Archive | June 2013

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Toast to the Day

Since the beginning of our engagement I had known I wanted a moment with all of my favorite women toasting to the day with champagne.  So, after getting dressed and opening Mr. Sword’s gift, I walked back to the girls getting ready room for a quick huddle with my favorite ladies.

And who did I see in the hallway but the faces of Grandma Sword and Auntie B!  They saw me as a bride for the first time and immediately started tearing up so of course I started crying too!  It was a very special moment.

Can you tell they're related?  :)

Can you tell they’re related? 🙂

As if the first picture of them isn’t cute enough, Crystal snapped this one as well!

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Then there’s this one of Mom Sword and Grandma  Sword that makes my heart melt.  I come from a line of strong female figures and a very matriarchal family.  These women have shaped who I am today and I’m so blessed to have their unconditional love and support.

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BM L Dawg was in charge of the bubbly and she got a lovely pink champagne for us ladies.  We all gathered in a circle with our champagne flutes and I took a moment to look around the room at all the women who have had such a positive impact on my life.  It was definitely a surreal moment.

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Mom Sword said a little toast first, and I started to tear up…

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Then Auntie B said, “I remember the day Mrs. Sword was a flower girl in my wedding.”  WAAAHHH!  She and I were a mess after that!

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Before the ugly crying got out of hand we sent the photographers off to the first look location site and Sister/MOH Big Eyes bustled my dress while Boss Lady used an iron to steam out some last minute wrinkles.  Soon, I was heading outside to brave the weather and see my groom!

But don’t worry, L Dawg didn’t forget about the boys, in another room and about 30 minutes prior to our toast, this was happening:

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Men in kilts plus champagne flutes?  TOO CUTE.

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Good thing they were all equipped with knives sgian dubhs!  This was also the moment our Best Man was handed over the responsibility of holding our wedding bands.

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Since a kilt doesn’t have pockets, the Best Man put this wee pouch in his sporran to keep the rings safe until ceremony time.

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It appears there was also a shaking hands check for nerves:

The Glue always has shaky hands though, probably caffeine induced.

The Glue always has shaky hands though, probably caffeine induced.

I leave you with the guy’s version of the artsy shoe pic, showing off their brogues and hose, why?  I have no idea.

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Did you have a champagne toast on your big day, or will you plan one?

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Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!
Elevators of anxiety!
Rehearsing and screaming!
Burgers and surprises!
Kisses at midnight!

The Big Day
Bacon for bridal baby!
Hair and makeup!
Men in kilts!
Tiara and bouquet!
Becoming a bride!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Transform Me Into a Bride

Sister Big Eyes had arrived and it was time to step into my bridal gown!  After having such a lovehate relationship with Evie (yes, remember I named her), I was so happy to put her on that morning and even more relieved to see she photographs as well as she does.

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My wedding gown had a zipper which meant there was no room for error!  I had to stay as close to the same size as possible that I was at my last fitting.  This is what one’s face looks like when they are waiting for their dress to zip up all the way:

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SUCCESS!  Then it was time to hook all the buttons that cover up the zipper.  And I’m all smiles.

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These photos of Mom Sword and I are some of my favorite from the whole day.

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I want to take this opportunity to make a follow-up comment on my decision to avoid tanning beds/sprays/lotions for my wedding day.

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I already wrote about how I used to worry about getting a tan but decided to go au naturale on my big day… and the verdict is?  I LOVE IT.  I’m so happy I embraced my natural skin tone because it totally fits who I am and how I wanted to look.  So if you’re on the fence about tanning, remember you really can rock your gown no matter how fair or how tan you are as long as you’re happy!  (Wow. Sorry for the sappy PSA.)

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Once I was in my dress it was also time to open up my gift from Mr. Sword!

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To be completely honest, Mr. Sword was not excited about exchanging “day of gifts” and told me the wedding was our gift to each other.  Haha, isn’t he clever?

I explained to him that I was excited about this particular tradition and wanted to be able to open something from on this most special of days and give him something in return.  Obviously he did agree to it after we set a reasonably priced monetary limit.  🙂

Mr. Sword isn’t a man of many words but when he picks out a card he reads every single word and chooses very carefully so of course I started crying while reading the words he had picked out especially for me on our wedding day.

