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If you follow Southern Weddings on Instagram, you’ve probably seen that for the past five days, Kristin and I have been in New York City! Not only is the Big Apple where Bridal Market is currently taking place, it’s also the place today’s sweet couple, Jessica and Chuck, currently call home. While they got engaged and planned their wedding from NYC, they decided on Jessica’s hometown of Austin, Texas for their late spring celebration. Her mama scoped out dozens of venues in the area, and as soon as Jessica and Chuck pulled up to Pecan Springs Ranch on a weekend trip, they knew it was the place for them! It turned out to be just right for their celebration, complete with a beautifully mismatched bridal party (hint: keep an eye out for one of their photos in V8!), a prayerful ceremony, and Jessica’s dream twinkle lights at the reception.

Thanks so much to our talented Blue Ribbon Vendor, Jen Dillender, for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My parents are the absolute sweetest. They flew to visit Chuck and I so that my mom could help me find a dress. With coffee in hand, we began the day’s journey and visited different stores in the city. We finally found ourselves at Lovely Bridal, where I tried on a bunch of different dresses before finally slipping on the Watters Persiphone gown. I looked over at my mom, who was tearing up, and knew it was the one!

Describe your wedding flowers. Magical. Absolutely magical. The flowers for the wedding were mainly neutrals and greenery. I wanted it to be natural and a little wild looking–more “Secret Garden” than refined. There were little touches of florals throughout the ceremony and reception site with hanging flower rings, a garland and a flower wall over the cake stand, and bird cages intertwined with greenery and candles on the tables.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. We wanted a special time for just the two of us before the ceremony. The moment he turned around and we saw each other for the first time that day, I knew we had made the right decision. It was one of those unique moments that just the two of us shared, and it’s a moment in time we will remember forever!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose not to write our own vows; we went with the tried and true, but we also exchanged personal letters before the ceremony.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Two close friends I grew up with are not only some of the sweetest people, but they also play the harp and violin like a dream, so we asked them to play for the ceremony. The processional for the bridal party was “Bittersweet Symphony,” and I walked down the aisle to “Be Thou My Vision,” our favorite hymn, which holds deep significance for both of us. I asked two of my best friends if they would sing a worship song called “Holy Spirit” during communion. Some of my favorite memories from college include these gals and listening to them play music together.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My sweet mom actually visited most of the venues, because Chuck and I were both at school in NYC while wedding planning. I think she visited about 25 different venues in the Austin area! I came home for a weekend trip to look at a few of the venues we had narrowed it down to, and when we pulled up to Pecan Springs Ranch, I knew it was the perfect place for our big day! It had a gorgeous area for an outdoor ceremony, a great rain plan option, and a beautiful indoor reception room. There were also special areas for both the guys and the gals to get ready in.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The cake was a naked cake with flowers and greenery for décor. The bottom layer was carrot cake, the middle was Italian cream, and the top (Chuck’s personal favorite) was key lime. Chuck’s only regret is not going back for a second piece of the key lime! We also had delicious pies; it was a Texas wedding, after all!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My family and Chuck all know of my love for twinkle lights. My dad designed an exquisite chandelier out of twinkle lights, which was hung in the reception hall, and we had more lights that stretched out from the chandelier, creating a magical setting for our reception.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. According to me, Chuck and I met at the campus coffee shop at Oral Roberts University. According to Chuck, we met in the cafeteria two weeks before, as he distinctly remembers choosing the food line that I was in so he could introduce myself. No one truly knows! I do remember vividly that he was what my close friend called “my celebrity crush.” He was a junior and I was just a freshman at the time, but the first time I saw him, I knew he was the only person I would date in college. Amazingly, it worked out. Through a roommate date event, we ended up becoming friends, and our relationship just continued from there!
Tell us all about the proposal! The day began like any other Saturday in New York City, except that Chuck had planned a special day before school picked up for the fall semester. It began with a stroll through Central Park, across Bow Bridge, and winding around Bethesda fountain, then onto row boating in the lake, and finally, to a picnic by the boat pond, where he popped the question! When his legs started shaking, I could tell something was going on, and when he got down on one knee, I knew what was about to happen. We ended the day sharing ice cream and taking in the city lights from the top of the Rockefeller. Both our families already knew he was going to propose, but they definitely kept it a secret!
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 260
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! Something blue was the bottom of my shoes, something new was my wedding dress, and something borrowed was my mom’s ribbon and pearl pins she used for her own wedding bouquet. Also, my dad gave my mom a heart locket the day I was born with my birthday inscribed on it and a verse, and my mom gave it to me the week before the wedding. I had no idea she had had it for over 22 years, and I wore it for the rehearsal dinner!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with our pastors from C3 Brooklyn to do marriage counseling before the wedding. This couple has been such an incredible example of marriage to us, and they have never stopped encouraging us as individuals and as a couple. Chuck’s brother and sister-in-law, who are pastors in Miami, also counseled us before the wedding. These couples are awesome, and through their life experiences, they gave us bits of wisdom that will stay in our hearts forever.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The suspenders. Definitely putting the buttons on the suspenders the day before. To make an unnecessarily long story short, don’t stress over the little things.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Here are a few things that helped us stay within our wedding budget: 1. Being organized early on so that we could take advantage of sales. 2. Keeping the reception centerpieces to a minimum. 3. Not serving wine or beer–just a champagne toast. 4. Using flowers strategically–at our outdoor venue, we didn’t need too many. 5. Having a bridesmaid flower crown-making party the day before the wedding. So fun!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? The day goes by really quickly, so don’t spend time stressing over the little things. Enjoy the day and the process leading up to it. Try to take in the most important moments, especially those with family. Having your loved ones there to celebrate with you is the sweetest thing!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Chuck and I moved back to NYC, where he is finishing up law school and I am finishing my undergraduate studies in psychology. We’re looking forward to graduating this year and starting our new life together. The only additions to our family in the near future will be a great dane and a dachshund (his and hers dogs!).

