Archive | August 2012

I feel like I’m being punished for having an early 2013 wedding

I have to gripe about something real quick.  It’s just a stupid little email from a potential hair and makeup artist, but it seriously annoyed the crap out of me and I find myself thinking about it more than I should be.  This one vendor says she can’t do my hair and makeup trial before the start of the new year.  She specifically said she cannot be flexible in booking my consultation.  Really?  Granted, she is being nice enough to offer to book me before the 1st of the year (even though it’s a huge exception), but she it appears that she is flat-out refusing to do my hair and makeup trial before the  normal 5-6 weeks before the wedding.  I mean, what if I was a January bride like Lyre or Gloves?  Would she make an exception then or are winter brides forced to have their trial mere days before their wedding?

This vendor’s email was just so annoying!  She said things like, “I understand you’re out-of-state,” but clearly she doesn’t understand.  Christmas is going to be my time in Minnesota to get shit done, and flying back and forth in Jan. and Feb. is something I’m trying to limit because of weather and other wedding related tasks that will have to wait until then.  I’ve talked about it before but being in a LDR with my wedding means I my schedule might be a bit different from other brides.  For example, I have a bridal shower coming up in MN in October, yes that’s a tad on the early side, but it’s the best month for my North Dakota family to get to Minnesota to help host it.  Then I have my Hen Do (bachelorette party) in November, pretty early again, but that’s when Mr. Sword’s AMAZING friends are flying him back to Glasgow for his Stag Do and I wanted to do mine the same weekend so I could host all of my out-of-town girls at our apt.  My Chicago shower will be in February to round out the festivities.

Plus, I’m nervous about using extensions for the first time, and I’d really like to have time (like more than a few weeks) to change my plans if I don’t like the way they turn out, but if I’m only in town for that trial and then the wedding, how would I have a second go at it?

I understand I’m booking things a bit ahead of the curve, but it helps me to stay calm (and Lord knows my friends and family prefer me to stay calm!!), and the comical thing is I am still in the researching part of the process, but this artist doesn’t seem to have any desire to try to convince me that she’ll be a great vendor, so I’m going to keep moving.  Unfortunately, the other company I was seriously considering has similar timelines and strict rules about when the trial should take place as well, and since my event is so far in the future they wouldn’t even quote me a price!  Although maybe that’s normal in the hair/makeup biz.

After hearing Mrs.Coyote’s hair and makeup nightmare, I’m even more certain that I want to go with someone I like and trust.  I’ve sent out another inquiry so I will keep you all posted on how that goes.  Clearly I’m in the thick of wedding planning because my panties got in a twist over one small email, but as someone who’s had years of bad skin, my wedding day makeup is very important to me.

I always pay for professional makeup when possible, like when I get my theatre headshots taken:

Sorry for the rant hive but thanks for listening, I feel so much better!  Anyone else struggling with booking things in the early part of the year?

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What the heck is that Scottish thing?!?

A few of you Hive members have been asking for a breakdown of all the different pieces and accoutrement of the Scottish kilt, and I’m here now to present my limited knowledge on the subject based on, well, Google and not much more.  Mr. Sword is new to the world of kilts (although he can pronounce all of the different pieces perfectly), and I’m new to any place outside of the Midwest (and I can pronounce accoutrement).  Clearly, that makes me an expert.

If you’d like a quick reminder of Mr. Sword’s awesome wedding garb, check this out! Otherwise, here are all the different parts of traditional Highland dress, listed in the order of how you should put them on:

1. Shirt.  It should be plain, white, and as simple as possible.  Either button or cuff-link sleeves will do, but nothing too fancy.  It is usually worn with a simple black bow-tie.

2. Kilt Hose and Flashes.  These are the long socks that come up to just under the man’s knee, and the short strips of fabric that are hanging from the garter.  The hose are folded over once right before the knee and the flashes are usually made of the same fabric as the kilt or at least something complimentary.  I guess it’s uncommon to wear white kilt hose, but cream (which is what Mr. Sword’s are although the color is labeled as arran) is perfectly acceptable.

