooded spoons with their mom. So with wooded spoons in hand she asked her mother and sister to join her for an encore. Very emotional - but a very nice touch.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2004 at 10:22AM
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I like it when both parents walk the bride and the groom down the aisle, as in Jewish weddings. Much better than just the bride's father. An expression of support, not giving away the bride.

I like when people use a favorite love poem of theirs, or "their" song somewhere in the ceremony.

I love the traditional wedding vows. There's a reason that "for better, for worse; for richer, for poorer" has stood the test of time.

I like to see a small wedding party (one person on each side is best), and if there is more than one attendant on each side, I prefer to see them in harmonizing, not matching, dresses, preferably simple, elegant ones they can use again.

Though it can be prohibitively expensive, I love a profusion of flowers.

I love weddings in the evening, with a church full of candles.

I like to see a relaxed bride, who knows that mishaps will happen and doesn't worry too much about it.

I like when the bride and groom just beam at each other during the ceremony.

At the reception, I like to eat on real plates with real flatware and drink from real glasses.

I like when relatives of the bride and groom - especially older relatives - are acknowledged with love.

I like a cake that tastes fabulous, even if looks have to be sacrificed a bit. (I.e., buttercream tastes better than fondant, but fondant keeps better.)

I like when the bride and groom try to dance with lots of different people, including children.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2004 at 2:04PM
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Joann, you and I like the same things!

I too prefer the Jewish tradition of both sets of parents walking the groom and bride down the aisle -- and then standing with them (like where the MOH and best man stand) during the ceremony. I like the focus on joining two families. In fact, I prefer a general focus on family altogether. Fancy dresses and flowers notwithstanding, it's a family life cycle event, not a prom.

The best thing I ever saw was when the bride's parents walked her down the aisle, and when the groom came to take her hand, he first kissed and hugged his new in-laws, with obvious sincerity. I don't remember one other thing about that wedding, but it was the best one I've ever seen.

I like when the reception starts with a big folk dance instead of starting with ballroom and/or disco dancing and saving the ethnic dances for later. It really makes it a party -- off come the high heels and jackets, and everyone feels like one big group. Then when the "regular" dance music starts, people are already loosened up and ready to have fun rather than waiting around self-consciously for the first few songs.

I like smaller wedding parties, consisting mostly or completly of relatives. Bonus points for including a beloved aunt or grandma even though she doesn't "match" the bride's young, beautiful friends. You know what everyone would be thinking at that wedding about the bride's values and maturity! What could be less "Bridezilla"?

    Bookmark   February 9, 2004 at 4:59PM
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OK, this isn't something I've seen done at another wedding, but something that the minister who is officiating for us suggested. Although my fiance is of French-Canadian descent and my ancestors came from England, we have a very strong interest in Native American culture (collect artwork which is displayed in our house, have many books on various Native American subjects, etc.). At the end of our ceremony, after we're pronounced husband and wife, the minister is going to dismiss us with this traditional Apache blessing:

Now you will feel no rain
for each of you will be shelter to the other.
Now you will feel no cold
for each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no loneliness for you
for each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two persons
but there is one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place
to enter into the days of your togetherness
And may your days be good and long upon this earth.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2004 at 5:46PM
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I was in a wedding, and at the reception everyone had name cards for their table. The bride and grooms called their friends by many nicknames, so the bridal party's cards had nicknames on them.

Mine was Ana, my name in our spanish class in high school.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2004 at 2:51PM
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My sister-in-law has a beautiful voice, and has often sung at weddings. On the day she married my brother, she had written a song for him-imagine the composure of this bride-she was on the altar, singing away with a friend accompanying her on piano. Not a dry eye in the house. For years, people have commented on how beautiful that was...I too like the tradition of both parents walking the bride down the aisle.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2004 at 8:09AM
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CindyBelle - A friend of mine did that, too! Now, I've sung at a lot of weddings, but never could I do it at my own wedding.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2004 at 8:39AM
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I Love to see weddings that fit the couple. My beachy friends got married on a beach, it was so perfectly them. Another pair of freinds, very religious had the traditional chruch wedding complete with conservative dress and formal reception..Lovely. Then my friends who've always dreamed of owning horses, married at an equestrian facility. The bride rode in on horse and they were wisked away by carriage.

Happy, comfy, relaxed couples are the best weddings.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2004 at 11:23PM
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I like it when the bride and groom look like they are having a great time - all the guests follow suit and enjoy themselves as well.

