Four Factors that Effect Food Choices for Events

FoodEventsFood takes center stage at any event due to the fact that is entices all the senses and is the most engaging aspect of most major events. You can’t help but notice the small details and quirks that go into hospitality, the placement of a fork, the way a napkin bends or tucks. Small details that when correct go unnoticed by guests but would be the center of attention if incorrect. The same attention to detail is seen in the eyes of professional chefs who make the food for the many events you will help create over your career.

While food can vary wildly depending on the event, the people you are catering to and the style of your own business there are four factors that play an integral role in food decision and should be taken into consideration with every food decision made for a major event.


Type of event

The number one decision that goes into food decision making is the type of event you’re having. Is your event a small meeting where some bottled water and small snacks would fit best or is this a formal dinner where a four course meal is the main focus of the event. Determining the type of event you’re providing food for is quite easy by defining the goal of the event. The goal will determine what is most important and what role food plays into the event. Is it part of the entertainment or is it the main focus. In most cases the client you’re speaking with will have some idea of the food they want at their event but if they don’t make sure good communication is used in defining the goal of the event and the needs so you can figure as a professional can determine the event’s food needs.


Venue restrictions

Restrictions in the diet of guests can be hard to manage but call for simple shifts in types of food what isn’t so easy to manage is venue food restrictions. Many venues may have a list of local caterers that prefer you choose from or have onsite catering. This may not be a problem for some guests while others may find it a bit more of a struggle if they have their hearts set on another catering team. The easiest solution is to switch venues but if that is not an option sometimes as an event planner speaking on behave of a client you may be provided some wiggle room with whom provides the food. If that’s not the case explaining to your client or boss the limitations this venue brings is crucial, if they are still on board with the venues working as a team with your client and the venues caterer list or onsite catering will become the main focus of your job. This provides its own set of challenges that can be easily be overcome with honesty and communication between all parties involved.


Theme of your event

Events are like theatre. There are no second chances, you have to get it right the first time and you have to set a stage. Décor, setting, props, and lighting is key in both situations, and food can pull to another place and time instantly. Food isn’t just a show for the senses as any good chef or event planner knows. Food can sometimes act as a passage or transportation taking a guest from modern America to another place they’ve never been. Sometimes this trip can be through time. With décor, ambiance and useful imagery a guest can be whisked away to an old school sock hop, a Greek style party or the overabundant 20’s. Combining the theme of your event with the type of event you are providing food for is key to providing show stopping expectations.


Create a wow factor

One of the most overlooked factors in food is one we see every day in media, providing the wow factor. There is a reason why brides are willing to spend hundreds sometimes thousands on an amazing wedding cake, it is the wow factor. Like we said, food helps set a mood, it’s part of the show so why shouldn’t it be a part of the same wow factor the décor, music and lighting provide. The wow factor can be created with stunning artesian designs, overabundance, the way the food is delivered, a surprising menu from a restraint you may not have expected. Remember creating the wow factor with food isn’t just the taste but is a feast for the eyes as well.


No matter the formality or type of function food is always the center fold of an event just as important as having enough tables and chairs to making sure a key note speaker arrives on time. Good food that takes center stage indulges each of the senses, sight, smell, taste and even touch and sound in some cases. Taste is one of those senses often overlooked since the average person doesn’t go around tasting everything they pass. While everyday things at events like music and décor engage four of the five sense it is food that provides that final sense changing an event from good to remarkable. Using food to fill that final sense and to set a stage for all other activities is key to making an everyday party to the next level by keeping guests talking.




James Novonty

Event coordinator with specialized research and education in fashion event management and editorial styling. Novotny is a cosmetologist since 2011 and event professional for four years. Graduating from Sinclair College in 2016, Novotny has worked alongside art museums and nonprofits including poverty awareness and education. In 2016 while finishing his degree Novotny also studied fashion design and merchandising at Marist College.

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A Lead Generation Model for Event Planners

Lead GenerationDo you have a new event planning business? Or does your existing business need a marketing injection? Attracting new customers is the core of any business, regardless of industry.


