Archive | September 2012

Why, hello there!

The first look is probably one of the biggest wedding fads around today.  (Second to maybe the photo booth or candy buffet?)  I am not having a photo booth OR a candy buffet… despite my love of photos of myself family and friends and my love of sugar, but we ARE doing a first look.  And it’s gonna be AMAZING.  Well, at least I hope so.

Currently, I’m low on inspiration and ideas for Mr. Sword’s and my first look.  But that’s not because there is a shortage of cool ways to do it!

image via Mrs. Porcupine on Weddingbee/ photo by Klose Photography

Soft Pink and White Wedding Details Using Baby

My goal is to do something completely different and random.  For our first look we plan on going off-site from the hotel (the only time all day) with our bridal party to take both the couple and bridal party shots.  But most of the crazy ideas I have just don’t seem plausible…

Maybe we should walk through a maze, both of us starting at different points and with photographers in tow, and just wait until we run into each other?  Can’t get more of a genuine surprise than that, but then again, a corn maze in March… in Minnesota?

Or maybe we could use our fake Claymores (yes I went back and bought another one), but how do you hide behind a sword?  And why are we battling each other on our wedding day?

What if we go to the Mall of America and I ride down an escalator into his arms?  It sounds dramatic but also like an accident waiting to happen with my dress getting caught in the stairs, and then’s there the problem of all the random shoppers and no privacy!

Needless to say, I’m stuck.   I’m sure one day it will just hit me, and in the meantime I’ve chosen to focus on a different photography-related dilemma.

The back story is, I’ve known forever that I was NOT going to wait until the end of the day to see Mr. Sword while walking down the aisle.  I was perfectly OK with having him see me before the ceremony and setting aside a special time to make that happen.  But then I started thinking about all the family portraits we want to take, and how we’d rather not squeeze them in post-ceremony since we want our family to enjoy the cocktail hour which starts immediately following the ceremony.  Plus, we had also decided to do the very traditional receiving line with our parents post-ceremony so that we can make some introductions and guide folks to the ballroom.  Because of all this, it was imperative we do all of our formal shots BEFORE the wedding.

But then I started thinking that because of all the pre-wedding photo-taking, Dad Sword might see me reapplying my makeup instead of looking teary eyed, and Grandma Sword might watch me posing doing my ugly laugh (it’s bad) when I’d rather be available to hug her when I see her!  My aunt’s first glimpse of me might be plopped in a chair resting in between shots, and Mr. Sword’s parents might get the pleasure of seeing me trip, cry, or whine the first time they see me as a bride instead of glowing down the aisle! Although let’s be honest, tripping and crying down the aisle seems a lot more realistic, but I’m gonna do my damnedest to keep the whining at bay.  😉

In my mind, none of this seemed right and I wasn’t sure how to fix it.  I was explaining my concerns during a pre-martial session with Pastor P when Mr. Sword came to the rescue with a solution!  As he often does.  🙂  Mr. Sword suggested that I do a first look for the families so they can get a special reveal before the photo taking shuffle commences.  BRILLIANT.  I was in love with the idea, our family first look.

We decided that both Mr. Sword and I should be revealed together because this first look is for both of our families, and this will be the first time most people will see Mr. Sword in his kilt!

Unlike our couple first look, I know exactly how to do this one.  There is this clear elevator in the atrium near where our ceremony will be taking place.  My idea is to start from the top of the hotel and take the elevator down to the ground floor, exit, and walk down the staircase to meet our lovely families.  After some hugs and tears the family portraits can start immediately, making use of the beautiful atrium space.  Imagining this moment gives me goosebumps, and I’m so excited for both of our first looks!

What did you do for your first look?  Did anyone else take family photos before the wedding?  How did you make it work?

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My Wirthday Gift

What is a wirthday gift you may ask?  GREAT Q.  It’s another one of Miss Sword’s made up words, much like shrendoring, which means to share a vendor with someone.  A wirthday gift is a present that doubles as both a birthday AND a wedding gift.  Get it?

