Archive | April 2012

The Kilt Conclusion (ps it’s good news!)

So last we left off, Mr. Sword and I couldn’t decide on whether or not we should rent a kilt or have one custom-made.  Stressful times baby.

But I’m happy to report that on our trip to Scotland, we were able to sit down, re-discuss the options and look into the process of making our own.

And the conclusion is: Our family tartan has been designed AND ordered. YAY!!

(insert applause and sigh of relief here)

We started the kilt designing process with much encouragement from American family and friends, but I was surprised when the Mr. Sword’s friends were the ones who thought it was a little unnecessary and over-the-top. I guess it makes sense, their culture doesn’t buy into the crazy, big weddings that we do on this side of the pond and while they are all so excited to come to the wedding, they are just being practical and I totally understand that.

But since making a family tartan was creeping its way up to the top of Mr. Sword’s priority list (thanks to lots of talking and both sets of parents contributing to the overall wedding budget), one night we sat down at the computer to check things out.  We were lucky enough to find a website that not only let us pick our colors but also let us arrange each color at different widths. We decided to follow a pattern we liked so that our tartan had a good chance of looking somewhat normal. Our colors were taken from the wedding theme and I’m thrilled with the result.

Once the kilt was designed, Mr. Sword went online to register it. We discovered that we can’t use Mr. Sword’s surname because your clan/family name would have to be registered by the the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh and that is usually reserved for historic family clans that already have tartans.  It makes sense, we can’t just claim a tartan for every person with that last name, but we CAN make it specific to our branch of Mr. Sword’s last name. The woman at the Scottish Register of Tartans suggested we use both of our last names with a hyphen in between. So not only will my new last name be associated with the kilt but also my maiden name, pretty cool right?

After the kilt and all of it’s pieces were ordered, we had to start the waiting game.  You can’t rush authentically woven tartans after all!

For now, I am really excited and here’s why:
1) It’s the Scottish’s first kilt!! He’s never worn one before and I’m happy to announce that he’ll be wearing his personalized kilt for the first time on our wedding day.

2) We now have a family tartan!!  This is my way of embracing his country and it’s traditions (which isn’t always easy with us living in the US).

3) This is one more thing we can check off the wedding to-do list! Usually it’s the bride who orders her dress first because of the time it takes to get in and altered, but in our case, Mr. Sword got to join in the joys of formal-wear-ordering-fun.

Without further ado, HERE IS OUR NEW FAMILY TARTAN:


(photo is a personal design using software on Scotweb)

Unfortunately it’s a small picture and it’s nearly impossible to see all the different lines of color, but the majority of the tartan alternates between a dark purple and a forest green. I’m sooo curious to see how the colors look in person!

What do you think of our tartan?  Is anyone else ordering something really fancy for their groom?

Engagement Par-tay!!

I can’t even begin to explain how much fun our engagement party was!  Both Mr. Sword and I walked away at the end of the night feeling so loved.  We had friends gather from all different groups, church friends, college friends, work friends, nanny friends, and of course Scottish friends!!   We had always talked about having a little get-together to celebrate the news once we got engaged, and I was never really sure how it would all come together, but I knew a few things for certain:

1. It was going to be very informal.  We were not going to provide food or liquor, or rent a room cause umm a wedding costs enough as it is!!  And it would be a come-when-you-can-sort of event with a stay-as long-as-you-can-policy.  I don’t if you come for one hug or half a drink, it’s the thought that counts!

2. Despite what I’d read in bridal magazines, I knew I was not going to register pre-engagement party.  My friends have enough people to buy gifts for and I think it’s a relatively new policy anyway so why bother?  There will be plenty of time for that later and I wanted our party to be a low-key event so consequently gifts were NOT expected.  Those who wanted to had already sent cards/gifts in the mail.

3. I wanted to look fabulous.  There is one year of my life where I am the bride-to-be and one year where I get to be the center of  attention at multiple events, and damn it I’m gonna look amazing at every last one of them!  I think I was successful for the most part, because my dress rocked and being happy makes you look beautiful anyway, but I wish my hair had kept it’s curl.  You’d think I would have been used to it falling straight mere minutes after leaving the house since it’s been happening since I was born, but honestly, that’s something I never get used to!!

Enough chatter, here are some pics!!

My hair still looks good at this point because it’s only been .5 seconds since we walked out the door.  When going out on a Friday/Saturday night we usually take the train/walk there and then cab it home, so until I can afford a personal driver I’m going to have to deal with flat hair at my own party.

We look happy.

This is me after drinking a lemon vodka shot.  I haven’t done a shot in about 5 years, I never get drunk, and I’m the worst drinker ever.  Apparently when it’s your party you’ll do shots if you want to.

My butt and my straight hair.

Our friend got this great shot of us of taking some time to talk to each other, but we spent most of the night mingling and chatting with our friends.  Good practice for the wedding I suppose!!

