Archives

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.)

August 2012 041

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.)

29th birthday and tiara 026

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.

IMG_2364

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?

IMG_20130830_090145

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

IMG_20130830_160637

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.

DSCF1574

(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

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 Take Care of Business

After the toasts it was time for dinner!  We had a three course plated meal of salad, chandelaise (I think our chef made that word up) chicken with steamed veggies and roasted red potatoes followed by wedding cake,  Again it’s clear we aren’t foodies and I know it sounds like boring wedding food but that’s OK because there was nothing else boring about our wedding!  And the food was damn good.

After the salad course Mr. Sword stood up and gave a thank you speech to everyone in attendance.  He was SO nervous but he did a great job.  No idea what he’s saying here or why my arms are like that!

Coffield Wedding 0663

It  was lovely to stand by his side as his proud wife in a room of our favorite people as he expressed our gratitude.  While I’m the more out-going personality of the two of us and a performer by nature, on my wedding day I just wanted to be a bride, and I think our guests were really happy to hear from Mr. Sword as well.

Coffield Wedding 0666

Coffield Wedding 0669

After scarfing down our meal at the sweetheart table Mr. Sword and I attempted the table tango to mingle with our friends and family.  Despite our successful receiving line, we knew once the dancing started they’d be no time for chatting so we made use of the dinner time lull.  Crystal followed us around to get some group shots as well.

collage of guests

After everyone had finished dinner we began the parent dances, a tradition that all of us were really looking forward to having at the wedding.  First up, Dad Sword and I danced to “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles.  Lucky for me, Dad Sword has some moves!

Coffield Wedding 0688

After the first minute or so, Mr. Sword grabbed Mom Sword and those two joined us on the dance floor.  We wanted to honor all four of our parents instead of just the Father of the Bride and the Mother of the Groom.

Coffield Wedding 0690

Following the Father-Daughter dance it was time for the Mother-Son dance and Mr. Sword and Mum Sword chose Stevie Wonder’s “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.”  I love this picture of them!

Coffield Wedding 0696

I grabbed my new Father-in-law to join me on the dance floor after the song played for a while and it was a really nice moment.

Coffield Wedding 0697

The parent dances were the perfect way to kick off the dancing portion of the evening!  Next up, Mr. Sword and I have our first dance!  We wanted to be the finale of three dances instead of the opening act and in the next post you’ll see why.  🙂

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Did your groom do the traditional thank you toast or did you both speak?  Do you each ask your in-law to join in the parent dances too?  Is something you would consider?

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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Get Slagged Off

This post starts with a Scottish vocab lesson.  While I’m pretty sure “slagging off” is not exclusively a Scottish phrase I’ve only ever heard Mr. Sword and his mates use it, however maybe Miss Jackrabbit can enlighten us about the rest of the UK ?  When I first met Mr. Sword I was always caught off guard with his weird phrases (for exaample: knackered = tired, baltic = freezing cold), and this one was no different.  To slag someone off is to insult them.  Who knew?  It always sounded way dirtier to me.

After attending to the cake, we made our way to our lovely sweetheart table to get royally made fun of during the toasts.

More crazy Mrs. Sword faces!

More crazy Mrs. Sword faces!

These crowns in front of our table were a great addition and given to me by a friend of Mom Sword.  We ended up sitting in front of the wrong crown for the firsts half of the evening though, oops.   I was convinced I was in front of the queen’s but I was actually sitting in front of the king’s.  Sorry Mr. Sword, you were right!

The toasts at our wedding were phenomenal.  I feel like this part of the night can be very nerve-wracking for brides and grooms because it’s a part you have no control over.  We weren’t worried and not only were the toasts lovely and heart-warming, but they were also wicked funny and full of jokes at our expense (said with love of course!).  I won’t include the full transcriptions here because it would get too long but I do have one video to share at the end of this post.

Up first, Dad Sword!

Coffield Wedding 0650

His toast was beyond funny.  He made fun of Mr. Sword for being a Bears fan (I come from Viking country after all!) and told a story from when I was little about how I’d cry every time he left the room and how much he got a kick out of that.  Dad Sword told Mr. Sword I can be a bit clingy and asked him if I cry when he leaves the room as well?  I laughed so hard.  Mostly cause it’s true.  😉

Coffield Wedding 0649

Traditionally only the FOB does a speech but Mom Sword didn’t want to let Dad Sword have all the fun, and she nailed it with her 15 second quip informing Mr. Sword, that after years of me calling her with life’s stressful problems, it was now his turn to deal with it all and guess what?  TAG, YOU’RE IT!

