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Cathartic Vendor Review

At first I struggled with whether or not to review my vendors because the information is only relevant to those people getting married in Minnesota.  But being that there are not very many Weddingbee blogger bees from MN, I decided to go ahead and write the post.

The reason this is cathartic for me is because I had a bit of an issue with one of my main vendors.  I’m not sure how to handle my frustration while still being the bigger person and avoiding pointless catty comments other than to be as vague as possible while still letting it all out.

I am disappointed in how things went down with my photographer.  Sister Big Eyes’ and I shrendored her, which makes my frustrations doubly upsetting.

Our photographer is a talented artist no doubt but she was not easy to work with.  For example, my photos were late, multiple other promised deadlines were missed, and there was an overall lack of business savvy.  Days before Sister Big Eyes’ wedding there was an issue via email that could have been easily avoided with better communication.  There were misunderstandings about expectations, excuses instead of apologies, and both of us are still waiting on a part of our package, an album we were promised.

While I do love my pictures and am incredibly thankful for them, it’s hard for me to encourage others to hire her when she caused us both so much unnecessary stress, which is why I’m not linking to her website or recommending her.  (Although her information is not difficult to find if you go to any of my recaps.)

To turn this into something positive, here are a few things to remember that I wish I had known when interviewing photographers besides the usual, look at all the photos from one wedding, not just the favorites, and make sure they match your aesthetic/vision.

Picking the Right Photographer:

  • Get a timeline in the contract so that you have something to refer back to if they are late getting you your photos.
  • Ask them how many weddings they shoot per year, the lower the number the more time they will have to devote to the ones they have booked.
  • Trust your instincts, to quote Oprah quoting Maya Angelou, “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
  • Respect them as an artist but remember you have a right to hold them accountable as a paying client.  Be kind but firm with expectations.
  • Finally, do NOT pass their name along to someone else until AFTER you’ve had the full experience of working them.  Unless of course you’re sisters getting married within three months of each other and it makes sense for you both.  🙂

Now that the icky stuff is out of the way, let me tell you about a shrendoring experience that was the complete opposite of the last one.

Laura Westrem: A+

Sister Big Eyes’ and I shared our hair/makeup artist and I would recommend her a million times over!  She was so easy to be around and really focused on making the bride feel special and happy.  She also got to know our family pretty well from doing both weddings and she offered Sister and I discounts at both weddings.  She works really hard but still makes time to respond to emails, and was extremely accommodating of my out-of-town schedule.  If I need a hair/makeup artist in the future, I’m calling Laura.

Midwest Sound and DJ: B

The music selection at the reception was fantastic but they caused us some unnecessary stress by phoning the week of the wedding saying they couldn’t get the legal copies of TWO songs for our ceremony.  I was pretty annoyed because I had sent them our packet of song choices back in February.  The issue was resolved in time but it was still frustrating.

Embassy Suites Bloomington: A-

What can I say?  This hotel knows weddings.  The two ladies in charge are both very nice and great with responding quickly over email.  They worked with me when I had to set up meetings pretty far in advance and they answered all my questions without making me feel stupid.  A few hiccups, one they asked for a payment after I’d already given it (I almost paid them twice for the same thing but luckily we caught it), and they switched my coordinator at the last minute, and AGAIN I found out the week of the wedding.  It wasn’t a huge issue, but being that I’d only met one of the two woman, I felt very much like the rug was pulled out from under me.  Their expertise in the wedding biz came through in the end and it didn’t matter who my coordinator was, it all got done.

Also, one last thing, that doesn’t really have to do with Embassy Suites, or so we think, our bathroom baskets were stolen!  I was pretty pissed at the time, not only because those baskets were from my own house but mostly because we were going to reuse them for Sister Big Eyes’ wedding and instead we had to purchase new baskets and new items and make them all over again!  Dear people who steal bathroom baskets: you make me sad.  Drag your ass to Target and buy a Tide-to-go pen on your own dime!