Remember when I talked about destroying DIYing my ideal cake topper by making it myself? I was convinced (just like many of you smart hive members) that 45 dollars was too much for a cake topper when it could be made on a smaller budget.  But then Mom Sword reminded me that I’m not the most patient crafter and well, I don’t really know how to craft at all!  She suggested I buy it, and soon I was at the point of pushing it out of my mind until one of my honor attendants offered to take a stab at it, but turns out no one had to DIY anything… because…

I just received it as a wirthday gift from MOH Big Eyes!!

(MOH Big Eyes is also known as Sister Big Eyes in case you are just tuning in to our sister saga.)  And Sister Big Eyes decided our “happily ever after” cake topper would make the perfect early birthday gift because it’s not OK for me to spend that much on my cake topper, but it is more than OK for her to gift it to me!  Isn’t she the best?

Overall I’m pretty pleased with the quality of the topper, and it’s the first Etsy product I’ve ever owned and been able to review.  The cake topper comes from the Etsy shop, Better Off Wed, and while I’m very pleased with the topper,  the one thing that concerns me is the very slender toothpick type thing that is holding up the words.  It seems a bit unsteady in my opinion.

While I’m certain a more substantial stick could have been used it does make the words stand out nicely, and I think the letters look crisp and amazing!  I’m also very pleased that MOH Big Eyes chose to go with purple for the heart instead of one of our other wedding colors (forest green, chocolate, and ivory).  I think the eggplant is the most prominent of all the colors and I’m so excited to see everything come together on the big day!

When I called Sister Big Eyes to thank her for the wirthday gift (clever double name had yet to exist at that point) I gushed over how sweet she was to buy our cake topper and how surprised I was to see it.  She told me she was glad that I was happy and that she was hoping this secured her another blog post on Weddingbee.  HAHA!  She’s joking of course (I’m the narcissistic one of the family) but still.  It’s all about making it on the blog.  Love.it.

So, I’d like to dedicate this blog entry to Sister Big Eyes.  May you haunt my wedding posts often and may I come up with an equally as good wirthday gift for you come May.  Also, here is an embarrassing photo highlighting your BIG EYES.

(all photos personal)

Have you received a wirthday gift too?  What does everyone think of the cake topper now that we’ve seen it in person?

Guess who’s engaged?

No, not me silly!  I got engaged this past February.  It’s actually someone who is like a sister to me but no, I’m not talking about Sister Big Eyes, although she just got engaged in May.

OK, no more stalling… IT’S MY FUTURE SISTER-IN-LAW!!!  That’s right, Mr. Sword’s Wee Sis got engaged last week to her man B and we are so excited and happy for them!!  🙂

Can you tell she’s related to Mr. Sword?

Wee Sis and her guy B have been together since Uni (college) and already own a house together (because they are that cool)!  It is a real bummer we don’t live closer because they are awesome people and it’s a shame we don’t get to see them very often.  It’s hard to have family across the pond, but thankfully with email and Skype, we are able to keep in touch pretty often.  I can’t wait to see them in March at our wedding so I can congratulate them in person!

B was quite the romantic when he proposed to Wee Sis!  He led her up the front steps and through the house by way of 100 candles and lots of flowers!  Wee Sis said that while they had discussed getting married quite a bit, she had no idea when the proposal was coming!  She was completely surprised (and a bit warm due to all the candles) when it happened!

Not only am I excited for their wedding because they are part of my new family, but also because it will be my FIRST Scottish wedding in Scotland!  True to UK style, they are going to have a long engagement of about two years or more so they can enjoy this special time and save a bit of money.  Wee Sis is ready to start reading Weddingbee for ideas though!

Well, that’s me fresh out of sisters, so unless The Glue is ready to tie the knot (he’s not btw), then I guess I’m done sharing family related engagements for a while!

Just wait til we all start having babies around the same time.  Yeesh.  🙂

(photos courtesy of B)

I love to hear engagement stories, did anyone you know recently get engaged?  How cool is it that BOTH my sister and Mr. Sword’s sister are engaged?

Miss Sword bought a sword

I realize my tricky blog post title might be a bit difficult to decipher but I’m happy to report we now have a real life FAKE sword for our Sword Wedding!!

