Archives

Cathartic Vendor Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Picking the Right Photographer:

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

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

Laura Westrem: A+

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

Midwest Sound and DJ: B

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

Embassy Suites Bloomington: A-

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

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

The Gunn Slingers: A+++

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

Evan the Bagpiper: A+

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

Lake Harriet Florist: A

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

Videography

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

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

Sister Sword’s Fancy Picnic Wedding

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

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

A Fancy Picnic

Getting Ready

sisters in robes

MGWEB018-L

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

Coffield Wedding 0046

MGWEB015-L

cheers

Auntie B’s reaction to seeing the bride:

MGWEB055-L

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

Coffield Wedding 0101

I love this next shot!

MGWEB062-L

First Look and Portraits

MGWEB068-L

MGWEB069-L

MGWEB078-M

MGWEB119-L

girls vs guys

MGWEB196-M

sister faces

MGWEB226-L

MGWEB367-L

MGWEB394-L

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

Grandparents

Ceremony

MGWEB265-L

MGWEB258-L

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

MGWEB267-L

Yours truly as Matron of Honor.

MGWEB276-M

MGWEB280-L

MGWEB285-L

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

MGWEB301-M

MGWEB323-L

MGWEB326-M

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

MGWEB332-L

Details

getting ready

MGWEB023-L

details

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

detailsdecor

MGWEB445-L

Reception

MGWEB468-L

MGWEB477-L

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

Coffield Wedding 0650

MGWEB497-L

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

first dance

MGWEB601-L

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

MGWEB611-L

MGWEB623-L

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

MGWEB651-L

MGWEB655-L

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

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

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

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Give Away My Bouquet

Now that the DJ was back on it was time for our anniversary dance!  For those of you not familiar, it’s a dance for all the married couples out there to celebrate/recognize how long they’ve been married.  I really wish I could give you our choice as a song recommendation but to be honest, none of us remember what we picked! The thing is, we had decided ahead of time but then the DJ said the song was too short so he made a different suggestion but we soon changed it again, and now no one remembers the song.  OOPS

Mr. Sword and I got to start swaying but very quickly the DJ said anyone who’s been married less than a day, please exit the dance floor, and then we were done!

Coffield Wedding 0782

Coffield Wedding 0784

The DJ went on to ask the couples to leave who’d been married less than one year, five years, ten years, and so on until there was only one couple left dancing.

Coffield Wedding 0787

Since I was so adamant about not tossing my bouquet and singling out my single friends, and since I’ve never been super sentimental about drying or keeping flowers, I knew I was going to find another purpose for my bridal bouquet.

My idea was to gift my bouquet to the couple that’s been married the longest, and surprise, surprise, it was my lovely grandparents who celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary this summer!  (Totally rigged and planned in advance.)  I think there’s something beautiful about honoring the longest marriage at the genesis of a new one.

Coffield Wedding 0795

I get tears in my eyes when I remember how shocked and happy my Grandma was to find out she was being given my bouquet.

Coffield Wedding 0797

Coffield Wedding 0799

Coffield Wedding 0801

When I called her weeks later she told me how she’d made some of the petals into potpourri after showing it to all her friends.  So sweet.

After the bouquet was given the DJ played our original song choice for the anniversary dance, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Grandma’s favorite artist, Elvis Presley.  My grandparents are known for their awesome dance skills and still take a cab every Friday night to their local bar for dancing.  They have the best stories of young people trying to cut in with them and buy them drinks.  Haha

Everyone at our reception stood around the dance floor to watch them.  It was beautiful.

Coffield Wedding 0802

I’ve already mentioned that my Grandpa has Alzheimer’s and how these two are the only set of grandparents at the wedding and how special that is to my family.  Well, another reason The Gunn Slingers (our ceilidh band) got cut a bit short was because my Grandpa was really confused about where he was during the wedding reception.  In fact, he’d been confused since he’d arrived in Minnesota but as the evening went on he was convinced it was time to pack up so he could leave and go home.  His anxiety was getting bad.  😦

Coffield Wedding 0804

My Grandpa LOVES to dance though. We knew once he got dancing he would be fine. So once he started getting antsy we immediately shifted to the DJ and started the anniversary song. My grandparents ended up staying the rest of the evening AND dancing for the entire reception.

This next picture is incredibly special.  It’s Mom Sword and her sister (Auntie B) watching their parents dance.  Weddings are the best, aren’t they?

Coffield Wedding 0809

And this is Mom Sword, her sister, and her brother.  Love.

Coffield Wedding 0810

These are the moments you never forget.  What is one of yours?

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Sword Wedding footer FINAL.jpg

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

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

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

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

Reception
Cocktail hour!
The pretty details!
Grand entrances!
We get roasted!
Parent dances!
First dance fake out!
Stripping the willow!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Cuddle With a Cutie

After our families had left the lobby to finish getting ready for the ceremony, Crystal was able to snap a few more pics of Mr. Sword and myself indoors.  By this time, I had fully thawed and was happy to continue smiling for the camera.

Coffield Wedding 0482

Coffield Wedding 0485

We decided to switch things up and move locations and I’m so glad we did because I love these next few pics.  So romantic and bridal looking.  And for reference, this location is a tiny hallway near a window on the second floor of the hotel.  Nothing special about it in real life but a great spot for some lovely photos!

Coffield Wedding 0492

Coffield Wedding 0494

Coffield Wedding 0491

On my photography shot list I had also made time for a mini photo shoot with Littlest C, because well, she’s pretty damn important.  I’m pretty sure I was picturing her as my flower girl before I’d even met Mr. Sword!