The Gunn Slingers: A+++

Our Ceilidh band was the highlight of the night.  Hire them.  They rule.  Since they don’t have a website Google them to find their Facebook page or private message me for an email address.

Evan the Bagpiper: A+

He was young, sweet, talented, and on time.  He even came to our rehearsal.  Everyone loved his music.  Private message me for his email address if you want pipes for your Minnesota wedding!

Lake Harriet Florist: A

My bouquets were stunning and she worked within my meager budget.  The first and last place we went to, win win.

Videography

I can’t review or link to my videographers because they are done filming weddings and do not want inquires about them, but they rocked.  And if I ever need to film a commercial, I’m calling them.  🙂

Did you have a frustrating experience with a vendor that you need some closure on?  Is anyone else shrendoring?!?!  🙂

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Sister Sword’s Fancy Picnic Wedding

You didn’t think I would leave you all hanging on Sister Big Eyes’ gorgeous wedding, did you?  Sister and Brother-in-law were married on a Sunday in June three months and one week after the Sword wedding.  It was also the same day as our grandparent’s wedding anniversary AND Father’s Day, making it all that more special.

Dearest hive, I will now attempt to do the impossible, I will recap Sister Big Eyes’ wedding in ONE SINGLE BUT INCREDIBLY LONG BLOG POST.  Never mind that recapping my Highland Fairy Tale took about 40 posts, I truly believe I can do this!  Hopefully you’ll recognize a lot of familiar faces but in a whole new setting this time!  Minnesota in the summer is quite lovely.

A Fancy Picnic

Getting Ready

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Does that look familiar?  I have the same shot, see below.  Cool huh?

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Auntie B’s reaction to seeing the bride:

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Does it remind you of the last time she saw a bride?

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I love this next shot!

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First Look and Portraits

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sister faces

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Guess who made it to another Minnesota wedding all the way from Bismarck, ND… our grandparents!  We are the luckiest.  🙂

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Ceremony

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Look who’s escorting his new Mother-in-law down the aisle, a squinty Mr. Sword!

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Yours truly as Matron of Honor.

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They sang their vows to each other- it was amazing!  And they did a God’s knot, which Sister Big Eyes braided during the ceremony.

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Yay, another receiving line, our family loves giving hugs!

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Details

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For their guestbook, they had everyone sign an old guitar, and how cute are their functional yet personalized guitar picks that were used as confetti and available for guests to take home!  An authentic picnic basket was used for cards.

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Reception

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This guy again, killed it with another great Father of the Bride toast- can you imagine having to do TWO in three months?!?

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Sister and BIL had taken lessons ahead of time, and they did a fantastic job on their first dance!

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Sister Big Eyes invited some of her former students to come towards the end of the day and dance their favorite line dances with her at the reception.  It was really sweet.

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One thing I regret we couldn’t have was a cute send-off!  These ribbon wands were a huge hit with everyone.  🙂

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Mr. Sword and myself drove them away from their reception and to my parent’s house, it was time for our Sister Rock the Frock Photo Shoot!!  Coming up NEXT!

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography because remember, we shrendored.

PHEW, I did it!  🙂  Did you see any details or ideas that inspired you for your wedding?

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Receive Hugs in a Line

I love that just recently Mrs. Bracelet posted about having a receiving line and how much she enjoyed it!  I have to echo her thoughts and say I’m so glad we went for it even though at first I was all like, Receiving lines are lame, no one wants to stand in waiting to hug you when there’s food and drink to be consumed!  FALSE.  Receiving lines rule.  Look at the proof!

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Surprisingly enough, our receiving line went SUPER fast, in my mind anyway, and because we ended our ceremony about 15 minutes before cocktail hour started, most people didn’t miss a thing!  Plus, you might find gems like these from your photographer!  I’m the queen of crazy faces.

