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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!

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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 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 Begin With a Teaser Video!

Hello hive!  Happy June!  It feels like I’ve been gone forever but it’s only been a little over a month since my last honeymoon post.  I had to wait a bit longer for my professional photos (which was really difficult) but I’m happy to report they were worth the wait because they are insanely amazing!  And they make me miss my wedding day ten-fold.

Luckily I get to relive it in epic detail with all of you and I’m totally pumped about that.  So let’s get these recaps started, shall we?

For those of you who aren’t as familiar with my story as others, here are a few highlights of my time as a blogger of Weddingbee:

engagement photo by Jennifer Jackson

engagement photo by Jennifer Jackson

I joined the hive declaring it was my dream come true (and it was).  My other half Mr. Sword, (who proposed to me at the top of the John Hancock building) is from Scotland but didn’t have a family tartan to wear at our wedding, so we decided to design and create our own.  Even though it turned out better than we could ever imagine, it only came about after some disagreeing between myself and Mr. Sword and many opinions from the hive.

I love Mr. Sword's eyes in this photo- he's so good in front of the camera!/engagement photo by Jennifer Jackson

I love Mr. Sword’s eyes in this photo- he’s so good in front of the camera!/engagement photo by Jennifer Jackson

Despite my determination to make my wedding planning year all about me and my boobs, exciting things happened to other people and both my little sister AND Mr. Sword’s wee sis got engaged as well!

In the beginning, I encouraged us all to laugh at ourselves and figure out what type of bride we were most like, I openly showed my support for gay marriage, I begged you all for help in finding a suitable wedding reading, and I made up some new WR lingo.  Speaking of which, how can I get “shrendoring” into Urban Dictionary??  🙂

engagement photo by Jennifer Jackson

engagement photo by Jennifer Jackson

As my planning year came to a close I acted like a drama queen when my dress didn’t fit the first time, but it all worked out in the end thanks to a five-pound weight loss and a new bra.  In my last week as a single lady I admitted my true feelings about plaid/tartan and wrote about how amazing it was to be getting married to the man of my dreams!

And now for a beautiful overview and teaser of our special day:

And with that, it’s time to begin the Sword Recaps!!  Whoo-hoo!  I can’t promise I’ll be brief but I can promise I’ll be open and honest, I’ll be entertaining and at some points embarrassing, and I won’t skip a single major moment!

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Swords of the Caribbean: The “To Do” List

Yesterday I shared my “avoid” list and today it’s time for the equally  exciting sequel!  These are the Sword recommendations for getting the most out of your amazing beach vacation.

DO THIS:

Do get up early to reserve chairs.  The simple truth is there are more people than there are prime lounging locations and to get a spot near the beach under a little canopy or right next to a pool you gotta wake up early.  Mr. Sword and I quickly learned that 7 AM wasn’t early enough so we set our alarms for 5:30 AM (punch me in the face) and took turns going to reserve our spots.

We gave up on trying to save towels and used my flip flops and a pink t-shirt instead.

We gave up on trying to save towels and used my flip-flops and a pink t-shirt instead.

Most mornings we were able to go back to sleep for a bit but some days we took a lazy nap around 1 PM.  Naps are fun in Jamaica, not so much in real life.  Mrs. Mink touched on this in her post about Jamaica too which I read luckily read before we went, so thanks for the tip Mink!

A view of the seating area by the beach and a squinty Mr. Sword.

A view of the seating area by the beach and a squinty Mr. Sword.

Do get a couple’s massage.  Because why the hell not?  Mr. Sword is the type of guy who LOVES massages but who refuses to let his wife massage him.  Why you ask?  He thinks I’m just roughly poking him and I think he just can’t handle my awesomeness.  So we leave it to the professionals, and it’s sexy.  The robes, the nudity, the side by side breathing, the low-lighting and sweet-smelling room, it’s all gooood.  And if there is a spa on your resort you should really check it out!  I also did a seaweed wrap because we had a credit to the spa leftover from our package which was fun but slightly less so because I wasn’t with my man (awww I know, so cute you wanna puke).

Posing near the beautiful fountain outside Red Lane Spa.

Posing near the beautiful fountain outside Red Lane Spa.

Do get a room facing the ocean.  I’m so happy Mr. Sword splurged on the ocean side view room (and concierge services for that matter) because I can’t imagine going all the way to Jamaica and staring at a building or your typical garden all week.  We were on the second floor and used our balcony often but probably could have enjoyed it even more!

