Tag Archive | out of town guests

I Couldn’t Tell You Before the Wedding

So before we leave on our unplugged honeymoon (more details on that to come next week), I have a few more posts to share about the Sword wedding planning process.

It’s time to divulge that there was one thing that could have been a HUGE problem but luckily turned out perfect in the end.

Truthbomb: We might have invited a few more people to our rehearsal dinner than we could actually fit in the reserved room.  How much more you ask?  Well since our rehearsal dinner goal was to feed anyone who came from out-of-state or out-of-country, we ended up inviting a total of 148 people.

The room on other hand?  It only fit 50-70 people max.  WHAT WERE WE THINKING!?!?!  🙂

We were thinking how much fun it would be see everyone twice, we were thinking feeding everyone twice was a way to thank them for making such a long trip, but in the end it was clear we were NOT thinking because it wasn’t until after the invitations had gone out that Mr. Sword turned to me and said, “How many people can we fit in that room at Cowboy Jack’s?”  My response, “Oh, a hundred or so.”  Wrong!

After checking our emails from the rehearsal dinner venue, it was clear we had over-invited.  Yet, for some odd reason, I wasn’t worried.  I knew it would all work out, and I had to focus on the real concerns of the wedding such as paper color and the weather.  (Really, Mrs. Sword?)

Of course we knew ahead of time that many of our Scottish guests wouldn’t be able to make the long flight, but that still only got us down to like 110, for the rest of the discrepancy we had to rely on US declines, and people who WERE coming to the wedding but who just couldn’t make the rehearsal dinner for whatever reason.  Scary.  Especially since I refused to tell any of our out-of-town guests.  So it remained a secret that we needed over half of those invited to the rehearsal dinner to RSVP a “no.”

I would normally have shouted my faux-pas on the blog in order to warn others against making the same mistake but I wanted to avoid making a guest feel like they weren’t welcome!  All of our amazing guests were so important to us and dammit we were gonna find seating for them all!

And then of course, it all worked out like I knew it would.  Our final number ended up being 66 people.  Four under our room’s max occupancy.  Swords for the win.  And no one had to know.

Did you or do you have something you over-invited for by accident?  Any secrets you care to share post-wedding that you knew would work out in the end?

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Rain On My Wedding Day

Hello hive!  I’m back as a married woman and I’m dying to share a sneak peek of our wedding day!  My post that went up yesterday was written late Friday night by a very happy Miss Sword with a very nervous tummy.  I hinted that we had a good chance of having rain on our wedding day and I’m here to report that the weather was absolutely terrible!  Cold and rainy all day.

But that didn’t stop us from taking two hours worth of photos outside (as planned), I’m crazy I know!  By the end of it I couldn’t feel my toes, Mr. Sword had a bright red nose, and my hair/makeup/bouquet were all quite wet even though we did are our best to stay underneath a bridge and a parking garage.

All that aside, I cannot describe our wedding as anything other than perfection.  It was amazing.  Everything worked out beautifully and we received compliments all night about how much everyone loved it.  I couldn’t have asked for more.

These things I know for sure:

Lots of planning and prep = a smooth wedding day.

If the Bride and Groom have to travel in bad weather and take photos in bad weather, but ALL of their out-of-town family and friends are able to make it to the wedding easily, it’s more than worth it.

Falling out of love with your dress happens, but when your Big Day arrives, you might love it so much you won’t want to take it off.

Ceilidh dancing is pretty much the best thing EVER.  Although Strip the Willow almost killed me….  🙂

Mr. Sword and I have amazing family and friends in our lives.

Marrying your love is the most brilliant way to spend a Saturday.

And now some behind the scenes photos from our day… enjoy!

March 9th 175


March 9th 221

March 9th 178

March 9th 180

March 9th 211

 

mr and mrs sword edited

(all photos personal and taken by the awesome honor attendant CBF)

Love,

Mrs. Sword

Goodies For Our Guests

I don’t believe there are enough ways to thank everyone for attending our wedding, but I figured making OOTG goodie bags was the least we could do for all of our friends and family who are staying in hotel rooms during our wedding weekend.  So before we go any further, I need to ask all Sword guest to leave this blog post.  I mean, they can probably guess some of the items that will be included, but still, I want them to have a slight element of surprise!

sword guests

The first item on the list was finding the right bag.  I was in love with Mrs. Wallaby’s reusable canvas totes but since we have such a large amount of OOTG’s I decided that wasn’t going to be cost-effective enough for us.  So I went hunting for small paper bags in large quantities.  Unfortunately our local dollar store didn’t have any pretty colors so we ended up purchasing a few packs of 8 (half ivory, half dark greenish/brown) from JoAnn’s for six dollars a pack.  Mom Sword and I decided to go with the smallest possible bag size that would fit everything.  It’s a good idea too because it makes the bag look nice and full and it saves on money/paper/space.

