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The Big Bad Budget Post- Sword Edition

I want to start this post with a collective groan (ullllhhh) because it’s all about wedding budgets and money.  I’m going to share our real figures accurately as possible, aside from rounding up or down to keep things easier.  (I hate math.)

Obviously, some of you might be like, “HOLY SH&T MRS. SWORD, you spent that much on one day?!?!?”  And some of you might be like, “Wow, that’s barely anything.  My entire budget is two or three times that.”

But hopefully most of you have less extreme reactions to our budget and can find something that relates to your own wedding.  Everyone’s situation is unique to them, and we all know there are two major things that affect the cost of a wedding: location and budget.  That being said, here is the Sword nitty-gritty.

Mr. Sword and I got married in Bloomington, MN in the County of Hennepin (much to the dismay of many of our friends who wanted an excuse to take a trip to Scotland).  I went to this Cost of Wedding website for more information on the average budget for someone getting married in this area.

Average Cost of Wedding in Hennepin County, MN: Between $20,732 and $34,553, with most couples not spending over 10,000 dollars.

The Sword’s Wedding Budget Goal: $25,000

Total Cost of A Highland Fairy Tale: $28,267

For a grand total of 3,267 dollars over budget, we’ll take it!  🙂

Who Contributed: 1/3 Mrs. Sword’s parents, 1/3 Mr. Sword’s parents, 1/3 the Swords themselves.  It was a group effort!

The Budget Breakdown:

Rehearsal Dinner at Cowboy Jack’s: $1,500 (this includes burgers and a drink for about 70 people and Mr. Sword’s tres leches groom’s cake)

Bridal Attire (including alterations, jewelry, and shoes): $1,300

Groom’s Attire (including custom-made kilt from Scotland and accessories): $2,000

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YES, we spent more on Mr. Sword than me!  Love it.

6 yards extra fabric of family named tartan that is really one-of-a-kind and was used multiple times: $645.00

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personal photo

Flowers: $550 (five bouquets and four corsages)

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Centerpieces: $285 (this is just what we spent, Mom Sword spent more finishing them up)

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Venue and Catering: $11,000 (this includes three sections of the ballroom and all that comes with them, one hour open bar, plated dinner for all guests, beer, wine, signature drinks, soda, late night snack, draping behind sweetheart table, purple uplighting, and the cake)

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Atrium rental fee for ceremony: $500

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Officiant: $275

Marriage License: $40 (MN charges $115 unless you show proof of premarital counseling which lowers it to 40 bucks)

Bagpiper: $250

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Photography: $2,160 (after a discount for finding her through a blog)

Videography: $2,300 (for four separately edited films- trailer, full video, ceremony, and Best Man Speech)

Ceilidh Band: $550 (for one hour of playing)

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DJ (including glow sticks, extra lighting, and lapel mic rental): $1,040

Wedding band hers: $600 (white gold)

Wedding band his: $210 (tungsten)

Hair and Makeup: $200 (for a trial and the day of, which was super discounted, I love my girl!)

Hair Extensions: $170 (have worn them a total of four times so far and plan on wearing them again in the future, so worth it!)

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personal photo

Gifts for bridal party and family: approx. $1,000 (which sounds scary but that is split between 20 people which equals roughly around 50 bucks a person, seems reasonable to me)

Shortbread favors for guests: $115

Invitations and STD’s: $642

Sorry for the blurs!

Sorry for the blurs!

Storybook Guestbook: $90

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Crafting supplies, OOTG bags, stamps, and other misc: $500 (most of which was spent at JoAnn’s)

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personal photos

Tips for vendors: $370

Accommodations: $260 (for two nights, one before wedding, and one after, wedding night was complimentary)

Sword escort card display: Gifted by Mom Sword

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Pre-wedding Mani/Pedi: Gifted by BM L Dawg

Not Included Costs: Honeymoon and engagement ring.  We feel those two items are separate from our wedding budget.

What We Skipped:

Transportation:  One stop shop wedding meant we didn’t need to transport guests at all.  The hotel had a shuttle that ran people to and from the airport as well as the Mall of America.  When we went off-site for photos we had family and friends drive us.

Chair Covers:  Ah, yea, didn’t miss ’em.

Photo Booth: A good wedding trend, but one I had no desire to indulge in.  Our dance party reception was a hit without it.

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography unless otherwise noted.