I often see companies approach marketing by setting a monthly budget and blindly tossing that money to the wind in hopes of gaining exposure. The smart marketer should determine an allowable marketing cost per customer (AMCPC). This is money you set aside to acquire each customer built right into your growth strategy.


For example’s sake, say your average customer revenue is $1000 per event. An AMCPC of 15% would allow you to spend $150 to acquire each customer. The benefit of building this right into your cost structure is that now this allows you unlimited growth – you can scale your company by spending more on marketing as long as you adhere to this $150 per customer.


Once you know how much you can spend, you can start your lead generation efforts. Some leads are better than others. You should use math when determining what you can pay for leads as well. For example, if you know you can set aside $150 in marketing cost per client, you could pay for $50 leads as long as you convert 33% of them. Maybe another source offers $10 leads – that is fine too as long as you can convert 1 out of 15 of those. This model provides scalability.


Here are three lead generation approaches we see as common in the event industry:


Option One: Generate Leads Yourself

Some event planners take it upon themselves to learn online marketing. This includes disciplines such as SEO, local SEO, PPC advertising, social media and more. The advantage is that you cut out any inflated cost but the disadvantage is that these things aren’t easy. It often takes years to become proficient. It’s also risky because on the paid advertising side, you are risking your own money.

Option Two: Pay-Per-Quote

The event industry offers a variety of pay-per-quote type sites. This means you sign up and tell the services how much you would charge for different customers.

When a potential customer browses the third party site, they request quotes from planners. The third party emails your quote along with quotes from a variety of other professionals in your area. When the customer is sent your quote, you pay some price regardless of if they contact you. Often these leads are cheaper but the conversion rate is much lower – sometimes barely existent.


Option Three: Lead Generation Partner

The last option is partnering with a lead generation partner. These sites or services will generate qualified leads in your area and sell the leads directly to you exclusively. It’s important to ask if the leads are exclusive because sometimes services will try to resell them.

The benefits of lead generation partners are much higher conversion rates but they will be more expensive.


All of these options have advantages or disadvantages – it’s important to always know your AMCPC and compare it against cost and conversion rate. Once you have a great lead generation strategy, your company is primed for growth.


Rob Stretch is the owner of, a company that helps Event Planners generate leads and monetize existing services. Rob has lead generation experience in brutally competitive industries like insurance and mortgage. You can find out more how can help your business here.


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7 mistakes you should avoid when planning an outdoor event

CECILIA PYTEL_ Outdoorvenues_imageYour guests have arrived and the champagne is flowing when the sky darkens and you hear the first clap of thunder – feeling panicky as your guests run for cover, you struggle to come up with a plan B on the spot.


Not having a rain plan isn’t the only rookie error people make when planning an al fresco event. With summer right around the corner, don’t leave anything to chance. Read on to learn the most common mistakes people make when hosting outdoor celebrations.


  1. Underestimating the cost of an outdoor event

Al fresco settings can be breezy, but that doesn’t mean planning them is a breeze. Don’t underestimate all the logistics necessary for an outdoor event to run smoothly. You may need to rent a marquee, bathrooms, kitchen facilities, lighting, heaters and generators, which can easily add up to thousands of dollars, and stretch your budget to the limit. Use a venue search engine to compare the hire costs of the best outdoor venues and, as soon as you book your space, find out exactly what’s included so that you can allocate your budget accordingly.


  1. Not allowing enough set-up time

Setting up an event shouldn’t be a race against the clock. Avoid extra stress by estimating how long you’ll need to set up, and factoring this into your schedule on the day.


  1. Renting from too many vendors

While it’s possible to save a few dollars by renting a marquee from one vendor, lighting from another and a generator from the local construction rental company, coordinating the delivery schedule can be a major headache. The vendor delivering the tables and chairs might arrive in the morning, while the vendor delivering the marquee might not show up until the early afternoon. Dealing with fewer vendors simplifies your event set-up and keeps stress to a minimum.


  1. Failing to consider your guests

Don’t put your guests offside by forgetting their needs. Tell them how to get to your event if it isn’t obvious, and provide helpful directional signage at your venue, especially if it has several outdoor areas or pavilions. Don’t just assume people are fine with standing – for parties that are longer than two hours, provide seating for at least 80 per cent of your guests. Finally, avoid nasty accidents by making sure extension cords aren't left in busy areas where guests can trip, and keep your guests cool in warmer weather by using programs that double as fans.