Coffield Wedding 0651

Seems to me she’s a bit too excited to pass on the torch!  🙂

Coffield Wedding 0652

Next up was my lovely Sister, MOH Big Eyes who said some really sweet things including what a saint Mr. Sword is to not mind that I put up personal detail after personal detail about him on my blog.  She also made fun of me because the first time Mr. Sword and I met and exchanged phone numbers, I told him I don’t call boys, boys call me.  I swear I didn’t mean it in a rude way, just that I was too nervous to call him but I guess it didn’t come across that way!  And now it’s a source of entertainment for everyone in the family.

Coffield Wedding 0654

Coffield Wedding 0655

Our Best Man S gave the best Best Man speech in the history of best man toasts.  He was hilarious and slagged off Mr. Sword a good amount, but then he ended with a poem that was absolutely beautiful.  We actually had many guests rave about this toast and we ended up paying our videographers extra to have the whole thing on film.

Best Man S is also the reason we needed to have a screen and projector set up in the reception room!  HIS TOAST HAS VISUALS HIVE.  The speech is about 8 and a half minutes but I guess in Scotland they can go on as long as 30 minutes, and anyway, I think it’s totally worth watching if you have time.

Did your family and friends knock their toasts out of the park too?  Are you comfortable getting slagged off and made fun in front of everyone you know?

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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Admire the Details

Yay, we’ve arrived at the details post!  Which means less talking, more photo sharing.   I’ve saved all the major detail shots from the whole day for this post, enjoy!

Coffield Wedding 0001

dress hanger edited

Coffield Wedding 0002

Coffield Wedding 0012

Coffield Wedding 0005

Coffield Wedding 0016

Sorry for the blurs!

Sorry for the blurs!

royal wedding RSVP edited

You didn’t think there was any way I would miss out on having our royal wedding RSVP (aka the best DECLINE in the history of declines) included in the details photo shoot, right?  Mr. Sword is still part of the United Kingdom whether his Scottish self likes it or not.  🙂

Coffield Wedding 0015

personal photo I took the morning after the wedding

personal photo I took the morning after the wedding

Coffield Wedding 0020

Coffield Wedding 0021

Coffield Wedding 0057

Coffield Wedding 0067

Truth time: That isn’t my wedding band anymore, I traded it in for a new one!

Before we get to the big entrances I wanted to share these reception detail shots as well.

Reception Unedits163

I’m really happy with how the room turned out and I love the purple uplighting we added.  If you’ll remember, I had two separate centerpieces, beer bottles and hurricanes, but unfortunately I only have good shots of the beer bottle tables.  To be honest, I dislike the carpet and the chairs in some of the pics but I don’t regret skipping on chair covers.  So not a priority!  Having a band AND a DJ was such a better use of our money.

For all you fellow hotel/ballroom brides out there who wish you had chosen a more unique wedding space, remember, the energy and love of your wedding will overshadow even the most bland venue.

Reception Unedits164

Did you see our Walker’s shortbread favors?  Everyone loved eating them as a wee snack later in the evening.

LC0097

Our storybook guestbook was a hit and our guests cracked us up with their awesome comments.

LC0092

LC0090

One of my favorite Destroy-it-Yourself’s:

LC0089

The room was filled with love quotes and engagement photos.

LC0091

LC0093

I was so pleased with our AMAZING castle themed escort table complete with tartan flag, a prince and princess, and of course the personalized SWORD escort cards.  My mom and her friends did an amazing job on this!  The detail is insane.  (Note: this started as a plain, wooden dollhouse from Michael’s, and I hope to save it for a future daughter of ours to play with someday!)

LC0080

LC0082

LC0079

Finally, our cake was simple and geometric and totally fit our theme and it was so cool to see my wirthday gift cake topper in use!

Coffield Wedding 0869

We used a large piece of our family tartan to cover a square foam that we rented from the bakery as a cake stand and we put up our parent’s wedding photos on either side of the cake.

Coffield Wedding 0868

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Next up, we dance in to the reception!

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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Check to See if the Guys Went “True Scottish” and I have to Pee

In Scotland, it’s understood that to be a True Scotsman you don’t wear any underwear with your kilt.  It was actually something Mr. Sword and I got asked A LOT over the course of wedding planning once people found out he’d be wearing one, and it was the butt of many a joke that weekend (har har har).  Most of the guys told us they would NOT be wearing any but hey, us girls still wanted to check for ourselves…

Coffield Wedding 0406

OK, so we didn’t lift their kilts high enough to gain any concrete proof (cause that’d be weird), but I did confirm that my husband was going commando in our alone time post ceremony, because well, he’s my husband, I had to know!  Also, do you remember my post about my wedding crush?  We stole borrowed this idea from them!

Coffield Wedding 0407

We also added our own little twist by switching it up and having the guys lift up our dresses!  Ooo-la-la!