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I feel like receiving lines are falling in popularity but speaking from someone who’s been to weddings where the bride and groom frantically try to make it to each and every table during dinner (we also tried this and failed by three tables), I highly recommend this route if you have a wedding guest list of 150 people or lower.  With a receiving line, you are guaranteed one hug and some real eye contact with each and every person!

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Mrs. Sword’s Tips For a Kick-ass, Modern Receiving Line

1. Keep your receiving line limited to only the most important peeps.  Whatever that means to you, for us it was bride, groom, bride’s parents, and groom’s parents, for a grand total of 6.  For Mrs. Bracelet, it was her MOH as well.  Gone are the days where you include the entire bridal party, it’s just not necessary!

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2. Send the bridal party packing!  By that I mean, don’t make those closely involved with the wedding and ceremony stand in line for a hug when they most likely have been with you all day and probably have helped you pee once as well.  Have your bridal party immediately go to the next event to get things started!  This goes for ushers, flower girls, ring bearers, honor attendants, and others as well!

3. Include buffer time between ceremony and cocktail hour or reception (depending on your wedding) so that the line doesn’t feel rushed. You don’t want people thinking they are missing out on something so leave time in between events specifically for the receiving line if possible.

4. Designate who is standing where ahead of time.  The last thing you want to do after your ceremony is think about the order of your receiving line.  Luckily, WeddingWire had this as one of my checklist items so I made up the order ahead of time and emailed it to our parents.  When the day came, we were prepared! Ours ended up being boy-girl and looked like this, starting with closest to the guests:

Bride’s Mother
Bride’s Father
Bride
Groom
Groom’s Mother
Groom’s Father

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5. Choose a path that flows well.  We chose to line up behind the atrium gates meaning guests had to walk out of the atrium and past the fountain on their way to the reception room.

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We didn’t want anyone sneaking out the back way by the kitchen and this enforced a path.  If you are doing a receiving line into a new location, do it in the hallway or lobby so as not to interfere with flow once guests are in the room.

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6. Don’t ask your guests questions or chat them up!  This one is counter-intuitive because if you’re like me when someone is attending your event you want to ask how they are doing and catch up on them instead of just focusing on you.  Ignore this feeling.  Simply thank them for coming, for traveling, or for just being awesome, and give them a firm hug.  Smile.  But don’t make chit-chat, that will slow the line down too much!  (It’s a good idea to share this tip with other members of the receiving line as well.)

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Anything I’ve missed?  Did you or will you do a receiving line as well or will you be attempting the table tango?

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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!
Champagne toasts!
First look!
Cold couple portraits!
The Swords with swords!
The men pose!
The women pose!
Altogether now!
Elevator madness!
Big reveal!
Family photos!
Posing with our flower girl!
True Scotsman indeed!

Ceremony
People processing!
Bridal cry/laugh walk!
Ceremony readings!
Vows and handfasting!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Promise (Ceremony Part Two)

If you missed Part One of the Sword ceremony, click here.

After her message, Pastor P began the vows and I handed my bouquet to MOH Big Eyes and turned to face my soon-to-be husband.  This photo of the atrium during our ceremony makes me weak in the knees, so lovely.

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Did you notice the people on the top floor watching the ceremony?  We quite a few onlookers during our wedding but luckily no shouting!  I saw later that some people had been sitting in lawn chairs and drinking beers from a cooler, hilarious.  Love it.

Pastor P:

You have chosen each other to be your lifetime partner, to share all your hopes and dreams, your love and commitment, so as it is your intention to make this commitment by entering into marriage, I invite you now to join hands as you share your promises and your wedding vows.

Do you Mr. Sword, take Mrs. Sword, to be your wedded wife? And do you solemnly promise, before God and these witnesses, that you will love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, and be faithful to her, as long as you both shall live?

Mr. Sword:  I do.

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Mrs. Sword do you take Mr. Sword, to be your wedded husband? And do you solemnly promise, before God and these witnesses, that you will love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, and be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?

