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WPIC at Love Mexico 2013

Headshot of Danielle Andrews Sunkel WPIC

Photo by BrockPhoto.ca

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

For the fourth year in a row, we had the opportunity to participate in the Love Mexico conference this past December.

love-mexico-logo

Love Mexico is a conference for Destination Wedding Planners and Travel Agents to learn about weddings in Mexico while on-site at a fabulous resort, meeting local vendors and experiencing Mexico first-hand.  This year, Love Mexico took place at the gorgeous Moon Palace.  If you read our posts regularly, you have heard us mention Moon Palace and the Palace Resorts many times, so this was like going home to us.

The Love Mexico conference is a wonderful mix of education, networking, entertainment and fun.  Upon arrival, delegates could explore the resort, have professional photos taken on the beach with Pixan Photo or attend WPIC’s seminar, “The Nitty-gritty of Destination Wedding Planning.”  That evening, everyone was welcomed with a cocktail party which included fire dancers, fabulous food and fireworks!

(All photos are courtesy of Pixan Photo unless otherwise noted.)

fire dancers

Fire dancers at Palace Resorts Love Mexico Opening Cocktail Party

The next morning, delelgates were treated to a wonderful breakfast and the main education sessions began.

main ballroom at love mexico

Main sessions at Love Mexico Conference

Speakers included Destination Wedding experts, the Tourism Board, and Palace Resorts. Delegates then attended pre-arranged meetings with Mexican suppliers such as resorts, local vendors and destination management companies.

booth at love mexico

A delegate at meeting

Palace Resorts booth Love Mexico

The Palace Resorts Booth

That evening everyone was transported to the Mayan Palace for dinner and a fantastic show featuring an amazing dance troup and a wonderful live band. The singer was seriously talented!

maya palace love mexico event

Love Mexico dinner at the Maya Palace cuban restaurant

The following day included “The WOW Parade” presented by Mari Carmen Obregon, this was my favorite session of the Love Mexico program.  The Wow Parade showcased wonderful entertainment and elements for Wedding Planners to include in their  clients’ weddings.  These included traditional Mayan ceremonies, performers, live painters, opera singers, musicians, decorators, etc.  It was a fabulous concept and showcased vendors many people had no idea were available in Mexico, or anywhere for that matter.

The Wow parade at Love Mexico

The WOW Parade

The conference wound up with a wonderful closing party at the Moon Place’s new convention centre.

sweet table at Love Mexico

Attendees were greeted by this gorgeous sweet table at the entrance to the ballroom (photo by me)

WPIC Award from Love Mexico

WPIC Co-founder, Tracey Manailescu, holding the recognition award given to WPIC from Love Mexico (photo by me)

The party was a lot of fun, Tracey and I didn’t leave until the night ended.

Yup, that is me, front and centre.

Conference attendees were invited to stay on at the Moon Palace, and then LeBlanc Spa & Resort, to experience the properties on their own.

Congratulations to the Love Mexico producers, Kitzia and Minty on another wonderful event!

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2013 WPIC Year in Review

A message from Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel, Co-Founders of WPIC Inc.

WPIC Cofounders Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Photo by Brock Photo

2013 was a year of growing pains, amazing highs, tough lows, success and accolades.  This year marked the 10th Anniversary of WPIC and we celebrated by launching our on-line course, so that our core course would be more accessible to our International Students.

WPIC Events
We’ve had a lot of great events this year for our Alumni.

The first official WPIC Event was the “WPIC 2013 Kickoff” planned by our current Regional Representatives.  128 WPIC Alumni attended Rennaissance by the Creek.  There was a live band to dance to, a DJ, a panel of professionals providing business advice, a vendor fair, chances to learn and to let your hair down and have fun.  Read more about the event here.

photos from WPIC 2013 Kickoff event

In September, WPIC held a working shot extravaganza.  An event for WPIC Alumni to get professional photos in gorgeous wedding set-ups.  We took over Paletta Mansion and transformed 6 areas into dream weddings.  Each room was professionally designed and had a professional photographer assigned to the space.  Many of these set-ups will be featured in wedding magazines in 2014 including Elegant Wedding MagazineThe Wedding Planner GTA and Bride and Groom.  One of the photoshoots has already been featured on the Poptastic Bride Blog.

