Archive | February 2013

My Vendors and I Are Tight, Yo

At this point in the game, I’m pretty sure I email and talk to my vendors more than I do my friends and family.  I kid, but I do feel like my relationship with the people I’ve hired to do my wedding is growing rapidly.  The closer we get, the more questions they have, the more questions I have, and the more decisions there are that need to be made, which means we need to be in constant contact.

sisko chocolate centrepiece

(All of the photos in this post are just for fun!  I miss the days of browsing for inspiration and I figured pictures of other people’s weddings made sense for this post about vendors.  In the photograph above, those chocolate centerpieces remind me of the my initial decor idea that was thrown out by, wait for it, EVERYONE.  Pine cones.  Sigh.)

Personally, I have to say I’ve had a fabulous time working with the professionals I’ve hired.  I can attribute this to two things, 1) Mr. Sword and I only hired people we liked/got along with/respected.  2) Mr. Sword and I did lots of research in advance before we even met with our vendors in person.  I won’t go into detail about picking vendors, (because well, yawn), but I will give you some advice to help benefit BOTH you and your vendors throughout the planning process.

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(Clearly the above photo needs to be me on my wedding day, surrounded by men in kilts.  Yes.)

Your relationship with your vendors should be symbiotic, which means you both benefit from it.  Here are Miss Sword’s Top Tips for Vendor Success:

  1. Show respect for their art.  Listen to their concerns and ideas, and try to work within their perimeters.  If a vendor explains they need space for this thing or extra equipment for that thing, try to accommodate them.  It will only benefit you if they are comfortable and have what they need!  For instance, my photographer asked to be fed dinner at the same time as myself and Mr. Sword, meaning, before our guests.  This is a bit uncommon as the vendors are usually fed after all the guests have eaten dinner, but Crystal explained that she often misses key events or touching moments if she eats after the bride and groom eat.  She says it’s best if she’s done eating before the guests are done eating so she can take more photographs of the party.  So I asked our hotel coordinator to change the vendor meal time.  Simple as that.
  2. Respond quickly to emails.  Don’t you hate it when you don’t hear back about something you’ve been dying to know in regards to your wedding?  Vendors are the same way.  We all rely on email as a quick way to exchange info and ask questions.  I’m so grateful that the two wedding coordinators at my venue respond right away (usually within an hour) to my questions and therefore I always try to respond as quickly as I can to their emails as well.  It goes both ways and keeps everyone on the same page.
  3. Feed them.  We are feeding all of our vendors, from the photographers/videographers to the DJ and the band.  Even though our Ceilidh band is only playing a one hour set, we invited all four band members to come to the hotel early and eat dinner on us.  They are taking time out of their Saturday evening to play at our event and I appreciate their time.  Speaking of time, it also ensures that they won’t be late because they’ll have to show up early to eat dinner!  And isn’t everyone happier and more fun on a full belly?
  4. Communicate constantly.  This might sound excessive, but every time I think of something that is important to us or to Mom Sword or whomever, I email it to my vendors.  If I’m unsure of something, I ask them right away.  The more you communicate the more likely you are to have a smoother wedding day without too many hiccups.*  I also encourage letting your vendors see your wedding timeline first before showing your bridal party and family, because that way they can give you any necessary changes before you send it out to everyone.
  5. Tip them.  ARGH, TIPPING!!  Side note:  Tipping stresses me out.  I’m big on tipping but I really dislike being asked for a tip (which recently happened and by letter, what??).  I also feel like the wedding standards on tipping are extremely high.  That said, for most vendors, it’s not optional.  What goes around comes around, so tip the folks that worked their asses off for you on your wedding day.  If someone goes above and beyond, then tip them extra.  You might find yourself in a service job one day and will want the same courtesy extended to you.

I can think of 3 extra special things that three different vendors have done for us just because they know we’re going to treat them well and they know we respect the work art they do create.  I can’t go into it because frankly, that’s tacky, but I’m so happy that all of people I have trusted to make our day special are going above and beyond my beginning expectations!  It’s making me so freaking excited for the Big Day!

