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Pre Wedding Depression, Didn’t See This One Coming

Disclaimer:  So yea, I’m going to talk about depression and I know that word can mean different things to different people and it can cause lots of very strong opinions, but I just want to recognize that everyone’s journey is unique to them and I only speak for myself.  Cool.

Scotland April 2012

Scotland April 2012

Throughout my year of wedding planning I was well aware of and well equipped to handle post wedding depression. I had read about it, heard first hand experiences about it, and had personally experienced the feeling of loss that can overtake one after something exciting ends (in my case, when I show I was performing in closed, it always left me a little sad). I was doing everything right to combat post wedding depression. I kept my friendships active, I planned for events post-wedding, and I reminded myself that there would be many exciting life events to look forward to with Mr. Sword.

Fortunately, I don’t feel any PWD (yay)! I loved my wedding day; I’m grateful it went so well and I’m happy to be married to the love of my life. But it turns out I was preparing for the wrong thing…

If you Google Pre Wedding Depression you can find articles that talk about it. They mostly go on about brides being so stressed out planning their wedding that they turn “blue.” This is not what I felt. I can handle stress. I can handle my anxiety (poorly but I can), and I can handle being “blue.” What I felt in the last few months of planning was painful.

It probably wasn’t evident from my blogging and it didn’t affect my job as a nanny but in my downtime I was apathetic, lonely, pessimistic, melancholy, and just plain sad. My Mom says when we have many changes in our lives our chemical balances can get off, and whether that’s true or not, that’s what I felt. Mr. Sword was traveling every week for work and I had way too much time to be alone, and to think. I was agonizing about all the upcoming changes in our careers, our location, and our relationship. I was feeling overwhelmed at the responsibilities of being someone’s wife, as I suddenly thought I wouldn’t be enough. And I was scared of failing, at well, everything.

So of course I picked fights with Mr. Sword. I had lots of emotional breakdowns on the phone to Mom, Sister, and Best Friends. I spent a few Saturdays in bed too depressed to move.

Sure, there were a few factors that helped contribute to my low mental state, the holidays were over, the winter dreariness was just beginning, and the thought of hosting the biggest event of our life seemed so overwhelming that everything else in life looked equally as daunting. Whatever the trigger, I knew I was not feeling like myself. I knew something was off.

At first it became apparent that I was a wreck every other weekend and so I began dreading every other weekend. I thought about seeing someone outside of my family to talk about things with but eventually we decided to go the holistic route and stocked up on herbal pills and extracts to help aid me in positive thinking and lower my anxiety. These things worked… slightly? Or perhaps they were a mental trick, either way I was working on feeling better and I was glad.

Soon enough both January and February past and by March I was starting to feel like myself again. I was still nervous for the big day (hello control freak) and I was still prone to emotional breakdowns (but what bride isn’t?), but I was happy and positive. It was a relief to be excited for the future again instead of dreaming up worst case scenarios.

Looking back from the other side I feel blessed to have had so many amazing people in my life that listened to me when I needed that, or made me laugh when I needed that, or acted excited about the wedding when I needed that. Mostly I’m grateful for having a partner who will discuss anything with me no matter how crazy I sound, who I can trust with my worst and most personal fears, and who loves me even when I’m not feeling 100% like myself.

love you baby!

Muah! love you baby!

(all photos personal)

Treading carefully here, does anyone else want to share their pre or post wedding depression experiences?  How did you get past the low moments?

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A Bee’s Life: Sword Edition

Lest you think all I do is blog, know that this post was written weeks before my wedding in preparation for posting when I knew I would have zero free time.  I do love to keep a schedule, wedding or not! 🙂

This is by far my favorite series of all the bee ongoing series’ because I love to learn about what goes on behind the scenes of anything.  When I first found Weddingbee and before I applied to be a blogger I poured over as many of these entries as I could find.  I found them to be extremely helpful and insightful and inspiring, and I hope my post helps you in the same way.

1.  How I found Weddingbee:

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Well, this one’s easy.  I got engaged in February of 2012 and immediately started asking my friends for their favorite wedding blogs.  One of the of recommendations was Weddingbee.  The Fairy Tale/Magic generation icons were just beginning to appear and I proceeded to fall head over heels in love with this community.