WPIC Paletta Mansion event

In November, we held a Mexico Wedding Specialist Certification event for our WPIC Alumni.  Not only did attendees get the chance to learn about all the amazing places Mexico has to offer their clients to get married, but also the ways they can improve their businesses by bringing weddings to Mexico.  The event included networking with Alumni, Mariachis, a Mexican buffet, networking with key Mexico partners, seminars from Hard Rock, Velas and Palace Resorts, a Specialist Certification Seminar from the Mexico Tourism Board and two inspiration Mexican wedding set-ups.  These set-ups will be featured in wedding media, such as Elegant Weddings, in 2014.  Read more about this great event here.

WPIC Mexico Wedding Specialist event

All photos by Bicoastal Images

 

The Weducation Business

Many companies are trying to sell education to wedding planners, but as always WPIC is still heads above the crowd.  We have kept our course the best by never being complacent, we never stop adding and updating.  We are now on our 14th edition of the WPIC text book.  It is bigger and better than ever.  Our after-class support leads the industry in that we provide unbelievable continuing education opportunities to our members, for FREE.  We invest tens of thousands of dollars every year to advertise WPIC Certified Wedding Planners, maintain our free member alumni boards and provide support to our past students, again at no cost to them.  Our dedication to helping our past students succeed has never waivered and we have witnessed unbelievable success from our past students.

This year past students have received several awards, much media attention and best of all, great success.  The face of our Alumni has evolved to a more modern, polished professional.

In order to provide the best to our students and alumni, this year we have:

  • updated the WPIC text book to be the most modern possible and provided all updates to all our past students
  • written many professional development articles on the WPIC Blog and on the WPICAlumni forum
  • promoted WPIC in multiple media outlets through interviews and sharing events
  • advertised the value of working with a WPIC Certified planner in many media outlets
  • added to our international recognition through speaking at several international wedding conferences in Mexico, the USA and Canada
  • created several strategic alliances and partnerships with large companies

In the New Year we will:

  • continue to support our alumni with education and opportunities for business growth
  • completely overhaul the Destination Wedding Coordinator course
  • continue to increase accessibility and support for International students
  • continue our fabulous partnerships which provide unbelievable opportunities for our alumni
  • work smarter, not harder

 State of the Wedding Industry
This year we saw a lot of formally successful wedding businesses close their doors.  These businesses were from every facet of the wedding industry: decorators, dress boutiques, tuxedo rental stores, wedding planners, DJs, photographers, magazines, etc.  Those who did survive, reinvented themselves, fine-tuned their business image and several added different services to their repertoire.

The face of wedding couples has changed.  Couples value guest experience over showing off, quality over bling.  This is exciting for wedding professionals as we are able to be more creative.  Entertainment has become very important to our couples, as has the quality of food.  The little details that wedding planners have always loved, are now a necessity to our couples.  Weddings are all about telling the story of our couples.

Our 2013 Speaking Engagements

WPIC Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel on stage at Congress of Weddings

WPIC’s Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel on stage day 2 at the Congress of Weddings & Events

This year we spoke at international wedding conferences, conventions and symposiums including: Latino Americano Congresso de Bodas de Destino in Guadalajara, MX (our Blog here), Wedding MBA in Las Vegas, and Love Mexico in the Riviera Maya.  Our seminars focussed on Practices of Successful Wedding Professionals, Destination Wedding Professionals, and the intricacies of Destination Wedding Planning.  On a local level we spoke at several colleges to students considering a career in the event industry.

Travel and Conferences
It is no secret that Mexico holds a special place in our hearts and we have focussed a lot of our attention there this year, showing our alumni the amazing opportunities this country offers them and their Destination Wedding clients.  We toured haciendas and event spaces in Guadalajara, Tequila and Guachimontones this past summer.  Read about our experiences here and here.

