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#1631 LovelyGemini

LovelyGemini
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    Posted 26 June 2013 - 02:31 PM

    I am leaving tomorrow for my site visit. I'm a little nervous since the last time I visited the resort was 2 years ago. My meeting with my WC will be on Monday, July 1st and I only have a handful of questions, thanks to all of the detailed information you ladies have shared on this forum!



    #1632 MissJali

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      Posted 26 June 2013 - 02:39 PM

      lovely Gemini! Dont be nervous! before my may 2013 visit, the last time I was there was in 2009 and without seeing all the changes the resort did I booked my wedding. the resort has changed quite.a bit but I am even more excited now that its been renovated. it's a beautifil resort! have fun and a safe trip!!!!

      #1633 Bjeantil

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        Posted 27 June 2013 - 10:14 AM

        Beautiful!!! Glad everything turned out great! Thanks for following up for me! Can you also send me the email and scripts for pastor York? Bjeantil@yahoo.com Thanks for the review as it has helped me and made me feel even more at ease.

        Hi ladies! Okay so I am back from a wonderful 8 night stay at BBPD. I hope I dont make this too long!  Day 1: Was just my husband and I...airport was not a big deal took about a total of 25 minutes to get through everything and then another 15 to get to the resort. It is HUGE! Like a compound when you are coming into it. We had a private transfer through Group Palmera (more on them later) and it was wonderful! No stops, no waiting and lots of ac in the car!  Check in for us was very simple as we reserved the club premium panoramic room. They take you to a seperate check-in where they serve you drinks, give you snacks and you just sort of relax while they take care of everything. The women in CP are all so well spoken and kind. Seriously the best service! They had put us on the ground floor, which I was not comfortable with, so we left our luggage in Club Premium and went to the main pool while waiting for another room to be cleaned. We got the 2nd floor panoramic (i think they are calling it the master suite now) in building 5. It was beautiful! Huge living room area, wet bar, bathroom with shower, then separated was the king size bed and bedroom with a HUGE bathroom. I mean HUGE. bigger than our master bedroom at home haha! We had two decks. One smaller facing the adults only pool and garden, and the other very large right on the ocean. It was very quiet there always, even being that close to the beach. that night we went to the French place since it was included in CP and I hate to say it, but the food was horrible. I truly couldnt eat even the dessert, and my husband who will eat anything, even said he wasn't feeling it. I see where some people love it, but it was by far the worst place we ate out of anywhere.  We went home, ordered room service and put together our welcome bags. Day 2: Guests were arriving after noon, so Travis and I had already scheduled our couples massage for that morning. We had breakfast at the buffet (which was always basically the same, except for the main meat dishes, and we were always able to find something good to eat everyday)...then went to the spa. It is very clean and beautiful in there. The massages were great and relaxing and then we headed to the room to get on our swimsuits.  We decided we would go greet one guest who was coming in first because it was about time for him to arrive. About five hours later and I basically never left the main lobby because we had guests coming in right after the other. We waited with them to check-in each.  Check-in at main lobby takes a while longer. It seems like everyone comes in at the same time. Around 11 there was NOONE checking in, then by noon till 5 it was wave after wave.  But the front desk is a little disorganized, but they are very friendly and will get ya checked in.  Upgrades: Our free upgrade would have been the grand master suite, but there are only two on resort and both were taken, so we did not get an upgrade. My sisters had the golf loft and got upgraded to the family jr suite (which is gorgeous and very roomy, much bigger than the golf suite and right on the ocean).  A married couple witha baby got upgraded from the golf deluxe to a jr suite right on the ocean. After that the guests would still ask, but the hotel informed them that they were at capacity and so noone else was able to get an upgrade. The two that did just simply asked because i told all my guests before checking in to do so just incase. Everyone seemed to love their rooms, and we had pretty much one of every room there atleast. The golf suites are not as far as you would think, but they are for sure a walk to the beach whereas the jr suites and above are right there in the action. We just hung out at the swim up pool bar after everyone got there and then went to get ready and had a welcome cocktail at the sports bar because the hockey game was on that night. Us girls left and went to carry bar after a while and it was really nice and cool in there. Lots of ac! Day 3: Sunday we just hung out all day at the pool/beach. the beach is gorgeous and so warm!! There are lots of activites there, some free- people kayaked and sailed, and others paid a little money to ride the motor rides like the banana boat. Sunday evening we met with the wonderful Anders, President of Group Palmera, which is an excursion company that I began working with in Jan after the recommendation from nikki palmer. He does everything- weddings, hotel reservations, excursions, transfers, etc. and he is the best!! If anyone has yet to finalize their wedding plans send him an email because he has amazing discounts and does EVERYTHING from the ground up! He is such a kind person, speaks perfect spanish and english and really is just organized and amazing. Anyways, everyone paid for their choice excursion and then we all went to the steakhouse. Steakhouse was very good! Everyone really liked it! Then we just all ran around the sports bar, lobby bars, my parents went to the shows everynight and liked them, and of course the disco and casino.  The disco can be a lot of fun, but the spanish music gets old really quick. (not to offend!).  