Last week I was wandering through one of my favorite places on earth (Target of course), and I decided to browse the Halloween section (despite not being a fan of the holiday itself).

Lo, and behold (gotta use some old-timey speak for effect) there in the midst of the children’s weapons section was a beautiful broad or double-edged sword complete with a jewel encrusted handle!  I knew I had to have it.

My excitement was hard to contain and I wished I hadn’t been alone because I really wanted to share the moment with someone.  Considering I was in the process of asking a friend to order an authentic type sword from one of his vendors in Ireland/Scotland with a very small “wedding prop” budget, and I was worried that something made of a quality material might be a bit on the heavy and dangerous side; I was totally shocked to run into THIS sword at THIS price.

That’s right!  It was only 9 bucks!  I think this is one of the best parts about planning a wedding.  The element of surprise when you find just the right thing or the perfect idea hits you.  I don’t know what I’d do with a short engagement!  I love this sh@$.

If you’ll remember from my very first post on Weddingbee, I was very reluctant at first to choose such a masculine icon, but once Mr. Sword referred to our icon as a claymore,  I was hooked!  The claymore is a Scottish broadsword and everyone (well mostly my brother, The Glue) is convinced we need to have one at the wedding.  Well, now we do!  Plus, Mr. Sword and I had SUCH a good time using props for our engagement photos that we can’t wait to do it again!  And besides, what’s a fairy tale without a sword battle?  Oh crap, does that mean I need to have two?!?!

The above picture is a close-up of the sword but if you look closely you can see Mr. Sword peeking around the wall.  And no, he’s not interested in joining my photo-taking session, he’s actually telling me to put down my new toy and finish packing for a wedding in Iowa we were leaving for in the morning (packing and I don’t get along, and sometimes I need a kick in the ass gentle reminders to keep going).

Unfortunately for Mr. Sword I wanted just one more picture!

(all photos personal)

Does anyone else plan on using a non-traditional prop for their wedding photos?  How COOL is that sword?!?

Am I having a feminist wedding?

Umm.  I think so… What does that even mean?  Is that OK?  Is it going to be received well?  Do I care?

The other day I was perusing A Practical Wedding and I came across this wedding graduate post that just resonated with me.  The article talks about what it means to have a very personal, unique wedding that reflects who you are as a couple, and how that makes for one AMAZING and perhaps FEMINIST wedding.

My favorite quote from the post is when the writer shares why her wedding was in fact feminist, saying, “It meant that Ben and I made decisions based on our values and beliefs, and it meant that I was willing to advocate for those things without fear of being judged as hypocritical. It meant that I was willing to make people uncomfortable: like letting them know that we, as a couple, recognized our privilege of being able to be married, and that we wished that everyone could have that privilege, or rather, what it really is—a right. It meant telling people “no.” And “yes.” And it meant that, for one time in our lives, Ben and I were going to be the center of attention and we were going to use that as a platform to tell the people in our lives what was important to us, and that, to us, was social justice.”

I might be marrying a dude (aka the sexy Mr. Sword), but there’s not much I love more than GAYS and CHICKS.  I don’t look or act like your average feminist, but isn’t that the beauty of equality?  We can fight for all people to have the same rights, demand that women should get equal pay, and at the end of the day still prefer to stay home and raise our kids ourselves.  Being a SAHM can be the feminist choice.

And so can getting married.  Even if you are having the girliest, princess-loving, fairy tale-driven wedding ever, because you can use this major life event and personalize it to portray your values, whatever they are.

For example, there will be no bouquet toss at my wedding (no garter toss either) because I despise the singling out of the single ladies as if it’s their moral obligation to be “next in line,” (but on the other hand, I can’t get enough of Beyoncé’s song… see I’m a conundrum!)

While Dad Sword WILL be walking me down the aisle, Pastor P will NOT be asking, “Who gives this woman away?”  She’ll be asking for a blessing from the parents, which sounds just perfect for us.  I’ve also asked Pastor P to take out all of the gender specific language in the wording of our religious ceremony because I’m all about the inclusive language.