*This is mere speculation as I have not yet had my wedding day and cannot confirm this to be true!  🙂

Pink Vintage Wedding Inspiration

Photo by: Couture House of Imagery on Every Last Detail via Lover.ly

(I pretty much fainted when I saw that cake.  Breathtaking!!)

How is your relationship with your vendors?  Will you or did you tip them?  Is there such a thing as too much communication?

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Last Minute Plans

How are you spending the day before your wedding?  Are you having a rehearsal followed by a rehearsal dinner like us?  Are you going to a salon with your bridal party to get pampered?  A couple’s massage with your betrothed?  Or are you doing something adventurous and random like rock climbing or go-kart racing?

For our big day before the Big Day Mom Sword will be hosting a luncheon for all of the women in our very small families and the bridal party ladies at her house.  It’s called “Lunch with Princess Miss Sword” and it will be a time for me to relax and chat with 17 of my favorite people in the whole world.  This is the only event that my FMIL and FSIL will be able to attend since they live in Scotland and weren’t able to attend the bridal showers or other planning events for obvious reasons.  Mom Sword wanted them to feel special and included and I know this is going to make for one awesome memory.  How often will I get all of these women in the same room again?  Plus, it’s a great way to kick off the wedding weekend festivities!!

Immediately after the lunch the bridal party and I will head out to get our nails done at Livvy Nails and Spa.

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I’ve said before I’m a bit of a nail salon snob and I’ve gotten spoiled living in Chicago.  I have about three salons I alternate between and I’m really weary of trying new places.  I decided to use Facebook to ask my Minnesota friends for recommendations of fabulous nail salons and went to check them out when I was in town.

I’m so happy with our choice and so far the owner of Livvy Nails and Spa has been very helpful, and they even have this adorable pink butterfly chair for Littlest C to use.  How adorable!  I can’t wait!

Wedding planning trip in Feb- final 020

The big question is what color should I do my nails!?!? I’m definitely doing a gel manicure for my hands (they are addicting) but I can’t decide between bridal white and eggplant purple… any thoughts?  Also I only use Essie nail polish.  I mentioned I’m a snob, right?

For my toes I’m thinking either the eggplant again or lavender?

playdate (perfect name for a nanny!)

playdate (perfect name for a nanny!)

It ended up being a very busy two days during my quick planning trip to Minnesota but somehow I managed to fit in a fitting, and meetings with my florist, bakery, venue, and hair/makeup artist. Everywhere I went I had to drop off a little piece of our tartan so it could be incorporated into the wedding in some way.  We still have a few scraps of it left but I think we’ve used it every single place we could imagine!  I can’t wait to see it all come together.  SO.CLOSE.NOW.

(all photos personal)

Are you doing anything special the day before your wedding?  What color should I paint my nails?  Is anyone else a nail salon snob?

I Miss My Self-Esteem Most of All

We tend to lose a few things during the wedding planning process, but of all the things I’ve lost (free time, spending money, quality sleep, eating whatever I want), I think I miss my self-esteem the most of all.

I’m sorry, but I’m going to talk about body image.  I don’t want to, but I need to get this out somewhere and I figure this is the most ideal place.

Last week I picked up my dress for the rehearsal dinner and not only did it not fit, but the shotty zipper broke while they were trying to get me in and then out of it.  Talk about depressing.  I’ve now had TWO horrible first experiences with ordered dresses and I’m pretty frustrated/annoyed with my body.

This is a 200+ dollar bridesmaid dress from a shop* in downtown Chicago.  I wouldn’t normally spend so much on a rehearsal dinner dress but it was a gift from Boss Lady.  During the summer of 2012 Boss Lady bid on a gift card to this shop and won!  We didn’t have time to go shopping until this past January and we brought Littlest C with us to try on their flower girl dresses as well.  I had Littlest C take a few photos of some of the dresses we looked at that evening.

