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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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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

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

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cheers

Auntie B’s reaction to seeing the bride:

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

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I love this next shot!

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First Look and Portraits

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girls vs guys

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sister faces

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

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Ceremony

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

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Yours truly as Matron of Honor.

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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.

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

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Details

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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.

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Reception

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

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

first dance

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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.

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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.  😦

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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?

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

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

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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?

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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!

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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.  😉

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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!

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

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Sorry for the blurs!

Sorry for the blurs!

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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.  🙂

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personal photo I took the morning after the wedding

personal photo I took the morning after the wedding

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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.

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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.

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

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

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

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The room was filled with love quotes and engagement photos.

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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!)

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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!

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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.

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Next up, we dance in to the reception!

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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…

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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!

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

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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!