For me, having and enjoying my wedding when I know it’s not a choice for so many others is my way of supporting them, (if that makes any sense at all).  I guess, hosting a wedding, surrounded by our favorite people, is Mr. Sword’s and my way of sharing our views and giving a voice to those groups that lack equal rights.  I know it might not be entirely simple or easy, but hey, it’s my party and I’ll advocate if I want to!  Oops, I think I mean cry if I want to, no matter, both will probably get accomplished.

Do you think you’re having/did you have a feminist wedding?  Why is it feminist to you?  Or why is not?  No wrong answers!

Flowers for Girls

There are only a limited few wedding details that I’ve had planned for years, (one being that Sister Big Eyes would be my MOH), and one that came about only a few years ago.   It’s a detail I had solidified in my head even before I met Mr. Sword.  Something so right that you just feel it long before you realize it.  My flower girl.  Littlest C.

Littlest C is almost 6 now but I’ve known her since she was 11 months old!

I always end up crying when I look at these old photos!

How I became a nanny is a story for another day but let’s just say I’ve never been a nanny before this family and I probably won’t be one after this family.  It just fit.  And I basically fell in love with the kids right off the bat.  And PS (while it’s expected of me), I’m NOT one of those people who think every kid is cute!  Obviously my two nanny kids are really special to me and I’m actually celebrating my five-year anniversary with my nanny family in October.  Littlest C’s older brother, we’ll call him Big C, is going to be an usher in the wedding, along with three of my awesome cousins.

Anyway, this past weekend my very talented Boss Lady (who’s making all the extra tartan pieces if you’ll remember), Littlest C, and I went shopping for a flower girl dress for Littlest C and boy oh boy was it exciting!  Littlest C is a bit of a girly-girl like myself and after seeing me try on a few dresses this past May, she couldn’t wait for her turn!  Lucky for her (and unlucky for us) she looks good in everything!  We went to David’s Bridal so she could sample lots of different styles but to be honest, we’re probably going to buy online because it’s a better selection at better prices!  Win win.

The goal was to find something that hints at my dress without being an exact replica.  Boss Lady and I think we have figured out the ideal fabric and fit so all in all I’d say the shopping trip was very successful!  Here are some of the dresses Littlest C got to model for us:

I really wanted Littlest C’s opinion and encouraged her to tell us what she felt most comfortable in and what she liked the best.  Littlest C deemed skirt twirling ability to be most important and she loved the princess-like dresses.  Ahhh, a girl after my own heart.  🙂

Once she discovered how much she looked like a cupcake when she sat down we had trouble keeping her off the ground!

The purple was eliminated pretty quickly because we all think she should be in ivory like the bride!

Littlest C is going to be dropping flower petals on the aisle runner just like a traditional flower girl.  We want to find a nice square basket in ivory or light-colored wood to partly cover in the tartan fabric so she gets a bit of Scottish something for her ensemble as well!

Speaking of Scottish, this is what Mr. Sword what was doing while us girls were shopping.  Video games with Big C.  Such a tough life!  🙂

All in all, it was a wonderful and girly afternoon.  I’m so honored to have Littlest C be my GORGEOUS flower girl.  Not sure who is more excited for the wedding day, her or me!

LOVE.

Are you having a flower girl or ring bearer in your wedding?  What are they wearing?

Back Attack

I want to share something with the Hive.  It’s something that affects me almost daily at this point, it’s something that I’m scared will flare up around my wedding this coming March, something that could affect my ability to move and walk.

It’s my about my back.  I have chronic back problems.  And in March of 2011, I had back surgery.  Yes, at age 27 I was in surgery for my back.  To put this in perspective, Grandma Sword said a few of her friends had gone through similar surgeries, so yea, not something too common in my peer group.  I was rushed into surgery a mere 18 hours after meeting with my surgeon and hearing that I had a fully herniated disc.  Originally, I tried physical therapy when the pain first started but after an MRI it was clear that I needed surgery.  I ended up having a relatively new procedure called endoscopic microdiscectomy surgery and my recovery was fast.

A few months later the medical bills started rolling in, and to this day I’m unsure what was worse, the most intense physical pain I’ve ever felt in my life or the staggering amount of emotional distress I endured while dealing with my insurance company and the hospitals.