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His day of gift ended up taking me totally by surprise.

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It’s a large smooth stone with the words “I love you” on it, and it says, “Written in stone.”  His love for me is permanent just like those words carved into that stone.  I felt so excited in that moment and ready to see him!

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After opening my gift, it was time to slip on my tartan princess shoes and finally my jewelry.  I was officially a bride!  And I felt beautiful.

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Did you exchange gifts with your partner on your wedding day?  Who was with you when you transformed into a bride?

All pictures by Crystal Liepa Photography.

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Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!
Elevators of anxiety!
Rehearsing and screaming!
Burgers and surprises!
Kisses at midnight!

The Big Day
Bacon for bridal baby!
Hair and makeup!
Men in kilts!
Tiara and bouquet!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Wait Half-Naked and See the Bouquets

By now it’s 11:30ish and I’m in my parent’s hotel room wandering around in my corseted bra and jeans, ready to complete the transition into a Bride.  Mom Sword is dressed and ready to rock and roll, but we are waiting for Sister/MOH Big Eyes to finish getting her hair done before I can change.  Laura and her hair and makeup team could only work so fast with a list of 10 gals to get ready for a wedding!

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I remember our cinematographer asking me if Mr. Sword would care that he was seeing me in my underwear and I had to laugh as I reassured him that Mr. Sword is the least jealous person I’ve ever met.  He takes it as a compliment if someone hits on me, and he’s so laid back that he doesn’t get worked up over little things like a wedding videographer seeing me in my bra and panties.  Which is pretty much ideal for someone like myself who will post practically anything on the internet.  Awkward.

I especially love this artsy shot.

I especially love this artsy shot.  Notice my dress in the background.

As I stared at myself in the mirror (to pass the time of course) we realized I wasn’t wearing my tiara or veil on, oops!  Laura came over to my parent’s room and she glam’d me up in no time.

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Checking my tiara in the mirror before adding the veil.

Checking my final look.

The below picture describes my sister and I’s loving but funny relationship: Me looking at myself in a mirror like the princess I am and her questioning me with those BIG EYES!  🙂

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This was also the moment I first saw my bouquet.

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YUM.  Our bouquets were insane.  Everyone was in love with them, myself included.

Adding my BEE charms!

L Dawg and H adding my BEE charms! Notice the tartan wrap.

(The bridesmaid bouquets looked just as lovely and you’ll see them when I recap our bridal party portraits.)

For someone who didn’t put flowers very high on the list of priorities, who went to ONE florist, and who had no idea what she was doing when ordering, I’m pretty sure they turned out perfectly.  Glamorous and dramatic, our flowers fit our day and theme beautifully.  I couldn’t have dreamed of anything better.

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Up next, I finally step into my wedding gown!  🙂

Anyone else wear a tiara or plan on wearing one?  How lucky did I get with my bridal bouquet!?!

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Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!
Elevators of anxiety!
Rehearsing and screaming!
Burgers and surprises!
Kisses at midnight!

The Big Day
Bacon for bridal baby!
Hair and makeup!
Men in kilts!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Dress in Kilts

Meanwhile, on the fourth floor in a different but similar looking hotel room… the men were getting ready too!

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I asked Mr. Sword for a title to his dude post and he came up with, “It’s pub time.”  A very confusing suggestion because they were getting ready in a hotel room, NOT in a bar and perhaps, “It’s wedding time” would have been more appropriate.

On the other hand, it works because if I couldn’t find Mr Sword during the wedding week, it was a safe bet that he was sitting and drinking at the hotel pub with his friends and family.  He is a Scotsman after all.  😉 Unfortunately, “It’s pub time” doesn’t fit with my “We” themed recap titles hence why I didn’t use it.  But feel free to think about pubs and beer for the duration of this post.

LOOK, boxers shot!

