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The Swords Live Happily Ever After

It all started on the eve of Thanksgiving 2009.  I met a drunk Scottish guy and I gave him my phone number with the instructions, “I don’t call boys, boys call me.”  A phrase that haunts me still, but believe me, I didn’t mean it the way it sounds!  I was merely expressing my nervousness at my calling him.

He did call and our first date was lunch and window shopping down Michigan Ave in Chicago.  It was amazing.  By June of 2010 I was on a plane leaving the country for the very first time to visit his home in Scotland.   He proposed on February 19th, 2012 at the top of the John Hancock Building and we were wed on March 9th, 2013.  Now we live in the Kansas City area but our ultimate goal is to raise a family in Minnesota.  (Speaking of, go Minnesota for passing a same-sex marriage bill back in May; you make me proud!  Number 12 baby.)

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I know it’s easy to get wrapped up in a big wedding bubble when you’re deep in the middle of planning.  I know that some people in real life have lovingly and not-so-lovingly called me wedding-obsessed and/or crazy, but if I’m going to be crazy about one thing, it’s love. I will always cherish and enjoy weddings.  They represent beginnings, blending of families, and unfiltered bliss.

If I may indulge in one last piece of advice, here are my three best tips for a stunning and fabulous wedding:

1. Personalize, personalize, personalize.

2. Think like a guest.

3. Go for the deal!  (Life is short.  And if you can save ten bucks per head by having a March wedding in Minnesota then go for it, because April will not be any better weather-wise.)

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Blogging for this community has been such a rich blessing for me as a woman, a writer, and especially a bride.  To all of you who have followed my journey since the beginning, I commend you!  (I realize I can be a bit verbose at times.)  To the blogger friends I’ve made along the way, thank you for your amazing support.  To those of you who kept it real with me, your opinions were always appreciated as was the reminder that I can’t possibly please everyone.

From the moment I woke up after a vivid dream with the words “A Highland Fairy Tale” in my head, to the day it was all so beautifully executed, I’ve had a blast.  Mr. Sword, you are the most amazing man I know.  Our wedding was perfect because our relationship is solid and a happy, loving couple is all anyone should expect at a wedding.  I look forward to many more special moments with you as my husband.

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HOLD ON A SEC… who is that sneaking into our family photo???  Oh yes, that’s our new baby girl.  She’s a one year old hound mix with a brindle coat and she’s kind of amazing.  We got her from a shelter in mid-August and we LOVE being doggie parents.  Should we call her our dagger or just a small sword?

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Her name is McKenna.  Of course it’s a Scottish name because that’s exactly something I would do.  Isn’t she the cutest?

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I’m still planning on writing and well, being me, so if you’re so inclined, please feel free to check out my new relationship blog, Drama Happens.  I’d love to be able to share more of my life with you all!

With that, The Swords are leaving the building.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

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(all photos personal)

One last thought!  The fact that I could never make a Sword in the Stone wedding reference in my year of blogging really upsets me.  Anyone got anything good?  🙂

Love,
Stephanie

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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?

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.

My Vendors and I Are Tight, Yo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pink Vintage Wedding Inspiration

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

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

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

My “Somethings,” My Own

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

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

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

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

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

holding tartan at first arrival edited

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

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

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

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

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

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

(all photos personal)

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

Six Tips To Make Your “Year of the Wedding” A Little Bit Easier

Unfortunately AND FORTUNATELY, my wedding planning time is almost up.  The Sword’s Big Day is just around the corner and I literally can’t believe I’ve been engaged since last Feb.  Life has flown by in the best of ways during this year and I have enjoyed nearly every second of it.  I’ve also learned a ton about what has benefited us the most while being engaged and I’d love to pass my insight on to you.

If you just got engaged over the holidays (congrats) or if you’re still in the early stages of planning, this list is for you!

