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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

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Dance and Drink the Night Away

OK, enough with the sappiness, let’s get this party started!!!  From about 9:30 pm until we were kicked out at midnight, the dancing was energized and non-stop!

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It was a pretty typical wedding reception.  The DJ kept it mostly fresh with new hits but threw in a few old school songs for good measure.

Girls in their late twenties danced to “So call me, maybe” with no shame.

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Scottish men got physical in odd-shaped huddles.

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The flower girl, who LITERALLY danced all night, took the prize for most adorable.  To this day, people still tell me how cute Littlest C was at the reception.

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Note: Littlest C has a glow stick attached to her dress.  We added a whole bunch of glow sticks to our order with Midwest Sound and it was definitely worth it!  They were a big hit with kids and adults.

And the bride and groom kept kissing each other.

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Now I wasn’t too picky about the music at our reception BUT I did have one major stipulation!  NO ORGANIZED LINE DANCES!!!  But wait, Mrs. Sword, wasn’t the ceilidh dancing one big line dance after big line dance???  Yes and no.  Those were culturally specific and more intricate.  Right!?

Well, Mom Sword and MOH Big Eyes LOVE American line dances and my cousins actually requested one but I had to lay down the law and emphatically tell them that line dances were on my “Do Not Play” list!

I ended up seeing the error in my ways (and apologizing to said cousins) because apparently the girlfriends of Mr. Sword’s buddies from Scotland were the ones who were DYING to try an American line dance.  They’d shown us theirs, it was time to reciprocate!  So I lifted the ban and we taught the Scottish folk the Cha Cha slide.  Fun was had by folks from both sides of the pond.

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While I was dancing up a storm this was also happening:

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Pretty sure that’s the best picture ever.  This wouldn’t be a Scottish wedding reception without a platter of shots now would it?!?!

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Cheers everybody!  Our wedding day was jam-packed and super fun, but it was the dancing portion that really flew by for me.  Up next, Mr. Sword and I sneak away for a few more pictures and the Sword wedding comes to an end!

Did you or do you hope to have an epic dance party as well?  Who else put a ban on American line dances?

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!
Anniversary dance!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Strip the Willow

You guys, the Ceilidh band was the highlight of our reception.  It was the most fantastic, upbeat, crowd-pleasing, ruckus good time I’ve ever had at a wedding and yes, I’m completely 100% bias but I absolutely LOVED it.  And I know I wasn’t the only one!

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Our ceilidh band, known as The Gunn Slingers, consisted of four guys playing two guitar type things, a drum set, and an accordion.  Neil (the guy in the kilt) is also the caller and he’s from Scotland but lives in Minnesota now.  We found his band by pure luck and the fact that Mom Sword was able to stalk him at the Minnesota Scottish Fair in 2012.

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I am eternally grateful for Mr. Sword’s Scottish friends, both those from the UK and those living in the US, because it was so nice to have a group of people who actually knew what they were doing from the get-go!  Dancing the Ceilidh was difficult at first and all of us Americans were able to watch what they were doing and that made it so much more fun!

Basically, the caller explains the dance steps one time and then the music begins and the men start stomping their brogues (shoes) together in rhythm, and it’s GO time!

Here’s me trying to keep up in one of the first dances, I’m so classy.

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Then there were some people who made it look easy, like my in-laws and MOH Big Eyes and BIL.

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I danced every single song because it was my wedding dammit but I probably should have relaxed more often because dancing the ceilidh is exhausting!  Thank goodness I’d already decided to avoid drinking on my big day or things could have gotten ugly.  In between every song I basically collapsed on the bar and begged the bartender for a glass of ice water.  There was no down time and I just HAD to dance with everyone!

My favorite song was the Strip the Willow dance because you basically spin and spin and spin until they grant you mercy and stop playing music.  It’s fantastic.  The dance starts by everyone grabbing a partner and standing across from them in two lines.

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The first couple enters the middle and they spin each other while linking arms, then they separate and each spin with a partner from the opposite line and then back to middle to dance with each other, and then to the next person in the line and so on and so forth with the next pair starting immediately after the couple in front of them “strips” down the line.  It’s utter mayhem and it never stops.