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Apparently you put your kilt on first and then slide your underwear off from underneath.  Getting into a kilt is relatively long process with all of the different layers and accoutrements.  I know most brides talk about how easy their grooms have it in getting ready, and while our guys didn’t have to do hair and makeup, they did have to put together an outfit.  🙂

Love this shot of Mr. Sword and his Best Man

Love this shot of Mr. Sword and his Best Man

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Can I just add that once upon a time in 2009 when Mr. Sword and I first started dating he told me he wanted to get a kilt to wear to formal events, and my initial thought was, “Ullhhh, not cute.”  I couldn’t picture it! I was being narrow-minded and ignorant.  Bad Mrs. Sword!

Fast forward to now and I think kilts are soooo sexy.  Ohmygosh, my husband in his kilt!?!  Makes me melt.  Thankfully my eyes were opened, and now I cannot picture my groom any other way on our wedding day.

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I asked our second shooter to be sure and get lots of photos of the details of the kilt ensembles because I think it is such a unique and personal outfit to wear.  If you’re looking for an explanation post on each piece, I wrote about that HERE. Below is a closeup of Mr. Sword’s carefully place sgian-dubh in his kilt hose, or as I would say, small knife that hides in sock.

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This next picture is a closeup of Groomsmen P’s sporran, or as I would say, man purse.  🙂

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Cute pic of GM J helping fix Mr. Sword’s bow tie:

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Funny aside: We had Subway sandwiches delivered to both getting ready rooms by our family friend J (thank you J) and apparently Mr. Sword, ever the gentleman, didn’t want to take the first sandwich EVEN THOUGH IT WAS HIS WEDDING DAY, so the sandwiches just kind of sat there.  If you can’t eat first on your wedding day, when can you eat first?  Sigh.  He’s a polite guy, what can I say?

Please note full tray of sandwiches in the bottom right-hand corner.

Please note full tray of sandwiches in the bottom right-hand corner.

After he finished getting ready Mr. Sword opened his day of gifts from me (sadly this is the only photo I have from that moment). I got him three items:

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A pair of black socks because when anyone asks him what he needs (or wants) as a gift that’s his stock answer and it just proves he doesn’t need much to be happy.  If he has black socks, he’s set.

A Xbox video game because we all have our vices and I support his like he supports mine.  🙂

A pair of sword cuff links because he will always be my Mr. Sword, and he supports my blogging (and all my dreams) more than I could ever ask of him.

Mr. Sword said the guys kept asking him if he was nervous yet, and he kept saying, “nope.”  He’s not one to get nervous until right before and he’s definitely a live in the moment type of guy, which is one of my favorite things about him!  🙂

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Anyone else have a really calm groom on their wedding day?  Did he or will he wear a unique outfit, or more specifically a kilt?!?!Sword Wedding footer FINAL Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!
Elevators of anxiety!
Rehearsing and screaming!
Burgers and surprises!
Kisses at midnight!

The Big Day
Bacon for bridal baby!
Hair and makeup!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We All Prepare For a Wedding

Our photographer, Crystal and her second shooter Anna, showed up around 9:30 AM to begin taking detail and getting ready shots of all of us.  I’m going to be a big tease and hold out on most of the detail shots but I will show this one of my dress with the sunlight streaming through it. GORGEOUS.

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I was really happy with how my hair and makeup turned out.  Laura does amazing work and I looked just how I had envisioned myself as a bride!  As for the extensions? I would buy them again in a heartbeat.  Laura didn’t clip them in as tightly as she had for the trial and I wore them for over 12 hours without a problem.  Most people had no idea I was wearing extensions until I told them!  (And sidebar: I wore them again at Sister Big Eye’s wedding this past weekend- photos to come later this summer!)

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Meanwhile in the room next door, Mom Sword was putting the finish touches on her MOB ensemble.  She looked so beautiful in her dark royal blue dress!

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Two things about Mom Sword’s look:

1) She purposely bought jewelry she could wear to a formal evening winter wedding (mine) and a fancy bright Sunday picnic wedding (Sister’s) so she could wear something the same for both of her daughter’s weddings.  Such a sweet sentiment.