After that I think the rest is secondary, but it always makes me smile when:

- there are children (either in the ceremony or guests)
- the bride or groom dances with grandparents/older close relatives
- the bride and groom dances with the children
- the wedding and reception reflects the couple's tastes and herritages.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2004 at 5:11PM
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my sister is getting married outside in september. it's going to be a beautiful, colorful ceremony. i can already tell it's going to be the best of all weddings i've attended.

at my friend's wedding, she had all of her attendants announced as they entered the reception hall(ie. Miss Leigh Anna Brown escorted by Mr. Joshua Kyle James). i thought that was very classy.

i love it when the toast is heartfelt and funny and dosen't feel like something that was tossed together the morning of...

i love when the bride and groom go around together and try to make sure they speak to everyone in attendance.

my FSIL married a man from east-india, so they had a traditional christian wedding then afterward they went to have a traditional hindu wedding. the thing i really loved was that before they left, they changed into the clothes that they would be wearing at the Hindu wedding and came back to the reception hall and he explained what everything ment and even why they had chosen to have their wedding on a monday....something to do with the stars. anyway it was an unforgettable wedding.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2004 at 6:39PM
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One thing I really liked, and we received a lot of comments on, at DD's wedding was the manner in which the attendants (male and female) entered the sanctuary. After much discussion of whether they should walk down the aisle as couples or single file it was decided they would all walk single but with a small difference that made a large impact.

This is how it was done:

A groomsman walked down first and when he reached the front pew, he stopped, turned around to face the aisle that he had just walked down, and waited (with his hands folded in front of him, right hand over left) for the bridesmaid to walk down the aisle. When she was at arm's length from him, he held up his hand to take her hand and then he escorted her to her place on the bride's side ... similar to the way gentlemen used to escort ladies to and from the dance floor in formal ballrooms. He then walked to his place on the groom's side and stood facing the bridesmaid. This process was repeated with each attendant until all were in place at the alter. This was such a small thing but it added a touch of elegance that everyone seemed to enjoy. Maybe it's just a southern thing but we are in Georgia, you know. :)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2004 at 2:38AM
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I love it at weddings when there is something to do between the ceremony and the time the bride and groom show up at the reception. I know they're taking pictures, but that doesn't mean I want to entertain myself for an hour. Cocktails and appetizers are great. At one wedding, they showed a slide show of the bride & groom, and asked the guests to take turns taping a special message for the couple. At another (rather wild) , they had cocktails and a mock casino set up- card games and a roulette wheel. No money was involved, but we all had a great time 'betting' with cocktail peanuts. (Incidentally, the 6yr old one at roulette- that was the best part)
When I'm in a wedding party, I like it when the bride and groom arrange for there to be some food for us during the day. After getting up early to have my hair and makeup done and having pictures before the wedding, then a ceremony and more pictures, it may be hours between my last meal and dinner. Its always easier to put up with a hideous bride's maid dress when I'm not hungry!
I also like it when the bride and groom make the rounds to every table to welcome their guests, and have the photographer take pictures with them at each table. Its a great way to make sure you see everyone. Then the pictures can be sent with the thank- you notes.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2004 at 11:36PM
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Agree with Mimi, and must add that there should be a lot of chairs!!! I was just at a wedding where it took a bit more than an hour to do the pictures. At first, people were congenial, talking, eating appetizers, having a drink. By the end of that time, people were tired and complaining.

There were virtually no chairs, and almost all the older people wanted one. I saw quite a few people leave and don't know whether they came back.

Actually, I think that either the bride and groom should ignore the tradition of not seeing one another before the wedding and doing pictures then, or keep them down to half an hour after the ceremony - no matter how many pictures they have to cut.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2004 at 8:47AM
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>Posted by: joann23456
must add that there should be a lot of chairs!!! >

I agree with you. Someone on another board I post at was saying that having few chairs at a wedding will prompt people to socialize instead of sitting down. *buzzer* wrong answer ! : D

    Bookmark   April 4, 2004 at 2:43PM
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At my wedding 7 1/2 years ago (2nd wedding) DH escorted both mothers to their seats instead of having ushers do it. Also, instead of traditional receiving line, we reentered the sanctuary, went to the front of the church and greeted our guests pew by pew. didn't take any longer than having ushers do each pew and going thru a long long receiving line. All of our attendants were grateful to not have to be in the line and it felt more personal. DD is getting married next year and is considering the same thing.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2004 at 11:25AM
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Two fun things at different weddings:

1) "Sing for your supper" to control the buffet line, each table was called to the B+G table where they had to sing the chorus of a love song to the couple in order to get in line. It was fun and cute.

