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A Highland Fairy Tale: We Promise (Ceremony Part Two)

If you missed Part One of the Sword ceremony, click here.

After her message, Pastor P began the vows and I handed my bouquet to MOH Big Eyes and turned to face my soon-to-be husband.  This photo of the atrium during our ceremony makes me weak in the knees, so lovely.

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Did you notice the people on the top floor watching the ceremony?  We quite a few onlookers during our wedding but luckily no shouting!  I saw later that some people had been sitting in lawn chairs and drinking beers from a cooler, hilarious.  Love it.

Pastor P:

You have chosen each other to be your lifetime partner, to share all your hopes and dreams, your love and commitment, so as it is your intention to make this commitment by entering into marriage, I invite you now to join hands as you share your promises and your wedding vows.

Do you Mr. Sword, take Mrs. Sword, to be your wedded wife? And do you solemnly promise, before God and these witnesses, that you will love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, and be faithful to her, as long as you both shall live?

Mr. Sword:  I do.

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Mrs. Sword do you take Mr. Sword, to be your wedded husband? And do you solemnly promise, before God and these witnesses, that you will love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, and be faithful to him as long as you both shall live?

Mrs. Sword:  I do.

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Since you have shared your desire to join together as husband and wife and made these promises to one another, I now ask you to please repeat after me your wedding vows that you have written for each other:

Quick note on the vows, I actually wrote both sets and you’ll notice they are very similar for the most part but in some cases I changed a few words.  For example, Mr. Sword enjoys my passion for life while I enjoy his patience for life.

In case you’re thinking of personalizing your own (which I highly recommend), I wrote our vows after asking Mr. Sword a series of questions that you can find HERE.  It was important for me to know his thoughts first, but as the writer in our relationship he was more than happy to have me take the reins on this part of the ceremony.  He did have to edit and “OK” them of course!

Pastor P fed us each line split up in parts because she didn’t want us memorizing them but in hindsight, I wish we would have read them from a piece of paper so they could have flowed better (or maybe that’s just the writer in me over-scrutinizing?)

I guess it was nice to just stare into each other’s eyes to and hold hands.  🙂  Vows are in bold because, they’re the VOWS.  ha.  And I won’t write them twice, but we were repeating Pastor P each time:

Mr. Sword’s vows to me:

Mrs. Sword, from the moment I met you I knew you were someone who would fill my life with joy.

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You are my favorite person because of your passion for life and your ability to laugh at yourself.

Today I vow to always respect your opinions, to encourage your dreams, and to build a future with you.

I promise to give you the freedom to change and be supportive when you do.

I promise to love your family as my own and visit them often, no matter how cold it gets. (this line got a nice laugh!)

I promise to try and make you laugh when you cry over important and unimportant things. (chuckles as everyone knows I cry A LOT)

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I promise to be both forgiving and to ask for forgiveness often.

I promise to keep God present in our relationship and to always be thankful for you. (Apparently I mouthed “Thank you.” to Mr. Sword after this line and it brought honor attendant C Fri to tears.  We are an open book for the most part so everyone knew how much this meant to me to have him vow to keep God present in our relationship.)

I promise to be your faithful husband, loving and equal partner and our biggest fan.

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Marrying you is my dream come true.

———————-

My vows to him:

Mr. Sword, from the moment I met you I knew you were someone who would fill my life with joy.

You are my favorite person because of patience for life and your ability to laugh at yourself.

Today I vow to always respect your opinions, to encourage your dreams, and to build a future with you.

I promise to give you freedom to change and be supportive when you do.

I promise to love your family as my own and fly to Scotland often even though I’m a terrible traveler. (Insert HUGE laugh here, thanks everybody, I know, I suck at traveling!)

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I promise to laugh after I cry at both important and unimportant things. (This line was actually omitted by accident because I think Pastor P forgot to add it her script and I only realized it after writing this post!)

I promise to be both forgiving and to ask for forgiveness often.

I promise to keep God present in our relationship and to always be thankful for you.

I promise to be your faithful wife, loving and equal partner, and our biggest fan.

Marrying you is my dream come true.

Pastor P:

The wedding ring is offered as a symbol of love freely given; it is a visible sign of the love and commitment a husband and wife share with each other. The circle of the ring is unending, just as your love is unending. It is freely given, just a you give your lives to one another without reservation. It is worn proudly as you are pleased to share your own relationship with all those in your lives. It is worn in reverence as a gift from God just as God blesses you as you wear this ring.