2) You’ll notice in the photo below she is wearing a cheapo plastic children’s style watch.  Mom Sword was under strict orders to make sure it was removed by ceremony go time.  She LOVES her watches, but it’s a running joke in the family that they never go with anything and look a bit out-of-place on a grown woman.  Luckily she was happy to oblige.  🙂

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Dad Sword cleaned up nicely as well, especially for a guy who never wears suits and hates ties!

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The tartan ties that Boss Lady made for both Dads turned out so well!

I vividly remember Dad Sword stopping by the girls getting ready room to say hi.  I think the look on his face says it all.  🙂

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I guess he needed some help with his tartan boutonnieres made by Sister/MOH Big Eyes.  FWIW, we used safety pins and they worked like a charm!  The bouts were very lightweight.

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Did you get any surprise photos of your parents getting ready?  Were you happy with how your hair and makeup turned out?

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Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!
Elevators of anxiety!
Rehearsing and screaming!
Burgers and surprises!
Kisses at midnight!

The Big Day
Bacon for bridal baby!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We (I) Eat Bacon While Getting Pretty

I woke up around 6 AM on the morning of our wedding to have a shower and a shave.  Usually I do a lot of thinking in the shower but I barely remember taking one that day!  I spent the morning lounging around with my girls in our hotel suite, trying to think too far ahead.

NO MAKEUP!  HAPPY!

NO MAKEUP! HAPPY!

My fabulous hair/makeup artist Laura arrived around 7 AM with two assistants in tow to help with curling and makeup.  Laura is a total blast to have around and she’s really good about making everyone feel comfortable while still making the bride feel extra special.  As you can see from the pics below, planning to have a specific girls getting ready room was a low-stress and super fun way to get ready.

I don’t think I will ever be able to express how easy and awesome it was to have everyone staying at the hotel where the wedding was taking place!  The ladies got to roll out of bed and ride an elevator (if they dared) to our room on level two to begin their day.  No coats, no driving, no stress.

Getting ready collage

As the morning progressed I started to get hungry and I asked the girls to bring me a muffin or something from the buffet; I just wasn’t up for leaving the room and running into people (especially after the craziness of Friday) and I really didn’t want to see Mr. Sword until our first look!

The girls brought me back a muffin which I proceeded to shove into my mouth nibble on. I love lemon poppy-seed muffins normally but today it was making me feel gross and nauseous.  In fact, I was so disgusted by said muffin that couldn’t finish it.

I tried to think of something that sounded good to my tummy, and I immediately thought of bacon.  Grease on my wedding day?  Why not?  Fatty bacon for breakfast?  Too late to lose more weight for my dress anyway!  The weirdest part is that I NEVER eat bacon.  If I do, it’s turkey bacon and I never crave it.  I swear I must have had a bridal baby (new Mrs. Sword phrase, no, I wasn’t preggo) in my tummy that was having a craving because it was so NOT like me to gorge on bacon for breakfast.

The girls brought me some bacon (thanks ladies!) and I devoured it.  Probably haven’t had a piece since.

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I love that we are all wearing our getting ready tank tops and just chilling in the hotel room.

As the morning went on I stayed pretty relaxed even though I knew it was cold and rainy.  For some reason I thought, “It could stop raining by the time we want to take pictures outside.”  Such the optimist fool I was.  🙂  Spoiler alert: It did NOT stop raining but we still got some amazing photos that I can’t wait to share!

Next up, the photographer arrives and I put on some makeup for your viewing pleasure!

(all photos personal)

Did you crave anything weird on the morning of your wedding?  Did you panic about the weather or did you just ignore it like I did?

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Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!
Elevators of anxiety!
Rehearsing and screaming!
Burgers and surprises!
Kisses at midnight!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Steal a Midnight Kiss

One of my favorite moments of our whole wedding weekend took place around midnight the night before our wedding.  The rehearsal dinner was finished and BM L Dawg and H were trying to sleep in the adjoining room while I was trying to type my last post as a Miss in the living area.  Don’t you just love hotel suites?

I had previously said goodnight to Mr. Sword in the lobby as we split up, him to the bar to have one last drink, and me to the girls’ getting ready room where I was staying for the night.