Day 4: Monday. I had my wedding meeting this morning and as Susana was my WC the whole time, I met with her for a second. She is still under medical conditions that make it impossible for her to lead your wedding and so she introuduced me to Arise (this is not how you spell her name, but this is the way it sounds). She is ABOVE AND BEYOND AWESOME! Right away she pulled out my file and had everything all set. We went over the cake, the flowers (which i just picked that day), the dinner, music, decorations etc. My mom was with me so she took us out to the garden gazebo and Bar H (which are right next to each other) and there were peacocks and babies everywhere! It was so cute. I loved the location and all in all it took about 30 minutes to do everything, but I knew I would need to come back again because they didnt have my fees yet and i had forgotten to bring a few things.  Arise was hilarious...I said I wanted to get married outside of the gazebo because i didnt like everyone so close, and shes like "Oh no, its Ugly" hahah. She was like a friend literally, so sweet and kind and her and I ended up seeing each other almost everyday after this. But the process is pretty easy and I did bring quite a bit with me but she didnt care at all and loved everything. Bjean- You can get just the MC, but it is literally the same price as the DJ.  We then went on a catamaran snorkeling booze cruise with Bebe Catamaran (through Anders). SO much fun!! It took maybe 10 minutes to  get over there, then we went out to snorkel in the coral reef not to far from land. There are a ton of party boats out there playing music, etc...then we went to a calm area out in the ocean where you can stand and swam and had a floating bar. They served bohemia beer (the resort only serves presidente) so that was nice, and then ofcourse rum and drinks! It was a blast!! everyone had so much fun and even the babies went on and were swimming and splashing having a great time. this lasted about three hours but felt like one.  We went back and got ready and I hadnt made reservations that night so we tried Hoya 19, but they were too  busy, so we used someones reservation to go to the seafood- again really good! Slow service, but good food. Day 5: Tuesday- We planned our bachelor days as this day. SO at 745 am the guys went onshore fishing with Anders. My husband does not like deep sea, so they rented a boat for three hours, then fished from shore at a beautiful hidden beach for three more and then were taken to a cute bar and grill where they grilled up the fish they had caught for them and had a great lunch on the beach. The girls went to breakfast then met at the spa. I had made appts in May for anyone who wanted them, so did not and so they were at the pool. I had the spa manicure and pedicure (because i had already got the massage), but most of my girls got the bridal spa package (massage, facial mani and pedi) that is a great price and good deal for everything. They only charged me the upcharge for spa mani/pedi which was like 30 bucks because ( i didnt know, but the basic mani pedi was included in my package). There was a baby in our group so we stayed at the spa a while watching him while his mom got the full package and then all went to lunch. That afternoon my bridesmaids decorated my room and suprised me with a country themed bridal shower (im a country girl!) and it was GORGEOUS! My room was big enough for all of us to sit, play games...they bought bottles of alcohol from duty free at the resort and had brought those mixers and also got me some bohemian beer. We had the best time. My neighbor came over like a bat out of hell telling us to be quiet but we were like DUDE ITS 4 in the afternoon sorry!! And we never got in trouble! Also Micaela from tropical pictures came over and took pictures of the shower! It was so much fun then all us ladies went to the mexican place and the food was delicious! My fav place my far!!! The guys went to Hoya 19 and said it was great and then caught a bus to Imagine Night Caves at 1030 *(through Anders) for all you can drink and transportation included...they stayed out till about 4 or 5 am that night! I was in bed by 11 I think haha!  Day 6: Wednesday- brought in a couple more wedding stuff...thats when Arise had the great idea to use my paper flowers in my jars instead of buying more real flowers. Saved me over 100$ and it was her idea!! Perfect! Then went to the beach and adults only pool all day. The adults only pool is the best. It has cabanas for 15$ and the drinks are the best on the resort. I dont know why all the bars dont make them the same, but they really do not!! Adults only pool is quiet, but a lot of fun too and a little crazy, You can play your own music over there and its right by the beach so you can go back and forth. We stayed out all day until the rain came in, then went to our rooms, got dressed and were all meeting at the japanese for our rehearsal dinner. I had made this reservation in May through Susana and had confirmation, but when I showed up they did not have it. I gave them my reservation numbers and they found that she had actually made reservations at the steakhouse. i was really upset, I had all my guests standing there waiting to eat, and we had ALL already eaten at the steakhouse, but they told me there was nothing to be done. I went to CP to see if they could, but they said it was all the weddint dept, which was closed by then. So we had to eat at the steakhouse again, and i was pretty pissed about this (even worse we had chosen the steak for our wedding dinner which would be the following night). I never mentioned this to the wedding dept the next day because it was our wedding day and i didnt want any negative stuff. It was an honest mistake, but I would say when you check in check all your reservations to make sure they are correct. That night my girls and i had a makeup preview and hung out in each others rooms, then went to bed early. Thursday- Wedding day!! We got up early, had breakfast and i cleaned up my room a bit. Girls came over at noon and Travis went to one of the golf loft suites to get ready with his guys. We opted not to use the spa because four of my bridesmaids have gone to makeup or hair school so we all just got ready with each other. Michaela went to take pictures of the guys around 2 and then showed up in our room around 3. We had to hurry, but took a few with the girls and then they ran over to catch the train...then we took some of just me and were picked up by Arise in a golf cart. I had my own music played during the ceremony, which my sister in law was in charge of and it was wonderful, no big deal! I hired Pastor Rick York to conduct the ceremony and he was just AMAZING and funny. The ceremony was a religious ceremony, though symbolic, and lasted about 20 minutes. the gazebo was gorgeous and the peacocks were out again! I did mint green bows on the chairs at the ceremony and did peach in the reception. (this is free, but if you want two bows will cost).  