I feel like I have a slight tan in this picture.  Success!

I feel like I have a slight tan in this picture. Success!

The best part was having a few private breakfasts on the balcony while still being outside and staring at the beautiful Jamaican beach.

I took all inclusive to mean order enough for three people at each sitting because there's no immediate bill!

I took all-inclusive to mean order enough for three people at each sitting because there’s no immediate bill!

Do try to wear lingerie as much as possible.  And no, I don’t have photos of this part you freaks!  🙂  Sorry if this is TMI but I think I might have brought more lingerie than swimsuits and my reasoning was this, 1)  I had just received a ton of it as gifts so most items were new and never before seen by Mr. Sword and 2) I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of opportunity for sexy beach vacations like this in the future and I wanted to make it special.  It was our honeymoon after all!

Do go for the concierge package.  From the minute you arrive you get whisked away to a special air-conditioned room for check-in that is only for concierge guests.  They book all of your reservations for you, including dinner, spa, and any excursions you want to plan.  But my favorite perks have to be the free mini bar complete with water bottles, pop, wine, beer, and hard liquor, and the complimentary robes in our room.

Comfy Swords relaxing.

Comfy Swords relaxing.

Do have one special and private candlelit dinner on the beach if the budget allows.  This was an evening I’ll never forget.  The food was amazing, the woman serving us was adorable and kind, and I was alone with my love on the beach in Negril.  We reminisced about our trip, our amazing wedding, and dreamed about our future.  Mr. Sword being the smart guy he is had us book our special dinner for TWO nights before we left so we didn’t have to spend our last night packing after our romantic meal.  Such a good call!

Part of the package included a bottle of champagne and a rose for the lady!

Part of the package included a bottle of champagne and a rose for the lady!

Do explore the freebies.  We took a boat ride in the glass bottom boat to view some fish and coral, we  took the two-person kayak out and tried our hand at the water trike (which was super lame btw).  We were going to go snorkeling which was included as well but Mr. Sword ended up with too much water in his ears and we didn’t want to make him even more uncomfortable.

Our favorite photographer Dale sneakily snapped this pic of us!

Our favorite photographer Dale sneakily snapped this pic of us!

There you have it, the Sword honeymoon!  We had a great trip with mostly beautiful weather (it rained a few of the days) and made so many wonderful memories.  Even though we kept to ourselves a lot of the time, we still managed to meet some great new friends that we hope to run into again some day!

I highly recommend going the all-inclusive route if you enjoy things like not carrying your own bags, gluttonous eating, reading on the beach, and doing a lot of nothing!

This is my favorite.

This is my favorite.

(photos by Sandals Snap Shots or personal to the Swords)

Next up, I’m gonna close the Sword honeymoon series with a request!  I’m going to share my packing list and detail what I actually used and what wasn’t worth bringing.  Hopefully this will help those of you gearing up for your moons!

Custom-Made Shoes In Review

Remember how I bought a pair of custom designed shoes from a shop on Etsy three and a half months before my wedding?  Well, I did.  I had a great experience with the owner of the shop and I paid 200 dollars for my gorgeous crystal-covered, tartan highlighted heels.

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I know many members of the hive were interested in my shoe journey and I wanted to update you all on how my shoes are doing post-wedding.  I wish I could say my shoes look as amazing as they did when I first received them, but unfortunately, the rainy weather gave them a beating on our wedding day.  The painted eggplant soles took the brunt of it.

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However, the fabric had a rough time as well and was left stained from the rain (even though I did spray them with a weather sealer beforehand).  Perhaps I should have used something heavier and/or sprayed them multiple times?

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I’m also missing quite a few crystals from the base of the shoe.

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This little problem actually began weeks before the wedding day.  I was hell-bent on making my heels as comfortable as possible so I attempted to wear and walk around in them for quite a few consecutive days in a row for fifteen minutes at a time.  I walked up and down our hallway A LOT and then the week of the wedding I noticed that about 7 or 8 crystals had fallen off my shoes.  I’m not sure how normal this is, but I didn’t have to time to get too upset.  Instead, I went to JoAnn’s and bought some crystals and a little device that helped me glue them to the shoe.

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I started to get nervous about losing more crystals so I decided to sit while wearing my shoes to stretch them out without damaging them further.  Every time I put them on they fit more easily and comfortably!

This looks like a bizarre beer ad.

This looks like a bizarre beer ad.

My technique definitely worked too!  I wore my wedding heels from 11:30 AM until it was 7:30 PM and time to switch shoes for the dancing portion of the evening.  Luckily this classy moment was captured.