But as I sat there typing away at my laptop, trying to shove all of my emotions into concise but eloquent thoughts, I decided I wanted to see him one last time.  I mean, he was so close, I could hear laughing coming from the hotel bar, voices of people who were here for our wedding.  In that moment, I wanted one more goodnight kiss.  One more embrace.

So I texted him, “Where are u?”

And he replied, “At the bar with my dad!”

“Nice ok!  If you leave soon come knock on my door to say hi! 🙂  I’m blogging.” (Clearly, it’s all about the hive.)

“Will do! Just having one!”

(The Swords are avid users of the exclamation point!)

About ten minutes later (or some other amount of time, I have no idea but ten minutes sounds nice) I heard a faint knock at the door and there he was, the man I was going to marry in mere hours!  I got butterflies in my stomach as I crept out into the hall.

I only have a foggy memory of what we said to each other, but I probably asked him how the bar was and if he’d be OK sleeping by himself. (Guys don’t buddy sleep, ya know?)  I probably said something like, “We’re getting married tomorrow!”  And then he probably said something like, “It’s after midnight, I shouldn’t see you, it’s technically our wedding day.”  To which I probably responded with a “Bah, who cares?”

While I don’t remember words, I do remember feelings, (as does my Mister).  We remember feeling happy, giddy, safe, loved, and calm.  I remember feeling this was the beginning of something amazing.

I had always pictured my last night as a single lady gossiping with my friends or crying tears of joy with my sister, but my friends were tired and wanted to hit the hay right away, and my sister has really long hair and wanted to shower in her own room so she opted to sleep with her fiancé to make things easier in the morning.  I guess I was meant to be alone with my thoughts and I think it’s sweet that my last conversation before I went to bed was with my future husband.

After our quick chat, we kissed once or twice more and said goodnight for real and I finished my post, stowed my laptop, and fell asleep surprisingly quick for someone who can rarely shut their brain off fully when they are extra excited.

Tomorrow I was going to be the bride.  I was going to marry an amazing man and celebrate with my favorite people on the planet.  There’s nothing quite like going to bed and knowing you’re going to wake up to your very own wedding day.  As I fell asleep I knew tomorrow would be golden.

Photo by Friend AB

Photo by Friend AB

Did you have one picture in your head for the night before your wedding only to have something different happen?  Anyone else steal a goodnight or goodbye kiss from their partner at an unexpected moment?

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Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!
Elevators of anxiety!
Rehearsing and screaming!
Burgers and surprises!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Eat Burgers and Things Are Surprising

I want to say we wrapped up the rehearsal right around 9 PM, but I can’t be too sure because I was hardly looking at my phone all day and I don’t wear watches.

BEST IDEA EVER: Having the rehearsal dinner location literally across the street.  After everyone was “dismissed,” people started exiting in groups to head over to our location of choice necessity, the loud but fun western bar, Cowboy Jack’s.

They might not have been our first choice in a pub, but their service was impeccable and their staff was amazing.  Immediately upon entering the private room they were asking our guests for their drink order and attempting to give out tickets based on what burger each person had selected in advance (on our wedding website).  I had no idea how they were going to figure out who had ordered what, we had so many options, beef, BBQ, turkey, veggie, cheese or no cheese, but their little labeled cards did the trick!  Our reserved space was essentially two rooms with the sliding door between them fully open.  It was the perfect size and everyone was able to sit by wherever they wanted.

My only complaint was that it was hard to address everyone during the toasts because the bar was so loud (party bar for sure) and because there was no good place to stand and be heard in both rooms.  You really had to keep turning you head from side to side in order to be heard.  The noise level was a bit frustrating to be honest (especially after the screaming teenagers from earlier) but we went ahead as planned.

First up was FIL Sword and his touching and sweet toast to Mr. Sword and myself.  Here is a snippet from his speech:

When Mr. Sword told us he was going out with Mrs. Sword we were quite nervous about the thought of meeting her… after all Mrs. Sword was the first girl Mr. Sword had brought home to meet us so we thought that this relationship must be quite serious!  Especially when they had to travel all the way to Scotland for the introductions!