So Mrs. and Mr. Sword, receive these rings as a sign of the love and affection you share for each other, and wear them proudly as a symbol of your binding union.

Mr. Sword, will you take this ring and repeat after me:

Mrs. Sword, with this ring I promise to share my life with you.

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Mrs. Sword will you take this ring and repeat after me:

Mr. Sword, with this ring, I promise to share my life with you.

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Mr. and Mrs. Sword have chosen to include the Celtic tradition of handfasting into their wedding ceremony today. Handfasting is a wedding ritual in which the couples’ hands are tied together as a symbol of their lives being joined together. Mrs. and Mr. Sword, marriage forms eternal and sacred bonds. The promises made today bind your lives together as these cords hold your hands together.

Please join hands as you make these pledges:

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Mrs. and Mr. Sword, with this first cord, will you honor and respect one another, and seek to never break that honor?  (We will.)

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With this second cord, will you share each other’s pain and seek to ease it?  (We will.)

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With this third cord, will you share the burdens of each other so that your spirits may grow in this union?  (We will.)

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With this fourth cord, will you share each other’s laughter, and look for the brightness in life and the positive in each other?  (We will.)

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Mrs. and Mr. Sword, as your hands are now bound together, so your lives are joined in a union of love and trust The knots of this binding symbolize the vows you have made. Like the stars, your love should be a constant source of light, and like the earth, a firm foundation from which to grow.

May these cords of love remain forever symbolically tied, and may these hands be blessed. May they always be held by one another. May they have the strength to hold on tightly during the storms of life May they remain tender and gentle as they nurture each other. May these hands build a relationship of love, caring, and devotion. May you see each other’s hands as healer, protector, shelter and guide.

Quick note on the handfasting, we simply Googled different ideas until we found a nice frame of questions we liked and had Pastor P tweak it a bit.  We chose to do four cords to correspond with the four questions, two were purchased from JoAnn’s and two were made from our family tartan by Boss Lady.

Mrs. and Mr. Sword as you now have pledged your love and faith to each other, before your friends and family; and have sealed your vows of marriage by the exchange of your rings and the binding of your hands, it is my joy and privilege to declare that you are husband and wife, according to the authority entrusted to me through God and the laws of this state… Will you pray with me…

Mr. and Mrs. Sword may God smile upon you and grant you His love mingled with yours so that it may always be strong and good. May you know God’s blessings in all your days and years ahead as you grow together in friendship and love, and may you weather life’s storms guided by God’s Spirit so that your life may be filled with abundant joy!

At this point we each grabbed two of the four handfasting cords, one tartan and one rope, and presented them to our parents with hugs and thank-yous.  It was a special moment to honor them and now they each have a part of the ceremony they can display in their home (although how does one display handfasting cords!?!).

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Pastor P:

Mr. Sword, You may now Kiss your Bride!  (WHOO-HOO!!)

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(We really took our time and enjoyed our first kiss.)

It now gives me great pleasure to present to you, Mr. Sword and Mrs. Sword Hislastname!

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And with that E started piping again and we recessed down the aisle followed closely by our bridal party.  I want to say our ceremony was a little less than 40 minutes long, it fit us perfectly and was just as lovely as I had imagined it would be!

I love the way Mr. Sword’s kilt looks in the photo below:

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Who else did a handfasting and/or wrote (or is writing) their own vows?  Hope you enjoyed the Sword ceremony!

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!

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A Highland Fairy Tale: We Finally Take Family Photos

I know this a post many Blogger Bees gloss over because the family photos aren’t quite as interesting as bridal party pics or detailed reception shots.  For me, taking family photos was a special part of the day and I can’t imagine not including them (I promise I’m not including ALL of them)!  I blog to share my wedding with this community but I also blog for myself and my family so please bear with me!

I gave Crystal an hour to power through my family photography shot list and due to the elevator snafu we were down to 30 minutes, which was plenty of time in the end but I’m so glad I included the buffer!  Add extra minutes to your timeline, it will get used somehow!

Our ceremony took place in the atrium of the Embassy Suites, but we wanted to utilize a different part of the hotel to leave the atrium special for the ceremony.  We chose to take photos on the steps coming down from the lobby and it worked out beautifully.  No matter where you take large group photos, look for steps, it makes posing people ten times easier!