Coffield Wedding 0408

After all group, couple, and other random pictures were completed, it was FINALLY time to separate and prepare for the ceremony.  Crystal and the second shooter headed off to the atrium, the men did whatever men do before a wedding (crack jokes and mingle?), and me and my girls headed to our getting ready room to relax and scarf down a few snacks.  Subway anyone?

personal photo

personal photo

personal photo

personal photo/MOH Big Eyes joins me

One of my friends on Facebook said I should get paid by Subway for this endorsement!  HA!

After stuffing my face I realized I desperately needed to go to the bathroom.  I have a tiny bladder and was shocked I’d made it to 3:30 PM before thinking about it!  Luckily this moment was also captured for your enjoyment.  Yes, that is TP I’m holding.  Yes, I have no shame.

personal photo

personal photo

That’s what BFF’s are for, amirite?

Next up, the ceremony begins!

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography unless otherwise noted.

How did we do on re-creating the “True Scottish” photo?  Who helped you use the facilities on your wedding day?

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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Begin With a Teaser Video!

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

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

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

engagement photo by Jennifer Jackson

engagement photo by Jennifer Jackson

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

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

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

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

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

engagement photo by Jennifer Jackson

engagement photo by Jennifer Jackson

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

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

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

Sword Wedding footer FINAL

Swords of the Caribbean: I hate packing, yes I do, I hate packing, how ’bout you?

This is a beast of a post but it’s informative and detailed and well, some of you asked for this so I hope you like it!  🙂

Packing is the devil.  It causes me the most terrible anxiety that falls somewhere in between being a car with someone who looks like they are about to puke (high anxiety) and waiting for the bus at night (low anxiety).  I’m going to share the details of what I packed for our ten-day honeymoon, explaining what we used and what I didn’t use.  AND OF COURSE, I will tell you ALL ABOUT THE DRESSES!  🙂

WE BROUGHT IT, WE USED IT:

Sunscreen- Like I said in my first honeymoon post, we bought seven bottles and used every last drop in all of them!  We almost had to buy more but the resort prices made us ration our supply and the last few days we used less and less.

Bug spray- We brought two bottles, came back with plenty left but were so relieved to have had some because the bugs got really bad at night, especially on days where it had rained.  And we still ended up with quite a few bites despite the spray!

Swimsuits- I brought five bikinis and one tankini (for the excursion day) for our ten-day trip and I wore them all multiple times!!  My tip would be to bring as many suits as half the days in your trip. Example, 8 day vacation = 4 swimsuits.  That way, you can change suits based on pool, hot tub, and ocean, and you’ll always have something dry to wear!

Mr.Sword took this pic of my pale body trying to catch some rays.

Mr.Sword took this pic of my pale body trying to catch some rays.

Mr. Sword (under my tutelage) brought four pairs of trunks and it was a good thing too because one of his got ruined in the hot tub after a cleaning where they used some type of chemical that wasn’t all dissolved apparently!  Mr. Sword is a minimalistic packer and I think he was shocked to realize he needed so many, but his trunks could double as shorts so he was able to wear them everywhere!

Cover-ups-  I brought four but I suggest bringing more than I did!  One of the strings ripped off my white one the first time I wore it which meant I was down to three until I bought a gorgeous wrap at the gift shop.  I was actually looking to buy a wrap in Chicago before we left but there weren’t many options.  I’m glad I waited because I love that my wrap so much and it will remind me of our Jamaican honeymoon every time I wear it!

DSCF1566

Cover-ups are crucial because they go on and off easier than dresses, they are more inexpensive so you don’t mind getting sand and ocean water on them, and they are extremely light-weight, and not confining at all. I probably wore a cover-up to almost every breakfast and lunch while on the resort.

Shoes- 4 pairs of flip-flops, two cheapo pairs, one nicer neutral pair, and one black wedge pair.  One pair of nude heels that matched almost all my dresses!  One pair of neutral strappy sandals.  One pair of boat shoes/loafer-type things for the days we traveled.  Mr. Sword brought one pair of flip-flops (and wore them constantly), his everyday shoes, and his dress shoes for our fancy dinner.

Water Shoes- Yes, they get their own section because Mr. Sword told me we shouldn’t bother with them but I bought us each a pair anyway (from Target) and we were lucky we had them because to walk up the Dunn River Falls you must have water shoes which means we would have had to buy or rent some while there.

Dresses- I brought ten dresses and wore nine of them plus one I bought while I was at the resort.  I wore a different dress every evening and sometimes two in one day!  And I’m pretty sure I only wore one of my dresses more than once.  Overall, I was VERY pleased with my dress selections and since so many of you asked about them I am going to do my best to give as much information as possible and provide links that may or may not take you to the exact dress.