Cocktail hour food was yummy!! We ate for about 15 minutes, did a bunch of group and family pictures, bridal party pics then just me and trav for about an hour in the garden and then down to the beach. Then it was reception time...it was beautifully decorated! I will share pics. Arise did AMAZING with the stuff i brought and their stuff. i had peach overlay and bows, and my own centerpieces. Our cake was choc almond with regular (not fondant) icing. We got the caesar salad, beef tenderlion and creme brulee...all wonderful and even got to give the chef a big hug!! Everything flowed so nicely and the service was out of this world! they werre on top of everything. We did the toasts, lots of tears and then our first dance...then we danced with our parents and it was so sweet. Right after that the real dancing started. We brought our ipod and had the DJ play that. He was really cool...he somehow didnt just let it play- like if one song was ending he would mix it into the next song coming on and it all sounded great. We had a BLAASSTTT!! Everyone was dancing!! The bar service is awesome! It does get a little hot in there but there is always a breeze. The guys took off their shirts and just left their vests and ties on so there was a lot of magic mike going on there hahah! We decided on the spot to extend the reception another hour (we had already paid to extend it by one) so it was 5 in total. arise said no big deal, would charge to the room and we kept on partying! (Her and Susana were there the whole time and they are awesome). The lounge seating around BAR H is so nice too, everyone could take a break, smoke a cigar and keep drinking. I really LOVE that place and recommend it to everyone for reception. Bringing our own music was great too because after six days of salsa we really loved hearing some of our tunes! After the wedding we all were picked up by a train and went and changed and went to the casino/disco and just hung out. some stayed out really late (like 6 am late), but Trav and I were in bed by 1. They decorated our room and filled the tub and it was really pretty and clean! The next morning my husband had another morning fishing trip through Anders that he had planned the day before the wedding. So off he went at 7 am. My best friend was leaving that day to go back to her kids so she came over and had the honeymoon breakfast with me and then they delivered champagne and I started drinking...another bridesmaid came over and we just drank mimosas on the deck then headed to the pool all day! we got everyone to meet at the swim up bar at 1 and partied there till 5. Then we met with the WONDERFUL Micaela of tropical pictures and picked out 230 pics so had to pay more! I really cannot say enough about her she is wonderful and so sweet and funny and fun to be around. My husband and all our guests loved her and tried to party with her she is just the best. The pictures turned out better than i could imagine...then we went to the sports bar to just hang with everyone cause our dinner reservations were late at 1045. We ate italian...i had ravioli and it was not good, but the other dishes i tasted were really good. Then we went to bed! Next day we picked up our pictures and got back all our wedding stuff! I left the jars i used as my centerpieces there and they said they would use them for future brides to pick from. I got to say a big thank you to Arise and Miceala and then we went to the airport. We had first class and that saved us literally an hour or two waiting in line. We didnt get to say bye to my husbands family because we never thought it would take that long for them to get through.  All in all it was beyond amazing. My husband had to talk me into a DW, but I am so glad he did. Here is a few things although i know this is SOOOO long: Garden gazebo is the most private. It is gorgeous and lovely and noone but your wedding party is there. It gives you shade, and everything is all in the same place with cocktail hour and the reception at Bar H.  the beach gazebo is really impersonal. I watched probably six weddings there and i mean i felt bad for the brides walking down through all the people partying in the pools and hollering. I have NO idea how you could hear a ceremony in that location.  The beach weddings are a little queiter, though still lots of on lookers.  When it is a busy day (like the friday after my wedding) I saw three before 2pm on the beach so one was literally right next to the bathroom in front of the busiest pool.   I am so glad I went with Tropical pictures. Micaela San juan was the sweetest person in the world and I believe she is also a free lance photographer and she does really amazing work, not to mention is just so kind you want to scoop her up and take her home with you! Anders (I will send you his address) is AMAZING! i wish i would have contacted him when i started planning my wedding because he gets great deals and can do everything as the middle man. But the excursions were so much fun, great priced and my husband has never had so much fun fishing. they caught so many and then got them grilled up twice! He just loved that time. And ANders as a person is beyond kind and fun to be around. I recommend doing it through him because he has way better prices and excursions then the hotel. Arise is the best WC! Im sure they are all great, but she was above and beyond. She kept me informed if any of my guests had issues, and she decorated my reception better than i ever could have...and saved me money! She is funny and sweet and just made everything so special and wonderful! I never got to eat at the japanese, but my mother in law said that is the best one!  I highly recommend Bar H and using your own music. We did not pay for an mc and had one of our guests introduce us all, but other than that we would just take the mic ourselves when we needed to say something, and I think that was great saving 500.  If anyone has any questions please let me know! I hope i didnt bore you all with this long a** review haha! But i just had so much fun I had to tell you all about it!

