Tag Archive | kilt

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.

Highland Fairy Tale Week! 007

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).

Highland Fairy Tale Week! 045

Highland Fairy Tale Week! 048

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)

Sword Wedding footer FINAL

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

Teaser video!


My Wedding Crush

I found my wedding crush!!  You know what I’m talking about right?  That wedding that seems to match something of your theme/style/decor and gets you inspired for your own Big Day?

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to view the entire gallery of this wedding but the photos I discovered are truly awesome and affirming.  And hopefully our wedding will look  pretty similar to this except for 50 degrees colder.

Here’s what I found:


It’s no secret I’ve been slightly concerned (but mostly just curious) about how our photos will look with each of the groomsmen and Mr. Sword sporting different tartan patterns.  Furthermore, they’ll all be wearing different jackets with all the groomsmen in the more formal Prince Charlie style and Mr. Sword showcasing the more semi-formal Argyll jacket.  After seeing this photo, I’m happy to report I’m digging the mismatched guys look and I’m SO excited to see how our bridal party pulls it off as well!

Note the different sporrans and how beautiful they all look together!


My four bridesmaids will be in long dark eggplant dresses and my honor attendants will be wearing short black dresses.  I love the look of these dark dresses next to the bride’s light gown.


I just love how it looks and I can’t wait to get photos of all the sneaky places that our family tartan will pop up at the Sword wedding.


I plan to get personal shots with each of my awesome ladies as well.


Hilariously brilliant isn’t it?  We are so re-creating this shot.  Do you think these men are True Scotsman?  😉

Finding this wedding crush reaffirms how beautiful and unique each wedding is and makes me so happy that I stuck to my dark, kilt-focused theme even though I was initially attracted to all things blush.

Have you found your wedding crush yet?

Time to put on your Scottish dancing shoes!

Since I first started blogging about my Scottish fiancé, many of you have been asking if we will be having a Ceilidh (kā-lē) band at the wedding, and the answer is a resounding YES!!  A Ceilidh is technically a big Scottish party with lots of music and dancing and most of the time (in Scotland), it follows a wedding but sometimes it’s just a stand alone rockin’ good time!  Each Ceilidh band usually has their own caller or person who directs the dancing, and this is KEY for our wedding, because I know this will be the first Ceilidh for most of our lovely guests!

I first alluded to how we found our band back when I wrote about my brother renting his kilt for the wedding.  My parents really saved the day by attending the Minnesota Scottish Fair and hunting down the lead person of our band to ask him if they performed at weddings.  And thank goodness they did, because you’re sadly mistaken if you think there are a plethora of Ceilidh bands roaming the Midwest.  I think I found about three, including the one we booked!  Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a hold of any of them, and at one point I was considering nixing the whole idea, but fortunately it didn’t come to that!

Luckily, we found The Gunn Slingers and while we were in Minnesota this summer we met with their accordion player and caller, Neil Gunn.  He is Scottish and married to a girl from Minnesota.  His drummer is Scottish and married to a Minnesota girl as well.  Does any of this ring a bell?  I can’t make this stuff up people!

Meeting with Neil happened to be our latest appointment of the whole planning trip, and only a true night owl (or Scottish person) could stay up this late!  Just kidding, it was like 9 PM, but still, that’s only 1.5 hours before my bedtime.  LAME.  Naturally, we met at a bar, and it was a great time!  We could have chatted all night (if it weren’t for my blasted bedtime).  Neil shared with us that he had a bit of learning curve when he first started calling for Ceilidh’s in Minnesota.  He quickly figured out that people will just stare blankly at you if you say, “Now, turn anti-clockwise!”  Counter-clockwise works much better here.  🙂

Miss Sword and Neil

Neil was nice enough to take a picture with me when I told him I was blogging about my wedding.

Finally I leave you with a video gem of random wedding guests dancing at a Ceilidh.

Mr. Sword really doesn’t like it when I compare Ceilidh dancing to American square dancing but the simple moves, spins, and partnering off just remind me of it!  I know this isn’t the most common type of dancing to be done at an American wedding, but I figure we will have enough Ceilidh dancing veterans to get the party started, and I’m not too worried about people dancing because my family LOVES to dance and are really looking forward to hearing the band.  Plus, the DJ will be taking over after an their hour set to finish out the night with a nice mix of classic and contemporary tunes for everyone to shake their asses to (anything but the chicken dance please!).  Clearly, I want our guests to be sweaty and exhausted by the end of the evening!