Miss Sword’s Six Tips for the “Year of the Wedding” (length of “wedding year” can vary from a few months to multiple years)

1. Sign up for a PO Box.  This has been hands down the smartest thing we ever did.  These days it’s not common for couples to be living together before marriage and to be living in an apartment or a condo.  If you live in a place with a tiny mailbox or a slightly unsafe area (heeey big cities!) then a PO Box is the safest way to receive packages, gifts, letters, and wedding response cards.  We reserved one this past August through UPS for 14 months and it was 360 dollars.  Every time we order something important (like a gift for our parents, my shoes, the guestbook, etc) we have it sent to the PO Box.  We also put this address on our wedding website and registries so our personal address isn’t plastered everywhere and our wedding gifts are sent straight to the UPS store as opposed to being stuck on outside in the snow or at another location because they can’t be delivered.  The best part is that they send us an email and a text every time we receive a package so usually once or twice a week I hop in the car and drive the one mile to our PO Box to pick our loot.  This one Thursday was particularly awesome.  See below.

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2. Keep extra thank you cards and stamps nearby for quick return on sending those thank yous out the door.  Most of us are lucky enough to have bridal showers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and to receive gifts before the wedding.  The best way to show your appreciation for everyone’s time and generosity is to get your thank you cards out in a prompt and quick fashion.  This also helps your mental state as well because it’s an easy and fast way to check something off your long to-do list.  I gave myself three weeks after each event or party and a week after a wedding gift is delivered to get my thank you note in the mail.  You don’t have to write a novel, just sincere appreciation from the heart.  I try to buy a set of thank-you cards for each event and then to mix and match extras as not everyone is invited to each event.  Does that make sense?  I’m really looking forward to using our Once Upon a Time themed thank yous (yet to be revealed) that we ordered from Minted with our invitations to thank everyone for attending our wedding.

one of my favorite Kate Spade thank you cards/ image via Papyrus

one of my favorite Kate Spade thank you cards/ image via Papyrus

3. Sign up for every coupon and email list you can get your hands on.  This is especially perfect for those of you ladies who are changing your name post-wedding.  If you change your name, you will most likely change your email address and you can rid yourself of the daily or weekly store emails that are bombarding your inbox, and only re-sign up for the ones you truly care about.  In the meantime, don’t buy anything without a coupon!  This is something I learned from reading Weddingbee when I first got engaged.  Many bees were sharing how much they saved by buying their crafting supplies with coupons and I knew I had to try harder to save money.  So I signed up, and I signed up again.  Now whether it’s Kohl’s, Things Remembered, or JoAnn’s I try to use a coupon or a rewards card every time I go wedding shopping!

4. Designate a separate savings account known as “The Wedding Fund.”  For Mr. Sword and I, it’s been really helpful to have two different savings funds, well technically three: emergency, house, and wedding fund.  We also decided on a set budget and have used WeddingWire to track our wedding related expenses.  We still put money into our wedding fund monthly, but once the wedding is over all the extra money (praying there is some) can go directly into the house fund.

I want to digress for a moment and explain another way I would consider myself old-fashioned these days; the combining of finances among couples.  These days, I know many couples who still keep separate accounts after getting married or who have just one account with which they can both access.  After much discussion Mr. Sword and I decided to have access to each other’s bank accounts and the plan is to eventually merge everything together.  I just feel like what’s mine is yours sort of applies to everything in marriage whether it be monetary or emotionally or spiritually or physically.  I’m such a hopeless romantic.  🙂

Last photo of taken of The Swords before getting engaged!

Last photo of taken of The Swords before getting engaged!

Plus, it makes things so much easier because both Mr. Sword and I can access the wedding fund and watch what we spend and what we save.  Finances are a very personal topic so what works for us might not work for someone else.  That said, a set budget and a designated savings account are always helpful when planning an expensive event!

5.  Go a little crazy.  It’s only one year.  Wanna hear what crazy I’ve been doing? Only if your promise not to judge the fact that I’m telling you to spend money after I’m telling you to save money.