My partner was Cousin Singer and he was awesome!  We got to be the first couple at the top of the line.  Whoo-hoo, being the bride rules.

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But since you spin your way down the line, I got to dance with almost everyone!

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And I found out later that the goal of many a Scottish guy is to swing his gal so hard and so fast that he lifts her off the ground.  Looking back, that makes total sense because the guys who’d done this dance before were the craziest!

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It was awesome watching everyone else Strip the Willow too!

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Action shot of Mr. Sword

Action shot of Mr. Sword

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It was so great to see the dance floor so full with our favorite people.  Of course there’s always those few that just don’t dance but our wedding was definitely a good example of almost everyone participating and that made us really happy.

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I’m pretty sure The Gunn Slingers would have played all night if we had asked them to but after about five songs, it was time to switch back over to the DJ and get the party going in a whole new direction.  Up next, the anniversary dance!

PS, I cannot wait until Mr. Sword’s Wee Sis gets married in Scotland next year, because then I get to attend a ceilidh IN SCOTLAND IN A CASTLE.  Yes.

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Did you have an unconventional band at your wedding or another type of organized dancing?  Do you want to dance at a ceilidh now!?!

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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!

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 “First Look” Under a Bridge

I wish I could say the Sword’s first look was magical and well-planned, sexy and playful, but it was mostly just freezing cold, rainy, and random.  Womp womp.  That said, it was still very romantic and sweet and I love the photos we have from it.

Our first look was the beginning of two hours of outdoor photos that I insisted we take.  Aren’t I the NICEST bride ever?  🙂

I don’t care what anyone says, I flat-out refused to have every single photo from our wedding day taken in a hotel, no matter how beautiful and lovely.  I wanted to remember the weather on March 9th, and oh boy, did I get my wish!  I will never forget the weather on our special day, mostly because it sucked.

We had arranged separate transportation for Mr. Sword and I to get to Centennial Lakes Park (which was about five minutes drive from our hotel), but no one had picked out a specific location for the first look.  The plan was to have our photographer call both vehicles and tell us where to meet her, but it was sort of confusing.  Mr. Sword thought he knew which bridge Crystal had chosen but in fact he did not, so he ended up walking past our van TWICE with each of us looking away to preserve that special first moment.

To be completely honest, I had been daydreaming about a unique and quirky first look since I got engaged, but unfortunately due to the weather we had to stick with the simple version of girl walking up to guy.  We HAD to be under the bridge or my hair/makeup/dress would have been soaked.  Our options were limited but it all worked out for the best because our first look photos are GORGEOUS.

Poor Mr. Sword, so cold standing there waiting for his bride!

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While Mr. Sword stood with his back facing us, I walked toward him with Sister Big Eyes holding an umbrella, and a videographer recording.

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Is there anything more Scottish than a rainy day?!?  Hell no.  As you can see I was doing my best to hold up my ruffles and keep the bottom of my dress from getting wet but it was literally impossible to do that and enjoy myself so eventually the bottom got soaked.  Luckily you couldn’t really tell unless you looked closely.

I LOVE these shots of myself and Sister/MOH Big Eyes (poor thing holding that umbrella the whole time).  While a first look should be a very private thing, both Sister and I were present (in the distance) for each other’s first looks and I think it just tightened our bond as sisters to be privy to such a personal moment.

Funny aside: True story, Sister Big Eyes ended up spraining her thumb due to holding that heavy umbrella for so long in the freezing cold and had to wear a hand brace for a few weeks following the wedding.  Oh the casualties, the horror!  And oh the love.  She gave her body to my wedding day.  That’s dedication people.  Best.sister.ever.

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I’ll the rest of the photos do the talking.  Here it is, The Sword’s First Look:

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I always pictured myself crying at this moment but I was just so happy to see him and so excited to be getting married that the tears decided not to come!  (Plus, even though I’d only been outside for ten minutes or so I was already losing feeling in my toes- VERY distracting.)