Wedding stuff and Museum Jan. 2013 007

Wedding stuff and Museum Jan. 2013 008

In the end we found this beautiful strapless color-blocked dress (ivory, silver, black) with a pencil skirt bottom, and we decided it would be perfect for not only the rehearsal dinner, but also to wear again to other semi-formal events!  The problem was I was in between sizes, which is the STORY OF MY LIFE.

This is my ever-constant first world problem, everything on me is two different sizes, my shoes, my bust, my body.  I always seem to need two different sizes which inevitably causes problems when it comes to purchasing clothing/shoes.  Well, I decided to go with the smaller size in the case of the rehearsal dinner dress when I probably should have gone with the bigger size.  Ugh.

In the end it was a crappy zipper that did me in.  Much like the bra fiasco from scenario one.  The ladies at the salon were very nice to me and offered a credit for the broken zipper.  But the irritating part was that they called the designer and she proceeded to blame me for the broken zipper based on the fact that I chose the smaller size, which could be partly true, but it could be partly true that her zipper was crap as well!  Also, the dress has shearing over the mid-section which makes it difficult for zippers to get past seams, AND I remembered the sample I tried on previously had a broken zipper as well.  And seriously, did she have to make me feel like a fat ass two weeks before my wedding?  I think not.

To be honest, I’ve always had pretty awesome self-esteem.  I was raised to feel confident about my self image regardless of “flaws,” and I like my body, if not love it most of the time.  So it sucks that I’ve been picking apart at myself these last few months.  My teeth aren’t white enough, my skin isn’t tan enough, my body isn’t thin enough.

The shocking part is that I’m the thinnest I’ve been in a while and I’m still feeling like crap.  It’s all in my head.  I get this.  I’m smart.  And the brain is a powerful thing.  I know I look damn good, and I know I will be a beautiful bride.  All that aside, can I please wear a paper sack for the next few weeks?

I can’t even blame the wedding industry or bridal magazines/blogs (well, I guess I could…)!  It’s my fault for imagining myself a certain way on my wedding day and it’s my fault for putting unnecessary pressure on myself to be perfect.  Don’t be like me.  Don’t put pressure on yourself.  It’s one day.  And you’ll look beautiful too.

NOTE: I’m not searching for compliments, just some commiseration!  And I literally CANNOT WAIT until after the wedding and I go back to being my normal, confidence exuding bad-ass sexy self (she says with a grin).

*I don’t want to make this a review of the shop but if you live in Chicago and want more information, just send me a private message.

(all photos personal)

Does anyone else feel like their self-esteem did a 180 during wedding planning?  Anyone else have frustrating experiences with ordering dresses and them not fitting or zippers breaking?  Tell me I’m not alone!  🙂

Sword Glossary: Made Up Wedding Lingo for Everyday Use

I realized awhile ago that I have made up a ton of new words in the past few months while blogging for Weddingbee, and I’ve decided it’s time to make a glossary so people have a chance to understand what the heck I’m talking about and so these words can continue to get used.

It all started back when I wrote about the other types of brides that exist besides Bridezillas.  After that, I pretty much made up words whenever I saw the need.

(In case you feel robbed because you’ve been saying these words or phrases for years, I apologize in advance, and anyway they are new to me!)

Sword Glossary

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DIY: Destroy-it-Yourself.  I have joked about how I am a terrible craft-er many times here on the hive.  I know DIY means Do-it-Yourself, but I like my version better.  It means you take full responsibility for what happens to your project, it means it probably won’t turn out perfectly, and it’s frankly, it’s a hell of a lot more fun to say!

DIYT: Don’t Invest Your Time.  This is an acronym I coined for the project that takes entirely too much time out of your life.  Sometimes it’s worthwhile, (like in the case of our tartan necklaces) but sometimes it’s better to just buy the damn thing already.

