Wedding Planning Woes


Christopher and I are getting married.


And, as it turns out, planning for a wedding is complicated.  There are a lot of moving pieces and you've gotta make sure you have things settled pretty well in advanced.

And I think we have, for the most part, been on top of our game.  We're six months away now and for MONTHS we've already had most things settled...

We have the venue.
We have the photographer (swoon!).
We (I) have the dress.
We have the caterer.
We have the videographer.
We have the DJ.
We have the bridal party.
We have paper straws with pink hearts on them.

Pretty much, if we had to (and could magically reserve all of those for a new date), we could get married tomorrow and be good to go.

The only thing we'd be missing?...

Guests.

Literally ya'll, I never knew how stressful putting together a guest list would be. LEGIT THE WORST THING ON EARTH!

I want everyone to come!  I want everyone who loves us and supports us to be there!  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately in the grand scheme of things...for our budget, anyway) our venue has a strict limit on people. No wiggle room.  And you guys, my family is huge. I'm talking more than half the guest list huge. And that's just MY family - not Christopher's family, not any of our friends... It's insane.

And so...here we are. With a pile of ready-to-address Save-the-Dates and no guest list in sight.

We even have these coozies because...why not?


We've already decided on the no kids rule (besides Christopher's daughter, J, of course, and her cousins so she won't be there with no peers!), and we've already knocked out most of the unnecessary "plus ones" (our friends will understand...right?!) but every time I think about the list, I still turn into a mess.

I know we've gotta bite the bullet and do it, but honestly I want everyone to come!  And I really don't want anyone to be disappointed or hurt if they're not invited - even though "the venue has a limit!" is the real, true, genuine reason!  I'm just feeling bummed because I want to magically fit tons more people into a space where it just really isn't possible.

I suppose it's a good problem to have, right?

Any suggestions or words of wisdom for me?  Anyone done this before and got through it unscathed?  I'm dying for advice!



62 comments:

  1. First! Congrats on your engagement!! It looks like you have a TON of exciting details already in place :) I don't have direct experience on this but several of my friends have had this issue and have handled it in all different ways. Some decided to hold a special reception/party for everyone to come to (kind of like an open house idea) before the wedding and explained that their wedding was simply an intimate affair that had to be kept to a certain number. Another set of friends held a "wedding party" the day before their wedding and invited everyone to come (and everyone brought food, etc.) it was a lovely time! Other friends just explained that due to cost and budget they were not able to have everyone. I think in every case everyone understood and I am sure your loved ones will too! :) Praying that a solution develops easily for you!
    Blessings,
    Rebecca :)
    p.s. Stopping on over from the Peony project :)

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  2. Aw this is so exciting!!! I'm sorry that you are having problems with the guest list but I know that you will sort it out in the end :) Best wishes!!
    Anna

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  3. These are some awesome ideas, Rebecca, thank you! I know it will all work out, it's just a bummer that it's feeling stressful at the moment. I definitely appreciate the prayers! And THANK YOU for stopping by the The Peony Project --- isn't it just awesome?! :)

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  4. The guest list is suuuuch a drag! (And sometimes the root of arguments.) Invite the help of close family members to help make decisions. Good luck!! Can't wait to see pictures of the dress. :)

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  5. That's a great idea - my brother just got married last year, so he and my sister-in-law might be a good resource! Thanks Anna! (And YES, I can't wait to share it... it seems maybe a bit silly to say that a dress is "so me" but it really is! :D) I can't wait to see more pics of your gorgeous wedding! <3

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  6. Carolyn @ At Least I WillMarch 10, 2015 at 10:04 AM

    One thing I learned when planning my wedding is that there are two types of wedding guests. 1) People who know that a wedding is about the bride and the groom and celebrating the couple. 2) People who believe weddings are big parties. Hopefully your guest list is full of the first type of people. They will be understanding if they can't bring a plus one or if they are only invited to the ceremony or reception. The second type have very high odds of causing drama if something doesn't go their way. Cut them if you can.