        Thank you!!! Pastor York is AWESOME! He is really wonderful and Im so glad I reached out to him. Having religion in my ceremony was my #1 priority! I wanted the chapel, but if it is not catholic they wont let you use it.  He is from the Church of Christ and can do symbolics at any location of your choice.  He has you sign a certificate infront of all guests so that it feels very offical too.  He could def do the pier. His cost is 350.00, but so worth it if its important to you. There was no issue at all with having him come...no fees, not even a day pass fee...Arise knew him well as she has worked at other resort wedding departments and called him by a first name basis. I had no fees whatsoever and no issues when i told susana he would be coming just an OKAY no prob! I do have both his scripts. Send me your email address if that is okay with you and ill send you his scripts which also include his email. He has a traditional and a more modern, both religious. (But he is not catholic, so it would not be a catholic script). He also allows you to add in readings, take stuff out, etc whatever you want to do! Our guests brought school supplies for the new preschool his missionary is opening in August and he was so sweet accepting them! I really like him alot! 



        #1634 charo11913

        charo11913
        • Newbie
        • 3 posts

          Posted 02 July 2013 - 12:00 PM

          Hi brides!

           

          I have been following this thread for months, just never got around to writing something.  The majority of the questions I had I found the answers to in this thread thanks to all the ladies that have gotten married and those still in the planning process.  I'm getting married this November 9th, weather permitting on the pier, God willing. 