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I’m so thrilled with how my tartan shawl came out, thanks Boss Lady!  It really ties our look together.

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All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Did your first look go a different route than you had imagined but still turn out amazing?  Any cool ideas that someone is planning so I can live vicariously through you?

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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!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Dress in Kilts

Meanwhile, on the fourth floor in a different but similar looking hotel room… the men were getting ready too!

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I asked Mr. Sword for a title to his dude post and he came up with, “It’s pub time.”  A very confusing suggestion because they were getting ready in a hotel room, NOT in a bar and perhaps, “It’s wedding time” would have been more appropriate.

On the other hand, it works because if I couldn’t find Mr Sword during the wedding week, it was a safe bet that he was sitting and drinking at the hotel pub with his friends and family.  He is a Scotsman after all.  😉 Unfortunately, “It’s pub time” doesn’t fit with my “We” themed recap titles hence why I didn’t use it.  But feel free to think about pubs and beer for the duration of this post.

LOOK, boxers shot!

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Apparently you put your kilt on first and then slide your underwear off from underneath.  Getting into a kilt is relatively long process with all of the different layers and accoutrements.  I know most brides talk about how easy their grooms have it in getting ready, and while our guys didn’t have to do hair and makeup, they did have to put together an outfit.  🙂

Love this shot of Mr. Sword and his Best Man

Love this shot of Mr. Sword and his Best Man

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Can I just add that once upon a time in 2009 when Mr. Sword and I first started dating he told me he wanted to get a kilt to wear to formal events, and my initial thought was, “Ullhhh, not cute.”  I couldn’t picture it! I was being narrow-minded and ignorant.  Bad Mrs. Sword!

Fast forward to now and I think kilts are soooo sexy.  Ohmygosh, my husband in his kilt!?!  Makes me melt.  Thankfully my eyes were opened, and now I cannot picture my groom any other way on our wedding day.

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I asked our second shooter to be sure and get lots of photos of the details of the kilt ensembles because I think it is such a unique and personal outfit to wear.  If you’re looking for an explanation post on each piece, I wrote about that HERE. Below is a closeup of Mr. Sword’s carefully place sgian-dubh in his kilt hose, or as I would say, small knife that hides in sock.

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This next picture is a closeup of Groomsmen P’s sporran, or as I would say, man purse.  🙂

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Cute pic of GM J helping fix Mr. Sword’s bow tie:

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Funny aside: We had Subway sandwiches delivered to both getting ready rooms by our family friend J (thank you J) and apparently Mr. Sword, ever the gentleman, didn’t want to take the first sandwich EVEN THOUGH IT WAS HIS WEDDING DAY, so the sandwiches just kind of sat there.  If you can’t eat first on your wedding day, when can you eat first?  Sigh.  He’s a polite guy, what can I say?

Please note full tray of sandwiches in the bottom right-hand corner.

Please note full tray of sandwiches in the bottom right-hand corner.

After he finished getting ready Mr. Sword opened his day of gifts from me (sadly this is the only photo I have from that moment). I got him three items:

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A pair of black socks because when anyone asks him what he needs (or wants) as a gift that’s his stock answer and it just proves he doesn’t need much to be happy.  If he has black socks, he’s set.

A Xbox video game because we all have our vices and I support his like he supports mine.  🙂

A pair of sword cuff links because he will always be my Mr. Sword, and he supports my blogging (and all my dreams) more than I could ever ask of him.

Mr. Sword said the guys kept asking him if he was nervous yet, and he kept saying, “nope.”  He’s not one to get nervous until right before and he’s definitely a live in the moment type of guy, which is one of my favorite things about him!  🙂

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Anyone else have a really calm groom on their wedding day?  Did he or will he wear a unique outfit, or more specifically a kilt?!?!Sword Wedding footer FINAL Skipped some of the Sword saga?  It’s OK, catch up today!

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

The Big Day
Bacon for bridal baby!
Hair and makeup!