    Also, this sounds really shallow, but try to keep as many people who are fun as you can. The people who will talk to anyone and everyone, the ones who will stay out on the dance floor all night, the ones who will make for great pictures. If you're going through all the time and effort to throw this great, huge party, you want people there who you know will enjoy it.

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  7. Congratulations and I wish you both the happiest wedding. I can imagine just how hard it would be to put a guest list together. then having the stress of everything else. double ugh..I think the best thing I can tell you is what others have said. I would get the help of close friends to help me weed through everyone. Good Luck and try not to stress out much

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  8. To reiterate other comments, congrats! This is a good problem to have! Remember, this wedding is about you and your fiancé. On the other hand, sometimes to appease the masses, it's good to ask family to make sure you don't leave someone off that mom or dad wants to be there. Other than that, for cost' sake, as long as you and your fiance are there, the rest are just fluff. Enjoy your day!

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  9. Congrats on your wedding!! I still am thankful that my husband and I got married in Vegas. So much easier. We then had a "real" ceremony on our 1st anniversary with family and friends and there was no problems. Loved not having to plan things!! :)

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  10. I agree, this is a good problem to have! I would consider friends and family you have known the longest. Look at your friends now and think if they will still be in your life 5-10 years from now - if the answer is yes then include them too. Good luck!

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  11. Definitely a good problem to have! Congrats and I hope it all goes smoothly.

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  12. Ouch, that would be a toughie. We took the strategy of getting a very inexpensive, very not-exciting venue that could handle tons of people and invited everybody, kids too (I had 20 cousins and 6 siblings under the age of 18 at the time...a kid-free wedding was definitely not a good fit for us)--that's a really hard choice to have to make! It does sound like you've gotten a lot of the wedding work done!

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  13. Oooh, this is tough! I put my guest list together really early on so that I could base other decisions like the venue off of it. I thought it would be more difficult, but it ended up being smaller than I had estimated. We both have HUGE families, too, but we made the decision to not invite 2nd and 3rd cousins, great aunts and uncles and out-of-town relatives unless we were close to them. It made a big difference!

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  14. First, congratulations!!! So exciting! I loved planning my wedding :) We came up with our guest list first, so that we could choose the venue based on that (and then the dress based on the venue). Keep in mind, though, that about 25% of people you invite likely won't come due to travel and/or scheduling conflicts. Also, people are much more understanding than you'd think when it comes to weddings. Anyone who has been in your shoes (or close to someone planning a wedding) knows how tough guest lists are! Allow yourself some grace, and others will as well.

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  15. Thank you; we're both really excited! I think my mom might even be as stressed out as I am, trying to accommodate everyone! I know we'll get through it, it's just crazy how one little thing can be so stressful! Thanks for reading!

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  16. Thanks Cortney! Judging from your icon, it looks like you recently got married, so congrats to you as well! I think my mom might be the one who will be the toughest to crack on the guest list (she's the one who gave me the 87-person-long list to begin with!) but I think you're right! Gotta consult with family and then go from there - it's most important that Chris and I (and J!) are able to be there. Thanks again :)

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  17. That sounds so awesome! I have a coworker who was telling me about his tiny tiny wedding - he and his wife decided to have a small, family-only, ceremony when they got married, provided that on their ten year anniversary they could have a big bash! Well, needless to say, two years ago they had a massive party to celebrate their anniversary and they say it was way worth it! Such a great idea!