Photographer: Jen Dillender / Planner: Donna Aleman / Venue: Pecan Springs Ranch / Florist: ZuZu’s Petals / Cake Baker: Sweet Treets / Caterer and Rentals: Papa’s / Lighting: Commercial Property Resources / Band: The Cave Dwellers / Paper Products: Mary Sue Evans / Paper Printing: Global Printing / Bride’s Gown: “Persiphone” by Watters / Bride’s Veil: Melissa Frye / Hair and Makeup: Adore / Bride’s Shoes: Blue by Betsey Johnson / Groom’s Suit: Jos. A Bank / Tie and Bow Ties: The Tie Bar / Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan / Groomsmen’s Pants: Banana Republic / Groomsmen’s Shirts: Macy’s / Coffee Bar: Stouthaus Coffee Pub

Jen Dillender is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Charles & Jessica, Pecan Springs Ranch Wedding » Jen Dillender Photography, Austin TX Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer reply

    […] Thank you to Southern Weddings for featuring this wedding on their blog this fall! You can find more from this sweet bride and groom here! […]

  2. avatar Beverly reply

    I love the bridesmaids dresses! Where are they from?

  3. avatar The Bridal Party Tending List: What Every Bridesmaid and Maid of Honor Should Know | Wedding Trends By Drawde reply

    […] Mary Courtney + Kit by Graham Terhune, Jessica + Chuck by Jen Dillender, bottom: Stephanie + Glenn by Rachel […]

  4. avatar Nicole reply

    Hi, you’ve listed very vendor except the one I was looking for! Lol where is the MOH’s dress from? Thanks

  5. avatar Jen Covington reply

    Hi there, I was looking for info on the bridesmaid dress vendors. You wouldn’t happen to be able to share would you?

    Thanks so much!

  6. avatar KCS reply

    I have been searching for the MOH’s dress.. any info on the designer?

  7. avatar Brandy reply

    Where are the bridesmaid dresses from?

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This fall, we have had the pleasure of having Christina, a senior at UNC, as our editorial intern! Her sweet disposition, positive attitude, and love for weddings have made her a delight to have in the SW office, and we will certainly miss her. We couldn’t let her leave without introducing y’all to a beautiful wedding, so we invited her to write today’s post! – Lisa

Recognize these college sweethearts? Y’all just might have seen them on the last page of V7! Cody’s surprise proposal to Meredith at a photo shoot is one of the sweetest moments I’ve ever seen, and when the proposal is that special, you just know the wedding will be even more meaningful. So many elements of this Nashville wedding, from the family barn venue to the original songs performed by dear friends, were so true to their home state, and we can’t think of anything more Southern and meaningful than wearing your momma’s veil! This couple’s love makes our hearts so full, and we are so delighted to share their special day, photographed by The Image is Found!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did, and my favorite was my old and borrowed! I was able to wear my mother’s veil that she made herself years ago. She grew up in Brussels, Belgium and used actual Belgian lace from my great-grandmother to hand sew the cathedral veil, almost 35 years ago. It felt like wearing a piece of family history.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did a first look, and it was perfect. We wanted to have time to take a breath, slow down, and enjoy each other on our wedding day. Having no one else around made the first time we saw each other really special, and it helped us feel like we hit pause for just a second when there was a lot going on.