           

          Natalie, I read over your review, and I can't tell you how excited you made me, Arise is also my WC, and reading such great reviews about her just made me feel alot more relaxed.  I emailed her to make sure it was her you were talking about since you put Arise and all her emails that I've received had a long name.  When I made the connection, I let her know that you had spoken very highly of her and she said, "Thank you so much!"  I love the fact that I email her and she gets back to me within a day, guess it's also because my wedding is about 4 months away.  I had one question for you, you mentioned that you extended the recpeption an extra hour, if you don't mind me asking how much did they charge you for that extra hour? 

           

          Thanks for the info.....



          #1635 LovelyGemini

          LovelyGemini
          • Newbie
          • 108 posts

            Posted 03 July 2013 - 10:55 AM

            I'm back from my site visit!!! 6 days really just flew by! I'm going to try to keep this as brief as possible but I have to say, I think I need another vacation just to deal with the numbers for this wedding. The resort is just as beautiful as I remember from 2 years ago...

             

            I met with my WC on the 1st at 10 AM, the day before we were leaving. I was excited to find out Arise is going to be our WC, especially after all the great things I've read about her on here. (Her name is actually Arisqueylme, but she insists her name is way too long and prefers to be called Arise). She is such a sweetheart and so organized! Our meeting lasted a little over an hour, not because of lack of knowledge, believe me, all of you have been incredibly helpful and detailed, but because Arise was very thorough and suggested deciding on as much as possible (settings, chairs, menu, etc.) to minimize the number decisions when we return for the wedding in April. I think she also wanted to tackle as much as possible considering our wedding is very large (about 100-150 expected) !!! Sadly, Bar Higuey is not an option for us because of this. 

             

            So we decided to keep the ceremony on the beach and the reception in the larger ballrooms they have. Once Arise showed them to me, however, I fell in love. The ballroom is absolutely gorgeous with incredibly tasteful lighting. And I'm sure my guests will appreciate the AC. Arise managed to convince my fiance to have the cocktail hour on the roof ($500/hour!!) simply because he saw one that took place on the beach during our stay and didn't like the setup. 

             

            We are also considering changing the meal to a buffet style, at the suggestion of Arise. She is still working on getting me the pricing for it, but she explained that with such a large number of guests, the personal plate option could end up sucking up a lot of our party time because the waitstaff will be waiting for everyone to finish each course before distributing the next. Let's see what happens when she sends me the pricing for it!

             

            During the meeting, Arise also had us meet with Michaela from TP. While she was adorable and a complete sweetheart, the pricing for the video and photography packages left me so traumatized, I stopped at the first bar I found after the meeting! LOL. For a group like ours, she said the Bronze photography package (of course the cheapest one!) was not an option and we must choose from the Silver and Gold package. This was fine by me, because the Bronze package doesn't even include the negatives. But the video packages really disappointed me. $600 just to record the ceremony, which btw, according to Arise, is only about 15-20 minutes long! I'm not really sure it will be worth it.

             

            My last note as this ended up being longer than I thought... Extra hours for the reception, according to Arise, is charged per PERSON in addition to the cost of the DJ. The extra hour for the DJ, we were quoted $433 and then $15 per person for each additional hour. So for us to extend the party to at least 4 hours instead of 3, it will cost over $2000 

             

            We covered a whole lot of other stuff during our meeting so if anyone has any questions about anything, I will do my best to answer them!

             

            I am so excited... time is really just flying by!

             

            E



            #1636 Reign14

            Reign14
            • Site Supporter
            • 115 posts
            • Wedding Date:April 16, 2016
            • Wedding Location:BBPD

            Posted 04 July 2013 - 08:30 PM

            LovelyGemini,

             

            Glad you had a great visit! Thanks for sharing how it went! Wow, 150....that is a big wedding. Sounds like you're in good hands with Arise though. I hadn't heard of her, so good to know that they have another great person on staff. Happy planning!



            #1637 natalieblev

            natalieblev
            • Jr. Member
            • 400 posts

              Posted 05 July 2013 - 07:12 AM

              Originally Posted by LovelyGemini 

              I'm back from my site visit!!! 6 days really just flew by! I'm going to try to keep this as brief as possible but I have to say, I think I need another vacation just to deal with the numbers for this wedding. The resort is just as beautiful as I remember from 2 years ago...