First up, Mr. Sword’s immediate family…

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Mum Sword and Mr. Sword

Mum Sword and Mr. Sword

Scottish Dad and Mr. Sword

Scottish Dad and Mr. Sword

Mr. Sword and Wee Sis

Mr. Sword and Wee Sis

Mr. Sword had one cousin and her husband in California and one cousin that flew in from Scotland, plus Wee Sis’ fiance to make up the rest of this photo below.  He had more family that couldn’t make it due to travel, cost, and children, but we weren’t complaining!  Flying from Scotland to Minnesota is not a cheap deal!

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After this we just added my family to the mix to get a whole group shot!

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Then it was time for just my side.  Both Mr. Sword and I have relatively small but close-knit families which means we knew every family member who came to our wedding.  No third cousins or distant relatives in attendance!

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Between Mr. Sword and I we had one set of grandparents at our wedding (the rest have passed away).  I’ve always been really close to my Mom’s parents, Grandpa F and Grandma J, and they’ve witnessed almost all of my major life milestones.

Unfortunately, Grandpa F has Alzheimer’s and it’s pretty severe so the fact that he made it to my wedding (and Sister Big Eyes’ wedding in June) was a HUGE deal.  They had to be picked up from Bismarck, ND and it wasn’t the easiest trip on them but I am so blessed they were present at my wedding and so happy I have these photos from the day.  Grandma J had her outfit picked almost a year in advance, and she looks fantastic!

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The cousins photo was up next but first Laura surprised me by bringing her makeup to me! Apparently she hadn’t left yet and I was able to get a quick touch-up between photos.  Thanks Laura, you’re the best!

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I guess no one knew what to do while they waited so they just stared at me!  Good work people.  Keep it up.

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After the extra primping it was back to photos.  I have the best cousins ever!

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Next up, my immediate family.

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Mrs. Sword and Mom Sword

Me and Mom Sword

Dad Sword and Mrs. Sword

Dad Sword and Me

I love my parents but I also happen to have the best sister and brother in the world!  The three of us are really close.  They spoil me with their awesomeness.

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Big Eyes, Me, and The Glue

This is my nanny family or as I also call them, my Chicago family.  Obviously I work for them but over the years it has become more than a career.  We share our lives, our families, our holidays, our ups and our downs!  I probably won’t be their nanny for much longer but they are stuck with me forever at this point!  🙂

Boss Lady, Big C, Me, Littlest C, and Boss Man  (I guess Mr. Sword didn't make it into this pic- oops!)

Boss Lady, Big C, Me, Littlest C, and Boss Man (I guess Mr. Sword didn’t make it into this pic- oops!)

Me and my babies!

Me and my babies!

We also got a photo of us with our two readers in the ceremony, Friend J (the guy) and Cousin J (the girl).  Looking sharp!

Friend J, Mrs. Sword, Mr. Sword, Cousin J

Friend J, Mrs. Sword, Mr. Sword, Cousin J

We also took a photo with Pastor P once she got to the hotel.

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And finally, before letting everyone go we had to take a few more bridal party photos that included everyone from ushers to bridesmaids, groomsmen, honor attendants, and flower girl.

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

How much time did you or will you allot for family photos?  Thanks for soldiering through this post!

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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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Risk Hypothermia Posing All Together

Pardon my bragging, but after putting everyone together, somehow our bridal party looked even sharper!  It was pretty amazing to see my vision come together and to have it validated through photos.  Our Highland Fairy Tale was alive and kicking and I can tell because these pictures exude beauty, drama, and warmth even though we were all freezing in reality.

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To digress for a moment, I have to say one of the hardest parts of wedding planning is choosing a bridal party.  It’s so entirely different from choosing a Save the Date design or a unique guestbook.  It’s wrought with emotion and entitlement, and can often cause a lot of stress.  We were lucky because, after a lot of thinking, we chose to surround ourselves with only family and the closest of friends.

Unfortunately, I had a few hiccups early on and I can see why people choose to avoid the bridal party altogether!  That was never an option for us, and I’m so happy that these are the faces of our wedding.  (Note my two amazing honor attendants are in these next pics, one at each end!)

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After relocating to the parking garage… I love that my “outdoor” pics are under a bridge and in a parking garage, haha… it was time to get a photo with each of my lovely girls (Mr. Sword had one taken with each of his guys, but we never received them for some reason, grrr.)