Christmas 2012Wedding 313

Can I just say I’m super proud of this next picture?  I’m so happy I was able to figure out how to add words to the photo without anyone else’s help!  Big deal for this Sword.  🙂

OOTG bags edited

Our guests will be getting a few chocolate candy bars, a bag of peanuts, a roll of mints, two mini water bottles, a few hand sanitizing wipes, a Chicago postcard, a personalized DND sign, and an information sheet for the weekend (not pictured).

I know our hotel charges something like a dollar or two to have them delivered to each room so we’ll probably just have them handed out as the guests check into their rooms.

These are the OOTG bags all put together (minus the cute tags I made):

Christmas 2012Wedding 315

The trickiest part was deciding how many to make, the question being do you make one bag per person, per couple, or per family??  We have hotel rooms reserved that range from one guest to 5 guests.  In the end we made 48 OOTG bags and we have about 30 hotel rooms reserved under our room block.  I figure some people might get two and it’s always good to have extras!

AND  just because I don’t want our guests seeing the boutonnieres just yet (and I’ve found out that people actually pay attention to my “go away” notices)… here is the finished product on those!  Thank you Sister/MOH Big Eyes and Mom Sword!  I like to think I helped but all I did was add anti-fraying goop to the edges of the tartan fabric.  It looks blue in the photo but it dried clear in the end!

Christmas 2012Wedding 386

I had a silly idea the other day that we should make a little sign or note asking the guests to locate and count all places we have used or placed the family tartan during throughout our ceremony and reception.  Still undecided on whether it’s an actual idea or just a joke in my head!

(all photos personal)

Are you making little goodie bags for your out-of-town guests?  Do you like the final boutonnieres?  Can you think of all the places we are using tartan at the wedding?  🙂

What Miss Sword Will Do to Save Money

I know I’m sort of rounding the last lap on the way to my wedding date, and at less than three months away is sort of an odd time to talk about saving money (as most of the big bills are coming up), but alas I was prompted by the weather so I’m going to go with it.

This past weekend Minnesota had a nice-sized snowfall.  The photo below was taken at the MSP airport where lots of flights were cancelled due to severe weather conditions.  I guess it snowed like 10-12 inches around the Twin Cities and close to 16 in other areas up north.

image via Kare11.com

image via Kare11.com

Now there is nothing weird about this.  It snows quite a bit during the wintertime in Minnesota.  And you’re only a true Minnesotan if you’ve driven at NIGHT in a BLIZZARD by YOURSELF in what I like to call my “near death experience.”  This is much like the theory that you’re not a true Chicagoan until you’ve had your car broken into (twice myself and most recently MOH/Sister Big Eyes was also initiated into Chicago the same weekend as my Hen Do even though she doesn’t live here).  The snowiest months for Minnesota are usually December to March.

What does this have to do with saving money you ask?  I’m saving a pretty large chunk of money by hosting a rather large event (AKA my wedding) in early March (one of the previously mentioned snowy months). It’s actually a really good deal, and a deal that wasn’t available just few weeks later in April.  You know how hotels and other wedding venues charge for everything per head?  We are getting ten dollars off per person which is HUGE if you’re inviting 150+ people.

Thanks to our awesome venue, The Embassy Suites, we’re going with a package deal, so our amount not only includes a plated meal for everyone, but also our cake, centerpieces (which we took as a credit because we’re making our own), a full hour of free drinks/butler-passed hors d’oeuvres during cocktail hour, a hotel room for the bride and groom, and a gift opening room for the following morning.  This package also comes with a recommended DJ and ability to rent the atrium space for the ceremony at 500 dollars.  At the risk of repeating myself, we are adding on to our package with kegs of beer, wine, two signature drinks, purple lighting, draping around the sweetheart table, and the DJ for both ceremony and reception.

Outside our beautiful hotel at a great photo opp, wearing a sundress because it's August.

Outside our beautiful hotel at a great photo opp, wearing a sundress because it’s August.

One stop shop has been my motto since the beginning but it’s going to be a sucky motto if there is a big snow fall the weekend of our wedding and our guests are unable to make it!  I know the weather can be issue anywhere in the world, what with hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, heat waves, and other things that can put a damper on wedding plans, but adding to the winter weather we also have a lot of guests flying or driving in from out-of-town.  Hello Scotland, Canada, Illinois, New York, Virginia, and North Dakota!

Truth is, I wanted a lot of traditional elements, such as a plated sit-down dinner, a large dance floor, and the ability to have my out-of-town guests crash at the same location as the wedding.  To get all of these things we had to compromise on something and that something was time of year.