Mrs. Sword:  I do.

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Since you have shared your desire to join together as husband and wife and made these promises to one another, I now ask you to please repeat after me your wedding vows that you have written for each other:

Quick note on the vows, I actually wrote both sets and you’ll notice they are very similar for the most part but in some cases I changed a few words.  For example, Mr. Sword enjoys my passion for life while I enjoy his patience for life.

In case you’re thinking of personalizing your own (which I highly recommend), I wrote our vows after asking Mr. Sword a series of questions that you can find HERE.  It was important for me to know his thoughts first, but as the writer in our relationship he was more than happy to have me take the reins on this part of the ceremony.  He did have to edit and “OK” them of course!

Pastor P fed us each line split up in parts because she didn’t want us memorizing them but in hindsight, I wish we would have read them from a piece of paper so they could have flowed better (or maybe that’s just the writer in me over-scrutinizing?)

I guess it was nice to just stare into each other’s eyes to and hold hands.  🙂  Vows are in bold because, they’re the VOWS.  ha.  And I won’t write them twice, but we were repeating Pastor P each time:

Mr. Sword’s vows to me:

Mrs. Sword, from the moment I met you I knew you were someone who would fill my life with joy.

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You are my favorite person because of your passion for life and your ability to laugh at yourself.

Today I vow to always respect your opinions, to encourage your dreams, and to build a future with you.

I promise to give you the freedom to change and be supportive when you do.

I promise to love your family as my own and visit them often, no matter how cold it gets. (this line got a nice laugh!)

I promise to try and make you laugh when you cry over important and unimportant things. (chuckles as everyone knows I cry A LOT)

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I promise to be both forgiving and to ask for forgiveness often.

I promise to keep God present in our relationship and to always be thankful for you. (Apparently I mouthed “Thank you.” to Mr. Sword after this line and it brought honor attendant C Fri to tears.  We are an open book for the most part so everyone knew how much this meant to me to have him vow to keep God present in our relationship.)

I promise to be your faithful husband, loving and equal partner and our biggest fan.

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Marrying you is my dream come true.

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My vows to him:

Mr. Sword, from the moment I met you I knew you were someone who would fill my life with joy.

You are my favorite person because of patience for life and your ability to laugh at yourself.

Today I vow to always respect your opinions, to encourage your dreams, and to build a future with you.

I promise to give you freedom to change and be supportive when you do.

I promise to love your family as my own and fly to Scotland often even though I’m a terrible traveler. (Insert HUGE laugh here, thanks everybody, I know, I suck at traveling!)

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I promise to laugh after I cry at both important and unimportant things. (This line was actually omitted by accident because I think Pastor P forgot to add it her script and I only realized it after writing this post!)

I promise to be both forgiving and to ask for forgiveness often.

I promise to keep God present in our relationship and to always be thankful for you.

I promise to be your faithful wife, loving and equal partner, and our biggest fan.

Marrying you is my dream come true.

Pastor P:

The wedding ring is offered as a symbol of love freely given; it is a visible sign of the love and commitment a husband and wife share with each other. The circle of the ring is unending, just as your love is unending. It is freely given, just a you give your lives to one another without reservation. It is worn proudly as you are pleased to share your own relationship with all those in your lives. It is worn in reverence as a gift from God just as God blesses you as you wear this ring.

So Mrs. and Mr. Sword, receive these rings as a sign of the love and affection you share for each other, and wear them proudly as a symbol of your binding union.

Mr. Sword, will you take this ring and repeat after me:

Mrs. Sword, with this ring I promise to share my life with you.

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Mrs. Sword will you take this ring and repeat after me:

Mr. Sword, with this ring, I promise to share my life with you.

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Mr. and Mrs. Sword have chosen to include the Celtic tradition of handfasting into their wedding ceremony today. Handfasting is a wedding ritual in which the couples’ hands are tied together as a symbol of their lives being joined together. Mrs. and Mr. Sword, marriage forms eternal and sacred bonds. The promises made today bind your lives together as these cords hold your hands together.