I’m so happy that we have a band for our Big Day and I’m super excited about attending my very first Ceilidh!!  Have any of the UK readers been to a Ceilidh before?  What was your experience?  Anyone else have a family that loves dancing?  Anyone else crazy enough to do a band AND a DJ?

What the heck is that Scottish thing?!?

A few of you Hive members have been asking for a breakdown of all the different pieces and accoutrement of the Scottish kilt, and I’m here now to present my limited knowledge on the subject based on, well, Google and not much more.  Mr. Sword is new to the world of kilts (although he can pronounce all of the different pieces perfectly), and I’m new to any place outside of the Midwest (and I can pronounce accoutrement).  Clearly, that makes me an expert.

If you’d like a quick reminder of Mr. Sword’s awesome wedding garb, check this out! Otherwise, here are all the different parts of traditional Highland dress, listed in the order of how you should put them on:

1. Shirt.  It should be plain, white, and as simple as possible.  Either button or cuff-link sleeves will do, but nothing too fancy.  It is usually worn with a simple black bow-tie.

2. Kilt Hose and Flashes.  These are the long socks that come up to just under the man’s knee, and the short strips of fabric that are hanging from the garter.  The hose are folded over once right before the knee and the flashes are usually made of the same fabric as the kilt or at least something complimentary.  I guess it’s uncommon to wear white kilt hose, but cream (which is what Mr. Sword’s are although the color is labeled as arran) is perfectly acceptable.

3. Sgian Dhubh (which sounds like “skiii in dooo” when Mr. Sword says it).  This is the small knife that is usually worn on the right leg.  It means “black knife” and is purposely concealed in the kilt hose so that it is accessible in case one needs to defend themselves from an attacker.  In recent years, it has proven difficult for men to travel overseas with their sgian dhubh’s because of weapon laws.

image via Wikipedia

4. Brogues.  The low-heeled shoe or boot is the next piece to put on while getting dressed.  Any formal style shoe will do and most are complimented by the popular ghillie brogues or long laces that tie around the ankle.  Mr. Sword WILL be wearing the laces on our wedding day but has yet to try them out at this point.

5.  Kilt.  This is the meat of the outfit, and while some may call it a skirt, it’s actually a very masculine (and sexy) article of clothing.  It is secured at the waist with straps and buckles and usually has pleating at the back.  It should fall right to the knee and expose the knee slightly.

6. Sporran Strap and Sporran.  The sporran strap is put through the loops on the back of the kilt and the sporran attaches to the chain rings at the front.  Sporran is Gaelic for “purse” so obviously you’d expect to find some cash, chap stick, mints, a brush, and at least one tampon!  Not likely.  All jokes aside, I’m quite curious what Mr. Sword will put in his sporran on the day of the wedding!

7. Vest and Coatee.  The vest is usually pretty standard, but the jacket or coatee can be one of many different styles.  Prince Charlie and Argyll are the most common, but there are also Tweed jackets, doublets, and other more causal looks that don’t require a coatee at all!  Mr. Sword will be sporting the Argyll jacket.

Finally, the BIG question!  The one that gets asked very frequently and never ceases to make people giggle.  DO THE SCOTS REALLY GO WITHOUT UNDERWEAR WHILE WEARING A KILT?!?!  Yes, in fact, they do go commando.  Apparently, you’re not a real Scot unless you do.  So far Mr. Sword is saying he’ll be going fully Scottish on the day of the wedding, leaving his boxers at home, but I have my doubts that he’ll go through with it since they’ll be a lot of dancing and drinking at the wedding.  But who knows?  He might surprise me.  I guess you’ll find out in the recaps!  You know I won’t keep that nugget a secret.  🙂

Special thanks to Wikipedia and Scottish Tartans Authority for their helpful information!  I’m sure I’ve missed something along the way, and it’s likely that there might be conflicting info on the web, but I hope you’ve learned a little something! I know I did.

Who else is embracing another culture because of their future spouse?  Do you like learning about it as much as I do?  Anyone else think Mr. Sword is going to take just as long as me to get ready on the BIG DAY?  🙂

A Scottish Dream Come True

Remember how excited I was when the kilt arrived?  Well, it happened in such a flurry that I didn’t get much time to process the whole thing.  As I write this, I still can’t believe we have our family tartan fabric.  I’m sitting here imaging our future children wearing little baby kilts and it makes me laugh out loud and tear up at the same time.

Ever since we got engaged I knew deep down it was a good idea to pursue the notion of a personalized family tartan but I didn’t know how hard it would be or how blessed we would end up. This was one of my first unique wedding ideas and one of my best if I do say so myself.  Mr. Sword and I have made the decision that we plan to live in the US for an indeterminate amount of time, and I intend to keep his culture alive in our household for the rest of that indeterminate amount of time.