You’ll soon find out my secret shopping spots are TJ Maxx and Marshalls.  They sort of blend together in my head so excuse me for lumping them together.  Unfortunately they have a quick turnover of merchandise so my guess is most of these dresses won’t be available anymore, but it might be worth a shot!

First up a chambray shirt dress from Old Navy.  Perfect for throwing over a swimsuit and wearing to the spa although I’m wearing it to a restaurant in this photo.

IMG_1998

honeymoon dresses ONE

(Going left to right.)

Long gray dress.  Perfect for our comfy casual first night in Negril.  TJ Maxx/Marshalls.

Coral striped dress with matching cardigan.  Worn for a dinner date.  Loft.  (You’ll see this dress was bought for a different event and worn again on the honeymoon once I start my wedding recaps.)

Spaghetti-strap swimsuit material dress.  Perfect for wearing during the day because it can get wet and dry quickly.  Tommy Bahama.  NOTE: Everything in Tommy Bahama is made for a beach vacation and if I had unlimited funds I would have bought everything in the store!

honeymoon dresses TWO

Navy halter dress.  A bit on the shorter side so it’s best for a really hot day.  Pitya.  (A few years ago.)

Modest white dress originally purchased for my bridal shower in MN.  Great for photos on the beach.   White House Black Market.  Not available anymore but any white dress for a beach vacation is a must-have!

Bright tropical cotton dress.  Perfect for lunch in the sand.  No clue where I bought it but my first two guesses are TJ Maxx and Marshalls!

honeymood dresses THREE

Sexy low-cut bright blue dress.  Worn to a fancy dinner.  TJ Maxx/Marshalls.

The most asked about dress I wore… a coral top with linen bottom.  Great for daytime and evening (if only it didn’t wrinkle so much)!  And big surprise here, TJ Maxx/Marshalls for the win!  I got it a few months ago.  The brand isn’t a name I recognize but maybe it’s still around somewhere??

Jamaican colors dress.  Casual and cool, I bought this from the gift shop at Sandals as a souvenir and I love it!

And finally, my favorite dress of the whole trip and the one I wore to our private candlelight dinner on the beach:

DSCF1640

Maxi dress with stripes on top and floral print on the bottom.  This dress is from a store called 2b and I couldn’t find the exact version but here is something similar.

WE BROUGHT IT, WE DIDN’T NEED IT:

Tennis shoes-  Umm, hiking much on the beach?  Noobs.  We thought we would need walking shoes but they were unnecessary at our resort.

A floppy hat- Wore it once but it was too windy and it kept falling off.  Plus, I felt dumb and no one else was wearing one.  I guess I will forever not be a hat person.  Mr. Sword on the other hand bought a Usain Bolt ball cap the first day we were there and wore it the entire rest of the trip!

A purse/satchel I bought this beautiful Coach satchel to carry around my personal stuff in but never used it, NOT ONCE.  Luckily, it’s great for everyday life so I’m going to hang on to it, but don’t be stupid like me!  You will never carry a purse.  Your hotel room is so close and your husband will have pockets for your camera (and you shouldn’t be bringing your phone anyway!).  For carrying things to the beach, we used an inexpensive thin backpack thingy.

Shorts- As a girly girl and a Northerner with limited hot weather supply, I couldn’t get enough of my dresses!  I tried to wear my shorts one day but they felt way too tight so I immediately took them off.  I did however, wear a skirt one afternoon.

Cash- Obviously you need some cash on you but don’t bring as much as you would normally take on a vacation.  At a Sandals resort everything is charged to a credit card and all you need to know is your room number.  We ended up paying cash for the photos we bought but they prefer you charge everything.  I feel like I can control cash better but it’s nice to know that in the future we don’t have to fly with hundreds of dollars like we did this time!

PHEW!  I’m exhausted.  Does anyone have any additional packing tips or ideas?  What item did you lug around but never use on your honeymoon?

(all photos personal)

Hive, I’m so PUMPED to start my wedding recaps but am still waiting on all of my photographs.  That said, I’m hoping to be back in a few weeks (or less)!  Until then, happy wedding planning!  Bee.back.soon.

XOXO,

Mrs. Sword

Obligatory How I Found My Wedding Dress Post

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

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

Iain's camera 190

Iain's camera 188

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

Iain's camera 197

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

Black and White Shower in MN- Oct 016

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

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

Christmas 2012Wedding 038

Christmas 2012Wedding 042

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

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

Christmas 2012Wedding 052

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

Christmas 2012Wedding 047

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

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

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

Highland Fairy Tale Week! 013

Wedding planning trip in Feb- final 005

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

(all photos personal)

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