Nanny Child:  A child that you nanny, or more specifically, a child that you love deeply and watch on a regular basis but that is not related to you by blood.  For years I have had trouble describing or clarifying my relationship with my nanny children because it’s hard for people to make sense of it if you’ve never spent as much time as I have with someone else’s children.  I’ve been with my nanny family for 5+ years now, and they’re both in my wedding, but I didn’t know what to call them in our ceremony program, hence the title, nanny child.  Does anyone else have this issue of notating an unconventional relationship in their program?

Shmailing: Sharing the body of an email, word for word.  Sister Big Eyes sent an email out to her bridal party asking what hair/makeup everyone would like, I got about half way through before realizing not only did the tone sound an awful lot like me, it had been taken verbatim from my email to my bridal party concerning hair/makeup just a few months ago!  Not that I was bothered at all, on the contrary, I found it hilarious.  Sister Big Eyes doesn’t care for writing, and I’d already done the hard part, so why not shmail it?

Shrendoring: Sharing a vendor with someone you know personally, someone you are close to, or more specifically someone who is planning a wedding at the same time as you.  (Because obviously you’re sharing your vendor with a ton of other brides but you don’t know them all).  Sister/MOH Big Eyes (who gets married this coming June) is shrendoring my photographer, my hair/makeup artist, and our alterations family friend.  Does our mutual MOB count too?

Wedding Crush: The wedding you like a lot and hope to marry one day.  Just kidding!  This is the wedding that reminds you of your own and makes you swoon because it’s just so beautiful! If you’d like a reminder, this is the wedding I have been crushing on that matches my vision.  Basically your wedding crush is the wedding you want to be like when you grow up.  🙂

Wirthday Gift: A gift that is deliberately given as both a birthday and wedding gift.  Sister Big Eyes gave me my cake topper as a wirthday gift.  And it doesn’t have to stop there, per the comments left on my post, someone said they received some Whistmas gifts (wedding/Christmas) and someone else some Birthmas gifts (birthday/Christmas).  Love the creativity!

(all photos personal)

What wedding lingo have you made up?  What words are still missing?

My “Somethings,” My Own

We all know the phrase, Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, and a silver sixpence in her shoe.  (OK, maybe not everyone is familiar with the last part (myself included) until Mrs. Archer sent me her sixpence to use on my wedding day.  Yay!)

My guess is we’ve all probably wondered what we’d use for each of our “somethings” on our wedding day at some point during the planning process.  That said, I’m a big advocate for making your wedding your own and making it unique and personal to yourself and your partner.  So who cares if you have all your somethings picked out way in advance or if you scrap them all together?  Since there was a piece of me that wanted to complete my “somethings” I decided to go ahead with them but in my own special way.

Something old: Grandma Sword’s handkerchief passed down to her from the Grandmother who raised her.  Her Grandmother received the hankie as a gift when she was working at a hospital in the 1930/1940’s.  The handkerchief is decorated with beautiful Japanese embroidery, and my favorite part is that you can’t tell which side is the front and which side is the back.  Does anyone know what that technique is called?

Christmas 2012Wedding 262

Something new: Our family tartan!  While the standard answers of dress, shoes, and jewelry are also fitting, there’s nothing quite as new as our newly minted tartan!  It doesn’t exist anywhere else.  Mr. Sword and I designed it together and had it wove in Scotland and then shipped to the US.  Boss Lady has made me a beautiful tartan shawl to wear on the wedding day and I couldn’t be more thrilled to match Mr. Sword’s kilt!

The best part is all I’ll have to do is look around our bridal party or our reception room and I’ll see bits and pieces of our tartan everywhere reminding me of this journey Mr. Sword and I are starting together.  The tartan is symbolic of two cultures joining into one, and it reminds me of all of all the special people in my life who have had a hand in sewing it, crafting it, cutting it, wearing it, and caring it around for the past year as we prepare for the wedding.

holding tartan at first arrival edited

Something borrowed: My new last name.  I don’t believe I’ve spoken about this before but I’m insanely excited to take Mr. Sword’s last name.  It’s such a personal thing that I almost don’t want to talk about it.  Truth is, I currently have the BEST last name ever.  It makes no sense, and it has never been pronounced correctly on any first day of school since the beginning of time, but it’s pretty awesome.  Plus, it’s been my identity for 29 years and it’s provided me with the best Gmail address ever.  No numbers or middle name for this girl!