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  18. Another great idea! I will definitely keep the amount of time folks have been in my life in mind as a factor. Christopher and I have several people who have known us for 10+ years --- top of the list they go! Thanks for the idea :)

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  19. Yes, it has been so tricky! The venue really is perfect for us and I'm the person who would probably invite everyone I've ever known if there wasn't a limit, so we did think having a limit would be a good idea, ultimately, so we knew what we were getting into...but that doesn't make it easy to make all of the decisions! Thanks for reading :)

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  20. It's so funny because we knew ahead of time that we didn't want a HUGE wedding (this isn't Chris' first wedding and he expressed that he wanted a nice party but didn't necessarily wanna go toooo crazy, which makes sense to me) so we chose the venue knowing this. However, now that the rubber is hitting the road, it is WAY tougher than I thought it would be to make these choices! I think the limit is still good to help us stay in our budget, it's just tricky right now! Thanks for reading and giving me your tips! I love hearing from people who've already gone through this and can help a lady out :)

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  21. Debbie Hodges WalyusMarch 11, 2015 at 9:40 AM

    It's a wonderful problem to have -- so many friends and loved one! I don't have any advice because it was difficult for my wedding and we made mistakes. As long as you are honest with everyone up front, it seems to go okay. Congrats on your upcoming wedding!

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  22. Thank you! It IS so exciting -- we actually got engaged last March, so almost a year ago, and it already feels like time has gone by so fast! It's crazy! We did talk guest list logistics first, then decided on the venue, but it turned out that the list from my mom was wayyyy larger than anticipated so that's throwing us off! I think you're right, though - people who really care and "get it" will be understanding. PLUS, it's important that Chris and I feel happy about our choices first and foremost. Thanks for the encouragement :)

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  23. Thank you!! I am hoping to avoid as many mistakes as possible but, of course, some are bound to happen and that's okay! In the end, I'm sure Chris and I will have a wonderful day and we'll be married!!! So that is, of course, priority number one ;)

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  24. *Phew! That's stressful! But it is a good problem :P Maybe you could have small gathering at your place or meet up ,with those who weren't able to make it on the day itself, over the next few months after the wedding so you're personally celebrating with them. And I'm sure they will understand.

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  25. Wedding can be stressful! We were very fortunate, though, and had a huge venue for not a huge price and we were able to invite our entire guest list. But that was with no meal and just cake and punch at the reception. lol I hope you guys are able to figure it out and with minimal stress!!!

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  26. Congratulations to you and Christopher, Grady! Marriage is an amazingly, beautiful thing. I wish you two the best! When we got married, that damn list was an issue as well lol It is a blessing to have so many people in your life that would want to come, so don't be so hard on yourself if the venue is being restrictive. If people get upset at you, also don't take it to heart - they will only be mad because they wanted to share this special day with you. But in the end, whether someone is invited or not, everyone will eventually realize the bigger picture is that two awesome people fell deeply in love enough to solidify it through ceremony.
    Here's to years and years of marital bliss! :)
    Alexander

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  27. Just Bite the Bullet and invite the ones you want and explain to everyone else that you was limited on space but at a later date you will have a party and they will all be able to come and meet the Bride and Groom and when it comes ask everyone to bring a dish and just have fun as it will be more laid back and you will be able to enjoy this party.

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  28. Oooooh cutting the list is never fun. You do what you have to do. Explain nicely because some will assume plus ones are invited even without it on the invite. However, it is your day and you have to follow what works with your venue. They don't need to come if it matters that much to them. No matter what, let it roll and have a spectacular day. Now go get that list made.

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  29. That's a fun idea, too! Like, once we've settled a bit we could have a little celebration! Plus, I mean, I would probably be 100 times more relaxed on that day than I will be at my wedding :-P

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  30. That sounds super fun! And thank you - I'm sure we will figure it out soon enough :) I've just gotta keep perspective, I suppose. Thanks for reading :)

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  31. Thanks Alexander! Honestly it really IS helpful to hear that reminder once in awhile - that ultimately it's a great thing that so many people want to be there, and that people will probably be easier on me than I am!


    And thank you for the best wishes - I am so so excited! :) Thanks for reading!

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  32. Your guess will understand if you explain it to them! Their feelings won't be hurt, just be honest!

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  33. Tough call I know, but I think if you explain it, most will understand!

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  34. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! The guest list is tough! Especially when you are limited. The best thing to do as others have mentioned is to be upfront and let people know the situation. Although you may still have people who are invited show up. My sister and her husband were married in a town five hours from where he lived and people from there, who were not invited, showed up!