3. Sgian Dhubh (which sounds like “skiii in dooo” when Mr. Sword says it).  This is the small knife that is usually worn on the right leg.  It means “black knife” and is purposely concealed in the kilt hose so that it is accessible in case one needs to defend themselves from an attacker.  In recent years, it has proven difficult for men to travel overseas with their sgian dhubh’s because of weapon laws.

image via Wikipedia

4. Brogues.  The low-heeled shoe or boot is the next piece to put on while getting dressed.  Any formal style shoe will do and most are complimented by the popular ghillie brogues or long laces that tie around the ankle.  Mr. Sword WILL be wearing the laces on our wedding day but has yet to try them out at this point.

5.  Kilt.  This is the meat of the outfit, and while some may call it a skirt, it’s actually a very masculine (and sexy) article of clothing.  It is secured at the waist with straps and buckles and usually has pleating at the back.  It should fall right to the knee and expose the knee slightly.

6. Sporran Strap and Sporran.  The sporran strap is put through the loops on the back of the kilt and the sporran attaches to the chain rings at the front.  Sporran is Gaelic for “purse” so obviously you’d expect to find some cash, chap stick, mints, a brush, and at least one tampon!  Not likely.  All jokes aside, I’m quite curious what Mr. Sword will put in his sporran on the day of the wedding!

7. Vest and Coatee.  The vest is usually pretty standard, but the jacket or coatee can be one of many different styles.  Prince Charlie and Argyll are the most common, but there are also Tweed jackets, doublets, and other more causal looks that don’t require a coatee at all!  Mr. Sword will be sporting the Argyll jacket.

Finally, the BIG question!  The one that gets asked very frequently and never ceases to make people giggle.  DO THE SCOTS REALLY GO WITHOUT UNDERWEAR WHILE WEARING A KILT?!?!  Yes, in fact, they do go commando.  Apparently, you’re not a real Scot unless you do.  So far Mr. Sword is saying he’ll be going fully Scottish on the day of the wedding, leaving his boxers at home, but I have my doubts that he’ll go through with it since they’ll be a lot of dancing and drinking at the wedding.  But who knows?  He might surprise me.  I guess you’ll find out in the recaps!  You know I won’t keep that nugget a secret.  🙂

Special thanks to Wikipedia and Scottish Tartans Authority for their helpful information!  I’m sure I’ve missed something along the way, and it’s likely that there might be conflicting info on the web, but I hope you’ve learned a little something! I know I did.

Who else is embracing another culture because of their future spouse?  Do you like learning about it as much as I do?  Anyone else think Mr. Sword is going to take just as long as me to get ready on the BIG DAY?  🙂

Wedding Bands on a Budget

A few weekends ago Mr. Sword and I ventured out to take a look at wedding bands.  We started at the place he purchased my engagement ring, Wedding Band Co, located on Jewelers Row in downtown Chicago.

To recap, my engagement ring is a princess cut center stone with channel set princess diamonds on either side.  Because, DUH, I’m a princess and Mr. Sword is no fool!  🙂

My first thought was to go with a band that was thick and geometric to match the look of my engagement ring.  Something a lot like this:

image via World Jewels

But besides the high sticker price for that many princess cut diamonds, when I tried on bands of a larger width that had matching princess cut channel diamonds, I found I didn’t like them very much at all!  They were almost too similar and too typical.  I have always been drawn to popular trends but also to the slightly different or unique trends, and found I was no different when shopping for wedding bands.  So I started trying on atypical matches to my E ring, and I ended up falling in love with a very dainty, petite band covered in tiny round diamonds.

I know it’s sounds like it won’t match at all, but the round diamonds are so tiny that the band just looks sparkly and beautiful all the way around.  Unfortunately for Wedding Band Co, their version of this ring was over-priced in our opinion.  I know eternity bands can be expensive, and I know that quality varies from store to store, but I couldn’t justify spending that much on such a tiny band!  Mr. Sword was also adamant that we stay under budget and this ring was almost double!  So we moved on.