Please join hands as you make these pledges:

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Mrs. and Mr. Sword, with this first cord, will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor?  (We will.)

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With this second cord, will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?  (We will.)

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With this third cord, will you share the burdens of each other so that your spirits may grow in this union?  (We will.)

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With this fourth cord, will you share each other’s laughter, and look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?  (We will.)

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Mrs. and Mr. Sword, as your hands are now bound together, so your lives are joined in a union of love and trust The knots of this binding symbolize the vows you have made. Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

May these cords of love remain forever symbolically tied, and may these hands be blessed. May they always be held by one another. May they have the strength to hold on tightly during the storms of life May they remain tender and gentle as they nurture each other. May these hands build a relationship of love, caring, and devotion. May you see each other’s hands as healer, protector, shelter and guide.

Quick note on the handfasting, we simply Googled different ideas until we found a nice frame of questions we liked and had Pastor P tweak it a bit.  We chose to do four cords to correspond with the four questions, two were purchased from JoAnn’s and two were made from our family tartan by Boss Lady.

Mrs. and Mr. Sword as you now have pledged your love and faith to each other, before your friends and family; and have sealed your vows of marriage by the exchange of your rings and the binding of your hands, it is my joy and privilege to declare that you are husband and wife, according to the authority entrusted to me through God and the laws of this state… Will you pray with me…

Mr. and Mrs. Sword may God smile upon you and grant you His love mingled with yours so that it may always be strong and good. May you know God’s blessings in all your days and years ahead as you grow together in friendship and love, and may you weather life’s storms guided by God’s Spirit so that your life may be filled with abundant joy!

At this point we each grabbed two of the four handfasting cords, one tartan and one rope, and presented them to our parents with hugs and thank-yous.  It was a special moment to honor them and now they each have a part of the ceremony they can display in their home (although how does one display handfasting cords!?!).

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Pastor P:

Mr. Sword, You may now Kiss your Bride!  (WHOO-HOO!!)

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(We really took our time and enjoyed our first kiss.)

It now gives me great pleasure to present to you, Mr. Sword and Mrs. Sword Hislastname!

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And with that E started piping again and we recessed down the aisle followed closely by our bridal party.  I want to say our ceremony was a little less than 40 minutes long, it fit us perfectly and was just as lovely as I had imagined it would be!

I love the way Mr. Sword’s kilt looks in the photo below:

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Who else did a handfasting and/or wrote (or is writing) their own vows?  Hope you enjoyed the Sword ceremony!

All photos 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!
Becoming a bride!
Champagne toasts!
First look!
Cold couple portraits!
The Swords with swords!
The men pose!
The women pose!
Altogether now!
Elevator madness!
Big reveal!
Family photos!
Posing with our flower girl!
True Scotsman indeed!

Ceremony
People processing!
Bridal cry/laugh walk!
Ceremony readings!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Listen (Ceremony Part One)

All of a sudden it was time to begin our wedding ceremony and the most important part of the day.  (I’ve broken it up in two parts for your reading pleasure while still keeping everything in sequential order.)  All ceremony photos were taken in the beautiful atrium of our Embassy Suites hotel.

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We ended up taking the bones of a non-denominational Christian ceremony provided to us by Pastor P and made changes where we saw fit.  A little bit about Pastor P, she was my Pastor growing up in the Twin Cities and she guided me through my confirmation years ago when I was in 8th grade.  (Pastor P also officiated Sister Big Eyes’ wedding in June, another example of our shrendoring!)  We really enjoyed working with her and Mr. Sword was able to get to know her through our couple’s counseling sessions and many wedding planning visits to Minnesota.