While I do love it, I’m happy to lose my last name as sort of a rite of passage.  It’s a leap of faith and of trust.  It’s an act of respect to those women in my family who have taken their husbands names before me.  It’s about putting the whole before the individual.  And it’s about creating a new baby family with Mr. Sword.

I’m always going to think of myself as my former last name in some ways, but I will be so proud to sport Mr. Sword’s name is just a few short weeks.  And then I’ll FINALLY be able to hang out on Twitter.  Cause I signed up with newlastname.  Duh.

Something blue: My mothers.  Both Mom Sword and my Future Mother-in-Law are wearing dresses in the color blue, and since my ideal shade of blue is purple, I decided the two most important ladies in the room would cover that “something” quite nicely.  You’ll have to wait for photos of their dresses until after the wedding!

OH AND ONE MORE THING!  It’s the Swords one year engagiversary!!

Engagement Party March 24 029

Yep, exactly one year ago today the very shy Mr. Sword proposed to me at the top of the John Hancock building in front of many strangers and his future in-laws.  (Clearly, he was smitten.)  If you want to read about it, check this out.  I sorta kinda knew it was coming…  still, it was one of the best days of my life!

(all photos personal)

How are you covering the tradition of the “somethings?’  Does anyone else have a fun twist, I’d love to hear about it!

Butts in Seats

Since we are having a plated dinner at our reception and the thought of free-for-all seating scares me, our guests are going to be given a spot to sit, and I’m happy to report the Sword table assignments have been completed!  Of course our guests are free to sit anywhere at said table, but for the purposes of allergies, and because let’s face it, people like to sit by the folks they know, everyone was assigned a specific table in advance.

And it was so easy that I’m scared it was too easy.  If you’re looking for a quick way to design your table chart, here’s a break down of how my system worked and a rough estimate of how long everything took me.

First off, I have to give credit to Mrs. Mink’s post here because her ingenuity was what inspired me to do the same!  🙂

By putting some effort in ahead of time, Mom Sword and I were able to create the table assignments in a quick 20 minutes.  We started with the tables that we were more certain of and went from there.  Once Mr. Sword arrived home from Kansas City he reviewed our table assignments, made a few slight changes, and with that we were done!

We probably spent a total of 35 minutes making the seating chart and I firmly believe that it went so quickly because of the preparation I did ahead of time.

The only thing I had to buy were the little post-it notes to write the guest’s names on, the other stuff, scissors, paper, and a pen were all found in my house.

GIFTS- wedding 061

I wrote every single wedding guests’ name on their own post-it note.  Color didn’t matter.  This part probably took close to 45 minutes but I did it while watching TV, so it flew by.  Once they were all finished I stuck each name to a piece of paper and set it aside.

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After that I cut each piece of scratch paper into an oval or an oddly shaped circle, I wasn’t particular.  Then I wrote the table names in the center.

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The hardest part for a perfectionist like myself was not starting over when I messed up on a name or wrote the same table name twice (see below as I’m crossing something out).  To make this project worthwhile I had to be quick and a bit sloppy.  It’s not like this was going to be a final product or anything!

LLLL Shower Weekend 015

In the end I’m so glad I took the time to set up the tables in a visual way because it was so much easier than all of us staring at the same computer screen trying to make the assignments online, or writing lists of names over and over.  It was so simple to change names by picking up their post-it and moving it from one table to the other.