I get my nails done, like, all the time.  And not just manicures, I get pedicures frequently as well.  They just do a better job than I could ever hope to do, and my feet love me for it.  That said, I probably get two haircuts a year, so it all evens out.  Do you have a wedding indulgence?

nails

6.  Thank your friends and family and everyone involved in your wedding often and sincerely.  This is pretty self-explanatory.  Be overly grateful.  If you focus on how wonderful your family and friends have been over the past year you have less time to focus on how mother f*ing stressed out you are!  🙂

Thank those that host your showers or bachelor/bachelorette parties with cards or gifts.  Buy your Mom her wedding jewelry just because you love her and she’s been such a great help.  Call people (even if you hate the phone like I do) and stay involved in your friend’s lives.  Make dinner dates with your partner, go see shows, laugh, craft, and enjoy every second.  It goes by too fast!

BM Jo and MOH Big Eyes showing their excitement to be making tartan jewelry, thank you ladies!

BM Jo and MOH Big Eyes showing their excitement to be making tartan jewelry, thank you ladies!

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)

What else is helping you through the “Year of the Wedding?”  Married bees, what am I missing?

Mental Health Check in at 100 Days

Warning:  This is a text-heavy post!  Suggested reading times include after while sipping your favorite morning beverage, on your lunch break, or at home on the couch.

So last Thursday we hit the big milestone of 100 days until our wedding and it got me thinking about all the things left to do on my list, my relationship with Mr. Sword, my sanity, and my future.  Does anyone get affected by milestones in this way?

It also made me think about our invitations but that’s probably because I mailed them out that same day, yay!  A bit early yes, but I’m trying to beat the holiday gifts/cards scramble and while some Chicago friends have already received theirs, I know the Scottish folk won’t get their’s for a week or so.

For those of you in the last few months or even weeks (eee!) of wedding planning here is a mental health check list to assess how things are going.  For those of you already married, how did you feel around the 100 day mark?

First up, Logistics:

Do you have all major vendors booked and reserved for the big day?

As a bride-to-be who hates procrastinating and has been told multiple times that I’m way ahead on everything (why is that a bad thing?), yes, I have all my vendors booked.  I should probably check in with some of them though!

Do you have time set aside or scheduled to finish up DIY projects and things that can’t be done until the RSVP’s come back?

Yes, I’m spending a week and a half in Minnesota over Christmas and I plan to check a lot of things off my list then!  I also plan on tackling our seating chart in mid February.

Are you starting to think about gifts for your bridal party, parents, and other important people?

Absolutely.  Although it feels like the most stressful and daunting task yet.  We have something like 24 people we want to buy gifts for and it makes me want to vomit a little bit.  I’m very concerned about how hard it is to find something that expresses the gratitude I feel while still staying budget-friendly.  Plus, those of us early 2013 brides are enduring double duty of Christmas gifts AND bridal party gifts right around the same time.

Next up, Relationships:

How are your friendships?  Your relationship with your Mom, MOH, bridesmaids, the men in your life, etc?  Are people annoyed with you?

Umm probably?  But that’s just because I’m ME!  🙂  In all seriousness, I surround myself with amazing women and I’ve been having the time of my life.  Mom Sword, Sister Big Eyes, and all my best friends have been so supportive and helpful.  They’ve listened to me while I’ve vented and offered help when I’ve needed it.  And everyone seems to be excited for the wedding, which I think is my favorite part.  I’ve heard stories of in-laws or jealous friends treating a bride poorly and in turn that makes her feel like no one cares or is excited about the Big Day.  I’m pretty fortunate not to have that problem.

How are you and your partner doing?

I have to digress for a moment and share something that has popped into my head a lot during my engagement.  Have you seen Bride Wars?  No groaning please, it’s a great chick flick.  🙂

image via Amazon

image via Amazon

I totally love this movie and find both Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway insanely gorgeous and awesome, but the part that always struck me the most was when the voice over lady (Candice Bergman?) talks about how some couples become closer throughout their engagement and at the same time some couples seem to drift apart.  It’s the part where they show both couples shopping for wedding bands and for some reason I remember that scene vividly.