Phew!  Hope this post was informative and interesting at the same time.  Tomorrow I’m going to share my vendor reviews and then it’s time for The Swords to say goodbye.  😦

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!

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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.

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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!  🙂

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This was also the moment I first saw my bouquet.

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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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We All Prepare For a Wedding

Our photographer, Crystal and her second shooter Anna, showed up around 9:30 AM to begin taking detail and getting ready shots of all of us.  I’m going to be a big tease and hold out on most of the detail shots but I will show this one of my dress with the sunlight streaming through it. GORGEOUS.

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I was really happy with how my hair and makeup turned out.  Laura does amazing work and I looked just how I had envisioned myself as a bride!  As for the extensions? I would buy them again in a heartbeat.  Laura didn’t clip them in as tightly as she had for the trial and I wore them for over 12 hours without a problem.  Most people had no idea I was wearing extensions until I told them!  (And sidebar: I wore them again at Sister Big Eye’s wedding this past weekend- photos to come later this summer!)

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Meanwhile in the room next door, Mom Sword was putting the finish touches on her MOB ensemble.  She looked so beautiful in her dark royal blue dress!

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Two things about Mom Sword’s look:

1) She purposely bought jewelry she could wear to a formal evening winter wedding (mine) and a fancy bright Sunday picnic wedding (Sister’s) so she could wear something the same for both of her daughter’s weddings.  Such a sweet sentiment.

2) You’ll notice in the photo below she is wearing a cheapo plastic children’s style watch.  Mom Sword was under strict orders to make sure it was removed by ceremony go time.  She LOVES her watches, but it’s a running joke in the family that they never go with anything and look a bit out-of-place on a grown woman.  Luckily she was happy to oblige.  🙂

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Dad Sword cleaned up nicely as well, especially for a guy who never wears suits and hates ties!

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The tartan ties that Boss Lady made for both Dads turned out so well!

I vividly remember Dad Sword stopping by the girls getting ready room to say hi.  I think the look on his face says it all.  🙂

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I guess he needed some help with his tartan boutonnieres made by Sister/MOH Big Eyes.  FWIW, we used safety pins and they worked like a charm!  The bouts were very lightweight.

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Did you get any surprise photos of your parents getting ready?  Were you happy with how your hair and makeup turned out?

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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We (I) Eat Bacon While Getting Pretty

I woke up around 6 AM on the morning of our wedding to have a shower and a shave.  Usually I do a lot of thinking in the shower but I barely remember taking one that day!  I spent the morning lounging around with my girls in our hotel suite, trying to think too far ahead.

NO MAKEUP!  HAPPY!

NO MAKEUP! HAPPY!

My fabulous hair/makeup artist Laura arrived around 7 AM with two assistants in tow to help with curling and makeup.  Laura is a total blast to have around and she’s really good about making everyone feel comfortable while still making the bride feel extra special.  As you can see from the pics below, planning to have a specific girls getting ready room was a low-stress and super fun way to get ready.

I don’t think I will ever be able to express how easy and awesome it was to have everyone staying at the hotel where the wedding was taking place!  The ladies got to roll out of bed and ride an elevator (if they dared) to our room on level two to begin their day.  No coats, no driving, no stress.

Getting ready collage

As the morning progressed I started to get hungry and I asked the girls to bring me a muffin or something from the buffet; I just wasn’t up for leaving the room and running into people (especially after the craziness of Friday) and I really didn’t want to see Mr. Sword until our first look!

The girls brought me back a muffin which I proceeded to shove into my mouth nibble on. I love lemon poppy-seed muffins normally but today it was making me feel gross and nauseous.  In fact, I was so disgusted by said muffin that couldn’t finish it.

I tried to think of something that sounded good to my tummy, and I immediately thought of bacon.  Grease on my wedding day?  Why not?  Fatty bacon for breakfast?  Too late to lose more weight for my dress anyway!  The weirdest part is that I NEVER eat bacon.  If I do, it’s turkey bacon and I never crave it.  I swear I must have had a bridal baby (new Mrs. Sword phrase, no, I wasn’t preggo) in my tummy that was having a craving because it was so NOT like me to gorge on bacon for breakfast.

The girls brought me some bacon (thanks ladies!) and I devoured it.  Probably haven’t had a piece since.

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I love that we are all wearing our getting ready tank tops and just chilling in the hotel room.