We also tried to put the guests at tables that we thought fit with them.  For example, we put family at the Family table, and friends at the Friend table, and our church friends at the Faith table.  Not everyone is matched up perfectly, and there may or may not be a few men at the Princess table but hey, our friends have a sense of humor, right?

LLLL Shower Weekend 027

We also used coasters to differentiate between the two types of centerpieces will be having at the wedding in effort to arrange how we want the tables positioned in the reception room.  Mr. Sword and I will be at a sweetheart table in the middle of the room and we tried to put our immediate family and bridal party as close to our table as possible.

LLLL Shower Weekend 034

If you’re a visual learner like myself, I highly recommend this method of table assigning!  It worked wonders for us and it was so easy to make changes along the way.

Finally, remember when I asked for help with our castle and our escort cards?  Well we really wanted to make the flags as was the most popular suggestion but after A LOT of brainstorming, Mom Sword came up with something pretty brilliant.

This is just a first draft/prototype, but we all love it so far…

sword escort cards edited

(all photos personal)

Are you making table assignments?  If you already have, did you find it difficult or time-consuming?  What does the hive think of our escort card swords?

I Picked a Perfume and Whitening Your Teeth Sucks

Crucial (and by that I mean relatively unimportant) wedding updates below!

1. I picked a wedding day perfume!

To Catch Up: Read This Post.

I had narrowed it down between Vera Wang’s Princess and Coach’s Poppy Flower and wasn’t going to reveal my final choice until after the Big Day.  Well, screw that, things change, and now I have something to reveal.

The Princess perfume was in a beautiful bottle and aptly named but Mr. Sword and I weren’t too sold on the actual scent.  I was really leaning toward Poppy Flower when BM L Dawg told me it was an “everyday” perfume and not a wedding perfume. Whaa??

In the first post I talked about much perfume BM L Dawg has so I wasn’t at all surprised she had an opinion.  And I took her opinion to heart because she is a perfume snob much in the same way I am a nail salon snob and I love her for it.  🙂

Back to the drawing board it was!  After much procrastinating and one final visit to Sephora I’ve made a decision and I’m really excited to share it now!

image via Sephora

image via Sephora

Marchesa.  The bottle alone was enough to make me fall in love (I think it’ll photograph wonderfully with my jewelry), but the scent is elegant, sophisticated, romantic, and fancy.  Perfect for a wedding day perfume.  I splurged on the larger size bottle for 85.00 dollars but I had a 50 dollar gift card for Sephora so it wasn’t too bad and it’ll last me forever.  I can see myself wearing this most date nights and evenings out.  And Mr. Sword approves too!  I’m so glad I decided to search a bit longer before making a decision!

2. Whitening your teeth sucks!  It literally hurts.

To Catch Up: Read This Post.

I cannot believe how much I dislike the process of teeth whitening.  I ended up buying a set of 10 strips from my dentist who can offer something with a bit more potency than your local store.

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I’ve used 9 out the 10 so far but I haven’t been wearing them consecutive nights in a row, which may be the reason I’m not seeing good enough results.  I feel like most of my teeth are getting whiter but I also feel like my yellowed side fangs (and the main reason I’m doing this!) look pretty much the same.  Super annoying.

Plus, it’s incredibly uncomfortable.  My gums and tongue must be extra sensitive because if the whitening goop gets in certain places it’s stings and burns really badly!

Once the 20 minutes are up you’re supposed to brush your teeth.  Again, my mouth feels like it’s on fire!  I shouldn’t be surprised, I have the most bland palette ever and can’t stand eating spicy foods.  Even some mouthwashes are too much for me to handle.

This is the price I pay… that and the 60 dollars I spent on the strips.

Mr. Sword still has zero interest in whitening but he’s using the whitening toothpaste I bought him!  Thank you to those of you who suggested in that in the comments last time!

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)

Has anyone smelled Marchesa?  Does it look like a good wedding perfume?

Am I doing this whitening thing wrong?  Should I keep going in attempt to whiten my side teeth by March or just let it go and let my photog edit away!  Any tips out there?