We decided to check out a Rogers and Hollands in Water Tower Place and found the same exact ring for a fraction of the price!  Knowing that Mr. Sword never makes a quick purchase, we went home empty-handed that day to let things settle, and so I could make sure I was still in love with my petite band before we did anything rash.  I’m happy to report I was truly smitten, and we went back one week later to buy the less expensive ring from Rogers and Hollands!  While I love that my engagement ring is such a quality stone and while it would have been ideal to have all of our rings cleaned and under warranty at the same store, it just wasn’t meant to be.  I’m so relieved we decided to shop around because we both think my wedding band is gorgeous and Mr. Sword is thrilled that we came in UNDER budget!

How do you think it matches up next to my engagement ring?

Both our jeweler from Wedding Band Co and the lady from Rogers and Hollands thought that another petite sparkly band would look just lovely on the other side of my ring and make a wonderful anniversary present.  Aren’t they smart??  🙂

As this post is already getting long, I’ll tell you the short version of how we picked Mr. Sword’s ring.  At first we looked at white gold, but Mr. Sword refused to spend that much money on himself.  Plus, he doesn’t even care  that much about jewelry.  So we decided on this masculine tungsten ring in white.  Done.

What do you think of our set, hive?  Anyone else shop around for their wedding band?

Pastor P Says We Pass!

The test I am referring to is the inventory questions that our Pastor gave us to complete in regards to good ol’ premarital counseling.  I’m actually a HUGE fan of premarital-talking-about-your-future life-together-stuff.  As a full-time observer of relationships, a chronic over share-er and an advocate of open and honest communication, I welcomed any counseling that my childhood Pastor suggested we do.  Luckily Mr. Sword is awesome and just as willing to partake in whatever was asked of us.

But I’d be lying if I said the state of Minnesota hadn’t influenced us as well.  To obtain a marriage license in the land of a billion lakes it’s a staggering 115 dollars but with a mere 12 hours of premarital counseling, you can acquire one for the reduced fee of 40 dollars.  Umm, yes please!  I think it’s a nice way to encourage people who otherwise wouldn’t consider it, and those of us who are already going that route, it’s a win-win.

Pastor P was the first Pastor I really remember when attending church back in the day.  She is the person who guided me through confirmation and my statement of faith, and she’s known my family for decades.  I was super pumped when she first approached MOH Big Eyes inquiring if we had decided on an officiant yet because I was hoping to have someone who knew either Mr. Sword or myself personally because I really dislike generic wedding ceremonies or one’s where the officiant is saying odd things that don’t make sense for that couple.

Being in a LDR with our wedding (and our Pastor for that matter), made finding time for 12 hours of counseling a bit challenging.  Since the beginning of the summer we have met with her three times and that, combined with homework to do in Chicago will get definitely get us to 12.

Sitting in the hot seat

 

Pastor P

The best part of doing the premarital inventory was knowing that we had discussed all of the issues/questions previously!  The first thing Pastor P said (after grading them) was, “Well it’s obvious you two communicate!”  And by “grade” I mean, line up the answers to see how we both answered in each category.

An example question went something like this: “What will be your partner’s main concern during your marriage? I put “finances” for Mr. Sword and he put that he’d worry about “finances.”  We both agreed we want to decorate our house in a modern/contemporary style, we’d like about 2 kids, we don’t keep any secrets from each other, and that Miss Sword is sort of in charge.  Awkward. 🙂  We had to explain that while I tend to make the majority of decisions, when Mr. Sword puts his foot down, I listen.  Like I’ve said before, he is a laid-back guy, and goes with the flow most of the time, so when he has a strong opinion about something, we both honor it.

To be honest I sort of hate that stereotypical “the man rules the roost” sort of mentality that can be seen on TV and/or observed in real life.  I come from a very matriarchal family, so it only makes sense that I would find someone who fit better into that family dynamic.  This is not to say that I don’t value Mr. Sword’s ideas or that we aren’t equal partners because that is completely untrue.  Sometimes it just comes down to personality differences.  I am outgoing, assertive, and the inspiring motivator for our relationship, he is mellow, sweet, and the loving support for our relationship. We both bring in humor, silliness, heart, and respect, and overall, I think it works for us!  Sister Big Eyes found someone who compliments her just as well, but I would definitely say they fall into the same matriarchal family style as we do.

Speaking of Sister, she and FBIL are having Pastor P officiate their ceremony as well.  Another wedding share.  What are we at now?  Is anyone keeping track?

