Tag Archive | bridal gown

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Transform Me Into a Bride

Sister Big Eyes had arrived and it was time to step into my bridal gown!  After having such a lovehate relationship with Evie (yes, remember I named her), I was so happy to put her on that morning and even more relieved to see she photographs as well as she does.

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My wedding gown had a zipper which meant there was no room for error!  I had to stay as close to the same size as possible that I was at my last fitting.  This is what one’s face looks like when they are waiting for their dress to zip up all the way:

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SUCCESS!  Then it was time to hook all the buttons that cover up the zipper.  And I’m all smiles.

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These photos of Mom Sword and I are some of my favorite from the whole day.

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I want to take this opportunity to make a follow-up comment on my decision to avoid tanning beds/sprays/lotions for my wedding day.

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I already wrote about how I used to worry about getting a tan but decided to go au naturale on my big day… and the verdict is?  I LOVE IT.  I’m so happy I embraced my natural skin tone because it totally fits who I am and how I wanted to look.  So if you’re on the fence about tanning, remember you really can rock your gown no matter how fair or how tan you are as long as you’re happy!  (Wow. Sorry for the sappy PSA.)

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Once I was in my dress it was also time to open up my gift from Mr. Sword!

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To be completely honest, Mr. Sword was not excited about exchanging “day of gifts” and told me the wedding was our gift to each other.  Haha, isn’t he clever?

I explained to him that I was excited about this particular tradition and wanted to be able to open something from on this most special of days and give him something in return.  Obviously he did agree to it after we set a reasonably priced monetary limit.  🙂

Mr. Sword isn’t a man of many words but when he picks out a card he reads every single word and chooses very carefully so of course I started crying while reading the words he had picked out especially for me on our wedding day.

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His day of gift ended up taking me totally by surprise.

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It’s a large smooth stone with the words “I love you” on it, and it says, “Written in stone.”  His love for me is permanent just like those words carved into that stone.  I felt so excited in that moment and ready to see him!

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After opening my gift, it was time to slip on my tartan princess shoes and finally my jewelry.  I was officially a bride!  And I felt beautiful.

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Did you exchange gifts with your partner on your wedding day?  Who was with you when you transformed into a bride?

All pictures by Crystal Liepa Photography.

Sword Wedding footer FINAL

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

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!


It Fits!!!

You know what I’m talking about, my wedding dress.  My wedding dress fits and she fits well.

This is a big.deal.  Last time I tried on my dress I had a meltdown.  Needless to say, I had some nerves going into this appointment.  Fortunately, the whole atmosphere of this appointment was different.  We have a family friend doing the alterations (we’ll call her L) and she takes appointments in her home.  A home I used to play in as a kid.  It was relaxed, casual, and took place in the late evening.  My other appointment was fast, impersonal, and took place at the end of a Friday when everyone (understandably) just wants to go home.

Plus, I had a new bra.  The main reason my dress didn’t fit the first time was due to the bra they sold me when I purchased my gown.  I really did LOVE my consultant from the Wedding Shoppe, Inc. but she didn’t know bras at all, and I was sorely misguided.

So this time I went to a bra specialist at a store called {intimacy} in Chicago.  This place was amazing!  I scheduled an appointment and explained to the girl exactly what I was searching for and she brought me two options, one of which was perfect.  Going this route was a bit pricier than buying from a department store or even a bridal salon, but I’ll be able to wear the strapless bra again, and it’s worth the price to avoid pulling up the top of my dress all night.  Plus, because it fits tight to my body instead of adding unnecessary bulk, it makes my dress fit even better and that’s priceless to me.

My modesty left me long ago so for those interested, here is my miracle bra.

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But a good bra wasn’t the only reason my dress fit better. Below is the face of relief.  It’s not a pretty face, but it’s a real face.

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Hive, it’s amazing what 5 pounds can do.  Do not underestimate the 5 lb weight loss.  Things shift, your face is less swollen, and overall you just feel better.

I know I’m never going to be a size 2, I know I’ll always be curvy (thankyouverymuch), and I have zero delusions about drastically losing a ton of weight for just one day.  But you can eat less, eat better, and feel better for your wedding if you so desire.  We all want to look our best on our wedding day, we want to love our photos, and we want to feel amazing, and in my opinion that’s worth some lifestyle changes.

For me, it’s not about exercise.  My back doesn’t allow me to do the things that most people do to lose weight.  My most recent weight lose was done by portion control, lots of fruit and veg, and tons of walking.

