Archive | December 2012

Hair and Makeup Score

Another item that got checked off the list while in MN was my hair and makeup trial with my awesome stylist Laura.  If you want to read me rave about her some more, read this and this.

Warning: This is a Miss Sword photo heavy post!  If gets too overwhelming staring at my face for the next few minutes I suggest taking a break after the extensions go in.

I’m so happy because Laura nailed my bridal look!  I gave her my smokey eye inspiration photos and after decided to do a softer colored lip than you’ll see in the photos, I was in love with everything.  I decided to go with airbrush makeup, as are most of my girls, because it will last us all day and all night!


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Smokey eyes plus false eyelashes… yummy.  Too bad it took me awhile to get used to wearing them!

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As for hair, well, if you’re on the fence about getting extensions, I can’t recommend them enough!  As someone with limp, stringy, and lifeless hair, the one day I want volume more than any other is my wedding day and boy, did some extra blonde pieces of hair accomplish that!  I know it’s superficial, pricey, and completely unnecessary, but I felt so beautiful.

These are my babies:

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This is me brushing them later that night while Mom Sword stands on laughing and taking photos of me.  In my defense, Laura told me to brush out the hairspray after I take them out!  🙂

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This is Laura clipping the extensions into my hair- so cool how easy it is!

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This is her styling them.

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And this is the final look:

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And this is MOH Big Eyes wearing just one extension in her dark locks.  We’re a silly bunch.

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Finally, this is me with my normal hair after a mere four hours of wearing the extensions.

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Yes, I had to take them out, I’m a wuss.

In all seriousness, I consider myself to have a pretty tough scalp from years of Mom Sword ripping through my tangles, but my head was definitely hurting after a few hours of having my new hair pinned in and I’m wondering if this is normal or not.  I’m thinking of taking some ibuprofen on the day of the wedding to take the edge off, plus I’m sure being in a state of wedded bliss will help take my mind off of things.  🙂

(all photos personal)

Did your hair and makeup trial turn out to be everything you thought it would be?  Who else is wearing extensions and does it make your head hurt or am I just a big baby?

Do Not Disturb DIY

Ohmygosh, I can’t believe it’s almost 2013!  The year of my wedding!  A big congrats to all of the bees who got married in the lovely year of 2012, but I’m pretty excited about the next set of unique weddings that are on the horizon (even though I used to wish I could have been married in an even year.)  OH the battles you never pick and never mean to share on the internet!

Anyway, I can’t wait to get started sharing all of my updates with everyone, so to start things off here is a little DIY (destroy-it-yourself) done by yours truly!  But first:

sword guests

Most of the DIY’s for my wedding have been orchestrated and constructed by Sister/MOH Big Eyes.  She is my personal wedding slave craft-er and she did an amazing job on everything.  But these DND signs were my baby!  🙂

I’m not sure where I first saw the Do Not Disturb sign used in a wedding but I knew right away that it was something I was going to incorporate into my OOTG (out-of-town guest) bags.  My search began online trying to find templates and ideas for wording where I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a forum where someone had commented about Vistaprint having a deal that included 50 free rack cards.  So to pay it forward, make sure you go to Vistaprint to get your free rack cards too!  (Hopefully the sale is still going on.)

For those who don’t know what a rack card is (I didn’t realize that’s what they were called), it’s a long skinny brochure cut of paper that is usually used for advertising, but they are also the PERFECT size for hanging signs off of doorknobs.

Luckily, I was able to design both the front and the back of the card and at first I was completely stumped at what to do.  I thought of using another engagement photo but thought that too redundant.  I thought of leaving the background blank while focusing on fancy/fairy tale type of font but thought that too boring.  And then it hit me, the tartan!  OF COURSE!

So I uploaded the image we have of our family tartan and hoped for the best.  Unfortunately, the website informed me that the quality of my photo wasn’t very good so I was not expecting them to turn out the way I pictured them in my head, but in the end, I think they turned out great!  They’re definitely not perfect, one side looks really shiny, and the colors might be a bit too bright  but I’m so happy I found another place to showcase our tartan.