Anyway as soon as we picked them up at the airport and were introduced to Mrs. Sword, any concerns we had disappeared as we found Mrs. Sword to be a very friendly, warm, and genuine person and our liking for her just grew over the time that they spent with us.

So we were absolutely thrilled that their relationship blossomed and that they are now only a few hours away from being married.

Next up, I spoke, because in case you can’t tell from my lengthy blog posts, I love words and talking and writing.  While I wanted to thank everyone in the room (and the world!) I had to limit myself and chose to thank the three women who occupy the space of a motherly role in my life, all in different and special ways.  I won’t include it here but in my speech I thanked Boss Lady, Mum Sword, and of course my amazing mother, Mom Sword!

There were TWO surprises at our rehearsal dinner.  The first was Sister/MOH Big Eyes and FBIL singing a song medley that chronicled our relationship over the years.  SO cool.  They chose a short verse or chorus from each part of the song to represent each moment written on cards (written in bold below) held by our Usher/Cousin Dancer.

Usher/Cousin Dancer held their cue cards!

The song selections were:

Drama Queen by Suzie McNeil- It all started with a girl named Mrs. Sword.

Geek in the Pink by Jason Mraz- And… a boy from Scotland named Mr. Sword.

Closing Time by Semisonic- They met at a bar! (Ironically this is also the song Mr. Sword chose for our DJ to play as our last song of the night at our wedding.)

Window Shopping by Hank Williams – For their first date they decided to go… Window Shopping.  (Our first date was browsing shops on Michigan Ave, specifically the awesomeness that is Nordstrom.)

Crush by David Archuleta- The dating began.  (Duh.)

Cleaning This Gun (Come on in Boy) by Rodney Atkins- It was time to meet the families.  (The funniest part about this song choice is that neither of our Dad’s own guns or the least bit intimidating to meet.)

Woman I Love by Jason Mraz- Mr. Sword decided to pop the question.

I Do by Colbie Caillat- Mrs. Sword said yes!

Going to the Chapel by Crystals- Wedding date set- March 9th, 2013

A Thousand Years by Christina Perri- They plan to grow old together.  (You’ll sing this song reappear later as well!)

The photo below is a good view of the awkwardness that it was to stand in between both rooms.

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The second surprise of the night was from ME to Mr. Sword!

The groom’s cake is a tradition we never really discussed and wouldn’t have missed to be perfectly honest, but I knew my hubby loves a good tres leches cake.  He’d never had one until coming to America and since his first one in 2010 we have to look for tres leches cake on every single dessert menu we see.  If you’ve never had the three milks cake you’re missing out! It’s nothing short of amazing and FWIW I once made one starting with a yellow box cake and simply added the milks to it, and Mr. Sword was in heaven!

Of course I had to have them write “A Highland Fairy Tale” on top!

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Mr. Sword loved his groom’s cake and definitely had no idea it was coming so I was pretty happy!

The woman I worked with to organize our rehearsal dinner at Cowboy Jacks was so sweet and she even offered to pick up the cakes earlier that day so we wouldn’t have to find someone to do it. Cowboy Jack’s also provided us with plates, forks, and an open table to store our bridal party gifts.  They went above and beyond.  I know it might be a bit of a unique place for a rehearsal dinner but I highly recommend them to anyone getting married in the Twin Cities and Bloomington area!  Who doesn’t love a good burger and a beer?

After passing out gifts, hugging everyone, and chatting with our friends, it was time to walk back over to the hotel.  Some of Mr. Sword’s Scottish friends were staying at Cowboy Jack’s to partake in post-dinner shots and being the buzz kill that I am I made to sure to remind our groomsmen of the long day coming up and how they had to look happy and alive for pictures!  (It must have worked because they were all up and ready and perfect gentleman all day and some of them were still trying to get past the jet lag! Such troopers!)

(all photos personal and still blurry)

Did you have any surprises at your rehearsal dinner?  Did you choose convenience too and in the end it was totally worth it?