Regarding the religious aspects: full disclosure here, my husband identifies as agnostic, meaning he’s open to religion and higher powers but desires more scientific proof.  The fact alone that I am a strong Christian while he is not AND we still make it work the way we do is one of the healthiest things about our relationship.  But that’s another post for a different type of blog!  🙂

And with that, I give you the first half of the Sword Ceremony:

Pastor P: Welcome friends and family. We are gathered together here in the sight of God and in the presence of this company to join together Mr. Sword and Mrs. Sword in Holy Matrimony.

 Marriage is an honorable estate, instituted by God and blessed by our Lord Jesus Christ. It is a precious relationship, not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, thoughtfully and lovingly. Mrs. Sword and Mr. Sword are standing before us today to make their commitment to one another.

 Let us hold them in our hearts and surround them with our love and affection; let us be with them in “Spirit” just as God is now present with us in Spirit to join them in marriage from this day forward.

Will you pray with me…

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O God, we are awed by the many meanings of this hour and are overjoyed by its promises. We pray that the spirit of trust, understanding and love may be with Mrs. Sword and Mr. Sword through all the years that lie ahead of them.

Whatever trials and testing may come, may they trust each other wholly, for without such trust, marriage is in name only; may they strive to understand each other always, for without understanding there is neither acceptance nor forgiveness; may they truly love each with Your unconditional love, for this is what will make their marriage strong.

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As Mr. Sword and Mrs. Sword build a new life together, may they find peace and contentment. May their times together be full of laughter and joy, and may the years ahead deal gently with them… and walking with each other one day at a time, may they find far more in life together than either of them would have found alone.

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Lord, bless this day and their lives forever, for we pray this in the name of Jesus Christ who taught us to pray together . . .

We chose to include the Lord’s Prayer using debts.  I actually struggled with how to go about including this prayer as I know many people who are either a different religion than myself (Catholic, Jehovah’s Witness, Church of Scotland, etc) or who are not religious at all.  In the end, the day is about us and I believe a marriage should include God, so we had the prayer. My other concern was starting it with “Our Father” because in my feminist hippie ways, I’ve really taken to my church’s way of excluding any and all gender specific language.  That said, I grew up saying, “Our Father,” so it was kept.

After the prayer everyone else was asked to sit and the parents stayed standing for the parental blessing:

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It is only fitting to include the parents of Mr. Sword and Mrs. Sword in this time for they are those who raised these two and nurtured them and helped them to be the couple they are today. The love and warmth and faith they were given will continue to grow as they establish their own family. As their parents, they have you to thank for these roots that are strong and a hope that endures. So I ask you:

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Will you, now and always, from this day forward, promise to continue to support Mr. Sword and Mrs. Sword with your love and care and prayers, upholding and strengthening their marriage. If so, answer, we will.  (We will.)

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AND NOW FOR THE READINGS!  One of the hardest decisions of the entire planning process, I’m not kidding.  Thank you again for all of your amazing ideas hive, it was really fun reading everything!  In the end we ended up going a very simple route with both readings:

Friend of the Bride J read this:

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Mrs. Sword asked me to give a short preface to how she chose this particular poem for their wedding ceremony. Mrs. Sword has been searching for THE perfect ceremony reading since she and Mr. Sword first got engaged.  The problem was she had quite a few stipulations… she wanted it to be unique, not something you’d hear at every wedding, she wanted it to have gender inclusive language, and she wanted it to be straightforward and concise.  After browsing the internet, combing through wedding blogs, and asking around for months, she started to think she’d never find anything quite right.

Then in January at her local Barnes and Noble, Mrs. Sword was perusing the Valentine’s Day themed children’s books when she found one that made her teary-eyed thinking about her favorite person.  And while it’s not the perfect reading (because she realized that didn’t exist) it’s the perfect reading for Mr. and Mrs. Sword.

You by Stephen Michael King.

The world is a colorful place-

yellow, red, blue, and all other colors.

The world is colored with big things, small things, and all sorts of things.

But the most colorful part of my world is… YOU.