On the one side I put, “Welcome to Minnesota! We are so happy you could make it!”  We added the name of our family tartan (in case there is any confusion haha) in the bottom right-hand corner which is written as Hislastname-Mylastname personal tartan.

DND back edited

And on the side that will hang facing out on the guest’s hotel room door, I put the standard wording of “Please Do Not Disturb.  We’re still recovering from Mr. and Miss Sword’s wedding celebration.”  And I’m sure most people will be!!  🙂  We also added the date of the wedding in numbers in the bottom right-hand corner.

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Side note: When writing out our wedding date this past year on save-the-dates, invitations, and whatnot, we intentionally chose to spell it out instead of using numbers because the in the UK they put the day first followed by the month.  For example 04/05/2012 would read as the 4th of May in the UK and the 5th of April in the US.  We decided everyone would know the wedding was in March by the time the actual wedding rolled around but my apologies to our guests who have to read the date backwards!  Does anyone else need to be aware of this with their paper products?

Since I’m making about 48 OOTG bags (don’t ask me how I’ve come up with that number when not everyone has RSVP’ed yet), the 50 free rack cards ended up being the perfect amount.

The actual crafting or DIY’ing part came when they arrived in the mail to my parent’s house.  I decided against punching a big hole in the top because I thought adding ribbon would be prettier/fancier.

Here are my supplies (I’ve always wanted to post one of these pictures!):

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Step One: Find a line in your image (in my case the tartan) as guideline for punching holes at the top of the card.  I used the same spots on each one and it made punching holes take no time at all.

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Step Two:  Measure the size ribbon you want after first seeing how low you want it to hang on a door handle.

Step Three:  Thread the ribbon through each hole tying a knot on the side that will not be displayed.  Cut off the excess ribbon.

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And you’re done!  I know this craft didn’t need an explanation (or photos for that matter), but I had to share it because I’m proud of my crafting skills!

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(all photos personal)

Anyone else making DND signs for their guests hotel rooms?  Did my really extensive tutorial make sense!?!?  😉

A Highland Fairy Tale Teaser

Happy Holidays Hive!!  I hope you all had an awesome time with your family and/or friends.  I was in North Dakota over Christmas where the temperature promptly dropped below zero.  Gross.  Despite the cold we had a great time celebrating and singing together at church, eating Grandma Sword’s chili, sharing presents, playing games, and gorging on cookies.

I’m actually doing a lot of wedding planning, crafting, and family bonding over the next few days so I won’t have any spare time to write, BUT I will have lots to share with you all starting in January when I’m back in Chicago!

For now here is a project I worked on with Sister/MOH Big Eyes during our time in Bismarck.  The back story is that Sister Big Eyes received a new IPAD from her school and she and her third graders made a movie trailer using iMovie. Well, she showed all of us her trailer and after congratulating her on the awesome work, I exclaimed that we just HAD to make one about my wedding too.

We had a blast making it and then went on to make even more movie trailers with other family members.  I’m not even an Apple person (Mr. Sword and I are “Android people” as he likes to say) but this IPAD app totally rocked my world.  Plus, I’ll jump on any chance to star in a movie made by me about me.  😉

Hope you all enjoy it and I’ll be back next week with lots of wedding updates!

Makes me laugh every time I watch it.  🙂

Once Upon a Time: Princes and Presidents

I have one more post regarding our invites but if you’re just tuning in you can see our fairy tale design here and all the little extra things here.

Initially, I wasn’t going to spend the time printing invitations to invite my favorite VIP’s to the wedding but then I thought how cool is it I’m getting married while Barack Obama is president!?!?  It makes my liberal heart happy.

And similarly how awesome is it that my life sort of mirrors Princess Kate’s life?

image via Wikipedia

image via Wikipedia

What, you don’t see it?