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  35. I think if it's causing you tried you should find a venue that will hold all the people you want to be there. This is your day...you should enjoy it, and not feel guilty about who you couldn't invite.

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  36. The LIST always grows and takes on a life of it's own. Then, to top it off, if it's anything like my wedding, people brought other people who were not invited! You say "so-and-so and guest" and they show up with two extra people. Anyway, try not to stress. It will come and go and you'll want to enjoy the stress free memory or it will be a blur. A true friend who cares about you and wants only the best for you will understand your decision.

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  37. If they love you your friends and family will understand. I'd make a rule to keep it close (immediate) family and friends. Then if someone can't come from that list than call and invite another person on the list. Good luck and Congratulations!

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  38. So what we did was out of the norm - we got married in Hawaii, just me, the hub, our parents, and his sister. Then we returned home and had a reception/party. So maybe you can have one big fancy formal wedding with just family and closest friends then have another informal get together celebration with the extended friends and supporters?

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  39. like everyone else has already said, Congratulations! You are about the cutest couple I have seen in a long time. The love just shines in your eyes. As for the guest list, you are bound by a limit so immediate family and closest of close friends only. Then have a big reception later on at a community center close by when you get home from your honeymoon. Instead of sending Save the Date cards, send We just got hitched cards and ask everyone to come celebrate with you. The card can even nicely explain that the wedding was a very small event, but you want to celebrate with everyone. It can be big, because you can have a place that isn't fancy but not limited, and it can even be covered dish style, just a kind of party/cookout/ type even with out a lot of fuss, but with a bunch of family and friends. Of course there is still expense in doing something like this, but not as much as a huge fru-fru wedding venue with all of the decorations and caterers.
    What ever you choose it's your day, and enjoy it to the fullest.

    debra
    http://www.ncborn.com/

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  40. Congratulations! This is so exciting! I remember the days of planning our wedding as great fun! It is a problem when you cannot invite everyone you want - however, I think people will understand because it is meant to be a day of love and happiness.

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  41. I hear ya sister! I got married a year and a half ago and THANKFULLY due to our hard and fast rule, the only people we invited were our parents; our kids; and our siblings, their spouses & kids. Plus dates for anyone over 18. Inner, inner circle. Like Debra said below, the plan is to have a big old party for friends and extended family at our house this summer. Good luck and many blessings as you start your life together!

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  42. Good luck to you. I'm so glad to be way past all that wedding planning stuff and so grateful to have the most organized mother in the world to have helped me with all that.

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  43. After 27 years of marriage, my suggestions would be to focus on your marriage and not the wedding. I don't mean not to have a wonderful wedding--what I mean is that your marriage is more important. Make the day what you want it to be, and remember the reasons for it. Invite the people you want to remember being there, and don't worry about what anyone thinks. It's your day! Best wishes!

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  44. I think I would be as stumped as you are and probably just elope! Sorry I am no help to you. :(

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  45. First, most people are only acquaintances or co-workers, not friends. Only true friends and family should be invited. The others will understand. Second, I like the pre or post wedding party idea. It could be casual and for some folks would be more fun.

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  46. Sounds to me that you really don't have a true no kids rule since your future step-daughter's cousins are invited. Hope you are doing the same for both sides of the family. Just saying. Planning a guest list is hard. Back in the day when we got married, our venue limit was 250 guests. We gave each set of parents a limit of 100 each and we filled in the rest with friends, coworkers etc. If the parents didn't fill their quota, then that gave us more room to add guests. Other than that, it sounds like you got things pretty much under control. Just remember, you are not going to please everyone so try to do the best you can, don't stress and enjoy your special day. Congratulations!

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  47. Jessica "Jebbica" BowmanMarch 17, 2015 at 7:39 AM

    Ack! Your post almost gave me a panic attack! When I thought of all of that, I went into such a tizzy we just ran to the courthouse in NC and got married and then invited everyone to a reception in GA. For me, the people--having all of our family and friends--was more important than having chicken or steak, place settings, or nice pics. I can go back and take pretty wedding photos any time.