2)Ice breakers - at another wedding, each placecard had a name, table number and question. You had to go to the table, find the person, introduce yourself then ask them the question on your card at some point in the reception (what is the story of your nickname? e.g.). It was a great way to cross-pollenate different groups!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2004 at 9:55AM
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I like this thread! :)

The BEST weddings I have been to are the ones where the bride and groom put their personality into the wedding. It could be as simple as a special song, special decoration or food item. It's especially nice when all generations are included somehow.

IÂve been to a lot of expensive weddings where the couple has followed the Âbooks to the letter, but the ones I remember were done on a budget with personality!


    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 6:48PM
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I always like the programs and unique flowers arangements. I also like when the couple plans the wedding to suit them- not just going ahead with traditions because that's what you're 'supposed' to do. Kids dancing always makes me smile.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 8:18PM
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Auntjen- I love that poem...may I borrow that? it sounds so perfect to bring the new "families" together.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2004 at 8:37PM
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I do have to say that some of the things that we did were pretty cool. At the wedding, dh and I walked down the aisle together, arm in arm, plus we had tall candles lining the aisles! Also, we only had two extras, my best girlfriend and dh's best buddy. And the best man just wore a nice suit that he already owned, just had to pair it with an ivory shirt. My gf bought a dress at the mall that was on sale, and something that she liked and COULD wear again. At the reception, we made the seating arrangement so that we weren't a million miles away from our guests, but sat amongst them. Also, in lieu of doing bridal dances, garter tosses and the like (which were NOT our thing), we had a pinata for the few kids that attended. Everyone got a lot of joy out of watching the children!

    Bookmark   August 16, 2004 at 9:28PM
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One of the coolest things I've seen is the couple commissioning their own bridal processional music, instead of using the old standards. For people who love music, the idea of walking down to a piece that is truly your own is so neat! I've only seen this once, although a friend getting married soon also plans it. The piece was played live by a string quartet at the wedding. The bride told me she received a CD of the music. The couple also framed a copy of the music score and put it on their wall next to their wedding picture. I've been told you can find composers by looking on google under "Wedding compositions" or "Original Wedding Music".

I also agree that the best weddings are personalized for the couple!!!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 12:46PM
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I agree that personal, not "cookie-cutter", weddings are the most memorable.
I loved our wedding music - I walked up the aisle to "Dancing Queen" (ABBA) and back down the aisle to the "Star Wars" theme tune. During the signing, my sister sang, which was a very personal touch. My SIL made the cake. We were married in England, but we had an "American" wedding cake, without the traditional English "tiers", so it stood out for that reason. We were married in a hotel, so a lot of the guests went for a swim in the evening, and everyone stayed overnight and we all ate breakfast together before driving away to honeymoon - these are the things we loved about our own wedding.
At other weddings - I love Scottish weddings where the men wear kilts. A lone piper played at my friend's wedding, and it was beautiful and haunting. Personalized favors are always lovely - not just a bunch of sugared almonds, but a picture of the B&G etc.
If I had to do it over, the only thing I would change is the time of year - I love Christmas, and would have had a Christmas wedding with all the Christmas decorations and the tree etc. and a visiting Santa!!!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 1:45PM
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I agree about the music! My husband is a musician and he composed and recorded all of our wedding music. It has only been used for our wedding and is so special. Although he has composed and recorded six other music CD's this is my favorite because he put so much of his heart into it. He also plays at Church each week, and he really touched my heart when I heard him play a portion of our processional during Communion one Sunday. Of course only he and I and The Lord knew what he was playing and it certainly brought tears to my eyes. I remember the music was so beautiful that the Minister leaned over right as the ceremony started and ask if he could have a copy! ALso, another thing that I saw that was so nice, was when my Son married a couple of years ago. He has two stepsons, and they walked their Mother down the aisle to meet my Son. It was such a sweet thing to see.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 3:43PM
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When my husband of 25 years and I married we had a small family wedding at our church. At the end of the ceremony my 9 yr old daughter came and stood with us while the minister did the closing prayer. My daughter walked out of the church with us and our family began. My husband, unbeknown to me, had bought my daughter a gold band with a very small diamond. When we got in the hallway he stopped me and said he had something special for her. He ask her if she would wear this ring and told her he would love her as much as he loved me and would always be there for her. She has always loved him and respected him and is now the mother of our first grandchild.
When she married 6 years ago she had a afternoon garden wedding with a very nice outdoor reception. She did not want any entertainment since it was an afternoon wedding so we had a harpist to "set the mood". That night the guest were invited to join us on the veranda of the hotel for an evening of "ghost stories". We were in an old historic hotel in Alabama which was situated on the Alabama River. There had been an early evening thunderstorm and there was mist rising on the river. I had put votive candles out and had light refreshments prepared. The story teller was a known author of ghost books, has written over 60 books. I can remember her from when I was in middle school and she would come and tell stories. I have also seen her at many arts festivals preforming. My daughter also knew her growing up as a story teller. My only request of her was to keep the stories about happy or good ghost, due to the children that would be present. Anyway, she told ghost stories for about 1 1/2 and everyone was totally amused by her. She presented the bride and groom with a buckeye to keep in their pocket. Guests are still talking about the wedding where a story teller was there. She must be in her 90's now and still going strong.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 1:06AM
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Spage1 - You husband must be so special, to think of doing that for your daughter. And the stories sound like a great idea, especially when done really well.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 8:35AM
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I went to a really nice wedding last night. I thought of you all, because the bride's honor attendant was her brother. Both the bride and groom each have one sibling, a brother, and those were the honor attendants. There was also one bridesmaid and one groomsman. It was really charming and moving -- you definitely got the feeling of two real families actually joining, and you got a sense that it will be a really good marriage where the bride's values are such that she wanted her brother (who is her best friend) by her, rather than focusing on the visual effect (and speaking of which -- she looked like a diamond in a solitaire setting up there without a lot of other young women around her!). It was also so cute because her brother happens to be extremely tall, so he had to duck under things when he was helping her with her veil, etc. Everyone loved it.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2004 at 11:56AM
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This may not quite fit the thread header but---