This is going to come across slightly arrogant or conceited but there’s no other way to say it.  I kid you not, from the minute I laid eyes on this fantastic website I knew I was supposed to be a WB blogger.  I know it sounds dramatic and weird but I swear, I was drawn to it and I had this gut feeling I was going to be a blogger one day.  Mind you, I didn’t have a wedding blog going at the time and no idea where to even begin, but being that I was having a Fairy Tale wedding that coincided with the Fairy Tale/Magic generation, I felt it was all meant to bee!

2. My application story:

Before I talk about my application I want to share that my passion for writing started at an early age.  I used to write a ton in my angsty teenage years in the form of poetry and journal entries.  I’ve been obsessed with quotations (as I’ve mentioned before) for as long as I can remember, because I’m drawn to the way others communicate their thoughts.  I also used to write short plays for my home church’s drama team and I’m the person who gets asked to write little notes or change song lyrics for family celebrations and parties.  Despite all this, there was NO WAY I was gonna start a blog.

Even once blogging became popular, I still had no desire to start one.  This is the dialogue that went through my stupid little head: Me?  A blogger?  Puh-lease.  Blogging is weird and if everyone is doing it that means I’m not going to do it.  I’m too unique for blogging.  I need to begin working on my novel yo.

Obviously, I got slapped in the face (figuratively) by my stupidity and decided blogging was good, and especially helpful if I wanted to continue writing.  So I started a personal/relationship-focused blog back in October 2011.  Mr. Sword was known as “the Scottish” and I shared many embarrassing moments about my life with gripping topics such as, Why Do I Look So Fat in Pictures?, Are you in a Bi-Facial Relationship?, I’m a Church-Crier, and Here’s Hoping My Babies Come Out with Scottish Accents.  I also talked about my relationship with Mr. Sword as well as offbeat or unusual types of relationships (which I’ve talked about before).

When I started to blog about wedding related content I was shocked to find that most of my faithful readers did not give two craps about my wedding planning.  AS IF!  🙂

So I started a new blog and devoted it solely to talking about A Highland Fairy Tale.  For months I talked about Weddingbee and how I wanted to be a blogger for them.  I dragged my camera to every vendor meeting and wedding-related outing or event.  My family was like, “Yeaaa, OK, what are you even talking about?”  They didn’t get it.

Then I applied in mid June.  And I waited.  And I waited.  I waited over five weeks and still I had heard nothing.  A new bee hadn’t been introduced in forever and there was literally one fairy tale icon left (sword).  I finally mustered up the courage to email Pengy to nonchalantly ask if they’d received my blog submission.  I went to bed right away and braced myself to wake up to a rejection email.

I did wake up to email from Pengy, but it wasn’t a rejection, it was an acceptance.  I had been accepted!!!  NO FREAKIN WAY!  I know it sounds silly but I meant what I said in my first WB blog post, this really is a dream come true, and I was so excited to start sharing my wedding plans with this awesome community.  My gut instinct had been right and now I was going to be a Weddingbee blogger.  I will never forget that awesome feeling AND how I almost fell on my face when I ran into the bathroom to tell Mr. Sword that I had been accepted.

Naturally I told everyone.  And most people were like, I knew you’d get accepted!  (False. They had no idea.  Most of them were like, what is blogging again?)

3. What’s it like blogging for Weddingbee?

I’m gonna give it to you straight.  If you follow the suggested guidelines  and blog frequently and honestly about your wedding for all of the months leading up to your wedding, it is going to be a lot of work.  And when I say work, I mean, it’s like a part-time job.  All of a sudden not only are you planning the biggest event of your life but you’re also documenting it every step of the way.  I don’t mean to sound scary but blogging is a large time commitment.  However, if you LOVE weddings and writing, then it’s totally worth it!  🙂

But wait, there’s more! I wouldn’t leave this post hanging without a list of my unasked for tips!

Miss Swords Tips to Blogging Bliss

1. Do lots of blog prep.  By prep I mean writing posts in advance as ideas come to you.  My posts that have a few days or weeks to sit before being revised are so much better than the ones I hammer out the night before my self-imposed deadline.  My personal schedule (if you haven’t already noticed) is to blog three times a week, M, Tu, and W.  The secret to my consistency is that the bulk of my blogging is done on Thursday and Friday when I have more free time and don’t feel rushed.  Sure, I spend a lot of evenings revising and sometimes scrambling before a post goes live, but it saves me loads of time in the end.