  1. Not having a rain plan

Rain at your outdoor event isn’t just inconvenient, it’s a game-changer. While it may be tempting to just hope it won’t happen, getting caught out without a venue on the day of your event is a huge risk to take, even if you live in a place where 364 days of the year are sunny. It’s understandable that you could be reluctant to put down deposits for tents, umbrellas and golf carts you might not use, but if you don’t book these things early on and are holding your event during peak season, there’s a real chance they won’t be available when the weather starts to look iffy.


  1. Not having a hot weather plan

Always make a point of checking the weather forecast in the lead up to your event. If it’s going to be very hot, make sure you have plenty of water available as well as shaded areas for guests to cool down. Higher temperatures can affect food quality, and even food safety, so make sure your caterer is fully prepared for a warm outdoor reception.


  1. Leaving things to chance

Having a plan B is essential when hosting an outdoor event – early in the planning process, make a list of any risks or potential problems. You won’t regret being well prepared, whether that means ordering extra tents, booking an alternative venue or decorating your living room, just in case. Having a solid backup plan will give you peace of mind and help you to relax and enjoy your summer celebration.

Jacinta Butterworth is a content marketer at #tagvenue, the London venue experts changing the way people discover and book spaces for their events.

CECILIA PYTEL_ Outdoorvenues_Jacinta












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What It Takes to Succeed at Business Conference

What It Takes to Succeed At Business ConferenceIn the business world there are endless selections of business conferences potential delegates can choose to attend. In addition today, everyone’s diaries are busier than ever making it harder to get people away from their desk and out of the office. So how does the conference planner make sure their business conference stands out, is well attended and talked about long after it happens?

First of all it is essential that the conference organizer sends out invites well in advance so the delegates can ensure the event is in the diary. There are many ways to send an invite electronically these days but still a card invite which is personally addressed speaks volumes. The ceremony of opening an invite which has been specially sent to a guest is enjoyed by many and done right suggests a certain level of exclusivity which is an attractive element. In addition it is likely that this invite will sit on that persons desk until the event happens which is daily reminder of the conference and brand.

Moreover it is crucial to note that an online presence is essential, especially a website where delegates can find all of the information for the event. Alongside, sending email updates with exciting news worthy content such as an announcement of the speakers or a competition can really keep the conference at the forefront of everybody’s mind.

Another important element the conference planner should take in to account is the conference venue they choose. They are many run of the mill conference venues which are very functional and do what they say on the tin. However if the conference organizer puts a little more thought into this it can really add to the success of the event. First of all a venue which is easy to get too is important as this puts less pressure on the delegate’s attendance. Moreover if the conference is hosted in a venue which has a unique ‘pull’ can really add to the appeal of the conference and creates a sense of exclusivity. Alternatively a conference venue which can really in-body the theme of the event or inspire the delegates can be a good option. Lastly when it comes to conference venues it is important that it is on brand and matches the level of service and look of the company holding the event delivers.

Most importantly for a business conference it is crucial that the content delivered to the guests is informative, exciting and adds value to their job role or business. It is also important to think about the way this information is delivered, this needs to be efficient to convey the message but not too long winded, otherwise the delegates will just switch off. It is important also to keep things interesting starting with a well-planned presentation. But the conference planner can take this further by using animated and interesting speakers, the use of videos and interactive question times. In addition the technology can really help today with great tools such as the use of holograms, 3D mapping and a catch box- a microphone which can be thrown into the audience. Social networking can also be useful tool for the conference organizer as it is a great place to gather your delegate’s thoughts and can also help to reach those who could not attend on this occasion and encourage some to sign up for future events.
When the conference comes to a close it is also essential that the guests depart with a pack of information as reminder of what has been covered throughout the day or week. This can be a hard copy, USB or online but is an important tool, as it will help spread your message as often delegates will share their information with their peers. This increases your messages reach and again can also encourage others to attend future events.
Finally to be able to continue to create successful business conferences it is advisable that the conference planners ask the attendees for feedback. Once the information is received it needs to be analyzed and actions to be put in place ensuring the event evolves.
Author Bio:

Sarah Hill is a professional blogger and creative content writer. She works as a Marketing Manager Group Se7en Events. Group Se7en Events are leading incentive travel agency & conference organizer in London, delivering global meeting and free venue finding service.