When my wife and I got engaged over 20 years ago we decided to have the wedding in her church - she was Lutheran at the time and I am Catholic. Her pastor thought that a Jewish ritual that I was not familiar with back then would be one way of setting the ceremony apart from the ordinary. That was to take a small glass and wrap it in a towel and have me step on it and break it. The explaination I got was that someone would have to take the pieces and put them back together perfectly before anybody could take my bride away from me. Well we decided to go with it. When the big moment arrived, it turned out that the glass that the pastor produced was a small piece of stemware, with a fairly thick neck. He wrapped it in the towel and put it down, but when I stepped on it it shot out of the towel and skidded very noisily across the altar in front of my best man and four ushers until my brother made what amounted to a hockey save with his foot! Not even a chip missing! Everyone in the church snickered pretty loudly. Well we brought it back and this time I jumped on it! The best I could do was to snap it into two pieces. Pretty memorable; we still have them.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2004 at 2:28PM
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At an outdoor wedding held at the brides parents home in the fall, instead of a unity candle, they planted a unity "tree" and also two tulip bulbs.

I also seen where they didn't do the traditional bouquet/garder toss. The DJ announced that all married couples should come to the dance floor. As music played the DJ asked for couples married less than 24 hours to leave the floor, (obvious couple!!), and then went by 5 year increments until the floor was almost empty with only a few couples remaining after the announcement of anyone married less than 40 years. DJ then had remaining couples tell exact year of marriage. The one couple married the longest was asked to remain on the floor and B&G returned to the floor and presented bouquet/garder. B&G and longest married couple then had their own dance with longest married couple donning garder and bouquet. Photographer took photo of the two couples.

I thought this was great! Instead of the bouquet/garder being caught by a 14 year old it was given in honor and respect of the longest married couple. Very Special!

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 4:43PM
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Instead of throwing rice, or birdseed has become more the accepted form to throw, they gave wedding guests "bubbles" and wand in small white bottles decorated in ribbon and ribbon flowers. I photographed that wedding and the photos were great! Bride and Groom coming down the church steps, smiling and walking tall, no crouching or protecting their faces from handfulls of birdseed, surrounded in hundreds of bubbles glistening from the sunshine.... Guests on the sides holding their wands and bottles of bubbles gently blowing bubbles their mouths all puckered like they could be blowing kisses at them.

Any wedding supply catalog carries these little white bottles of bubbles for about $5 for a couple dozen bottles. You can decorate them with the wedding colors in ribbons, place them in a decorated wicker basket and have your ushers or guest book/program attendents hand them randomly to guests as they leave the church.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2004 at 5:07PM
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With all respect to softball_80, I am uncomfortable with the idea of borrowing things from other people's religious rituals just for fun. They really mean something to the followers of those faiths, and it is rather offensive to have them treated as just clever gimmicks for "setting the ceremony apart from the ordinary." Breaking the glass is a custom, not a religious ritual, but it's so ancient and so identified with Jewish weddings specifically that I wouldn't recommend it for a non-Jewish wedding, although it wouldn't be offensive, as would be actually performing a religious ritual -- like a non-Catholic couple having a mass just because they think it's pretty or something.
By the way, there are several explanations for the custom of breaking the glass, but I've never heard the one that the Lutheran pastor gave.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2004 at 6:25PM
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