I am also trying to focus on working out my arms and getting rid of my arch nemesis, upper back fat, but I do this by way of resistance bands and planks in my own living room.  I don’t go to the gym anymore, I was advised to avoid running at all costs, and even my workout DVD’s stay on the shelf these days because they aren’t worth the nerve pain they shoot down my legs.  For me, it’s more important to be able to walk down the aisle pain-free than to look skinny.

That said, it is possible!  (And no one eats as many desserts as me, trust me, no one.)  Due to a stomach bug post-Christmas, I’ve managed to lose almost another 5 lbs, much to the chagrin of family friend L.  🙂  We’ll see if I can keep it off now that I’m eating normally again.

(all photos personal)

Anyone else lose a small amount of weight but notice a big difference in how their wedding dress fits?  Evie and I are buddies once again.  I’m getting so excited for March!  How are your fittings going?

…What a Weekend Baby: Miss Sword Has a Meltdown

This is the last installment in my series (my apologies if you’re ready for me to move on by now).

That said, if you want to read what else happened during my “My Wedding Dress Doesn’t Fit and I Feel Crazy But My Shower Rocked, What a Weekend Baby” posts, then you can catch up now!

First, I showed off my White House Black Market shower dress, then I booked a florist and forced Sister Big Eyes and Mom Sword to make tartan fabric boutonnieres, and finally I shared all about my shower!

As I’ve already shared the good, it’s time to progress to the bad and the downright ugly.

My dress, lovingly referred to as Evie, arrived in late August, but I wasn’t able to schedule an appointment to pick her up until October.  NO PROBLEM.  Mom Sword and I showed up at 5 PM snagging one of the last appointments of the day.  I was a wee bit hangry which put me off to a bad start but BM L Dawg had encouraged me to skip on a  pre-fitting snack and I’m glad she did!

This is what I looked like before my appointment:

This is what I looked a mere ten minutes later:

Evie didn’t zip up Hive.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  Here’s the whole (ugly) story:

When I first ordered my dress I was encouraged to buy a strapless bra that would be sewn into the dress to keep the MN twins in check.  Well, both bra and dress were in my room when I arrived so I put on the strapless bra first and slipped into my gown.

But when the girl tried to zip up my dress, IT DIDN’T HAPPEN.  She tried really hard but there was no way it was going to zip up to the top.  I feel like I’ve lived through every bride’s worst nightmare and I’ve come out a better person on the other side (said in a sappy, melodramatic voice).

The thoughts running through my head were, This isn’t happening to me!  MY dress is a size bigger than the sample dress which FIT LIKE A GLOVE.  Could the sample have stretched out that much?  Damn my huge boobs, back fat, and wide Scandinavian rib cage!  Damn them all!  To make matters worse I was having my monthly girl thing and I’m sure the extra bloating wasn’t helping my case.  Ugh.

The panic started to set in as the girl helping me went to get the alterations lady.  Mom Sword was sitting quietly on the couch feeling terrible for me, and that’s when the tears started to fall.  There was no way I was going to ask them to take out my dress!  When the alterations lady arrived she suggested we try it without the strapless bra saying that it was a terrible bra with really weird cups that were most likely adding to the problem.  So we went bra-less and relief upon relief, Evie zipped up!

But it was too late to stop the meltdown, because things got even worse.  As I stared at my dress it struck me how wrinkled disheveled it looked.  In my hangry, fragile, and period-driven state, I was starting to doubt why I’d chosen this dress in the first place!

Then I noticed A FLAW.  On the right hip of my dress a small part of the ruched fabric was puffing up.  It looked like there was extra fabric there or that it had been stretched or pulled because while the left hip lay flat, the right side looked like crap.  Of course the alterations lady didn’t believe  me at first and kept trying to calm me down instead.  I’m sorry, but I hate being told to relax, it’s my pet peeve!  I’m an emphatic and intense person, and people have been telling me to me to relax my entire life and all I wanted was some compassion, not someone glossing over things and making me feel like a freak for getting upset!

Anyway, she started to say that a good steaming/pressing would fix the problem on the right side.  On the exterior I was trying to be understanding but on the interior I was getting even more upset!  It’s a flaw!  How could she not see it?!?!  I begged Mom Sword for some support but Mom Sword doesn’t know dresses all that well, and said from far away it wasn’t visible, but as she got closer she could see the imperfection on the right hip.  Just when I was beginning to feel like I was in a dream and clearly imagining things, the alterations lady said she’ll pin the fabric in question down and then sew it, and we’ll be able to pick up the dress in a week’s time.