2.  Keep a Google document with a list of topics and ideas for those days when your brain is totally fried.  My spreadsheet has a column for the blog post idea, the working title, the title that actually gets posted, and the date it was posted.  This helps me stay organized and it’s a good way to quickly browse all of your topics.

3. Find the things that make YOU interesting and extra special.  (Hint: there is no wrong answer here.)  We, as readers of WB, all connect with different people and different wedding themes, so don’t hide the parts of your wedding that make it unique.  Here’s what makes The Swords so interesting:

  • I’m marrying a dude from Scotland.  Like he’s here on a visa and needs a green card.  We fly to Glasgow every year.  We designed a family tartan because his last name was not associated with it’s own clan.
  • My little sister is getting married three months after me.  We are both brides and maid of honors at the same time!!  WHOA!  And she steals shares a lot of my vendors.  It’s a bit crazy.
  • I’m a weirdo.  I take way too many photos of myself, I’m wearing a tiara with my wedding gown, I can’t handle my liquor but there will be a lot of drinking at our wedding, and I’m obsessed with my boobs.
This was taken the Friday before our wedding!

This was taken the Friday before our wedding!

4. Do the thing that you’re the best at.  I am good at writing lots of content and advice.  I’m also good at pushing the envelope and bringing up controversial topics.  I’m not good at crafting, researching, making inspiration boards, posting photos from other weddings, and I especially suck at making color palettes.  Know yourself well enough to know what your strengths and weaknesses are in regards to blogging.  Do you do better at comparing and contrasting?  Do you thrive on scoping out other blogs?  Do you enjoy commenting on articles or links?  Are you funny?  Are you a bit offbeat?  Blog your strengths, I can’t stress that enough.

5. Grow some thick skin.  The thicker the better!  I can be a real Sensitive Sally sometimes, but I had to let that go when I became a bee blogger.  You know how you’re supposed to keep your mouth shut if you have nothing nice to say?  Well, that doesn’t always happen on the interwebs.  And you might get some hurtful comments on some of your posts.

After one particularly mean comment I was talking to Mr. Sword in attempt to feel better and gain some perspective.  Luckily, my husband is one of the smartest men I know and he reminded me that for every person that doesn’t like something you write, there will be someone who does like it.  He said if you put yourself out there, you will get both good and bad feedback and that’s OK.  100% of people who read your stuff will not like it.  It’s impossible.  And then I felt 100% better.

I blog not only for Weddingbee and the community of readers but also for myself and for family and my future.  I am so excited to have this entire year of written memories recorded in one place.  How cool!

On that note, this post is complete.

Good luck to those bloggers who are itching to write for Weddingbee!  Thanks for reading my story.

Rain On My Wedding Day

Hello hive!  I’m back as a married woman and I’m dying to share a sneak peek of our wedding day!  My post that went up yesterday was written late Friday night by a very happy Miss Sword with a very nervous tummy.  I hinted that we had a good chance of having rain on our wedding day and I’m here to report that the weather was absolutely terrible!  Cold and rainy all day.

But that didn’t stop us from taking two hours worth of photos outside (as planned), I’m crazy I know!  By the end of it I couldn’t feel my toes, Mr. Sword had a bright red nose, and my hair/makeup/bouquet were all quite wet even though we did are our best to stay underneath a bridge and a parking garage.

All that aside, I cannot describe our wedding as anything other than perfection.  It was amazing.  Everything worked out beautifully and we received compliments all night about how much everyone loved it.  I couldn’t have asked for more.

These things I know for sure:

Lots of planning and prep = a smooth wedding day.

If the Bride and Groom have to travel in bad weather and take photos in bad weather, but ALL of their out-of-town family and friends are able to make it to the wedding easily, it’s more than worth it.

Falling out of love with your dress happens, but when your Big Day arrives, you might love it so much you won’t want to take it off.

Ceilidh dancing is pretty much the best thing EVER.  Although Strip the Willow almost killed me….  🙂

Mr. Sword and I have amazing family and friends in our lives.

Marrying your love is the most brilliant way to spend a Saturday.

And now some behind the scenes photos from our day… enjoy!