As the morning went on I stayed pretty relaxed even though I knew it was cold and rainy.  For some reason I thought, “It could stop raining by the time we want to take pictures outside.”  Such the optimist fool I was.  🙂  Spoiler alert: It did NOT stop raining but we still got some amazing photos that I can’t wait to share!

Next up, the photographer arrives and I put on some makeup for your viewing pleasure!

(all photos personal)

Did you crave anything weird on the morning of your wedding?  Did you panic about the weather or did you just ignore it like I did?

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!

Sword Glossary: Made Up Wedding Lingo for Everyday Use

I realized awhile ago that I have made up a ton of new words in the past few months while blogging for Weddingbee, and I’ve decided it’s time to make a glossary so people have a chance to understand what the heck I’m talking about and so these words can continue to get used.

It all started back when I wrote about the other types of brides that exist besides Bridezillas.  After that, I pretty much made up words whenever I saw the need.

(In case you feel robbed because you’ve been saying these words or phrases for years, I apologize in advance, and anyway they are new to me!)

Sword Glossary

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DIY: Destroy-it-Yourself.  I have joked about how I am a terrible craft-er many times here on the hive.  I know DIY means Do-it-Yourself, but I like my version better.  It means you take full responsibility for what happens to your project, it means it probably won’t turn out perfectly, and it’s frankly, it’s a hell of a lot more fun to say!

DIYT: Don’t Invest Your Time.  This is an acronym I coined for the project that takes entirely too much time out of your life.  Sometimes it’s worthwhile, (like in the case of our tartan necklaces) but sometimes it’s better to just buy the damn thing already.

Nanny Child:  A child that you nanny, or more specifically, a child that you love deeply and watch on a regular basis but that is not related to you by blood.  For years I have had trouble describing or clarifying my relationship with my nanny children because it’s hard for people to make sense of it if you’ve never spent as much time as I have with someone else’s children.  I’ve been with my nanny family for 5+ years now, and they’re both in my wedding, but I didn’t know what to call them in our ceremony program, hence the title, nanny child.  Does anyone else have this issue of notating an unconventional relationship in their program?

Shmailing: Sharing the body of an email, word for word.  Sister Big Eyes sent an email out to her bridal party asking what hair/makeup everyone would like, I got about half way through before realizing not only did the tone sound an awful lot like me, it had been taken verbatim from my email to my bridal party concerning hair/makeup just a few months ago!  Not that I was bothered at all, on the contrary, I found it hilarious.  Sister Big Eyes doesn’t care for writing, and I’d already done the hard part, so why not shmail it?

Shrendoring: Sharing a vendor with someone you know personally, someone you are close to, or more specifically someone who is planning a wedding at the same time as you.  (Because obviously you’re sharing your vendor with a ton of other brides but you don’t know them all).  Sister/MOH Big Eyes (who gets married this coming June) is shrendoring my photographer, my hair/makeup artist, and our alterations family friend.  Does our mutual MOB count too?

Wedding Crush: The wedding you like a lot and hope to marry one day.  Just kidding!  This is the wedding that reminds you of your own and makes you swoon because it’s just so beautiful! If you’d like a reminder, this is the wedding I have been crushing on that matches my vision.  Basically your wedding crush is the wedding you want to be like when you grow up.  🙂

Wirthday Gift: A gift that is deliberately given as both a birthday and wedding gift.  Sister Big Eyes gave me my cake topper as a wirthday gift.  And it doesn’t have to stop there, per the comments left on my post, someone said they received some Whistmas gifts (wedding/Christmas) and someone else some Birthmas gifts (birthday/Christmas).  Love the creativity!

(all photos personal)

What wedding lingo have you made up?  What words are still missing?

Hair and Makeup Score

Another item that got checked off the list while in MN was my hair and makeup trial with my awesome stylist Laura.  If you want to read me rave about her some more, read this and this.

Warning: This is a Miss Sword photo heavy post!  If gets too overwhelming staring at my face for the next few minutes I suggest taking a break after the extensions go in.

I’m so happy because Laura nailed my bridal look!  I gave her my smokey eye inspiration photos and after decided to do a softer colored lip than you’ll see in the photos, I was in love with everything.  I decided to go with airbrush makeup, as are most of my girls, because it will last us all day and all night!