Excuse me?  Does this mean you’re agreeing with me?  She even went to steam the dress to show me how the wrinkles would come out (they were so bad), and my guess is IF she could have steamed out the flaw, she would have, but it looks like she couldn’t.

When we went to the front desk to schedule the pickup they asked when I could come back and I said, “I can’t!  I live in Chicago; I won’t be back until December!”  We decided Dad Sword and MOH/Sister Big Eyes would pick up the dress the following week.  I asked Sister Big Eyes to try it on for me so she could assess how it looked even though she hadn’t been there to see the flaw in the first place.  It was my best option!


I’m happy to report that the dress was picked up this past weekend and it looks beautiful.  I wish I could say I was 100% happy now, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve fallen out of love with my dress.  I just feel so annoyed with myself for barely fitting her, and I’m frustrated with the delicate fabric and its haphazard look.  I’m sad that I didn’t smile very much when I was wearing her, I’m pissed I started off on such a terrible note, and I’m angry with society (and myself again) for all the pressure I feel to love my dress.

I love my groom more than anything and that’s all that matters, right?  My relationship with Evie is a work in progress, like any relationship I guess.  In the end it was a bit of a blessing that she didn’t fit me well, because if she was too loose, I’d have gotten overly comfortable and relaxed. I would have become less diligent about what I ate, and I might not have had a good fitting come December.

While that whole experience was really difficult, I feel like I learned a lot.

1. Don’t go to your appointment hangry.  Or bloated (although there’s not much you can do about that).

2. Try to look your best so you FEEL your best.

3. Set the expectations bar super low.

4.  Keep in mind that EVERYTHING is super tight and tiny in the bridal industry.

5. Remember your groom loves you for the size you are, and that size is not just a good size, it is the right size for you in that moment.

Mom Sword even got me to chuckle during my meltdown because she started laughing hysterically at me when through my tears I asked her to get a few photos for the blog.  I knew this would be a good story and I want to make a real effort to share the not-so-good parts of wedding planning as well as the sunshine-y moments.  So yea, I was thinking of Weddingbee during this moment:

The good news is I am going to have a family friend do my dress alterations and that already makes me feel more comfortable!  Evie is currently hanging in a closet in my parent’s house and I’m hoping our next meeting goes a lot smoother!  🙂

(all photos personal)

So, that’s my story.  What’s yours?

Trash the Dress: Sisters Edition

That’s right, Sister/MOH Big Eyes and I are going to do a post-wedding photo shoot with both of us in our bridal gowns, and it’s gonna be AH-MAZING!! And no, we’re not really going to trash our dresses, both Mom Sword and Sister were shocked with the “trashing” terminology, and Mom Sword said I need to keep my dress around for my kids and their kids, etc.  OK fine.  Our Trash the Dress session will be more of a casual, outdoorsy photo shoot with our dresses (and possibly our men) and it will take place in our hometown and possibly in our own backyard.  We might walk in the grass but there will be no mud, sand, paint, or jumping in a pool for us.

I find some Trash the Dress photos to be stunning…

And others, can be a bit too much…

image via Desi van Zyl Photography/ Photo by Riess Photography

Sister Big Eyes came up with the idea of us posing together in our dresses and I was overjoyed at the suggestion.  We will do our Trash the Dress sisters shoot the evening following her daytime Sunday fancy picnic wedding with our hair and make-up conveniently already done, and while her photographer is still in our midst.  When Sister first suggested it, she simply said we should take a few photos together of us in our gowns after her reception.  Of course me being me I ran with the idea and daydreamed about setting aside a three-hour long photo shoot with multiple locations all over the Twin Cities.  I think we’re going to end up somewhere in the middle of our two ideas and I know it will be perfect.  I was flattered that she didn’t mind sharing the end of her day with me and then proceeded to freak out when I realized I will have to fit into my dress three months after my wedding and only two months after my fabulous honeymoon.

Recently I got to try on Evie (remember when I named my bridal gown?) again at the bridal salon when I was home for our third planning trip and the annual family reunion.  But that wasn’t why we were there, the real reason I was back at the salon was to see Sister Big Eyes in her bridal gown for the FIRST TIME (unfortunately I missed the appointment where she found it).