While I can’t say that everything is perfect all the time between the Swords, I can honestly say I do fall more in love with him every day.  He’s my favorite person in the world and I would say that wedding planning has brought us closer together and solidified our bond as a new team and a new little family.

We’ve learned a ton of things not the least of which being that we are pretty good at planning a big event together.  We really like making joint-decisions and aside from our first big wedding related dilemma of whether or not we should design and make our own family kilt, it’s been pretty smooth sailing.

Even though budgeting is stressful and it seems like there’s always something else wedding-related to do, we make a conscious effort to have fun and LAUGH together while doing things other than wedding planning.  The closer we get to the wedding the more I’ve been feeling like nesting, having babies, and putting Mr. Sword in a bubble so nothing bad can happen to him.  Is that weird?

How are you doing individually?  Do you like who you are right now?

Most days I’m pretty happy with myself but sometimes I hate my body, my bratty attitude, and my perfectionist steak.  Plus, I’m definitely prone to panicking once in a while, I’ll be honest, but overall I’m really enjoying this time in my life and in particular, wedding planning.  While it helps to accomplish wedding related tasks, I find that sometimes when I make or purchase something it opens the flood gates to all the other things that need to get done as well!  I need to enjoy checking items off my list and relish those moments.

Speaking of lists, I’m obsessed with them!  When I get overwhelmed I put together a list… in my little notebook, on the computer, or on a post-it, as long as it’s written down I’m hopeful it won’t get forgotten.

Miss Sword Wedding Tip: For Brides in LDR’s with their wedding, Google Drive is a tool you should be using!  Before each trip back to Minnesota, I write out a document that lists all of the things I want to get done while I’m there and I share it with everyone in my family (except for my brother, The Glue, he could care less).  I also include dates and times and the people who are involved with each task.  This way, my family doesn’t schedule something during an important vendor meeting or appointment, and by scheduling in time for bowling, family trips, or dinners out, it also ensures I get to enjoy non-wedding related time with everyone and makes for a better trip!  Note: This is also helpful if you are flying home and sharing cars with family members.  I know it’s a pain to schedule out every day but it really works!  When everyone is clear on your plan and what you want to accomplish, there is less room for pointless drama.

Finally, The Future

Are you excited for what’s to come?

It’s easy to get nervous and/or worry about the future when so many things are changing.  Sometimes you start a new job right after getting married, or move across the country, or maybe you get pregnant before you get your thank you cards out?  Some people change their name, their address, their physique, and their lifestyle.  It can be overwhelming at times, you are responsible (legally and morally) to this other person and sometimes that means putting their needs ahead of your own.

Personally, at this point I’m pretty uncertain about my future.  Mr. Sword’s job takes priority and as I’ve mentioned he’ll be in Kansas City well into the summer.  Mr. Sword and I LOVE Chicago but we kind of want to raise a family in Minnesota.  But if Mr. Sword is asked to stay in KC, I might have to move there.  Yikes.

And what will happen with his green card?  How long will it take?  It’s one of those things that could take one month or 9 months.

How will our life change when we have kids?  What will happen to the condo I own in Chicago?  Will I get to be on stage again soon (I miss the theatre more than I can articulate)?  How will I ever leave my nanny kiddos if we decide to move?  When will we be able to buy a house and where can afford to buy one?  How often will we be able to fly to Scotland?

Does anyone else have this many what if’s?!?!

Remember these are just my answers and everyone will feel slightly different!  Just because you and your fiancé suck at event planning or have no desire to have children but have big plans to travel the world instead does not mean you’re doing anything wrong!  The coolest thing about life is that we all have different journeys and they’re all equally important.

The engagement is just one small part of your life, but once in a while it’s good to check in and see how you’re doing!

All I know is my future and my home is wherever that skinny Scottish man is, and the rest doesn’t really matter.  How’s your pre-wedding (or post-wedding for that matter) mental health these days?