Mom Sword took care of me for a full week post-surgery. We co-existed in my studio condo better than we ever thought possible and it’s created amazing memories for us. My Mom is the best!!

If my surgery story were a fairy tale it would go something like this: Once upon a time a relatively active artist who experienced minor back pain on occasion lived a very happy albeit dramatic life.  One day she was in rehearsal for a show and something just didn’t feel right.  A few days later the artist couldn’t get out of bed.  That night her Scottish Knight in shining armor drove her to the emergency room.  After four hours she finally received pain meds only to vomit them up, and eventually begged to be admitted.  Twelve grueling hours AFTER THAT she received some magical medicine in her back that got rid of the pain but caused her to lose all feeling in her left leg.

The artist stayed home from work to rest, got an MRI, and met with a back wizard a few days later who told her that if she didn’t get the disc debris off of her nerve, she would eventually lose all ability to control her leg AND possibly go on to lose control of her vaginal and rectal muscles.  Once those were gone, the wizard told her, there would be no way to get them back.  The artist was rushed into surgery with the Scottish Knight by her side the whole time.  Her back wizard was a special wizard and had learned a very fancy technique in Germany where he used something the size of a pen to go in through her side as opposed to the more invasive route of going through her back tissue.  Because of his special powers, the artist was able to recover in a few weeks as opposed to a few months.

My fake “back brace” baby bump.

While her back felt better for the time being, the artist had to spend a lot of time in therapy to re-gain the use of her left leg.  She was one of the lucky ones because she got almost all the feeling back in her left leg except for two toes that are still partly numb.  The wizard told her to never run again and to focus on core strengthening and Pilates.  The artist didn’t care all that much for running or working out in the first place, so she was OK with this.  And for a year she felt pretty good… that is until she started working out again more frequently right around the time that she got engaged.

Honestly, I have no idea how this fairy tale will end.  Right now, I occasionally feel this really sharp pain in my back.  The nerve isn’t being damaged anymore, but two of my discs rubbing together and sometimes it’s so bad I can’t get out of bed.  I might have an artificial disc put in at some point, or I might have to get my two discs fused together, and more than likely, I will have more herniated discs in the future.  I know many people suffer from bulging or herniated discs or other back pain, and more often than not they just want to help, but it’s so annoying to hear that my back would be fine IF ONLY I lowered my stress level and used more ice packs.  My surgeon says it’s mostly a case of genetics, so it’s very likely that I’ll have a relationship with him for the rest of my life.

How does all this pertain to my wedding?  Well remember my post on irrational fears?  My very REAL fear is that I’ll have some back pain around the week of my wedding.  I just had a really bad week with my back, almost passing out from the pain as I walked to the bathroom in the middle of the night to go pee.  I have no idea what happened but sometimes things shift around in there and it causes such pain that I cannot move, let alone walk.  Working out for me is mostly non-existent because even Pilates sometimes causes discomfort the next day.  The issue is how do I strengthen my core when movement is what causes the problems?!?!  Right now I’m focusing on using my resistance bands to tone my arms (you know how I feel about my arms), walking a lot, and eating healthier.  While there’s not much calorie-burning going on, it’s a start.

And I don’t just have fears about the wedding.  I have fears about carrying a child someday, convinced I’ll be on bed rest the entire time because my back won’t be able to take the extra weight.  I’m scared that this back issue will be an ever-present drain on my relationship with Mr. Sword (even though he’s been amazing), as well as a drain on our funds.

I know this sounds a bit like a “poor Miss Sword sob story,” so I want to recognize that I realize lots of people suffer from chronic issues.  I have friends who struggle every minute of every day dealing with Crohn’s disease, and I have a really good friend who has the heart of a 50-year-old (which causes her a lot of problems obviously), and she’s the same age as me.  How is that fair?  It’s not, but that’s life, and while it may be tough, I have no plans to mope about or slow down!  IT’S THE YEAR OF MY WEDDING!  🙂

And I promise my next post will be 100% more uplifting!  It includes a little girl and trying on dresses.  Not much cuter than that!

Does anyone else have a physical aliment that gets in the way of life at times?  Are you worried about it affecting your wedding too?