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Drive in Snow and Tears

Our wedding was on a Saturday but we left for Minnesota on a Tuesday.  We drove in a snowstorm/blizzard.

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That was fun, NOT.  At this point, it’s just devastating comical how many times the weather has interrupted our wedding plans.  For starters, I had rain on both of my shower days (Minnesota one in Oct, Chicago one in Feb).  We drove at NIGHT in a blizzard for our planning trip at Christmas, and then proceeded to press repeat for our final drive the Tuesday of our wedding week, with it all culminating on our rainy and cold wedding day.  Winning.

Mom Sword felt bad for us but she was quick to remind me that we had no trouble getting all of our relatives and friends to the wedding from snowy North Dakota or faraway Scotland so we should be grateful for that (and we were!).

Back to that fateful Tuesday.  You can see why there was snow, but why tears?  While the weather was melting down so was I.  The thing about wedding weeks is that emotions are heightened and everything is a bigger deal than it should be.  Miscommunication can and will happen!  The gist of it was, my feelings were hurt, but in the grand scheme of things, it was nothing.  And true to our overly communicative family, we talked it out and all was fine in the end.

The good news was that Mr. Sword’s parents also arrived that Tuesday despite our crappy Midwestern weather!  It was their first trip to America, and spoiler alert, they loved it!

We spent the next few days organizing all of the reception decor to be dropped off at the hotel, folding ceremony programs, meeting with Pastor P, and showing my in-laws around the Twin Cities!

Oh and we also put them to work!  ;)

Oh and we also put them to work! 😉

My brother, affectionately known as “The Glue” (because he claims he’s the glue that keeps the family together) got to try on his rented kilt ensemble after it arrived just a few days before the wedding.  The funny thing is I think The Glue looked the most Scottish of all our groomsmen despite being the only American (you’ll see what I mean later on).

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Great face Mr. Sword, haha!

The Thursday before the wedding I took my Mom and Mr. Sword’s Mum to get their nails done with Sister/MOH Big Eyes in tow.  It was nice to have a special moment with both of them before everyone else arrived and since neither of them get their nails done regularly it was a real treat!

Mom Sword and MOH Big Eyes

Mom Sword and MOH Big Eyes

Mum Sword

Mum Sword

Did you have a good cry the week of your wedding (I totally recommend it)?  Any out of town brides have trouble getting to their wedding because of weather or something else?

(all photos personal)

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

Pre-Wedding
Teaser video!

Hi My Name is Miss Sword and I Can’t Stop Shopping For the Honeymoon

Gah!  There, I said it!  Glad it’s out in the open.  We are so close to the wedding now and I am so excited to be getting married but since we’re so close to the wedding that means we’re also close to our Caribbean honeymoon and suddenly everything I see in the stores is A MUST HAVE!

The Swords will be going back to their regularly scheduled life after the wedding because we purposely wanted to give ourselves a few weeks in between the wedding and the ‘moon.  We thought it would be nice to have some time to unwind in between, as well as have something fun to look forward to post-wedding.  Another big selling point with waiting until the beginning of April was coinciding our trip with my nanny kiddos’ spring break so Boss Lady could take her vacation while she was sans nanny.

In case you’re wondering why I never talk about where we’re going it’s because I have no clue where we are going!  Read this post to catch up, but basically Mr. Sword booked the entire honeymoon by himself, making the big decisions like which island, which resort, which flights, which package, etc.  It was something he was excited about planning, and it was something I was excited about that didn’t have to be on my list!

Back to the shopping… I started off with a big purchase thanks to my tax refund money and a huge sale at Kate Spade.  Isn’t this the perfect handbag for a beach-y vacation?