Isn’t she beautiful?

Sorry, I can’t show you her dress either!   But I will tell you she bought a dress by the same designer as I did.

Sister Big Eyes bought her dress at the same bridal salon where I bought my dress and my bridesmaid’s dresses (I promise I’ll get to that eventually!).  I’m so happy she found the dress of her dreams and trust me when I say it looks gorgeous on her!  It was a bit surreal being at the shop, Mom Sword taking photos of her two daughters in their bridal gowns.  It was a special and rare moment for the three of us.

There was another family dress shopping while we were re-trying on our gowns; they had three sisters in their family and one even shared my name!  Two of the daughters were getting married six months apart.  So clearly, we are not alone in having a double wedding year!

Outside of the salon

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)

What do you think of our “Trash the Dress: Sisters Edition” idea?  Are you trashing your dress?

Saying “no thank you” to some lovely dresses

The time has come for dress photos!!  Yay!!  I’m so excited to share a few of them with the Hive right now, the thing is, after much contemplation I’ve decided not to share THE dress before the wedding.  It was a tough decision but in the end I want all my guests to be surprised as well as everyone else!  Plus I’m so in love with her that I want to keep her my little secret for as long as I can!

There were tons of beautiful dresses that I did not choose and I will share some of those now.  I’ll also give some hints on what my dress looks like and reveal the designer at the end so hang tight!


So… my vision for the Big Day was a fit-n-flare with hints of princess (obviously) and romance.  I wanted something tight and sexy that still felt whimsical and right out of a fairy tale.  It sounded easy enough when I started out but I quickly found that most fit-n-flares come with tons of beading, and I didn’t really want beading, or lace for that matter.  Nothing against beading or lace, but I felt like I needed an understated dress that still had the power to WOW.

Here are some of the fit-n-flare candidates:

And then there were the ball gowns… Sigh, the ball gowns.  I loved them!  They fit the theme of our fairy tale wedding so well and truth be told I almost convinced myself to buy one (of course I don’t have a picture of that one because it was the one place where photos weren’t allowed) but in the end I’m so happy I waited just a bit longer so I could find my dream dress.

Please excuse all awkward and/or chubby photos, not all of the dresses fit 100% correctly.  Did you have a favorite style between the ball gowns and fit-n-flares?

Here are my wedding dress stats:

I went to a total of 6 different bridal salons (one in Chicago, the rest in the Twin Cities), and I found my dress at store number 5, only two days before we were leaving Minnesota on wedding planning trip number two.

Designer is Morie Lee.

Style is to die for fit-n-flare.

Neckline is a slight sweetheart that I plan to dip even further.  (It actually got comical after one consultant told me, “Yes, I get it, we can dip the neckline even lower, all of them can be made lower!”  And so it became a running joke.)

Price is under $1,000… by a little bit.

How it happened:

I don’t think my search was particularly long, it was just that being a long-distance bride I knew my time was limited if I wanted a dress ordered in time to have all my fittings take place  in Minnesota.  I can’t just show up when my dress arrives at the salon, instead I have to make well-planned trips up north that coincide with other wedding related tasks or I’d be there every other weekend!  I know it will be awhile before I see my dress in person and I plan to wait patiently, or as patiently as possible.   Until she arrives I will think of her often and attempt to give her a name… the designer just uses numbers and I really think something so pretty deserves a special name.  How does Evie sound?  I’m leaning towards naming her Evie.

One last thing:

Like other brides, I had the same “I just know this is it” moment when I put on the winning dress.  I know it’s a different experience for everyone, but I usually get strong gut feelings when I know something is right so I was expecting one to occur during my dress search.  I knew from the second I put her on that this was it, but I didn’t say it out loud until about 40 minutes later when I tried her on again.  Everyone else could tell by my face that we had found my dress, but I didn’t want to rush the moment, I wanted to make sure I was still thinking about her when I took her off and when I was in other dresses, and I totally was!!  I even had tears hiding behind my eyes and I was urging them to fall!!  It took a little coaxing but once I saw Mom Sword crying, the tears just started flowing.  I was lucky enough to have Mom Sword, Auntie B, MOH Big Eyes, and BM L Dawg there when I found HER.  It was magical!

(all photos personal)

Did you know when you’d found “the one”?  Did you almost convince yourself to go with a completely different style than you had originally wanted?