The world is a musical place,

with high notes, low notes, and all the notes in between.

But the most musical part of my world is… YOU.

The world is an exciting place,

with ups, downs, around and arounds, and far, far aways.

But the most exciting place in my world

is with…

YOU.

While J was reading, I started crying.  It was such an intense feeling and the words really hit home.  MOH Big Eyes stepped in to dry my eyes while I clutched Mr. Sword’s hand.

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In between the two readings my beautiful and talented Sister/MOH sang a song I had picked out early on in our engagement. “Crazy Dreams” performed my Megan Hilty in the TV show Smash.

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Honor Attendant H played the lovely accompaniment on keyboard.  I’m lucky to know such talented people!

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“Crazy Dreams” couldn’t be more fitting for Mr. Sword and I.  It’s really, truly crazy that a girl from Minnesota would ever meet a guy from Scotland in a bar in Chicago of all places. Plus, its no surprise I love anything fairy tale- related!

I love this pic of Mom Sword watching Sister Big Eyes singing:

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Cousin of the Groom J read this:

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Scottish Wedding Prayer

Lord help us to remember when
we first met and the strong
love that grew between us.
To work that love into
practical things so that nothing
can divide us.
We ask for words both kind
and loving and hearts always
ready to ask forgiveness
as well as to forgive.
Dear Lord, we put our
marriage into your hands.

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A Scottish Wedding prayer, of course! Such a no-brainer when it finally dawned on me on how perfect this reading was for us.  Plus, Cousin J appreciated its short length.  🙂

Pastor P:

Mrs. Sword and Mr. Sword have chosen for their scripture reading today a passage from the Old Testament, from Ecclesiastes chapter 4: verses 9-12:

“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up the other but woe to one who is alone and falls and does not have another to help. Again, if two lie down together, they keep warm; but how can one keep warm alone? And though one might prevail against another, two will withstand one. A three-fold cord is not quickly broken.”

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(Picking a gender-neutral, inclusive, non-offensive, uplifting, wedding-related scripture from the Bible was extremely difficult.  But this one talks about a cord and hints to our handfasting later on.  It was perfect for us and maybe it can work for your ceremony too!)

After the scripture Pastor P went into her homily or message.  I’m not going to include it here for two reasons, 1) This post is already insanely long and 2) It’s personal to us and it won’t be much help in formulating a wedding ceremony for anyone else.

Part Two of the ceremony continues next with vows, the handfasting, and our first kiss as husband and wife!  🙂

Anyone surprised at our choice of readings?  What will you have read in your ceremony?

All photos 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!
Becoming a bride!
Champagne toasts!
First look!
Cold couple portraits!
The Swords with swords!
The men pose!
The women pose!
Altogether now!
Elevator madness!
Big reveal!
Family photos!
Posing with our flower girl!
True Scotsman indeed!

Ceremony
People processing!
Bridal cry/laugh walk!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Watch Me Cry/Laugh Down the Aisle

At this point the DJ faded out and Bagpiper E started playing again, this time, Highland Cathedral, also known as my bridal song.  I kept wondering in the back of my mind if I’d regret walking down the aisle to bagpipes but I’m to report I was 100% happy with my bridal march!  Some folks said they got the chills when the bagpipes started again.  Me too.  🙂

I’ve included a link to the song if you want an idea what E played but you’ll have to imagine it without the drums and going a bit slower in tempo:

Before I entered, our flower girl, Littlest C, mader her appearance down the aisle, scattering petals in preparation for the bride.  She took her job very seriously and looked absolutely adorable.

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She did a fantastic job scattering petals and she looked adorable.

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If you’re at all like me, you were a bit nervous (or you will be) before walking down the aisle, but once Dad Sword and I got started, the nervous butterflies turned into happy butterflies and I was so excited to be walking down the aisle to my groom in front of all of my favorite people!  I am an extrovert after all.