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mr and mrs sword edited

(all photos personal and taken by the awesome honor attendant CBF)

Love,

Mrs. Sword

My Dirty Little Wedding Secret

Here it is, mere days before my wedding and I’m finally coming clean.  I’ve tried so hard to delight you all for months, I’ve shown you almost every single aspect of our wedding from the mundane to the exciting, and now I have one last thing to say:

I hate plaid.  Plaid is too harsh with its crisscrossing lines and it’s abominable mixing of colors that never seem to go together.  I don’t buy plaid shirts, and I don’t wear plaid scarfs.  I’ve never seen the appeal.

Wait!  What is plaid again?  Let’s consult the all-powerful Google, shall we?  Below is a screenshot from my laptop.

what is plaid

Oh that’s right!  Plaid is cloth with a tartan pattern.  So that means, THERE IS PLAID ALL OVER MY WEDDING.

And to be honest, I’m so excited I can hardly stand it! I should say, I used to hate plaid, because it looks completely different to me now.

In three days I get to marry my favorite person.  Years ago I dreamed of this day as a pastel-colored wedding with soft hues and a light and airy feel with a string quartet playing as I walked down the aisle.

When Saturday arrives I will be greeted by the dark, rich colors of our wedding and will get to see our beautiful family tartan covering everyone I love; I will hear the harsh but strong and dependable sounds of the bagpipe during my bridal march, and I will feel more intense love than I could ever imagine.  Dreams do come true.  But sometimes they don’t look the way you pictured them, which makes them even more like fairy tales.

(all photos personal)

How do YOU feel about plaid?  (aka  The most important question I’ve ever asked.  Don’t mess it up!)  Bye for now, I promise to check in one more time before I walk down the aisle!  Happy weekend everyone, I’m getting married!  EEEEK!

Best RSVP Decline EVER

It started off like any other trip to the PO Box.  Since Mr. Sword has been traveling for work every week, I’ve been doing all of the heavy lifting and car loading and unloading of wedding related packages.  That said, it’s hard to complain about receiving lots of  great packages and letters, and on this particular day I had SIX boxes to bring into the apartment and a handful of letters.  Immediately after unloading I wanted to begin opening the packages (obvs) but something caught my eye in the stack of mail, it was a letter from the UK.

Now it’s not unusual for us to receive mail or cards from the UK (hello Scottish fiance) so at first I set it aside, eager to open everything else.  But something made me do a double-take.  This letter was special.  It looked different, regal, important.  My heart began pounding and a scream left my mouth, “WILLIAM AND KATE SENT US A LETTER!  OHHH MYYY GOSH OHMIGOSH!  AHHHH!!!!”

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True story.

Unfortunately the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have other obligations to tend to the weekend of our wedding but I’m so touched they were kind enough to respond.  The letter is signed by someone named Claudia Holloway and it’s absolute perfection. What if we all talked like this when we couldn’t go to someone’s wedding?  How cool would that be?!?

I like how they don’t pretend to write it themselves.  Prince William and Princess Kate have better things to do but they cared enough to have someone respond.  Heck, they beat the Obamas!  Still waiting on that reply Mr. President…

The best part has to be the fact that they make it look like they were actually considering attending our special event!  I’m also shocked with how timely their response was given.  Royals.  They got class.

Without further adieu, here is the envelope and letter.  I will also leave the transcript below in case you can’t read it clearly through the photographs.

W and K letter edited

contents of letter edited TWO

———————————————–

Dear Mr. Sword and Miss Sword,

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked me to thank you for your recent invitation to your wedding on XX March.

The Duke and The Duchess were extremely grateful for your kind invitation.  Having given careful consideration to the possibilities, however, I very much regret that Their Royal Highnesses reluctantly feel they have to decline.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge send you their best wishes, and very much regret having to send you this necessarily disappointing reply.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs. Claudia Holloway

——————————————-

Tears.of.joy.

(all photos personal)

If you want to know where I sent our invitation see this post.  If you’re wondering whether or not I will end up framing this, the answer is “why the heck not??”  So tell me, who wants to send an invite to Prince William and Princess Kate now?  🙂

Wedding Shoe Reveal!

My custom designed shoes arrived in Chicago early last week and frankly the welcome party is still raging on… I kid of course, but they are gorgeous.  They might not be the wedding shoe for everyone but to me they are beautiful and perfect for an adult princess or a Cinderella wannabe (as opposed to a small child).  And most importantly, they fit.  (phew.)