Unfortunately it's all sold out at Kate Spade but you find here on Amazon

Unfortunately it’s all sold out at Kate Spade but you find it here on Amazon

Then there’s this maxi dress I found at a store called 2b in the Woodfield Mall.  I was shopping for a bridal shower dress and I literally did a double take.  I could totally picture myself wearing this on our honeymoon so I snapped it up.  My particular dress has a different floral pattern on the bottom but you get the idea from this picture.

image via 2b

image via 2b, currently unavailable

I also proceeded to purchase a pair of sandals, some cheap Old Navy flip-flops, and two other dresses over the course of the last few weeks.  I told Mr. Sword I’m just in shopping mode right now!  Coming off of buying lots of wedding gifts for our families and bridal party, I just can’t stop!  I’m also shopping for clothes for him since Mr. Sword has the least amount of summer appropriate clothing of anyone I’ve ever known.

I can also attribute my splurging to the fact that I’m just so excited to go somewhere tropical and warm for the first time!  I live in the Midwest and I vacation in Minnesota, Scotland or NYC.  I’ve been to Florida once when I was 10 years old, and LA once with a few girlfriends 4 years ago. That’s it!  Contrary to the snowy place we live, Mr. Sword and I absolutely LOVE the heat.  You’ll never find us complaining during the summer.  (For the record, my opinion is you can complain about EITHER the freezing cold winters OR the sticky humidity filled summers, you cannot whine about both, pick a side people!)  I choose to complain when it’s cold outside and I can’t wait to go south and sweat glisten for two weeks straight!  YES!

Finally just this weekend after stopping off for my favorite drink, an iced grande skinny vanilla latte, (yes I still drink those when it’s 20 degrees out and I’m wearing mittens) I went by our local Aldo store and picked up this beauty.

It was on sale for five bucks, how could I say no?

It was on sale for five bucks, how could I say no?

The odd part is I don’t own a single hat, and I never wear them!  In our family, there are two types of women, the ones that look good in hats, and the ones that don’t look good them.  I’m officially trying to change teams on this vacation.

Caribbean, here we come!  We’ll be easy to spot as I’m positive we’ll be the two whitest people on the beach.  🙂

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)

Did you find yourself shopping a ton before your honeymoon?  Any tips on what you think are some Caribbean MUST HAVES?

Charts and Graphs by Mr. Sword

Since Mr. Sword is too scared busy to write a guest post, I am sharing this post on his behalf, but all of the information gathering and graph making done in preparation for said blog post is courtesy of the ever-cute, ever-Scottish, and ever-skinny Mr. Sword.

Mr Sword edited

Awww! Isn’t he adorable in his kilt jacket?

I know everyone loves to see a good breakdown of the guest list and how many people are attending or not attending, and I’m no different.  Except instead of just breaking it down by family and friends of the bride or the groom, I think, especially in our case, it’s equally if not more interesting to look at the breakdown by in state, out of state, and out of country.

Our total number of attendees is officially 122 people not including Mr. and Miss Sword.  We had invited 187 (yes that number went up by one from my last post) guests but this includes children, partners, and plus ones.  Like I said before when I talked about the beauty of online RSVP’ing, sometimes it makes more sense to look at households or invitations that were sent out instead of counting each person.

For the sake of these charts and graphs, we will be counting and including each individual person.  It makes the most sense because, for example, a family of five might only have two people attending so we wouldn’t know whether they counted as a yes or a no.

For future reference: in state = Minnesota, out of state = any state other than Minnesota, out of country = mostly Scotland with one invite going to Canada, one going to England, and one to New Zealand.

Wedding color motif per request of Miss Sword.  🙂

Attending by Location 2

Guests By Location 2

Something I noticed right away was that we actually have more people attending from out of state than in state, but we also invited more out of state folks.  And something that is not clear from this chart is that we only have one family not attending who live in Minnesota, the other three not attending are plus ones that aren’t being used.

Now, for the breakdown of who invited who.  I was hesitant to post these charts because my number is significantly higher than his, but that is mostly because we are getting married in my home country and because Mr. Sword’s family is rather small.

Even though quite a few people from Scotland had to decline, I’m still eternally humbled and happy that Mr. Sword has such great family and friends who are willing to make the long and expensive trip to be with us on our wedding day.  Words cannot express my thankfulness.  This wedding will truly be a mix of BOTH of our favorite people.  We are blessed.