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  48. When we got married we had 6 months to organise everything because my Dad had been diagnosed with cancer and we were hoping he would make it. I come from a very small family but my husband comes a much larger one and we also had to consider 2 sets of step-parents and their family. Nightmare! My family and friends ended up being positioned as strategic barbed wire between potentially warring factions. I wish I could tell you how we chose who to invite but I can't remember. What I can assure you is that your day will be magical whoever you invite. My very best wishes for the future. Marriage is a wonderful adventure.

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  49. I got married about a year and half ago, which is why I named my blog EverydayMrs :) I have shared many tips and tricks to planning a wedding and I did mine in 5 months! Feel free to visit :)

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  50. Congratulations on your engagement! My husband and I eloped in 2009, so I'm not very familiar with wedding planning! But my best friend got married last year, and I know that even after she had everything you mentioned above all sorted out (even guests!) it turned out that there was still a lot of stuff she had to do that she hadn't realized previously. It's such an exciting time, and it is all worth it! So hang in there. I wish you and your fiance a lifetime of happiness.

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  51. Congratulations on you wedding! You have done the hard part of the wedding planning already, so the main stress is over. As far as the guests go, I saw a graph recently showing how to decide who to invite to your wedding, wish I had saved it. Basically, it said if they are important to you and you see them regularly and like them, keep them. If not, ditch them. If your parents are paying for the wedding, then the same applies to the people important to them, if you are paying then not so much. As for kids, just bear in mind that some people might find it difficult to get babysitters (eg. a mom who is breastfeeding or has an extremely clingy child). If you are okay with the parents possibly not making your big day, then go ahead with the no kids rule.

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  52. I can't really relate. My husband and I had a private ceremony in a park. We didn't even tell our families we were getting married until after we had done it. We had a minister, photographer and witnesses and it was a perfect day.

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  53. Congratulations on your engagement! Hopefully, things will work out in the end when it comes to the final guest list. Maybe keep the guest list to local relatives/friends, unless they all live around you. Good luck with the list.

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  54. Congratulations on your upcoming wedding! Guest lists are hard to do when it comes to weddings. You want everyone to be included on your big day, but they can't. Just remember, true friends and family will understand and be happy for you whether they're invited or not. Best wishes to you!

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  55. Oh, no. Best of luck with the remaining planning... and congratulations on your upcoming wedding. I have to admit that I took the easy way out and my husband and I skiied into a cabin and got married with a handful of close friends. It was the best. Much less stress and very memorable. Enjoy your special day!

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  56. Lesley Swanson ThomasMarch 19, 2015 at 7:49 AM

    I wish you well! I know wedding planning is stressful. I was ready to run away and elope! It was a blast the day of and made it all worth it though. don't sweat the small stuff! You will look back on this and laugh!

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  57. I remember those days! I have a HUGE family too. We did invite kids since my brothers and sisters were young as well of nearly all of my much younger first cousins, plus, I am close to all of my second-third cousins on my mother's side.. It was very hard for me to decide on who got an invite. Honestly, no one will be offended if you can't invite them. Weddings are very expensive, and people today understand that. Best wishes!

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  58. I understand. Most of your family and friends will understand. Perhaps if you sent out the must haves first and then when you saw who could or couldn't come it would give you a chance to send out to the next level of wants and so on. Weddings are stressful. I wish you the best!

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  59. Hang in there, girl - you are doing great! Planning a wedding is hard work. My advice is to plan the wedding that you would want to attend, and to let go of any suggestions (or criticims!) that you don't agree with. You won't please everyone, so make sure that this is the day you and your soon-to-be hubs are dreaming of! We did not invite children, either, except for my husbands two and my nieces (who were in the wedding) - all four had a blast being really at the center of the excitement and attention. Good luck planning! xo

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  60. Grady, could you send me your address? I have a little something I want to send you! :) best of luck on the wedding planning!

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  61. You can email it to me at karinacochran@gmail.com

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