I used the Etsy shop Design Your Pedestal and I can’t speak more highly of its owner Kate.  Not only did she work with me to help create my dream shoes but she also extended her Black Friday discount so I didn’t have to rush any decisions.  And it was HER idea to incorporate our family tartan.  🙂

My initial thought was to have her make square brooches out of our family tartan to used as shoe clips, but she wasn’t happy with how they turned out so sent me another idea where the fabric was made into a ruffle and highlighted with a sparkly brooch.  Well, I loved it.

And with that I’ll leave you with some photos.  The pictures don’t do really do the shoes justice but I can’t bear to keep them a secret!  And it only makes sense to share them since you’ve all been on this shoe journey with me from the beginning!  Enjoy…

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(all photos personal, my apologies for the dirty floor)

Would you ever consider getting custom-designed shoes?  My shoes were 200 dollars with the discount.  But there’s not another pair like them in the world!  🙂

Off-site Location Hunting

There is one thing I have been very adamant about recently and that is having an off-site location to take photos with the bridal party and Mr. Sword on our wedding day.

I was never a girl who pictured or thought about a beautiful outdoor wedding.  Sure, I love the sunshine on my skin, I love the smell of fresh air, and a beautiful city skyline, but I have no problems getting married indoors.  I’m an indoors girl at heart.  Plus, the atrium at our hotel has high ceilings and tons of greenery so it feels very lush and homey at the same time.  Perfect.

That said, I really, really want to take some photos outside on the Big Day!  I just can’t stand the thought of every picture taken with indoor lighting when natural lighting is so amazing.  Not to mention, no matter what the weather, I want to have photographic proof of it.  How will I remember how cold or nice it felt on my wedding or how it looked outside if I have nothing to remember it by?

So come rain, snow, sleet, or sunshine, we’ll be outside from about 12-2 PM on our wedding day capturing it all.

Our first off-site location idea was the famous Mall of America (yes this isn’t outside but it was going to be the first stop of two).  This was good in theory but bad in reality.  Mr. Sword loathes the thought of drones of tourists all staring at us (while I’d quite like that) and I loathe the thought of navigating our large group through said drones of tourists.  Plus, my idea for a first look in the theme park was quickly thwarted by the ugly neon colors they have going on in there these days and the fact that you really can’t ask a bunch of people to move out of your way just so you can “get the shot.”

In any case, we tried to find some picturesque spots for photos and took some shots just because we were there scouting.  But you won’t be seeing me in a wedding dress at the MOA anytime soon.  Note the blurry patrons behind me.

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Luckily, we had received a good suggestion from quite a few people who told us Centennial Lakes Park would be a great place for photos!  In fact, our photographer has already shot a wedding there and it’s a very popular wedding venue, especially during the warmer months.  So Mr. Sword and I decided to check it out while we were in town and we were not disappointed!

Centennial Lakes has tons of great photo opportunities for us and for our bridal party!  We plan on doing an hour of just couple portraits and then having the bridal party join us after that and with the many options at Centennial Lakes, we’ll be able to stick with just one off-site location!

The icing on the cake is that Centennial Lakes is literally five minutes away from our Embassy Suites so we won’t be wasting much time in vehicles transporting everyone back and forth.  The goal was to find a location that was less than 10 minutes away and I’m so glad we accomplished that!

NOW you can picture Miss Sword in a wedding dress in all of these photos.  And if anyone has a stellar idea for a “first look” please pass it on!  Right now I’m thinking we could walk up each side of this bridge to meet each other at the top.  If only I wasn’t so damn klutzy…

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Mom Sword is helping me pose in the photo below.  I know they look a bit dirty but I can picture our bridal party standing on these blocks looking quite posh.

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Is anyone else obsessed with more urban or architectural photographs?  I’m dying for photos like these.  Parking garages for the win.

image via Pinterest/ Photo by Tracy Photography

image via Pinterest/ Photo by Tracy Routh Photography

image via PInterest/ Photo by Shannon Nicole Smith

image via PInterest/ Photo by Shannon Nicole Smith

Who knew a car barrier could be so sexy?!?

image via Pinterest/ Photo by Todd Pellowe

image via Pinterest/ Photo by Todd Pellowe

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)

Are you going to take photos at an off-site location before or after your wedding?  What do you think of photos in parking garages?