Guests Invited by Total 2

Guests Invited by Attending 2

The most interesting thing to me about these charts is the fact that Mr. Sword does not use a period when he writes Mr. Sword (like I do and just did, twice).  It’s a simple difference based on whether or not you’re using American or British usage, but it’s funny the things you learn about the person you love after years of being together.

I feel bad closing this blog post without a few words from Mr. Sword so I’ve taken the liberty to write out what I’m guessing he would have wanted to share with all of you.

Cheers* mate!  It’s baltic outside right now!  I’m well chuffed to be guest blogging today for my lovely fiancée Miss Sword.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the charts and graphs I was forced asked to make.  Unfortunately, I’m pretty knackered from all my traveling and I have to fill up my car with petrol and load the boot.  Thanks for having me on Weddingbee, Aye!  xx

Translation:  (And yes I know I put in some random crap he would never say on here but it makes me laugh.)

Hey friend!  It’s freezing outside right now!  I’m very happy to be guest blogging today for my sexy fiancée Miss Sword.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the charts and graphs I was begged asked to make (because she had no clue how to make them).  Unfortunately, I’m really tired from all of my traveling and I have to fill up the car with gas and load the trunk.  Thanks for having me on Weddingbee, yea!  hugshugs

(all photos personal and created by Mr. Sword)

*Before someone from the UK corrects me, yes I know the word “cheers” is normally used as a goodbye or a thank you but I looked it up, it can be a greeting or a hello as well!

Did you or will you have a higher percentage of in state guests attend your wedding vs out of state or out of country guests?  Are you pumped for having all of your favorite people in one room like we are?  Didn’t Mr. Sword write a sweet blog post?  🙂

Best RSVP Decline EVER

It started off like any other trip to the PO Box.  Since Mr. Sword has been traveling for work every week, I’ve been doing all of the heavy lifting and car loading and unloading of wedding related packages.  That said, it’s hard to complain about receiving lots of  great packages and letters, and on this particular day I had SIX boxes to bring into the apartment and a handful of letters.  Immediately after unloading I wanted to begin opening the packages (obvs) but something caught my eye in the stack of mail, it was a letter from the UK.

Now it’s not unusual for us to receive mail or cards from the UK (hello Scottish fiance) so at first I set it aside, eager to open everything else.  But something made me do a double-take.  This letter was special.  It looked different, regal, important.  My heart began pounding and a scream left my mouth, “WILLIAM AND KATE SENT US A LETTER!  OHHH MYYY GOSH OHMIGOSH!  AHHHH!!!!”

Wedding stuff and Museum Jan. 2013 020

True story.

Unfortunately the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have other obligations to tend to the weekend of our wedding but I’m so touched they were kind enough to respond.  The letter is signed by someone named Claudia Holloway and it’s absolute perfection. What if we all talked like this when we couldn’t go to someone’s wedding?  How cool would that be?!?

I like how they don’t pretend to write it themselves.  Prince William and Princess Kate have better things to do but they cared enough to have someone respond.  Heck, they beat the Obamas!  Still waiting on that reply Mr. President…

The best part has to be the fact that they make it look like they were actually considering attending our special event!  I’m also shocked with how timely their response was given.  Royals.  They got class.

Without further adieu, here is the envelope and letter.  I will also leave the transcript below in case you can’t read it clearly through the photographs.

W and K letter edited

contents of letter edited TWO

———————————————–

Dear Mr. Sword and Miss Sword,

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked me to thank you for your recent invitation to your wedding on XX March.

The Duke and The Duchess were extremely grateful for your kind invitation.  Having given careful consideration to the possibilities, however, I very much regret that Their Royal Highnesses reluctantly feel they have to decline.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge send you their best wishes, and very much regret having to send you this necessarily disappointing reply.

Yours sincerely,

Mrs. Claudia Holloway

——————————————-

Tears.of.joy.

(all photos personal)

If you want to know where I sent our invitation see this post.  If you’re wondering whether or not I will end up framing this, the answer is “why the heck not??”  So tell me, who wants to send an invite to Prince William and Princess Kate now?  🙂