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MASS WEDDING CEREMONY ON DESPITE DROPOUTS

A couple of hundred couples have dropped out of a mass wedding ceremony set for New Year's Eve.

But the officials planning Philadelphia's millennium festivities said the wedding for 1,000 couples will still be held, despite recent rumors that it would be called off.

"There is no way we are going to cancel this," said Amy Needle, executive director of Millennium Philadelphia.

Mayor Edward G. Rendell and his wife, U.S. Circuit Judge Marjorie Rendell, will officiate the ceremony in the Grand Hall of Pennsylvania Convention Center at 2 p.m. Friday.

Needle said people began backing out when Millennium Philadelphia made follow-up calls to confirm their participation in the wedding.

"We think what happened was that a lot of people signed up in November without telling his or her loved ones, and once they found out, they changed their minds," she said.

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