Sister/MOH Big Eyes and I had a quick photo session of just the two of us pretending to love each other and then hate each other, as it is with sisters.  Do we finally look alike?  🙂

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We HAD to get a fake “we wanna kill each other” shot.

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And back to love.

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What follows are my favorite pics with each of my girls.  My recommendation?  Remember to take these individual ones because these are the ones you (and they too) are likely to frame.  It’s a great time for hugs and one-on-one time as well!

BM L Dawg

BM L Dawg

BM Jo

BM Jo

BM Wee Sis

BM Wee Sis

Honor Attendant C Fri

Honor Attendant C Fri

Honor Attendant H

Honor Attendant H

I also wanted to get a photo of the me with the best man and Mr. Sword with the MOH.  Such sweet shots!  And these two totally rocked their posts, going above and beyond.

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We also snuck in a few more couple portraits in the garage for good measure.

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But after that we had to get one last sword photo as a group!  YES!

These folks are truly some of the best people we know and through their kindness, support, and laughter they made our wedding day insanely amazing.  We love you guys!

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Did your vision for your bridal party come true? Did anyone else stress over their bridal party at first?  Would you take photos in a parking garage (yay for urban settings)?

Next up, we go back indoors, FINALLY!

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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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Make the Women Freeze

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

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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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Make the Men Freeze

Now that we’ve reached bridal party pics I’ve decided to shake things up a bit.  I’m going to include all the groomsmen shots in one post and all the bridesmaid shots in another post, and then I’ll put our full bridal party pics in a different and final post.  Why you ask?

Is it to torture you all with my never-ending Sword recaps?  Absolutely.  But also because it makes the most sense in my crazy head and there are too many pictures for one post.

So I realize I’m biased but we had the handsome groomsmen EVER.  They were so fun, happy, easy-going, and they looked great together in their complimentary but different tartan patterns.  I’m pretty sure I’ve already shared my nervousness about having each guy wear or rent their own kilt (but if not, I’m admitting now that I was nervous) but it’s clear I had no reason to worry!  The guys looked fabulous.  Want to see?

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Note the different sporrans, jackets, and tartans.  We asked them all to wear black bow ties and they’re each wearing one of our DIY’ed boutonnieres.  I think the overall look is gorgeous and hey if bridesmaids can mix and match these days, so can the guys!

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Pretty sure they were then told to fake laugh which led to real laughing.  (Doesn’t it always?)

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I got to join in the manly fun as well to get these great shots:

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I’m not normally a fan of overly trendy wedding photos but I’m glad Crystal got these classic “walking” pics of our groomsmen.

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This is my FAVORITE shot of the handsome Mr. Sword with his groomsmen:

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I love how cute my husband looks in this photo too (notice he’s still trying to warm up his hands!):

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And later, after exhausting all group shots under the bridge it was time to walk to a parking garage for additional photos so we made the men our bouquet bitches and it was awesome.  🙂

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Were you as pleased with your groomsmen’s final look as I was?

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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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Pose With Swords

I first blogged about purchasing swords for our wedding last Halloween and I’m thrilled to report we incorporated those swords in both our couple portraits and bridal party photos.   If you’ll remember from my first WB post, I wasn’t really into being a sword (too masculine and violent) until Mr. Sword helped me realize just how well it fit for us (it looks like a Scottish claymore, it’s powerful, sleek, and totally awesome).  I also lucked out that my moniker is so fitting for a fairy tale wedding. Win Win.

So after some serious couple posing we whipped out our swords and had some fun (oops, that sounded dirty).  Can you believe these are just cheap pieces of plastic??  They look kind of amazing.

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After a few shots, Crystal told us to really use them to fake fight each other.  But pretending to attack Mr. Sword with my cheap plastic sword while simultaneously shivering just made me giggle.

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Then Crystal asked me to pose with Mr. Sword’s sgian dubh in my mouth, not sure how I feel about this one.  Sexy AND weird?  Thoughts?

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After our sword play I stole Mr. Sword’s kilt jacket for a few shots.  Yay, warmth!!

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I love our genuinely joyful smiles in this next photo.

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And to round out our couple portraits, here are a few more shots from a different location, but still under the large bridge.

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Do you like it when Bee Bloggers incorporate their monikers?  Did you use props for photos on your wedding day? Coming up, our bridal party joins the fun!

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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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

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

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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!