We had such a great night!  We are truly blessed to have such great friends in our life.  Cheers to what I’m calling, “the Year of the Wedding!’  Party number one. CHECK!

(all photos personal)

Did you have an engagement party?  Was it formal or informal?  What does everyone think about registering for it?

Kilt Woes from an American Bride

Soooo, our first big wedding-related fight discussion occurred about a month after we got engaged.  It was a discussion concerning the topic of kilts, which is traditionally formal wedding dress for a Scottish man.  Since Mr. Sword didn’t already own a kilt, we had to decide between renting a standard tartan, such as the Black Watch, or we could design our own…

image via Wikipedia

One of us thinks it’s too expensive to design a custom-made kilt and get it legally registered in Mr. Sword’s last name. The other person thinks it’s worth the money for a lifetime of family memories.

Can you guess who is on what side? My logical, realistic, super smart Scottish fiancé believes we should NOT go the custom route simply because we cannot afford it. He says it’s something we can do in three years time. My opinion is this, when is there ever an extra 1500 dollars lying around to spend on a specially made tartan fabric and all the accoutrement that go with it (and trust me there’s a lot of things, including but not limited to a man purse and a knife type thing).  There is always something expensive to buy no matter what the stage in life, ie. car, house, babies, etc, so why not now? Why not have the beautiful memories captured on film of this one-of-kind kilt for generations and generations to come?  This isn’t for us, this is for our kids who are going to grow up learning about both America and Scotland, and this is for Mr. Sword’s Mum and Dad, for his wee sister and her future family, for my family, for everyone!!

I close my eyes and I can picture my future with Mr. Sword and I can see our adorable (albeit pale) children and I get tears in my eyes.  While I know it’s a bit soon to start talking about kids, I can’t think of a better way to start  our new life together than with my future husband wearing a kilt representing his Scottish last name (and my new last name!).  Of course a custom-made tartan fabric is not the most budget friendly item, especially when most grooms spend a lot less on a suit or a tux rental.  But I would be so proud to have his family name attached to his wedding garb.

photo by Pink Sugar Photography/ via Edmonton Wedding Photographers

So we were stuck, at a crossroads.  And soon Mr. Sword was heading back to Scotland to renew his visa.  I was going to visit him for a week while he was there and I thought it would be a perfect time to discuss the kilt options again!

I knew just how serious I had become when I started begging Mr. Sword to rearrange some of the money in our budget.  I suggested we nix a videographer and also take money from my dress budget (yikes). It was that important to me!

Is anyone else trying to incorporate some part of their partner’s culture into the wedding clothing?  Who or what (if any) is your obstacle?

This is the story of how I thought I might get engaged one weekend and then it happened

personal photo

Mr. Sword was very VERY aware of the fact that I wanted to have my family nearby after the proposal . Back around Christmas there was a wee bit of drama (and by drama I mean tears) when I decided he missed the “perfect” opportunity, but all was resolved and I realized what a pyscho I was being so I vowed to back off and just let me him handle things.

When we found out that Mom and Dad Sword were visiting us in Chicago one weekend in February, I had inkling he would seize the opportunity. I know it sounds sort of weird to some, why wouldn’t I want to be alone with Mr. Sword for such a special moment? Well, why do I blog about my inner-most thoughts? Why do I like to be perform in front of people? Why do I share private details of my life with complete strangers? All of these are great questions. The answer is, I love people, and my good news is your good news and vice-versa. I just wanted to be able to hug my Mom after the proposal, and luckily I got to do just that!

So all day on Saturday after picking up my parents from the airport, I was going back and forth wondering if this would be the day. It ended up being the day we stood in line for over three hours to see the top of Willis Tower.  I heard later that Mr. Sword said to Dad Sword, “I’d like to marry your daughter,” while we were at the top overlooking the city skyline. My Dad, true to form answered with a low fist pump to show his excitement. Later that night, he passed the good news on to Mom Sword and her next step was to quiz Mr. Sword to make sure he was marrying me because he wanted to and not because I was forcing him into it like some wedding crazed-freak (thanks Mom!). He confirmed what I already knew and told her he wanted to marry me.  Then (while Dad Sword and I were working on my taxes) Mom Sword and Mr. Sword thought up the terrible  brilliant plan of Dad Sword pretending he wanted to see the top of Trump Tower the very next day after church.

So on our way to church the very next morning Dad Sword suggests this idea and Mom Sword agrees to it, solidifying my suspicions. I mean, I come from a whole line of strong women and matriarchal families, since when does Dad Sword get to dictate where we go next?  This is when I started to get nervous.

After church, Dad Sword and Mr. Sword go back to the apartment to find that *Gasp* the Trump Tower bar is closed due to it being off-season. He then discovers that most of his ideal proposal locations are closed for that same reason and starts to panic. Eventually, they tell Mom Sword that they will meet us at the John Hancock Building at 3 PM. Of course, it makes no sense for us to wait in more lines to go back to the top of yet another tall building to see yet another amazing view UNLESS it is so Mr. Sword can propose!!