We got married just outside of Nashville in Leiper’s Fork, Tennessee. Our ceremony was in an open field next to my uncle’s house, and we had the reception at his barn. We love the small town feel of Leiper’s Fork, and we have spent a lot of time out there. We even have family holidays in the same barn.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Lucky for us, several of our friends are amazing musicians. Jillian Edwards and Parke Avery played cover songs at our ceremony, and I walked down the aisle to one of Parke’s original songs. Living in Nashville lends itself to having incredibly talented friends! During communion, Parke played “Your Love is Strong” by Jon Foreman. Standing out in the field, listening to those words of truth was such a grounding moment and a reminder of why marriage was designed by the Creator–to show His unconditional love and commitment to us.

Our flowers were literally exactly what I had envisioned. Lauren Ledbetter and I searched for flowers that I loved and incorporated greenery as well. She arranged the bouquets with peach garden roses, pink spray roses, white anemones, dusty miller leaves, seeded eucalyptus, willow eucalyptus, and peach ranunculus. However, what I think tied it all together (literally as well) was the handmade silk ribbon from FrouFrou Chic.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Most weddings in Tennessee are naturally pretty Southern, but Leiper’s Fork is about as Southern as it gets! Having our ceremony in the land trust and reception next door at our family’s barn was pretty special. It meant a lot to us, and it’s a place that we can always visit and relive our wedding day. We used a tractor’s trough to hold cold beer, hay bales were covered in quilts for extra seating, and we drove away in a 70’s Chevy K-5 Blazer.

Since our venues were an open field and the family barn next door, the biggest challenge was being the first wedding held there. There were no blueprints to follow or anyone saying “We often do it like this.” My mom and I spent a lot of time planning out the logistics… and the lack of a rain plan! We were so blessed, as it turned out to be such a beautiful day in October.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Cody and I met during our freshman year in college. We had the same math teacher, and our classes were back to back, so we would pass each other every day and catch each other’s eye from time to time. Cody and I fit into the “opposites attract” category. I came from a small school in Nashville, am a perfectionist, and I was social, but an introvert at heart. Cody, on the other hand, was always the life of the party, smart without even trying, never forgot a name, and was incredibly charming. I went to Knoxville devastatingly homesick for Nashville, catching rides home every weekend. Finally, a few weeks into the semester, I had to face my biggest fear: staying the weekend on campus. Somehow, I ended up hanging out with Cody, and it changed everything. For the first time, I got to see Cody in his element: his city, his family, and his abundant excitement for life. After that, I never could quite shake him. I learned that grades didn’t have to come at the expense of my college memories, and I learned that getting an A+ is not always worth the adventures missed out on. The next seven years have been nothing but incredible adventures with a man who quickly became my best friend. I assure him it’s okay to simply stay in alone and watch Crazy, Stupid, Love, and he convinces me to stay out until 3 a.m. to sing karaoke. Regardless of being so different, there is something to say for being “known” so deeply in all of your quirky ways. After five years of dating and two years of long-distance (and me making the mistake of casually saying “I don’t want to be engaged during school”), I graduated from Vanderbilt on a Thursday, and less than 24 hours later, he asked me the question that he without a doubt knew the answer to.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Cody: Well, I can tell you right now that I’ve always known I was going to marry Meredith. Like Mere said earlier, she once made the comment, “I don’t think I want to be engaged during school,” so naturally, I proposed the day after she graduated. We were at a wedding in December when Rachel Moore unknowingly kicked my plan to propose in high gear. She asked Meredith’s friend Tori (the bride) who we were and if we would be models for a styled shoot. Before the shoot, I called Rachel, and she LOVED the idea of a proposal during the shoot. I talked to Mere’s parents, got the ring, and coordinated with Rachel (all under Meredith’s nose), and the big day finally arrived. I hid the ring all day, we had so much fun, and Meredith still had no idea what was about to happen. At the end of the day, Mere had changed into her “getaway” dress, and Rachel set up the shot for us to be “leaving the reception” so I could pop the question. We waited till the end of the shoot was so that if Meredith cried, her makeup wouldn’t be messed up for the entire shoot! Sure enough, before I could get all of my words out, the waterworks were in full effect. Mere still didn’t believe it was happening (as her face shows in the pictures) until I pulled out the ring, but she said yes!
When did y’all get married? October 12, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: In honor of both of our grandparents who had passed away, we had each of our brothers carry a flower down the aisle during the seating of the grandparents and set the flowers in their chairs. It was a way for us to remember them on our wedding day and remind us that they were cheering us on from even better seats.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Pick three things that are most important to you, and budget around those three. If you have a certain photographer, dress, or band that you absolutely have to have… go for it! Budgeting can be so difficult, but we would say invest in what you care about and find a way to cut costs and make sacrifices in areas that do not matter to you as much. For us, we were fully invested in photography and band, but the cake was not so important. Every couple is different, and when you look back, you just want it to feel like “you.”
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? The next big thing on our list is buying a house! We know the house hunting process might take a while, but we’re excited to plant some roots in Nashville and have a place to call home.