We also attended the BizBash conference in South Florida (our Blog), Engage!13 at the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina (our Blog), and the Cancun Bootcamp.  These conferences provided us with opportunities to meet wonderful peers in the industry.

International Seminars

Palace Resorts Wedding Dept

The newest WPIC-certified Palace Resorts Wedding Team

This year we held training in Barbados and in Mexico.  We trained the Palace Resorts Wedding Team for the third time!  Students travelled from Mexico, Italy, Norway, Japan and all over the Caribbean to attend our classes.

Media
WPIC, Danielle and Tracey were interviewed or featured in many media outlets this year, including but not limited to: Reader’s Digest, MacLean’s Magazine, Bride and Groom Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, MSNTravel, Poptastic Bride, Dab Wedding (Europe), Beautiful Beginnings, etc.

We have already conducted several interviews that will be released in the new year, including a full page article written by Danielle and Tracey to be published in the 2014 Winter/Spring issue of Today’s Bride.

2014
In 2014, we are looking forward to growing WPIC even more, providing countless opportunities to alumni who are willing to constantly better themselves, supporting them in making couples’ dreams come true, creating enduring working relationships and seeing even more of our big, beautiful world.

We never stop learning and we are just as committed to sharing our knowledge now, as we were 10 years ago.  We truly believe that the best way to keep the wedding industry strong, is to share knowledge and best practices so that all professionals are properly educated.  One decade down, many more to go ;)

We wish you nothing but success!

Danielle & Tracey

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Join us in Beverly Hills for the Wedding Industry Conference!

Join Tracey and Danielle from WPIC, along with several other amazing wedding experts, including Preston Bailey, at the Wedding Industry Conference taking place in Beverly Hills, California on November 7 & 8, 2013.
WIC ad photo

For more details and to register, please click here.

 

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Join us at the 2013 Wedding MBA Convention!

WeddingMBA

October 1-3, 2013 ~ Las Vegas

For the sixth year in a row, The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada, will be speaking at this wonderful convention, jam-packed with Wedding Industry Marketing tools and tips.  Last year, there were more than 2000 Industry Professionals, from all over North America, in attendance.

WPIC Cofounders Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel

WPIC Co-founders Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Danielle Andrews Sunkel & Tracey Manailescu, the co-founders of WPIC,  will be delivering the seminar “The Nitty Gritty of Planning Destination Weddings”, on Wednesday, October 2 at 4pm.  If you aren’t interested in Destination Weddings, be sure to visit us at our booth to find out more about WPIC or to just sat “Hi!”, you can’t miss us we are the very first one when you enter the Vendor Fair ;)

Industry Gurus such as Sasha Souza, Alan Berg, and Andy Ebon, to name but a few, will also be sharing their knowledge and expertise.

See more details about this convention here: Wedding Merchants Business Academy.

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WPIC Leads 2 Seminars at the Latin American Congress of Weddings & Events

by Danielle Andrews Sunkel

WPIC Danielle Andrews Sunkel in front of Bodas y Eventos sign

WPIC’s Danielle Andrews Sunkel at the Latin American Congress of Weddings & Events

If you haven’t noticed yet, Tracey and I are “Conference Junkies”. We strongly believe in order to be the best wedding professional that you can be, you need to be constantly learning from, networking and sharing best practices with other wedding professionals. Not only do we attend conferences to speak at them, we attend to learn from our peers.

We were asked to speak at the 3rd LatinoAmericano Congreso de Bodas y Eventos which took place July 3-5, 2013 in Guadalajara, Mexico. This is WPIC’s third time speaking at this event and there were over 320 attendees from across Latin America this time. We delivered “The ABC’s of Destiantion Weddings” on Day 1 and “Practices of Successful Wedding Professionals” on Day 2.  Nope, sadly, we don’t speak Spanish (yet!), but that wasn’t a problem as the conference producers, Kitzia Morales and Araminta Castilla, provide translators for those who do not speak English and those who do not speak Spanish.