Because I clearly don’t post enough pics of the two of us. Not!

(all photos personal)

Who has the more dominant personality in your relationship?  Are you doing pre-martial counseling?  Does any other state give a discount like MN?

Happy Engagiversary!!

This past weekend Mr. Sword and I celebrated our six-month engagiversary, for one simple reason: we remembered it. (who remembers their six-month engagiversary?!?!)

We were out on a dinner cruise and the waiter asked us if we were celebrating anything special (we were not), but after he left it dawned on me, it was the 19th of August, six months ago to the day was when Mr. Sword took me to the top of the John Hancock and proposed!  So we celebrated.

The dinner cruise was on  a ship called the Odyssey that takes off from Navy Pier.  Boss lady had bid on it at a silent auction and then gifted it to Mr. Sword and I.  Man, were we grateful!!  Tickets for the three-course meal, live band, and amazing view are a bit on the pricey side but the only thing we had to buy were our drinks and gratuity.  We ended up splitting a bottle of red wine and celebrating our engagement basking in the evening glow of our favorite city.  It was the most perfect date night.  Seriously, if you ever go to Chicago and have the time/money to go on a dinner cruise, do it!  One of my favorite things about Chicago is the skyline, and it’s absolutely gorgeous at sunset on a boat.

Dear Mr. Sword, I love you so much!  You have been such a wonderful fiancé for the past few months and I’m so lucky to have such a helpful and smart groom-to-be.  Another half a year to go til we say I do!  This journey has been one of the best I’ve ever taken.  You’re my most favorite tall skinny Scottish man ever! 🙂 Muah!

(all photos personal)

Has anyone celebrated their engagiversary at the half-way mark or at a year?  Anyone else remember last-minute like us?

I am Shrendoring (sharing a vendor)

Sorry about my stupid clever new wedding related word.  Maybe it’ll catch on with like five people.  Maybe.

Remember when I said I had booked our photographer?  WELL, I’m ready to reveal who that is, and ready to reveal proof of her awesomeness from a very trusted source: Sister/MOH Big Eyes!  Sister Big Eyes has first-hand experience of working with my photographer because Sister Big Eyes and FBIL have booked the same said photographer!

Here’s the thing, Sister did not want to do the same amount of research her older sis did, she wanted to get a reasonably priced deal with a quality person, and she came to Mr. Sword and I for information.  While we were in Minnesota meeting with our four choices, Mr. Sword and I were keeping Sister Big Eyes and FBIL up to speed on what we thought of each meeting.  Once we came to the conclusion and booked our photographer, they muddled it over, did a quick online search and ultimately decided to go with the same woman.

Crystal Liepa.  Sister Big Eyes reports that she is a JOY to work with.  Crystal is easy-going and fun, welcomes personal photo ideas, but at the same time doesn’t run out of new and interesting shots herself.  She’s bubbly, smart, and a full-time photographer!  I can’t wait to get my own chance to work with her in March!

From what I heard their shoot was a blast, filled with laughs, and even my little nephew-pup Fibonacci, (my sister is a math nerd), got to join in on the fun!  They chose to go back to Lake Calhoun (a beautiful and popular lake in Minnesota), where they got engaged, for one of their locations.  Sound familiar?  They also hit up a Dunn Bros coffee shop because FBIL is a coffee-addict like myself, and because coffee shops are the best places to have a first date with a person you met online.  Yes, Sister Big Eyes and FBIL are a Match success story!  I bet you know someone who’s met on Match, it’s the place to be!

Here is just a peak at their adorable photos!

All photos by the lovely Crystal Liepa.

Honestly, I am thrilled with our decision to use the same photographer!  I think it will only benefit us all over the next year, allow for more comfortable family photos, and make our Rock the Frock Sisters Shoot feel like one big, happy reunion!  Tis the season to be sharing… with my sister.  AGAIN.  🙂  What’s next?  We’ll have to wait and see!!

What do you think of MOH Big Eye’s engagement session?  Can you tell they play guitar and love music?  Is anyone else shrendoring too?

Boobs!