Photographer: The Image Is Found / Planner and Florist: Lauren Ledbetter / Venue: Private residence / Cake Baker: The Painted Cupcake / Catering: Temple Catering / Rentals: Music City Tents & Events / Band: Groove Addiction / Paper Products: Hardink Calligraphy / Bride’s Gown: Allure / Hair and Makeup: Amanda Gros / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Menswear: Express / Silk Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic

The Image is Found is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Southern Weddings
  1. avatar Claire Cowman reply

    Wow! Her smile is so contagious! You can just tell when brides are radiating a pure joy on their wedding day!!

  2. avatar Heather reply

    Beautiful wedding. I love that the groom was willing to follow the brides wishes of not wanting to be engaged in college but knew how much he loved her and asked within 24 hours of graduating. Beautiful story!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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It took exactly one year for Kimberly and Jason to go from their first date to their wedding day. As someone who never would have imagined I’d get engaged just eight months after starting to date my now-fiancé, I could not agree more with Kimberly’s sentiment: when you know, you know! These two couldn’t resist tying the knot on the same occasion that fell on their first date, the Kentucky Derby. Drawing from this beloved Southern sporting event for inspiration, as well as Kimberly’s passion for all things equestrian, Kimberly and Jason set out to plan a sweet spring wedding, complete with fabulous hats and an abundance of mint juleps. Marilisa of Chancey Charm Weddings was on hand to ensure the day went off seamlessly, and our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Chris Isham, captured every special moment and detail!

On Saturday, May 4, 2013, a dark bay colt named Itsmyluckyday ran in the 139th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. Unfortunately for him, it was not his lucky day, as he finished near the end of the pack, but for Jason and me, that day changed our lives forever. It was the day we sat in a corner booth at The Capital Grille in Atlanta for over four hours on our first date. Less than a week later, we had a second dinner date that lasted over five hours, and by our third date, we both finally understood what the phrase “you will just know” meant. We both felt that all the years leading up to us meeting were years that God had used to mold and shape us to be ready for each other.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? The layout of our wedding day was a bit unusual in that we wanted to keep the ceremony very small and intimate, with only our families and extended families in attendance. Following the ceremony, we had a cocktail hour so that our ceremony guests could mingle, and the other 200+ guests who were invited to the reception arrived. We decided to do a first look before the ceremony, as we wanted a moment that was all ours to read the vows that we had written for each other. This was the most intimate moment of the day, and one we will never forget!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? When my dear friend, client, and business partner offered her farm to us as a wedding venue, the decision was a no-brainer–it is immaculately kept and so very serene! My horse is boarded at the farm, and I train clients’ horses, so I am there most days of the week. The farm is like heaven on earth to me! You could truly feel the presence of God at the farm on our wedding day.

I knew that our ceremony was going to be an emotional time, so we added a little comic relief by having my dog, Zhou, as our ring bearer! He goes to work with me every day, so he knows his way around the farm. He did perfectly coming down the aisle and sitting with us, but I guess he got a little bored, because he started rolling around in the grass at my feet. It was a great laugh!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Jason and I both agree that when our photographer took us to the pasture to have some photos taken between the ceremony and reception, we were truly able to breathe in the atmosphere. The reception guests had arrived, and the band was starting up, so from a distance, we were able to let everything sink in for a moment.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The Kentucky Derby theme was a lot of fun! It was quite significant considering our first date and wedding day were both on Derby Day. I have also ridden my entire life and have made my career training horses, so it fit my personality and passions. Our guests seemed to really enjoy the Derby attire, and everyone looked so posh! We wanted the overall feel to be elegant, yet comfortable, and I think the Derby theme helped us achieve this. From the Derby props in the photo booth to the lavender mint juleps, it was so much fun!