Could I look anymore like a spoiled princess?!?!

Could I look anymore like a spoiled princess?!?!

I have the BEST friends in the world!  They helped me into my gold strappy heels while I stuffed my face with our wedding cake.  Amazing.

I can think of two big questions in regards to custom-designed wedding shoes:

1) Was it worth it?  Absolutely.  My shoes are divine and I had a fabulous day in them (despite the miserable weather).  I can’t wait to see them in my professional photos and I’m still happy I splurged to make my shoe dream come true when I could’t find what I was looking for in the stores.  Who knows, maybe I’ll get them all fixed up so I can wear them again one day!

2) Would you recommend it to someone else?  Probably not, because you might want shoes you can wear over and over again or you might think 200 dollars is outrageous to spend on one pair.  This route is not for everyone, but if you really want your shoes to be different or unique and you need the help of a professional then I’d definitely say go for it!

(all photos personal)

Would you order custom-designed shoes for your wedding day?  Anyone else’s wedding heels get mangled in bad weather?

Obligatory How I Found My Wedding Dress Post

Since I kept Evie (remember how I named her?) a secret from all of you until after our wedding I figured it’s only fair to explain how I found her, and most of all share photos of our alterations journey together!

To recap, I bought her at the Wedding Shoppe, Inc., back in June of 2012 with Mom Sword, Sister Big Eyes, Auntie B, and BM L Dawg in attendance. There were some tears and I had the “this is the dress” feeling so I considered it a successful day! After a week of disappointing appointments and knowing I was heading back home to Chicago in two days, I was so thrilled to have found my wedding gown!

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This dress is the epitome of glamorous in my eyes.  It’s sexy on top and fit for a princess on the bottom.  It’s dramatic and a little crazy (like me) and it was actually really easy to wear all day!  It was very comfortable and my favorite part was lifting up the bottom of the dress and feeling like I was being swallowed up by the ruffles.

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Naturally everyone wanted to get in on the lifting of the ruffles, or make fun of me, either way I didn’t mind.  I’d found my dress!  So you can imagine my surprise and frankly, disgust, when I first tried it on again in October.  It was so wrinkled and ill-fitting (hard to tell in the photo below), and it was far from glamorous.

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This is one of the few pictures taken from my first fitting and there’s no need to go into all that again.  You can tell by my face in the mirror that I am NOT happy.

Fast forward to my fittings with our family friend L, a five-pound weight loss, a steamed dress, and you’ll see me as a happy bride-to-be!

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We ended up taking in the sides where it hit my legs and everyone warned me that dancing would be difficult but I’ve always preferred my clothing to be body hugging and I’m here to report I danced the entire night without a problem in my tight fit and flare gown!  🙂

The second fitting (first time looking at alterations) was where we discovered the veil I’d borrowed from Mrs. Archer didn’t match my ivory dress at all (I was so sad)!  Luckily, L had a bit of ivory tulle lying around her sewing room and she ended up making me the beautiful veil you’ll see in all of my photos.  We did something a bit different by making a small poof at the top of the veil to sit behind my tiara. I can’t wait to show you guys the way it looked in the professional photos!

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I chose to do a three-point bustle.  It was pretty simple (or so I hear), the most difficult part being finding where the hooks were located.  The best part about having a jagged, ruffled bottom was that I could bustle my gown for our rainy pre-ceremony photos without wrinkling my dress, which was then un-bustled for the ceremony and then bustled again for the reception.  Phew, that’s a lot of bustling!

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Sister/MOH Big Eyes practicing the bustle days before the wedding!

Sister/MOH Big Eyes practicing the bustle days before the wedding!

I practiced walking down the hallway and family friend L told me to remember to keep my head up anytime I was walking, she said it’s so awkward when brides stare at the ground the whole time worried about tripping on their dress.  The many layers of my gown made walking tricky at first but by the end of alterations it was the perfect length.

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I could stare at the back of my dress forever but alas it’s time to say goodbye… for now… I am so incredibly LUCKY that I get to do a wedding gown photo shoot with my sister after her Big Day in June. I can’t wait to wear Evie in some warmer weather and take some cool shots next to my lovely sister.  And don’t worry I’ll definitely be sharing our Rock the Frock Sister Shoot with the hive!

(all photos personal)

Did you go through a love/dislike process with your wedding dress too?  How did your alterations go?  Who else is obsessed with RUFFLES!?!