Meanwhile, I’m shopping with Mom Sword and having to use the bathroom every 30 minutes to umm, you know, because I’m soooo nervous!  Finally, we meet up with them and take the elevator to the Signature Lounge (essentially the Wine and Cocktail bar) of the John Hancock Building. We find a table and order drinks. I hold his hand tightly and squeeze it multiple times to let him know everything will be OK.  I later hear that Mr. Sword gives my mom a look of “I can’t do this in front of so many people!!!”  Poor Mr. Sword is a very shy person, which makes our proposal even more lovely and memorable because he stepped out of his comfort zone just for me!

Suddenly Mom Sword blatantly discreetly takes my camera from me and heads over to the window to check out the view. I debate going to the bathroom or not before deciding to follow her to the window.

And then…. Mr. Sword comes up behind me, puts his hand on the small of my back and at that moment I entered into what I like to call “the haze of happiness.”  He tells me he loves me and that he wants to continue loving me for the rest of his life. He gets down on one knee, opens the ring box, and says, “Will you marry me?” (YEA!!!!!!!!)

Then I say weird things like, “Ohmigosh, I can’t believe it, and thank you!” All before saying “YES YES.” We hug and kiss, Mom Sword starts to get teary-eyed, and we take more pictures. My parents are literally beaming, poor Mr. Sword is shaking, and I’m dumb-founded by the fact that I’m not crying. Instead of tears, I’m simply floating in my happy haze attempting to process every amazing moment.

My man did a FANTASTIC job and just because I knew it was coming does not make it any less special. Life works out the way it’s supposed to and I wasn’t meant to get engaged at the top of Trump Tower. The John Hancock, on the other hand, is the place he took me for dinner the first time we celebrated my birthday together. It’s a place I go with my nanny kids all the time, and the Signature Lounge is one of my favorite spots in the whole city to take out-of-town guests for a fancy drink. And now, when I take someone up to the 96th floor, I can walk over to the window where I got engaged and relive the special moment all over again.

Post proposal!


Happy Sword parents!


Blurry ring bling photo


(all photos personal)

I know Miss Lyre had an idea about her proposal too, did anyone else see it coming?  For those criers out there, did you cry when your partner popped the question or did you have an odd moment of tear-less joy like me?

What do you do when your dreams come true?

I tend to be a very gullible person.  I have to be told when someone is being sarcastic or making a joke, because I tend to take things at face value.  I am easily persuaded of new ideas or theories and consider myself happily naive.  I have, and always will believe in my dreams.  Dreams that include but are not limited to becoming a working actress in Chicago, publishing a book, having children, and getting married.  I’m the type of person who covers their home in “BELIEVE” quotes and reads poems about faith and following your dreams.  I am a hopeless romantic and as I mentioned before, a girly-girl princess.  I am not very cynical and I believe that if you do good, you get good in return.

I have wanted to get married for a looooong time.  So long in fact, I was getting to the point of, “I’ll frickin’ believe it when I see it!!”  I have been ready to get married since I was 12.  Well not literally of course.  But I am that girl.  Given what I’ve said it would be fitting if Mr. Sword and I fell in love at first sight, but that’s not what how it worked.  We met randomly and had to become friends while dating and then we fell in love.  After 9 months I was 100 percent sure I wanted to marry Mr. Sword and I would have said yes at that point in a heartbeat.  He has known I was “the one” since then too, but  he wasn’t ready to get married until about 2.5 weeks before he proposed.  One of the many MANY cultural differences between us.

Once I realized I wanted to marry Mr. Sword I began the waiting process.  And I waited like a dog eyeing a steak  proper lady, patient and reserved, never pressuring. HA!  I wanted it so badly that some days it was all I could think about, and to be completely honest, there were a few discussions that ended in major fights because of me and my impatience.   I wanted us to be on the same page so badly, and I knew he and I were meant to be together.  I felt like I’d won the lottery but wasn’t allowed to spend any of the money.  I was watching others getting engaged, wondering when was it going to happen for ME?

And then one day it did.  And my dream came true, and Mr. Sword asked me to marry him.  And I learned a few things:

1. Sometimes when something so good happens, you won’t cry, (even though you love a good cry), because you might have passed happiness and moved onto a feeling that there is no name for yet.

2. You will be ready.  You have had much time to mentally prepare and when it comes true, you suddenly know what to do.  It is your dream after all.

3.  You will have to stop and take time to enjoy.  Don’t start waiting on another dream to come true or conjure up something else to look forward to, just take a breath and hope time slows down enough to savor every single second.

Were you one of those brides that had trouble being patient?  Please tell me I’m not alone!  What dreams of yours have come true since meeting “the one?”