We wanted an environment that encouraged our guest to be up, moving and mingling. We had enough seating/tables for about half our guests, so those who wanted to sit had the option, but we also had a bunch of high tables set out for those wanting to stand. Mac the Cheese was the perfect fit for our desire to have people “grazing” on the Southern fixins’. They set up a couple of Southern food stations, and also served off the truck. We made sure to have plenty of sweet tea as well!

Jason and I discussed eloping right after we got engaged because neither of us considered ourselves “wedding” people, but it was so important for us to have our family there. I was not a girl who grew up dreaming of a fairy tale wedding, so I had to mentally break things down and think of it like planning a big party. In the end, it all turned out to be a fairy tale wedding, and we were so happy that we didn’t elope.

Don’t miss their teaser from Remedy Wedding Films!

Tell us about the proposal! On a Wednesday evening in early October, after having dinner in Chattanooga, Jason and I took a walk across the Walnut Street Bridge. While sitting on a bench overlooking the Tennessee River, Jason asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. We chose May 3, 2014 for our wedding date, and the 140th Kentucky Derby ran as our friends and families celebrated our union, exactly one year from our first date!
When did y’all get married? May 3, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75 at the ceremony, about 275 at the reception
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my dress was one of the easiest parts of wedding planning! I thought it might be a daunting task, as I am not much of a shopper, and I had never thought about my future wedding dress. I made three appointments on one day and invited my mom and sister to join me. My second appointment was almost cut short, as I did not want to dig through the hundreds of dresses on the racks at Bridals by Lori, but my sister jumped at the opportunity and started bringing dresses to me in the fitting room. I tried on a few that were beautiful, but the fourth or fifth dress brought a tear to my eye when I walked out to show my mom. The dress was so unique and had so many different elements to it. It was a perfect fit for my personality!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? For the ceremony, we wanted all the glory to be given to God. A childhood friend of mine, who is now an ordained minister, told our story of how God brought us together, and we took communion. We also put a unity cross together to represent two becoming one. We had scripture read, as well as praise and worship music played.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was a hair clip that my sister (my matron of honor) had worn in her wedding. For my something blue, I had fabric that belonged to my late grandmother (a seamstress) sewn in the underside of my dress. My something old was an old Italian handkerchief given to me from our mentor couple on our wedding day. I wrapped it around my bouquet under the diamond horseshoe brooch that I had pinned to the stems.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Breathe…your engagement should be about the marriage, not the wedding. We attend North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, and we were blessed to go through their premarital mentoring program. It was time well spent leading up to the biggest decision of our lives. We loved our mentor couple and continue to seek their wisdom and guidance!

Photographer: Chris Isham Photography / Videographer: Remedy Wedding Films / Planner: Chancey Charm / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Serenity Farm / Florist: Bloomin’ Bouquets / Cake Baker: Cakes by Darcy / Caterer: Mac the Cheese / Rentals and Lighting: Classic Party Rentals / Band: Az Izz / Photo Booth: Wow Photo Booth / Paper Products: Ecru Stationery & Design / Bridal Salon, Bride’s Accessories, and Men’s Attire: Bridals by Lori / Hair Stylist: Studio Todd G / Makeup Artist: The Moore Agency / Bride’s Shoes: Benjamin Adams and Stuart Weiztman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bravura / Monogram Throw Pillows: I Do Linens / Transportation: Easy Ride Golf Carts

Chris Isham is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Emily reply

    Love that their wedding was able to take place at such a special spot for them!

  2. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    I think the small ceremony was a great alternative to just eloping. Beautiful wedding!

  3. avatar Charmaine (Rustic Folk Weddings) reply

    Love how the couple incorporated the cross at the altar. Beautiful wedding!

  4. avatar Marilisa reply

    Such a blessing to have worked with this amazing couple! Their sincere focus on the marriage more than just the wedding details was refreshing and obviously radiates in their love for one another in the photos :) Thanks SW ladies for sharing!!

  5. avatar Rachel Nordgren reply

    As someone who LOVES horses, this looks like the most darling wedding! What a beautiful location, and I adore that they had their dog in the ceremony!

  6. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    This wedding was such a blessing to be a part of!

  7. avatar Chris Isham reply

    Y’all are the best! Thanks so much for sharing this wedding!! :)

  8. avatar 5 Gorgeous Rustic Romantic and Elegant Wedding Ideas & Color Palettes – Blog reply

    […] Wedding Lady/via Southern Weddings/via Bryan N. Miller Photography/via Jane Means […]

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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