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Are You Tuned Into Your Prospects on Social Media?

Buying signals are cues that can come in various forms: both online and offline. It is the indication that a person is willing or able to make a purchase. For example, during a sales call, your prospect may signal readiness to buy with revealing questions or subtle changes in their tone of voice. In person, it is important to observe gestures and facial expressions that signal whether a person is open to making a deal.

While Social media doesn’t offer this same face-to-face interaction it still provides buying signals if you listen. For instance, someone posts on twitter they are out of town for business and can not find a hotel; you can provide them a list of options. Learning to listen/watch for these real time buying signals on Social Networks will improve your ability to find and identify with new leads and prospects.

It is important to remember as well that social media is not a place for a hard sell. Instead focus on building trust and credibility - provide all relevant information and continue to interact with the potential prospect on a personal level.

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Let the Souls Mingle in Ideal Habitat: Prepare Your Wedding in Advance

Wedding photography:

With the advancement of printed media, and welter of options to capture your most cherished moments, photography for wedding has almost become a mandatory necessity. There are few days that match the excitement and feverish hustle and bustle of a wedding day. You, no doubt, want to make sure that these sweet moments of your wedding are safeguarded in form of either photo-albums or digital media, so that you’re able to live them again and again. For that reason, it’s worthwhile, to spend some time and effort, looking for a professional photographer, who could be relied upon to do his/her job in a satisfactory manner.


The point of preserving the memories of the day that most people think to be one of the most special ones in their lives definitely can’t be overstated. The perfect picture of the bride and bridegroom, their particular attire, the wedding ring, the cheerful family, and even the boisterous children enjoying themselves on the wedding day count out as some of the precious moments that you’d want to store in your long memory.

Finding the right kind of photographer that suits your demands, mainly the cost, the style of photography and location is absolutely important. A simple Google search for pro-photographers with the name of your area would bring up a lot of results. You can make contact with them either through a phone call, or by personally visiting their studio. It’s better to make plenty of contacts, get various views of different pros. Depending on your needs, and carefully keeping in mind your budget, you’d have to make a decision, what photographer is best to do your job. All this ‘photographer-hunt’ should be carried out well in advance before the marriage, you want to make sure if they’re not already booked elsewhere for the given date; the sooner you start your search, the more chances of finding and booking the photographer of your choice, for the given date of marriage.


Why a Pro?: It’s always recommended to hire a professional photographer to cover your wedding. Most people will be able to tell the difference between a photo-shoot done by an amateur and a professional photographer. You want to have the special joy of your wedding captured in all its candidacy and rawness.

Planning out the event: Knowing the correct timing and location of the event would help photographers can get themselves ready for the photo-shoot with some time to spare. Finally, you’d want to discuss the photography package, which includes the entire coverage of the wedding, the images in a digital format and a wedding album. The impressive and florid designs of wedding albums are surely a treat to the eye. Of course, so much work is put into decorating it, as what’s inside it, is truly of special importance to its owner.  The quality of the album, that mainly relates to the quality of the paper on which the images are printed, is to be decided in advance, generally this can either decrease or increase your overall package price a little bit, but then again, if you’re getting a better quality for a reasonable price,  you should opt for it. After all, the same album is to stand the test of time and give you a cause to smile in years to come.


Wedding Music:

Think of a morning without the pleasant twitter of birds who herald the start of a new day. Think about the nondescript trees, motionless, when there’s no wind in the air, or waterfalls with no sound of streams sliding down a mountain slope. Nature has this recurring theme, where sound plays an important role in defining the feel of its various phenomena; and so is the case with many man-made events of note, that includes weddings!


blog-pic-02Wedding music expresses the joy, exhilaration, excitement and overall atmosphere of wedding.