Hello!  We both are going to be married to men from the UK with thinning hair!!  (Note: Mr. Sword approves this comment about his hair.  The best kind of people are ones who can laugh at themselves, and Mr. Sword is the best kind of people.)  Back to how I’m similar to Kate… we’re both super down-to-earth (well mostly just her), we’re about the same age (29 and 30)… AND did you know William and Kate went to uni at St. Andrews which is in Scotland, which happens to be the country where Mr. Sword is from??  OK, so I’m being silly and grasping at straws…

But we DID dress up as the happy royal couple two years ago at Halloween.  (This is also proof I look better as a blonde.)

Mr. Sword thought this was a terrible costume idea.  He doesn't share my love of the royal family.

Mr. Sword thought this was a terrible costume idea. He doesn’t share my love of the royal family.

Once I started thinking about inviting my favorite royal couple, and the President and First Lady Michelle, I knew I couldn’t leave out Cinderella and Prince Charming! I am Cinderella myself after all!  (Remember the princess headbands MOH Big Eyes bought us all?)

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Classic Miss Sword pose strikes again!

In case you have any such similar obsessions, here are their addresses.  It was extremely difficult to find one for Prince William and Princess Kate.  Forgive me if it’s wrong!  I know a lot of Bees have received congratulations from VIP’s and I’m hoping we are just as lucky, although in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal, but if you have the extra invitations, why not?  🙂

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Also, for those interested, the font for our addresses was free and it’s called MKBritishWriting.  You can find it here.  I picked it after about 30 minutes of browsing and was going to keep the same font from our Save the Dates until Mom Sword said those addresses were too difficult to read and they made our letters look like spam. FAIL.

We also used the free wedding Forever stamps for our US invitations because they fit within the weight of a standard letter.  Two things I didn’t spend much time or energy on was fonts and stamps.  We kept those things simple with minimal effort.

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)

Are you inviting VIP’s to your wedding?  Also, in somewhat related news, Kate Middleton is pregnant, yay!!  Who wishes they were pregnant at the same time as the Duchess of Cambridge?  Ask around, baby envy of the royal couple is a real thing!

Once Upon a Time: The Little Details

My last post revealed our beautiful invitations so in this post I want to show you what we added to make them even more personal!

I was really psyched about how nice the invites looked, but for those receiving them in Minnesota (without a rehearsal dinner invite) I knew they would be opening their envelope to just one item.  And it looked a bit bare.  I wasn’t sure what they needed, but after viewing so many cute additions from other Bee’s invites, I knew they needed a little something extra.

Miss Lyre added lace, Mrs. Treasure added envelope liners of our fair city, Mrs. Candy Apple added twine and a little Moo Card, and these are just a few of the awesome additions out there!

One day, while browsing JoAnn’s I found these stickers for ONE dollar per pack!  Jackpot right?  They highlight my obsession with quotes, and compliment our word-named tables at the wedding.

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My next step was to find ribbon to make a sort of belly band around the invitation.  I took Mr. Sword with me this time and we bought a lot of ribbon!

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Testing out the options!

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We ultimately decided to use two different ribbons to make the invitations even more unique (and because one of them was a little brat to work with).  First we cut the ribbons to fit around the paper, and then we used double-sided to tape to adhere them.  Well first Mr. Sword cut a bunch of ribbon pieces a bit too short- oops!

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The best stickers to use were the longer words and I also tried to pick ones that complimented the colors of the invitation.

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Moving back a step to the Moo cards (as they were attached before the ribbon and sticker), we chose the one e-pic where you can barely see us Mr. Sword’s favorite photo for the front of it and had only text printed on the back.  We thought it matched nicely without being too matchy-matchy.

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These were attached directly to the front of the invitation covering all of the lower text with a piece of double-sided tape.  This was the easy, fast part of assembly.

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Soon they were ready to be inserted in the envelopes!  Another plus to Minted was the thin sheets of vellum paper that were to be inserted on top of the invites to prevent anything from bleeding on to the paper.