Coffield Wedding 0486

We went outside and Littlest C got to wear her beautiful jacket.

MOH Big Eyes and Littlest C

MOH Big Eyes and Littlest C

The next three pictures tend to make me tear up!  Notice our matching tiaras?  🙂  I had this idea for a pose that we should both hold her flower girl basket and I’m so glad they turned out as well as they did!  If you are taking pictures with your ring bearers or flower girls, I recommend getting down to their height level, it makes for better photos!

Coffield Wedding 0488

Coffield Wedding 0489

I love how much we look-alike (even though we’re obviously not blood-related) and I’m just reminded of how grown-up and beautiful Littlest C looks!

Coffield Wedding 0490

Did you see the purple petals?  Those were cut from fake flowers I purchased at JoAnn’s when shopping for boutonnieres.  So easy, and so much cheaper than real petals!

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Did you take extra pics with any of your little ones?

Sword Wedding footer FINAL.jpg

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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Make the Women Freeze

Where my girls at?  OH WAIT.  They’re right here, looking absolutely stunning and fresh.

Coffield Wedding 0284

Pretty faces with pretty bouquets.  I don’t have a close up of their bouquets but I thought they looked AH-mazing.  MOH Big Eyes’ had a few ivory spray roses to make hers stand out.

Coffield Wedding 0286

We did the obligatory shoe pic, but it was more of a boot pic, considering the circumstances.  I told each of the girls to wear whatever black shoe they desired for the wedding, and I also told them to bring warm boots for the outdoor bridal party photos.  Thank you Crystal for that tip!

Coffield Wedding 0288

The girls are so beautiful in their eggplant dresses and I love seeing their homemade tartan necklaces in each lovely picture.  The black shawls were part of their gift from me and worked really well in both style AND functionality.  You can see my tartan heart peeking through in the pic below:

Coffield Wedding 0293

Unfortunately due to weather and time we didn’t get as many pics of the girls as I would have liked but you have to accept that there’s only so much you can fit in and I’m really pleased with the ones we do have.  Once we moved to the parking garage we threw Mr. Sword into the girly mix.

Coffield Wedding 0397

You can see how wet the bottom of their dresses got in the next few photos.  Luckily everyone dried up in time for the ceremony.

Coffield Wedding 0401

Coffield Wedding 0403

I’m so glad their purple dresses photographed as dark as they did, because when I was using my simple point and shoot camera they tended to come out looking super bright and fuschia-like, which is pretty but didn’t match my vision at all.  In the end, I’d say our bridesmaid dresses were a huge success (and to think they were picked a few minutes in at our very first stop) and I can’t wait to show you all how we looked together as a group!

Did you or will you go with the classic, all matching, floor-length gowns like us?

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Sword Wedding footer FINAL.jpg

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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Try Not To Freeze During Couple Portraits

The next few posts will be very picture heavy (aka I will shut up already)!  🙂

After our first look Mr. Sword and I spent the next 45 minutes taking couple portraits outside while attempting to avoid getting soaked.  In between shots my lovely Sister was rubbing my arms to keep the blood flowing and we were all blowing warm air into our hands.  In some of the pictures you can actually see the precipitation!  The weather was serious.

Despite having to stay under the bridge (or an umbrella) most of the time, I think Crystal was able to capture a lot of great moments.  She said a cloudy day gives the best lighting and I have to agree.  Enjoy!

Coffield Wedding 0129

Coffield Wedding 0130

This next one is a favorite of mine cause I’m posing like a bad ass.

Coffield Wedding 0131

Coffield Wedding 0133

Coffield Wedding 0137

Coffield Wedding 0138

Coffield Wedding 0140

Coffield Wedding 0142

I LOVE all the smiling photos (Mr. Sword’s accent smile is the first thing I noticed about him the night we met) but of course we had to try out our dramatic model poses as well.

Coffield Wedding 0151

Coffield Wedding 0154

Note: I had my engagement ring on my right hand all through pictures so I wouldn’t forget to switch it before the ceremony.  I have no opinions on the matter either way, just thought it was worth sharing since I did notice it!

Coffield Wedding 0162

Coffield Wedding 0168

Coffield Wedding 0174

These next shots are very special to us.  Boss Lady had made me a heart of tartan with both of our last names sewn on it, and then Family Friend L (my seamstress) sewed the heart into the bottom layer of my dress.  It was mostly our little sentimental secret but I had to get a few pics of it!

Coffield Wedding 0186

Coffield Wedding 0187

We also squeezed in a few bridal portraits (a MAJOR regret I have is not getting any bridal portraits at the hotel in my full ensemble before entering the elements, but oh well, live and learn!):

Coffield Wedding 0180

Coffield Wedding 0282

I am obsessed with how awesome my bouquet looks in these next few photos:

Coffield Wedding 0274

You can see a wee bee in the next one if you look closely!  It’s such a fun tradition and a great way to feel connected to Weddingbee and this amazing community.

Coffield Wedding 0276

Coffield Wedding 0278

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Did anyone else brave the elements to get outdoor pics?  I scheduled in a lot of time to take couple portraits which I highly recommend!  Up next, we add SWORDS!  🙂

Sword Wedding footer FINAL

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

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

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

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

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

Coffield Wedding 0071

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

I especially love this artsy shot.

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

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

Coffield Wedding 0075

Coffield Wedding 0074

Coffield Wedding 0076

Checking my tiara in the mirror before adding the veil.

Checking my final look.

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

Coffield Wedding 0078

This was also the moment I first saw my bouquet.

Coffield Wedding 0037

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

Adding my BEE charms!

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

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

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

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

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

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

Sword Wedding footer FINAL

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

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

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