There are lots of songs primarily made keeping the occasion of wedding in mind. Some of the magic moments of wedding are surely the bride and bridegroom’s’ walk down the aisle, their entrance to the reception, the first dance of the couple and so on. Music in these moments is indispensable!


Whether you hire a professional band of musicians or decide to have the music played on DJ is a choice of personal taste. Professional bands can play the music with their various instruments in place, they can play many types of music depending on the wedding proceedings, and the sound of their instruments gives a feel of originality. On the other hand, the music from DJs is also good, and almost any music conceivable, can be played through them.


The choice of music is dictated by the theme that you’d like to play through the wedding varying from modern, traditional or somewhere in between. There are songs meant specifically for every proceeding; if you have any favourites, you’d want to apprise your musicians or DJ, in advance, about playing them at the right moment.




blog-pic-03Flowers are thought to a be sign of love, purity, innocence, pride, prosperity, wealth, fortune and various other admirable qualities. Wedding- flowers have been in vogue for weddings since the Roman Times. Scientific research backs that their scents and aromas soothe the stress, cheer up your mood and is good for the mental well-being.



May it be tradition or just the vogue, flowers are considered to be an important feature in almost every wedding. Therefore, choosing the wedding bouquets is a job that’s to be carried out with keen interest. Different flowers have different meaning, and you’d want to make sure you don’t miss the ones that best express your feel of the day. Before booking a florist, who takes care of your flowers’ decoration, you’ll have to consider certain things, mainly your budget, wedding venue, time of the year, the flowers’ design. If there are some special requests on your behalf, like decorating your wedding cake with heart shaped flowers etc. you’d want to ask your florists to make arrangements for that. There are some people who’re keen on preserving the wedding bouquets that’s tossed in the air by the newly weds after the wedding, you can ask to get a replica of the same to remember your wedding by.


Planning the event:


Pre-planning the wedding is crucial to avoid further headaches. That includes booking in advance photographers, florists, musicians, venue for the wedding, and sending out invitations to your loved ones. This helps avoid the hassle later on, where you’re looking for the said specialists, but can’t find the one for your wedding, as they’re all booked for the given date; that’s not a probability but actually a real scenario many people will witnessed firsthand. Photographers, florists and other wedding specialists tend to get booked very quickly, especially if it’s peak wedding season. Therefore, as soon as you have the wedding date and venue, you can look forward to booking these people. You’ll feel more relaxed once you’re done with that. After the bookings, there’s only one thing left to do, the wedding rehearsal. It’s ideal to have it rehearsed at the original site of wedding, if possible, otherwise, any lookalike place would also do. You’d want to invite all the wedding guests, and practice the processions as they’re to be carried out on the wedding day itself. It’s a good way to get a reality check of how things may pan out, and what you can do to touch up those flaws.


About the author: Lisa Coffey is a writer by profession. She has a knack for coming up with novel ideas. She currently writes for Houseplatation. She contributes ideas for wedding planning such as wedding dresses,venues,catering and many more. She has also worked for scores of magazines, writing exciting content on various topics.

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Changes are Coming at the Event Planners Association

Do you have challenges landing new clients? Or maybe you're wondering how to let others know you are open for business. We sent you a survey asking for your help to shape how we can serve you better.

If you haven't already, please take the time to fill it out and tell us what is important to you, what are your goals for 2016 and how the Event Planners Association can help you get there.

Your input will help us provide you the content and services that will help you grow your business. If you haven't already, please take the time to fill it out and tell us what is important to you.

Click here to complete the quick survey and let us know how we can help you.

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Plan Your Next Tax Return

When it comes to Fiscal Responsibility there are always a number of things to consider, such as "What does Fiscal Responsibility mean for me and my business?"

Keeping financial records in order is hugely important to the success of your business. “Not only does it keep you up-to-date on your profits and losses, but legally speaking, it’s necessary to have your records straight. It makes the close of your fiscal year easy to execute by ensuring that all of your required statements are in the right place. This is especially important for dealing with the IRS” (Sullivan).

For many business owners, even those with accountant staff, it is always important to keep track of the finances yourself. It just makes good business sense for you, as the owner, to understand what exactly is happening with your money.