Other distinguished speakers included: Andrea Michaels, Alan Berg, Chris Evans, David Avrin, Bernadette Coveney-Smith, Alfredo Suarez, Elizabeth Petersen, Maricarmen Obregon, Drew Deckman, Julieta Jimz, David Diaz, Dagyi Riviera, Linnyette Richardson-Hall, Carmelu Millan, Fabiano Niedauer, and Noe Ariza.

Here is the event in pictures:

WPIC Danielle infornt of pool at Crowne Plaza in Guadalajara

The Congress took place at the beautiful Crowne Plaza Guadalajara

Casa de los Abanicos

On the night of our arrival to Guadalajara, the speakers were treated to a special night at Casa de los Abanicos.

traditional mexican dancers

We watched wonderful dancers while sipping tamarind maragaritas on the terrace

traditional Jalisco dish of steak and cheese

And then enjoyed traditional Jalisco dishes

Courtyard at Santo Coyote in Gauadalajara

Conference attendees enjoyed an opening party at Santo Coyote

Disco at Santo Coyote

Just look at the amazing artwork in the upstairs disco!

WPIC Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel on stage at Congress of Weddings

WPIC’s Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel on stage day 2 at the Congress of Weddings & Events. Photo courtesy: Pixan Photography

There was a wonderful Vendor Show.  We fell in love with the designs of Alberto Rodriguez Couture.

There was a wonderful Vendor Show. We fell in love with the designs of Alberto Rodriguez Couture.

La Sauceda in Guadalajara

There was a closing party held at La Sauceda

Party at El Encanto

Followed by a party at El Encanto

Congresso Bidas speakers at closing party

Speakers Danielle Andrews Sunkel, Chris Evans, Alan Berg, Tracey Manailescu and Bernadette Coveney-Smith at the closing party.

WPIC Tracey and Danielle in Guadalaja

It was a great time had by all!

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WPIC at the Latin American Congress of Weddings and Events

Co-founders, Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel, will be in great company next week in Guadalajara, Mexico when they speak at the Latin American Congress of Weddings & Events.
An ad showing the speakers who will be speaking at the Latin American Congress of Weddings

They will be speaking about the ABC’s of Planning a Destination Wedding and in another seminar, they will share the Practices of Successful Wedding Professionals. For more details, please visit www.congresobodasyeventos.com

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WPIC at The Latin American Congress of Weddings & Events

Co-founders, Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel, will be in great company next week in Guadalajara, Mexico when they speak at the Latin American Congress of Weddings & Events.
Larin American Congress of Weddings and Events poster showing details and speakers

They will be speaking about the ABC’s of Planning a Destination Wedding and in another seminar, they will share the Practices of Successful Wedding Professionals.  For more details, please visit www.congresobodasyeventos.com

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WPIC Co-founders Attend Engage!13 Luxury Wedding Business Summit

By: Tracey Manailescu

Last week, Danielle and I had the immense pleasure of attending Engage!13. Wow, wow, wow!  What an amazing time we had. Thank you so much Rebecca Grinnals and Kathryn Arce, and the entire Engage!13 team!

Tracey & Danielle of WPIC at Engage!13 Biltmore

Photo credit: Andrew Henderson for Carla Ten Eyck (please ignore the water spill on my dress…Eeek!)

If you followed us on Twitter or Facebook, you saw some of our photos and comments while we were at the beautiful Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.  We have attended Engage! previously in 2010 in Cayman Islands, and really enjoyed it then, as well.  Danielle and I have produced several conferences, attend many conferences and speak at a ton of conferences, as well.  Some really & truly stand out from the crowd. We have our favourites, and this is definitely one of ours.

Engage 13

Photo credit: Allan Zepeda (There’s the back of our heads in the back row!  I always know by my hair, LOL!)