Before:

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After:

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Smokey eyes plus false eyelashes… yummy.  Too bad it took me awhile to get used to wearing them!

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As for hair, well, if you’re on the fence about getting extensions, I can’t recommend them enough!  As someone with limp, stringy, and lifeless hair, the one day I want volume more than any other is my wedding day and boy, did some extra blonde pieces of hair accomplish that!  I know it’s superficial, pricey, and completely unnecessary, but I felt so beautiful.

These are my babies:

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This is me brushing them later that night while Mom Sword stands on laughing and taking photos of me.  In my defense, Laura told me to brush out the hairspray after I take them out!  🙂

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This is Laura clipping the extensions into my hair- so cool how easy it is!

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This is her styling them.

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And this is the final look:

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And this is MOH Big Eyes wearing just one extension in her dark locks.  We’re a silly bunch.

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Finally, this is me with my normal hair after a mere four hours of wearing the extensions.

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Yes, I had to take them out, I’m a wuss.

In all seriousness, I consider myself to have a pretty tough scalp from years of Mom Sword ripping through my tangles, but my head was definitely hurting after a few hours of having my new hair pinned in and I’m wondering if this is normal or not.  I’m thinking of taking some ibuprofen on the day of the wedding to take the edge off, plus I’m sure being in a state of wedded bliss will help take my mind off of things.  🙂

(all photos personal)

Did your hair and makeup trial turn out to be everything you thought it would be?  Who else is wearing extensions and does it make your head hurt or am I just a big baby?

Pretty Faces

As my hair and makeup trial is only two weeks away now, I thought I’d share the name of my artist for my fellow Minnesota brides along a few inspiration photos.

My hair/makeup story started a while back when I was searching for some new options after an initial frustrating experience.  I was pretty set on hiring someone who could do both my hair and makeup; I love the efficiency of two vendors in one!  After a few more Google searches, I found this gorgeous website and I sent in my information only to receive both an email and a phone call within a few short days, hence this post entitled, The Hair and Makeup Vendor That Called.  Laura and I just clicked and after meeting her in person in October, I was sold.

Being the flexible person she is, Laura had offered to meet me and curl my hair for my Minnesota bridal shower even before I had signed a contract.  She even drove to my parent’s house!  Awesome.

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Below is a slight preview of what Laura might do with my hair for the wedding.

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Speaking of hair… she also picked up my hair extensions a few weeks ago and I’m so excited to see them in person!  I made the decision to go with a golden blonde over a platinum blonde mix based on a pic Laura sent me.

Since I’m pretty set on how I want my hair to look (down and curly), I moved on to thinking about my makeup.  I’ll be doing air-brush and false eyelashes (even though I never sport them in real life!) because it’s my wedding day and I’m going all out baby!

But can I just say that I really love it when other Bee’s do their own wedding day hair and makeup!   I admire them for saving money, for taking charge and for having such talent.  But to be perfectly honest, the thought of doing my own hair or makeup sounds so entirely stressful that I could have a melt down just thinking about it!

For one, I can’t even braid my own hair and it took me a lot longer than most little girls to master the ever-simple ponytail.  Two, I’m someone who gets careless when I’m feeling rushed and who does not work best under pressure!  And finally, I want to be pampered and relaxed so having a hair and makeup artist was an important part of our wedding day budget.

Moving on to inspiration pics!  I tend to look at mostly blondes because I’m trying to get an idea of how the makeup will look with blonde hair.  I guess I’m going for a smokey eye and more of a nude or pale lip.  Also, as a fair-skinned gal, my favorite piece of makeup is not the typical answer of mascara, because I am obsessed with BLUSH.  No subtle cheek bones for me, I wanna see them!

Here’s Kate Hudson, sexy as ever.  And she’s the face of Almay right now?  That’s my makeup brand!  (See I don’t even buy good enough stuff to do my own!)

image via Almay

image via Almay

Here’s Lauren Conrad, ahh, she is so beautiful!  And her line of clothing is sold at Kohl’s so that makes her even cooler!

And while I don’t know who this is, can I look like her on my wedding day?  She looks beautiful, feminine, and she is glowing.  Notice her cheeks?

Finally, this photo was too luscious not to share.

image via Modern Bride on Pinterest

image via Modern Bride on Pinterest

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)

Are you hiring a hair and makeup artist in one or doing separate vendors?  Do you have your inspiration nailed down yet?