5 Steps to take when closing out business books for the end of the fiscal year:

Review your Profit and Loss statements - This will help you review the business’s financial performance. Consider what your revenue looks like now that the year is almost through. Anticipate any other large expenses, if none, evaluate how much money you have available, and see if it might be wise to make a larger purchase before the end of the year so that the item can depreciate.

Verify your Vendor and Lender Files - Review the paperwork. Make sure all vendor forms are up-to-date and accurate. This ensures efficiency and helps to keep tracking of any current or outstanding loans.

Take Inventory - If you sell products, conduct an inventory assessment and compare the results to your last inventory report. Make any necessary adjustments so that you have an accurate account of how much capital you have wrapped up in your current inventory.

Look for Benefits to Report on your Outgoing W-2 - As a business that issues W-2s, these benefits relate to the organization as a whole and can reflect things such as health and life insurance, transportation subsidies, educational reimbursement programs and more.

Create a Budget for the following year - It’s never too early to plan. By reviewing your statements from the current year, you’ll start to see a pattern in the things you need to budget and plan for in the next year. By taking stock of your expenditures from the current year, you’ll have a better understanding of where to focus your efforts moving forward (Sullivan).

“You know what they say, ‘It’s Tax O’Clock somewhere’” comes from Melissa Hollis on’s blog. In her blog she mentions how a business’s fiscal year can affect its annual tax filing in a few different ways. Finding a deadline for paying and filing your federal taxes is based on your fiscal year and type of entity.


Sullivan, Megan. "Checklist for the End of Your Fiscal Year | QuickBooks."QuickBooks. Intuit, 17 Sept. 2015. Web. 28 Apr. 2016. .

Hollis, Melissa. "How Choosing Your Fiscal Year Affects Your Business Taxes." How Choosing Your Fiscal Year Affects Your Business Taxes. InDinero, 21 Dec. 2015. Web. 28 Apr. 2016. pl

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EPA Members Move Mountains!

We sponsored our first EVENT PLANNERS MOVE MOUNTAINS campaign, a special Valentine's Day fundraiser to benefit CASA for Children, a network of community programs that recruit, train and support volunteers to advocate for the best interests of neglected and abused foster children in courtrooms and communities. A special thanks to all of our members who supported this fundraiser:

Thank you to all of our donors!

Gillian Astarita
Madeline Begley
Natasha Bolden
Andrea Brown
Joline Cloutier
Barb Coen
Catrina Conley
Kim Diaz
Rita Elias
Jenny Goodman
Ginny Hsiao
Jean Kintisch
Tammy Loving
Kate Markham
Nina Moran
Ashleigh Poff
Amanda Raposo
Shelby Reynolds
Tina Sebastian
Donna Stevens
Sara Ther
Nora Uribe
Sarah Vaira
Kimberly Zahnke

Events to Remember
Phenomenal Events
Design Shorty & Company
New York City Swing Corp
Conley Events
Strong Women Inc
Chaffey College Chino Community Center
At Your Door Events
Jadon Lucas Events
Pine Hill Events, LLC
Gnivol Events
Top of the Town
Cheekadee Makeup Artists
Rich Beyond Wealth
Project Playdate
Triple Threat Design Studio
True Cuisine & Sweet Baby Ray's Catering
Ther Event Planning, LLC
NM Personalize Events
Special occasion services
Consider It Done Events

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Is Event Insurance Really Necessary?

In a world where any can be sued for just about everything, it's always a good idea for Event Planners, especially for solo-entrepreneurs and small businesses, to protect themselves from unplanned incidents that can happen during an event. Our insurance agents can help you with all of your insurance needs. (Contact EPA Insurance Agents)

So how much coverage do you need for an event? Do you need liquor liability in case an attendee becomes intoxicated and injures himself? What about cancellation insurance just in case the day of your event, the venue is unusable or the groom calls off the wedding. Who will pay your vendors? What is the right amount of coverage? First contact your insurance agent who can customize a plan to suit your business needs. General liability insurance covers many of the common scenarios and you can add on from there based upon your event. If you plan more than 5 or 6 events each year, your insurance can advise you on how to save money with an annual policy. Obtaining event insurance is always a good idea and can make the difference between a minor inconvenience and a major personal expense.

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