I swear I couldn’t think of a more clever title than that.  Fortunately it does make sense because this post is partly about a woman’s top half, or more specifically my top half.

heading out with my girls on a return trip to my college campus, not my best face…

See, Mr. Sword had opinions regarding what I wear or more specifically the dresses I wear, and I’m not sure what is more abnormal, that fact that he’s a guy and cares about my style of dress, or that he prefers me to show off my cleavage as opposed to hiding it from the rest of the world.  Before I go any further I should note that I do solicit the opinions, but instead of the more common male response of, “Yea looks good, I can’t tell a difference from the last thing you wore,” Mr. Swords says things like, “I don’t really care for that one.”

I must backtrack for a minute.  There are three reasons Mr. Sword’s clothing opinions make me laugh.

1.  Sometimes it’s a competition of who likes my boobs more, myself or Mr. Sword.  I’ve had boobs since I was 11, I can’t remember life without them.  And I’ve always enjoyed wearing tighter, more low-cut tops.  In high school, my friends and I even nicknamed them Mitzi and Ditzie (I can’t believe I just shared that online!)  And since moving to Illinois, they’ve been known as The Minnesota Twins.  Get it?  🙂  So yea, he’s a guy, he likes boobs (duh) but I really like them too!  They’re fun for everyone.

2. Mr. Sword is one of the most laid-back people I’ve ever met.  He doesn’t have strong feelings about most things.  He could care less about the fact that I rarely make him a home-cooked dinner, that I get tipsy after one glass of wine, or that I’m a huge dork who likes to sing to herself while cleaning the house naked (true fact that’s also embarrassing, clothes only slow me down).  But yet, he DEFINITELY notices and cares about what I wear!

3. Mr. Sword secretly LOVES it when other guys hit on me.  So not typical, right?  One day a group of us were walking through a busy intersection, the girls in the front, the boys in the back, so there was no indication that I was with Mr. Sword.  Well I was wearing a very tight black dress, and some guy leans out of his car to holler at me that, “Damn, you’re wearing that dress really well.”  I turn around to look at my then-boyfriend and he’s just grinning away.  If it had happened to another one of my friends, her husband would have been ready to throw a punch!  Sometimes I think it’s a cultural thing.  When we used to go out more with Mr. Sword’s Scottish friends in Chicago, I noticed that all of his friends flirted with me and the other girls despite who was dating who.  I asked one of Mr. Sword’s buddies, “Why is it OK to hit on your friend’s girlfriend?”  And he replied, “Better your friend than a guy you don’t know.”  Good point.

This all brings me back to the fact that Mr. Sword is VERY picky about the dresses I wear.  He strongly dislikes all vintage, old-fashioned looking, modest, or conservative style dresses.  Oh and flowers.  He doesn’t like rosettes or floral prints on me either.  I know, so demanding!!  Mr. Sword is so low-key most of the time, and he never makes me feel bad about what I’m wearing, but when I ask him if he likes something, he gives me an honest answer, as he should.  Over the years, I’ve been able to figure out which ones he’ll like and which ones he won’t (which sometimes I still buy anyway because hey, I can’t have my boobs out all the time!)

Finally, this brings me to my long-winded point.  I MUST look SEXY on my wedding day.  I think my dress is up to the challenge, but when I was trying on wedding dresses this summer and bridal consultant after bridal consultant kept telling me that my fiancé will like anything I wear, and it won’t matter as long as I’m happy, I had to explain to them that they are wrong and some guys do care!

Ready to see some of Mr. Sword’s LEAST favorite dresses?

Our first Easter together. Didn’t know he hated this until MONTHS later…

 

at a friend’s wedding, I love this dress and wear it frequently, despite his opinions

 

Easter 2011

I’ve recently decided that I dress too juvenile for an almost 29-year-old and I should really start dressing more conservatively!  HA.  The man wants cleavage and cleavage he shall get!  It is his wedding too after all!

Just in case you need more proof of Mr. Sword’s opinions, during the inventory review at our premarital counseling session with our Pastor (more on that soon), when answering the question what is one thing you’d change about your partner physically, Mr. Sword said “style of dress!”  Granted that’s better than height or weight, but not better than “other.”

Is your partner really opinionated about what you wear?  Do they get jealous if someone else hits on you?  OH and yay for boobs!