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When Dad Sword and I first began walking I was worried about tripping but I soon forgot about my feet and all of my energy became focused on NOT SOBBING.  Watch as my face attempts to “keep it together.”

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My emotions were getting the best of me and I’m pretty sure it had something to do with this amazing guy:

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What do you do when the love your life is beaming at you in his handsome kilt minutes before it’s time to pledge your love to each other?  Completely lose it of course (with Dad Sword grinning away as a proud FOB next to you).

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And then start to chuckle cause you’re so happy you feel silly.  I don’t know how anyone can cry all the time and NOT have a sense of humor about it!

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After hugging Dad Sword, I was presented (sounds better than “given away,” right?) to Mr. Sword and proceeded to hold his hand as much as I could for the entire ceremony.  There was nowhere else in the world I wanted to be.

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Did you cry and then laugh at yourself while walking down the aisle too?  Anyone else use bagpipes for their bridal march?

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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!
Champagne toasts!
First look!
Cold couple portraits!
The Swords with swords!
The men pose!
The women pose!
Altogether now!
Elevator madness!
Big reveal!
Family photos!
Posing with our flower girl!
True Scotsman indeed!

Ceremony
People processing!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Begin With Important People Processing

We’ve now hit 4 PM (finally!) and the ceremony is about to begin…

The DJ started by playing a few tunes as guests began to arrive and our adorable ushers (notice their tartan bow ties) began passing out programs.

Usher/Cousin Singer

Usher/Cousin Singer

Usher/Big C

Usher/Big C

Usher/Cousin Dancer reading a program

Usher/Cousin Dancer reading a program

The prelude was led by Bagpiper E who played three songs (Leaving Port AskaigDornoch Highland Gathering, and Amazing Grace) while walking up and down the aisle.

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In Scotland, I guess it’s common for the bagpiper to pipe outside the church or venue to welcome guests as they arrive, but I liked showcasing E and it was great because as soon as he started playing, everyone figured out it was time to get in their seat!

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The family processional song was chosen by Mr. Sword and couldn’t have been more perfect, Sigur Ros’ Hoppipolla, instrumental version.

First up to walk down the aisle was Grandpa F and Grandma J escorted by Head Usher/Cousin Cool.

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Next up came the handsome Mr. Sword escorting Mum Sword and Scottish Dad down the aisle before taking his place up front.  (At the same time Pastor P was entering up the sneaky side aisle.)

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After that it was time for the Mother of the Bride, Mom Sword!  She was also escorted in by Head Usher/Cousin Cool.

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To round out this song we had Cousin Q process in holding two silk roses in honor of those who have passed on before us, one rose for those in my family, one for Mr. Sword’s loved ones.  I had no idea how to explain this in the program so I just labeled this part of the ceremony, “remembrance flowers.”  All the names of those we were missing at the wedding were printed in the ceremony program and as she reached the front Cousin Q put each rose in a tall glass vase.

personal photo

personal photo

The bridal party was next and they came in to my very offbeat choice of the opening song from Barbie and the 12 Dancing Princesses.  You can listen along, trust me, it’s not as bad as you think!

First up, GM The Glue and BM Wee Sis.

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Following them was GM J and BM Jo.

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Next up was GM P and BM L Dawg.

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Finally, these two grinning goofs, our Best Man and Maid of Honor, came down the aisle.  We like to joke they never stopped smiling the entire day (we have lots of photos to prove it too!), but we think it’s super sweet.

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All the while this guy is waiting patiently for me to make my big entrance…

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

How did you or how will you honor those who have passed on?  Did you choose any non-traditional processional songs?

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!
Men in kilts!
Tiara and bouquet!
Becoming a bride!
Champagne toasts!
First look!
Cold couple portraits!
The Swords with swords!
The men pose!
The women pose!
Altogether now!
Elevator madness!
Big reveal!
Family photos!
Posing with our flower girl!
True Scotsman indeed!