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Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!
Elevators of anxiety!
Rehearsing and screaming!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Rehearse and Kids Scream

The rehearsal time we were given by Embassy Suites was 8 PM (it was either that or 4 PM) and I think we started pretty close to on time which was shocking considering the amount of interviews we were trying to cram into the hour of 7 -8 o’clock.  At first no one was sure what to do and the atrium looked like this:

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Once I did quick head count to make sure everywhere was there it was time for Pastor P to take over and begin the rehearsal.

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I had been adamant about NOT being in charge because I knew my stress level was going to be high that night and I didn’t want to be shouting directions or running the show.  And for the most part, it was fine.  Mom Sword knew how the processional should be orchestrated and we had brought the music and some speakers so the bridal party could rehearse their entrance.  Being that there was JUST enough of the song for our four couples to walk down the aisle, the timing was pretty crucial.

Melissa camera 4

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Dad Sword and I getting ready to practice our big moment!

Dad Sword and I getting ready to practice our big moment!

For those wondering, we chose NOT to hire a DOC and honestly, it was fine, in fact it was more than fine, it was great.  We had a coordinator from Embassy Suites that made sure our ceremony was kept private (or as private as you can be in the atrium of a hotel) and who also helped with some ceremony/reception details but for the most part, it was just us managing my insane schedule and type A expectations (and by us I mean my bad ass honor attendants and family members who did a lot of the coordinating).

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The actual rehearsal was really productive and definitely set my mind at ease so if you’re a control freak like myself, I HIGHLY suggest having one.  We lucked out and hired the nicest bagpiper ever who agreed to attend our rehearsal so he could practice piping in the space and be ready for Saturday.  Also, everyone LOVED him.

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In fact the only real “problem” with the rehearsal was the obnoxious screaming adolescents who decided it was more than OK to shout across the hotel from one side to the other during our ceremony run-through.  Note: I do not have pictures of the “shouters” but these are just a few of the folks who were watching us practice.

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Honestly, one of my favorite things about our venue is the atrium and it’s high ceilings and open/outdoor feel.  I knew going into this that our ceremony was going to be observed by uninvited spectators.  And that’s fine by me, heck, I love an audience!  But when the spectators are screaming, “OUR ROOM IS SO COOL, WHAT DOES YOURS LOOK LIKE?” and “WHAT FLOOR DID YOU SAY YOU WERE ON?” while we’re trying to communicate about where the readers should stand or how we’re going to get the handfasting cords to Pastor P, it’s extremely frustrating!

I kept looking up with a glare, and asking friends and family, “Is this for real right now?  I mean, don’t they see we’re in the middle of something?”

No, they don’t “see,” because they’re preteens and they’re excited to be checking into the hotel, and they’re self-absorbed (aren’t we all?) and so they kept right on shouting, and I kept right on muttering, “If this happens during the actual wedding, so help me I will….mumble mumble mumble.”

Note the people and luggage behind Littlest C and Cousin Dancer in this pic below.  For all hotel brides out there, remember Friday is check-in night and therefore tends to be extra crazy!

Melissa camera 2

Hey look, our cinematographers stayed after the interviews to catch some of the rehearsal, how nice of them!  You can see one videographer on the second level of the photo below:

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You’ll have to wait to hear how the actual ceremony goes but let’s just say, when you put on a white dress, people get it.

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Did you have a rehearsal or do you plan on having one?  I feel like it’s less common these days but still a good idea!  Anyone else get married with lots of folks watching?

(all photos personal and really blurry, my apologies)

How did your rehearsal go?  Did anyone else have to deal with a hotel rehearsal?  Would the yelling have annoyed you too?!

Sword Wedding footer FINAL

Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!
Elevators of anxiety!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Ride the Elevators of Anxiety

Before we get to the elevators, let me back up a bit…

Immediately following the luncheon, the bridal party and I left to get our nails done at Livvy Nails and Spa in Lakeville, MN.  I had picked this salon on a previous planning trip and they were ready for us when we arrived (although there was some miscommunication on when exactly that time would be).  Some of us got regular manis, some got gel manis, and some of us went for both a gel mani AND a pedi (like me!).