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Finally, this is my favorite detail of the whole invitation!  The original suite comes with a skinny wrap that says “A Love Story” but we were able to personalize it to “A Highland Fairy Tale!”  How cool is that?!?

The skinny wrap was made to go around the top of an envelope with your return address on the front and the cute text on the back.  Having our address on the skinny wrap made that one less thing for us to worry about since we were printing the addresses ourselves!

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The process to put them on was a bit tricky but once Mr. Sword came up with a system we were able to breeze right through them!  Here is the step by step process in case you find yourself adhering skinny wraps onto envelopes in the near or far off future.  🙂

Step one: Pull the skinny wrap sticker up as far as the address and line up your envelope right under the leftover line of color from the last skinny wrap.  Remember to face the envelope front-side down, we each made that mistake one time!

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Step two: Press the longer/colored portion of the wrap down slowly.

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Step three: As you lift up the invite, the rest of the sticker will peel off.  Turn it over and slowly press down the address part onto the front of the envelope.

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And voila!  It’s completed!  I seem to have forgotten to take a picture of the final product, sorry about that but this post is long enough as it is.

(all photos personal and edited by Miss Sword for privacy)

Did you add anything extra to your invitations?  What is your favorite detail?

Once Upon a Time: Sword Invites Revealed!

It’s about that time folks.  The invites have made it across the pond and the online RSVP’s are coming in (more on that awesomeness later)!

Of course we HAD to go with a fairy tale themed invitation.  And of course we paid to get them done.  Although I will say there was this box set at Michael’s that kind of mirrored the design on our cake but once again I was reminded by Mom Sword that I would not enjoy destroying making them myself.  You would think she is made of money (or thinks we are) but no, she’s just being realistic.

After sending our Save the Dates with that dreaded typo in Mr. Sword’s last name I had a bad taste in my mouth about Wedding Paper Divas, so we went to Minted.Com and ordered their Once Upon a Time invitations with a dark purple font and they turned out absolutely beautiful!  We’ve received nothing but compliments, and since our guests are really cool people they seem to appreciate the uniqueness of our invites as well!

Ready for photographic proof?

The front:

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The back: All text on this side was written by yours truly.  Feel free to steal.

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And the final product all ready to be sent out!

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I have to say I’m thrilled with our experience at Minted!  We spent an initial 9 dollars on a sample invitation but it was worth it to feel the card stock and to see the font and design in person.  Plus the 9 dollars was taken off our total once we placed an order.  For about 450 dollars (discount coupon included) we got 100 invitations, 100 Thank You cards in a matching design, and skinny wraps with our address on them (more on those later).  For another 50 dollars we bought Moo cards to invite all of our out-of-town guests to the rehearsal dinner.

While it doesn’t work for bigger items like catering and photography, 500 seems to be the Sword’s magic wedding number.  We spent 500 dollars to rent the atrium space for our ceremony, I gave my florist a budget of 500 dollars for flowers, and our invitations/thank you cards are around 500 bucks too!

Of course making DIY invites would have been a lot cheaper, but adding letterpress or calligraphy would have made them more expensive.  I think we spent just the right amount on invitations for us.  Of course I have some tips.

Miss Sword’s ways to save money while still ordering your invitations online:

1. Utilize the front AND the back of the invitation.  Who says your guests can’t flip a piece of paper over?  It gives you extra space and saves on those pesky information cards.  Although I did simulate opening our invitations to practice turning it over as our guests would have to do.  This is my why is there no reply card face?

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2. Two words: Online RSVP.  Saves on extra paper, stamps, labels, time, energy, life, trees, grass, you get the idea.  Nothing against the beauty and style of replying by mail for a formal event, but it’s a new era.  Let’s update those etiquette books!  Online RSVP ‘ing is where it’s at.

3. Order Moo cards for anything and everything you’d like to be on a separate piece of paper.

UP NEXT… I explain what additions we made to the invitations and how we did them!