The night after Mr. Sword tried on his new ensemble in its entirety, we were sitting on the couch relaxing and chatting before going to bed.  I looked at him and asked him if it was worth all the money, the stress, and the waiting.  He looked at me and smiled, replying, “Oh yea, definitely,” instantly making me grin as well.

Mr. Sword and I have a few weddings to attend before our own and technically his work Christmas party is cause for formal Scottish garb, but we won’t be debuting his outfit until our Big Day.  It seems only fitting that his ensemble commemorates the start of our lives together since the tartan pattern is officially named Hislastname-Mylastname.

Here is my handsome groom at last!

(all photos personal)

Have one of your far-fetched, seemingly unrealistic wedding dreams come true?  How do you feel?  What do you think of Mr. Sword’s wedding outfit?


This is such exciting news!!!  The kilt we ordered months ago has arrived and now so many things are set in motion!  The most important thing being that Mr. Sword has something to wear to our wedding!  But this also means that the extra fabric is here which consequently means my awesome Boss Lady can begin making the bow ties and sashes for the rest of the bridal party out of said extra fabric.  The arrival of the fabric also means I can pick a color for the bridesmaids dresses and I’m happy to report that it will be eggplant like I had hoped for!  Eggplant is the darker of the two purples options we were given and will go perfectly with our dark wedding colors.

I think the box looked pretty good after traveling to us from Scotland.  What do you think?

OK so the night we got the kilt I was hanging out late with my nanny kiddos and decided to bring them over to my house for dinner.  We were waiting until Mr. Sword got home before we opened anything and I decided to have Nanny Girl play photographer as we opened our treasures.  I think she did a pretty good job for a 5-year-old!  Here are a few of the highlights from that “first look.”

I love that everything comes as part of a complete set.  It just makes life so much easier!  His sporran (the man purse thing that hangs in front of his err, guy parts) is one of my favorite pieces!  But everything looks beautiful and while I am keeping my wedding day look a secret, Mr. Sword and I were too excited to wait to see his special outfit so he tried everything on the night we opened it up!  But you’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see how dashing and handsome he looks…  🙂

(all photos personal)

What is your partner wearing to the wedding?  Anyone else take a peek before the big day?

The Glue gets Scottified

When we were in Minnesota for our big wedding planning trip number two we made an appointment for my little bro to get fitted for a kilt.  All of the other groomsman are from Scotland making my brother the only American groomsman.  The Best Man and the groomsmen have been asked to wear a kilt to the wedding but we they can wear whatever tartan they’d like, which is good because most of them already own one.   Lucky for us, The Glue was more than happy to embrace the Scottish culture by wearing a kilt as well.  We all agreed it would be a bit odd if he was the only guy up front in a regular suit.

Back in May when my parents went to the Minnesota Scottish Fair (who knew!?!?!) for some reconnaissance work regarding a Ceilidh band for our reception (more on that later!) they stumbled upon a place for The Glue to rent his kilt.  The Celtic Croft not only allows you to rent a complete kilt package, which includes a jacket, shirt, shoes, and all of the other specific pieces needed for an authentic look, BUT they also let you keep the kilt for additional 35 dollars.  WHAT A DEAL!  The Glue is excited to have his own kilt even if it’s not the same fabric as our newly named family one.

This appointment at The Celtic Croft was the only wedding-related appointment that I did not attend during that crazy week.  It was just for the boys in the family (Dad Sword, The Glue and Mr. Sword), and anyway, I was busy trying on wedding dresses at the time.

Mr. Sword was under strict orders to get photos.  The kilt that The Glue is wearing is just for sizing purposes, but we got to pick out a specific tartan that they would then have made into a kilt for him.  Mr. Sword and I narrowed down the list to a few we liked that we thought would compliment the rest of the wedding colors, and The Glue picked out his favorite between those.  He settled on “Baird Ancient” and this is a swatch of what it looks like:

I think he made a great choice!

I guess you just try them on OVER your clothes?

Blurry side view

Close-up of his Prince Charles style jacket

Mr. Sword will be wearing an Argyll (yes that’s how they spell it) styled jacket which is more on the semi-formal side, but I guess that wasn’t an option for The Glue’s jacket, so they went with the dressier version called the Prince Charles jacket as opposed to going with a more casual version.  Frankly, I don’t see much difference between the two styles but I did like the Argyll jacket when we first picked it out for Mr. Sword.

A view of the store itself

(all photos personal)

Are your groomsman wearing anything culturally specific?  How do you like The Glue’s tartan choice?