I was happy as any nail snob could be and since I asked you all for an opinion on my polish colors, it’s only fair that I tell you what I picked!  I went with Essie’s dark purple “damsel in a dress” on my toes and bridal white in gel on my hands!  I also brought Essie’s lavender  “go ginza” as option for the girls’ and most of them did choose either the dark purple or the lavender to compliment their dresses.

Personal photos/Collage by Mrs. Sword

Personal photos/Collage by Mrs. Sword

We ended up leaving the nail salon in shifts as people were finishing up because it was time to check into the hotel rooms and get organized for the rehearsal.  I was in the last car load, being that my appointment was one of the longer ones, and I was starting to get a bit anxious on the drive to Embassy Suites.

My biggest concern was making sure we had the right people in the right hotel rooms near each other.  I wanted the girl’s getting ready room (where I was sleeping Friday night) to be directly next to my parent’s room so I could get my dress on with only Mom Sword and Sister/MOH Big Eyes in the room. I wanted it to be a private moment and I didn’t want clothing and makeup supplies in the shots.  Mrs. Sword Wedding Tip:  Keep an area clear in your room to get into your dress OR go somewhere else entirely.  It’s amazing how calming it was to step into my dress one hotel room over from where the getting ready commotion was taking place.

The problem was I wanted to be next to my parent’s room and my parent’s wanted to be next to my grandparent’s room and everyone in the family was checking in at different times.  Oh and to complicate things further, the girl’s getting ready room had to be on a different floor than the guy’s getting ready room.  Due to all this and who knows what else, my poor father had to transport my heavy, ruffled wedding gown to a grand total of FIVE hotel rooms before it could be officially hung up.

The funniest part was (and I heard this later on) that Mr. Sword was sitting at the hotel bar chatting with his groomsmen and buddies who had just arrived that Friday afternoon.  And since my dress had been steamed our alterations friend L suggested we don’t cover it again so it was imperative that Mr. Sword look away every time my Dad went huffing and puffing across the lobby.

Photo by FIL Sword

Photo by FIL Sword

Poor Dad Sword, I wish there was some way we could have prevented this, but the truth is with hotels there is no guarantee of early check in, or which rooms you’ll get, or who you’ll be next to, you just have to wait until the day of and hope they are accommodating.  And thankfully Embassy Suites Bloomington WAS very accommodating to us!

To make matters worse, the elevators at our hotel were awful.  This is truly my only complaint about this Embassy Suites, but it’s a big one! Update and improve your elevators people!  The elevators are actually quite beautiful, they are clear glass, and centrally located in the hotel, but slow.as.hell.  I wish I could say this was the last time they were problem but alas it is not, and you’ll just have to wait for a later recap to find out more!  😉

Photo by Aunt K

Photo by Aunt K

Dad Sword wasn’t the only one running laps and waiting on the elevators, I too had to run around and finalize details with Mom Sword, Pastor P, and Mr. Sword!  Then a little before 7 PM our amazing videographers arrived to start taping the family and friend interviews to put in our wedding video so we had to get them to a secluded room and make sure people knew where to go.  And yes I did take the stairs when I could but we’re talking 8 floors here and all while wearing heels and carrying things!

Apparently there were other issues surfacing as well, like the stickers we had bought last-minute to label who had a vegetarian or a kid’s meal on the escort card swords were not stickers at all but jewels with no adhesive so a few ladies had to run out and buy glue.

There was also a mad scramble to get the keyboard, amp, and music stands set up for the rehearsal later that evening.  Luckily I knew nothing of these issues (I love my family and friends) and my biggest focus when I got back to the hotel was squeezing into my fancy rehearsal dress which I first talked about HERE.

I blame 40% of my stress level on being a bride the day before her wedding and the other 60% on those damn elevators!

Looking back now, it’s a big joke in our family, the worst part of the Sword wedding were the elevators from 1970, HAHA, and in retrospect, who really cares?  I can TOTALLY laugh about it now.  🙂

Sword Wedding footer FINAL

Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!
Final preparations, snow, and tears!
Ladies’ Luncheon!