(all photos personal and edited by Miss Sword for privacy)

What do you think of our themed wedding invites?  Did you set a budget higher or lower than ours?  What aspects were most important to you?

What Miss Sword Will Do to Save Money

I know I’m sort of rounding the last lap on the way to my wedding date, and at less than three months away is sort of an odd time to talk about saving money (as most of the big bills are coming up), but alas I was prompted by the weather so I’m going to go with it.

This past weekend Minnesota had a nice-sized snowfall.  The photo below was taken at the MSP airport where lots of flights were cancelled due to severe weather conditions.  I guess it snowed like 10-12 inches around the Twin Cities and close to 16 in other areas up north.

image via

image via

Now there is nothing weird about this.  It snows quite a bit during the wintertime in Minnesota.  And you’re only a true Minnesotan if you’ve driven at NIGHT in a BLIZZARD by YOURSELF in what I like to call my “near death experience.”  This is much like the theory that you’re not a true Chicagoan until you’ve had your car broken into (twice myself and most recently MOH/Sister Big Eyes was also initiated into Chicago the same weekend as my Hen Do even though she doesn’t live here).  The snowiest months for Minnesota are usually December to March.

What does this have to do with saving money you ask?  I’m saving a pretty large chunk of money by hosting a rather large event (AKA my wedding) in early March (one of the previously mentioned snowy months). It’s actually a really good deal, and a deal that wasn’t available just few weeks later in April.  You know how hotels and other wedding venues charge for everything per head?  We are getting ten dollars off per person which is HUGE if you’re inviting 150+ people.

Thanks to our awesome venue, The Embassy Suites, we’re going with a package deal, so our amount not only includes a plated meal for everyone, but also our cake, centerpieces (which we took as a credit because we’re making our own), a full hour of free drinks/butler-passed hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour, a hotel room for the bride and groom, and a gift opening room for the following morning.  This package also comes with a recommended DJ and ability to rent the atrium space for the ceremony at 500 dollars.  At the risk of repeating myself, we are adding on to our package with kegs of beer, wine, two signature drinks, purple lighting, draping around the sweetheart table, and the DJ for both ceremony and reception.

Outside our beautiful hotel at a great photo opp, wearing a sundress because it's August.

Outside our beautiful hotel at a great photo opp, wearing a sundress because it’s August.

One stop shop has been my motto since the beginning but it’s going to be a sucky motto if there is a big snow fall the weekend of our wedding and our guests are unable to make it!  I know the weather can be issue anywhere in the world, what with hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, heat waves, and other things that can put a damper on wedding plans, but adding to the winter weather we also have a lot of guests flying or driving in from out-of-town.  Hello Scotland, Canada, Illinois, New York, Virginia, and North Dakota!

Truth is, I wanted a lot of traditional elements, such as a plated sit-down dinner, a large dance floor, and the ability to have my out-of-town guests crash at the same location as the wedding.  To get all of these things we had to compromise on something and that something was time of year.

I have no idea if I’ll get beautiful sunlit pictures outside with Mr. Sword and our bridal party or if it will be snowing/raining/sleeting with a dark sky and ground covered in sludge.  I have no idea if the weather will remain calm enough for all of our guests’ travels or if someone people will have to forgo the trip due to road closures or flight cancellations.  Will there be beautiful snow-capped trees in the background or naked branches flinging about in rough winds?  Who knows?  The average temperature in March can range from 20-40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The weather is not something I can control.  Unfortunately, sometimes my emotions are also something I cannot control.  Bazinga.  (Can you tell I love the Big Bang Theory?)

I wanted to have the wedding of my dreams and still stay within our agreed upon budget.  Hence, March.  I guess we’ll see what happens.  🙂

I wanna hear from the Northern brides out there!  Did you have a winter wedding?  How did it go?  Did you have lots of guests flying in as well?  Anyone else having a wedding in March where the weather is a bit unpredictable?