               

              I met with my WC on the 1st at 10 AM, the day before we were leaving. I was excited to find out Arise is going to be our WC, especially after all the great things I've read about her on here. (Her name is actually Arisqueylme, but she insists her name is way too long and prefers to be called Arise). She is such a sweetheart and so organized! Our meeting lasted a little over an hour, not because of lack of knowledge, believe me, all of you have been incredibly helpful and detailed, but because Arise was very thorough and suggested deciding on as much as possible (settings, chairs, menu, etc.) to minimize the number decisions when we return for the wedding in April. I think she also wanted to tackle as much as possible considering our wedding is very large (about 100-150 expected) !!! Sadly, Bar Higuey is not an option for us because of this. 

               

              So we decided to keep the ceremony on the beach and the reception in the larger ballrooms they have. Once Arise showed them to me, however, I fell in love. The ballroom is absolutely gorgeous with incredibly tasteful lighting. And I'm sure my guests will appreciate the AC. Arise managed to convince my fiance to have the cocktail hour on the roof ($500/hour!!) simply because he saw one that took place on the beach during our stay and didn't like the setup. 

               

              We are also considering changing the meal to a buffet style, at the suggestion of Arise. She is still working on getting me the pricing for it, but she explained that with such a large number of guests, the personal plate option could end up sucking up a lot of our party time because the waitstaff will be waiting for everyone to finish each course before distributing the next. Let's see what happens when she sends me the pricing for it!

               

              During the meeting, Arise also had us meet with Michaela from TP. While she was adorable and a complete sweetheart, the pricing for the video and photography packages left me so traumatized, I stopped at the first bar I found after the meeting! LOL. For a group like ours, she said the Bronze photography package (of course the cheapest one!) was not an option and we must choose from the Silver and Gold package. This was fine by me, because the Bronze package doesn't even include the negatives. But the video packages really disappointed me. $600 just to record the ceremony, which btw, according to Arise, is only about 15-20 minutes long! I'm not really sure it will be worth it.

               

              My last note as this ended up being longer than I thought... Extra hours for the reception, according to Arise, is charged per PERSON in addition to the cost of the DJ. The extra hour for the DJ, we were quoted $433 and then $15 per person for each additional hour. So for us to extend the party to at least 4 hours instead of 3, it will cost over $2000 

               

              We covered a whole lot of other stuff during our meeting so if anyone has any questions about anything, I will do my best to answer them!

               

              I am so excited... time is really just flying by!

               

              E

              Dont you just LOVE Arise and Michela!! They are the two BEST! You will be in great hands! I had them both and everyone loved them and everything went perfect! 



              #1638 LovelyGemini

              LovelyGemini
              • Newbie
              • 108 posts

                Posted 05 July 2013 - 08:47 AM

                Originally Posted by Reign14 

                LovelyGemini,

                 

                Glad you had a great visit! Thanks for sharing how it went! Wow, 150....that is a big wedding. Sounds like you're in good hands with Arise though. I hadn't heard of her, so good to know that they have another great person on staff. Happy planning!

                AHHH I know. And that's the maximum number of guests we're hoping will go. Anymore than that I might just lose my mind. Haha



                #1639 LovelyGemini

                LovelyGemini
                • Newbie
                • 108 posts

                  Posted 05 July 2013 - 08:49 AM

                  Thanks Natalie! I read your review right before I left so I was doing a happy dance inside once I learned who I'd be working with! Did you choose any of the video packages or just photos?



                  #1640 natalieblev

                  natalieblev
                  • Jr. Member
                  • 400 posts

                    Posted 05 July 2013 - 10:35 AM

                    Originally Posted by LovelyGemini 

                    Thanks Natalie! I read your review right before I left so I was doing a happy dance inside once I learned who I'd be working with! Did you choose any of the video packages or just photos?

                    We just did the photos! She actually made us a dvd slideshow with the sweetest music and its like 25-30 minutes long!! So it is perfect to show our family that didnt make it. We didnt do an at home reception because we dont live by any family and my mother in law had one of our friends record the whole ceremony so it all worked out fine! 






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