Horses bringing picnic lunch

Photo credit:  Allan Zepeda

I really found that I took away a ton of information that I will be using now, today and from here on out. Honestly, I took 10 pages of notes!  There were humble and heartfelt seminars from some admirable people in the wedding industry who provided tips, growth experiences (through set backs and accomplishments), and ways to improve our businesses that most of us could relate to.  Some of my absolute favourite seminars were from David Stark, Jasmine Star, Simon T. Bailey, Cindy Novotny and Harriet Rose Katz. I also found that we really were encouraged to step outside of our comfort zones and network, network, network. I may, or may not have panicked slightly BEFORE we were thrown into these situations, LOL!

Engage Seminar

Photo credit: Allan Zepeda

Biltmore Wine

Photo credit: Allan Zepeda

Biltmore apps

Photo credit: Allan Zepeda

Wine & Cheese

Photo credit: Jeremie Barlow

A personal note to Sean Low, who I had my Dine-Around Dinner at Deer Park with, and bus buddy. You really got me thinking. I appreciate the advise given, and will definitely be implementing it.

We had opportunities to explore the grounds of Biltmore Estate in group activites of our choosing. My group experience was River Rafting. This was amazing!  When I asked the guide how many people have fallen out of the raft and into the river, he said, “Hardly ever. However, there was someone just yesterdsay.”
River Rafting Engage!13

Photo credit: My camera

Eye candy was in abundance, as well as some incredible parties. Elan Artists performed at every single one of them!

Opening party

Photo credit: Allan Zepeda

Barn Party Antler Hill

Photo credit:  Carla Ten Eyck

Tent & Decor

Photo credit:  Carla Ten Eyck

Onto the Dessert Party.  Which led into an after party with a “Speak Easy” theme, which had a code-word entry to be admitted: “PARTYMORE”:

Hair Accesories Station

Photo credit: Allan Zepeda

Dessert

Photo credit: Allan Zepeda

Tent view

Photo credit: Allan Zepeda

Afterparty

Photo credit: Jeremie Barlow

Then there was the Gatsby Gala, of all Gala’s…If I had one word to describe it, it would be, “AMAZING!”

Tracey Manailescu & Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Photo credit: Random stranger using Tracey Manailescu’s S4 (LOL!)

Danielle Andrews SunkelTracey Manailescu at Engage13 Biltmore Gala

Photo credits of above 2 pics: Tracey Manailescu & Danielle Andrews Sunkel

Gala

Photo credit: Allan Zepeda

Here is a beautiful photo of the producers, Kathryn Arce & Rebecca Grinnals

Kathryn & Rebecca

Photo credit: Allan Zepeda

Gala Entrance

Photo credit: Carla Ten Eyck

Gala Set-up

Photo credit: Jeremie Barlow

Gala

Photo credit:  Allan Zepeda

Fireworks

Photo credit:  Andrew Henderson for Carla Ten Eyck

Kathryn & Rebecca, keep doing what you are doing!  You are making the industry a better place, and we admire and respect you both for it!

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WPIC’s 2012 Year in Review

A message from Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel, Co-Founders of WPIC Inc.

Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel co-founders of WPIC, The Wedding Planners Institute of Canada

Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel, Co-founders of WPIC Inc.

Each time we write the WPIC Year in Review, we are amazed at just how much happened in one year!  We have met so many new friends and business colleagues, we have seen so many new places and had so many cool experiences.

This year epitimized the philosophy of Yin and Yang, the good with the bad.  Average wedding costs decreased slightly and most of us in the Wedding Industry were affected.  On the flip-side, wedding planners were viewed as a necessity more than ever before!  Another exciting shift in weddings, thanks to sites like Pinterest, is that couples are more interested in personalizing their wedding.  Couples are open to adding special touches that wedding planners have always craved.

More than ever people are trying to imitate what WPIC does and has been doing for 10 years, but our unofficial slogan still holds true: “Often imitated, never duplicated.”  We are now on our 12th revision of the WPIC text book.  It is bigger and better than ever.  Our after-class support leads the industry in that we provide unbelievable continuing education opportunities to our members, for FREE.  We invest tens of thousands of dollars every year to advertise WPIC Certified Wedding Planners, maintain our free member alumni boards and provide support to our past students, again at no cost to them.  Our dedication to helping our past students succeed has never waivered and we have witnessed unbelievable success from our past students.  This year past students have received several awards, much media attention and best of all, great success.

Photo by Adventure Photos. WPIC’s Monica Hill was one of the alumni who took the opportunity to attend the Mexico Romantico Destination Wedding Event. (Click the photo to read about it)

In order to provide the best to our students and alumni, this year we have:

  • completely overhauled and upgraded the Member Forums
  • updated the WPIC text book to be the most modern possible and provided all updates to all our past students
  • added a Regional Representative program so that local WPICAlumni can get together and continue their knowledge and have an opportunity to network with each other
  • added an instructor based in Barbados to help service the southern Caribbean islands
  • gotten WPIC in multiple media outlets
  • added to our international recognition through speaking at several international wedding conferences
  • created several strategic alliances and partnerships with large companies

In the New Year we will:

  • continue to support our alumni with education and opportunities for business growth
  • completely overhaul the Destination Wedding Coordinator course
  • focus on accessibility and support for International students
  • continue our fabulous partnerships which provide unbelievable opportunities for our alumni
  • work smarter, not harder

Cool Things Danielle & Tracey have done this year on behalf of WPIC

We have gotten a lot of cool and amazing opportunities over the years from sleeping in Medieval Castles in Ireland, to visiting magic towns in Mexico.  No one understands just how hard we have to work, but no one benefits from their labour quite like we do either.

Photo by Italianweddingphotojournalist.com

Photo by Cinderella Images

By far the coolest and most memorable events this year were producing not one, but two photos shoots in Rome, Italy and being invited to attend the Grand Opening of the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun where we saw Flo. Rida and the Goo Goo Dolls perform live and met stars like Wilmer Valderrama!

Danielle Andrews Sunkel with Wilmer Valderrama at the Hard Rock Cancun Grand Opening VIP Party

2012 Speaking Engagements

Tracey Manailescu and Danielle Andrews Sunkel of WPIC, speakers at Wedding MBA

This year we spoke at several international wedding conferences, conventions and symposiums including: Abaco Wedding Professionals Conference in the Bahamas, Bringing the Fabulous in Barbados, Wedding MBA in Las Vegas, Love Mexico in the Riviera Maya, and Latino Americano Congresso de Bodas de Destino in Cancun.  Our seminars focussed on Practices of Successful Wedding Professionals, Destination Wedding Professionals, and the intricacies of Destination Wedding Planning.  On a local level we spoke at several colleges to students considering a career in the event industry.

Travel

WPIC’s Danielle Andrews Sunkel and Kim Choy at the ISES party in Dallas

This year we travelled to many places in order to strengthen WPIC’s international reputation.  We travelled to: New York for the Wedding Party and Kleindfeld’s Wedding Fashion Show; Tianguis Turistica in Puerto Vallarta, MexicoAbaco, BahamasBarbados; BizBash in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Rome, Italy; Dallas, Texas; Las Vegas, Nevada; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Cancun, Mexico; ICOMEX in Mexico City, Mexico; Durango, Mexico; Hildago, Mexico; and Riviera Maya, Mexico.

International Seminars

With the Hard Rock Punta Cana wedding team, showing off their “WPIC Certified” lapel pins.

We trained and certified the Abaco Bahamas Wedding Professionals, the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association, the Hard Rock Hotels Wedding Teams in the Dominican Republic & Mexico and the Palace Resorts Wedding Team in Mexico.  Students travelled from Mexico, Berlin, France, and Norway.

In 2013 we are looking forward to growing WPIC even more, providing countless opportunities to alumni who are willing to constantly better themselves, supporting them in making couples’ dreams come true, creating enduring working relationships and seeing even more of our big, beautiful world.

We wish you nothing but success!

Danielle & Tracey

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