I have no idea if I’ll get beautiful sunlit pictures outside with Mr. Sword and our bridal party or if it will be snowing/raining/sleeting with a dark sky and ground covered in sludge.  I have no idea if the weather will remain calm enough for all of our guests’ travels or if someone people will have to forgo the trip due to road closures or flight cancellations.  Will there be beautiful snow-capped trees in the background or naked branches flinging about in rough winds?  Who knows?  The average temperature in March can range from 20-40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The weather is not something I can control.  Unfortunately, sometimes my emotions are also something I cannot control.  Bazinga.  (Can you tell I love the Big Bang Theory?)

I wanted to have the wedding of my dreams and still stay within our agreed upon budget.  Hence, March.  I guess we’ll see what happens.  🙂

I wanna hear from the Northern brides out there!  Did you have a winter wedding?  How did it go?  Did you have lots of guests flying in as well?  Anyone else having a wedding in March where the weather is a bit unpredictable?

One of these things is not like the other

Let’s play a wee game.  (Sometimes I talk Scottish just for fun.  Wee = little, just in case that wasn’t clear.)

I’m going to show you four different photos of four different couples and you guys tell me for which couple would it make sense to host their rehearsal dinner at a restaurant called Cowboy Jacks.

1.

anniversary shoot inspiration, san diego shoot inspiration, fall wedding inspiration, farm wedding i

2.

engagement inspiration, southern engagement inspiration, cowboy engagement session, engagement sessi

3.

4.

amanda troy15

Photo by: Arielle Doneson Photography on Sparkle and Hay via Lover.ly

If you guessed Couple Number #3 (aka The Swords) you guessed correctly!  Mr. Sword and I are hosting our rehearsal dinner at Cowboy Jacks.  I can say with full confidence there is no restaurant more opposite of our tastes.  I would describe Mr. Sword and myself as modern and minimalistic city folk.  Originally we had envisioned this sophisticated and chic Chicago style rehearsal dinner, but that didn’t seem to be in the cards.  Instead, this (see below) is now in our future.

Image via Cowboy Jacks

Yes, that is a mechanical bull.  While this restaurant has excellent food (burgers just like we wanted) and a private room (so hard to find a big enough room for all of our OOTG’s), it’s definitely a bit out of my comfort zone!


Even though there are animal carcasses on the walls and rifles in place of door handles, it’s LITERALLY across the parking lot from our hotel and that makes it perfect for the Swords.  Our main goal was to get the guests out of the hotel for at least some part of the weekend (since ceremony, reception, and Sunday brunch are all in the one location), and at first we were looking into a few restaurants at the Mall of America.  The MOA is really close and would have been relatively simple because of the free shuttles that are offered from our hotel.  Plus, it would have allowed our guests to enjoy one of Minnesota’s best attractions, but unfortunately, between a lack of space, private rooms, and ridiculously over-priced menus (because they can), we opted for a closer location.  After all, this wasn’t the first time we had made a decision based on practicality.

Funniest comment so far (as I’m sure this will be a running joke in my family for years) was when Mom Sword said, “I hope the Scottish people don’t end up assuming that all of America looks like this!”  And the thing is Mom Sword LOVES country music and is super excited about our choice of Cowboy Jacks, but it’s comical to think about how the the first “American experience” Mr. Sword and I will be showing our out-of-country guests won’t have anything to do with our personal interests!

So, is anyone else hosting a rehearsal dinner somewhere that reflects a completely different style or decor than they’re used to?  I feel like a lot of people would totally get into Cowboy Jacks; would this be the perfect place for your rehearsal dinner or wedding?

Save the Date reveal!

Fresh out of the box and blissfully unaware of the typo!

My FAVORITE part of our STD is the little airplane and the whimsical writing of the “save the date” part. We specifically chose to say “Join us for the weekend,” because  we want to encourage everyone who’s not from Minnesota to use our wedding as an excuse to enjoy a short trip up North.  The reasoning behind this comes down to two major factors, 1) unpredictable MN March weather = flying or driving in and out same day is not going to be possible, and 2) we want to spend as much time with everyone as possible!

My family is driving in from North Dakota, Mr. Sword’s family is flying in from Scotland, and many of our wonderful friends will be flying in from Chicago or the east coast.  This is why we are hosting an OOTG rehearsal dinner so we can feed everyone twice and allow our two cultures to enjoy each other as much as possible.  Mr. Sword and I also plan to join everyone for brunch at the hotel the morning after the wedding, which will be free, since breakfast is included in the price of a hotel room.  I know some folks might not understand our logic, arguing that the day after our wedding is all about US, but Mr. Sword and I value the relationships in our life and we want to make everyone feel as special as we do.

When we leave three weeks later on our ‘moon you can bet we are going to be selfish then, focus only on each other, and enjoy reminiscing about the one hell of a party we hosted for our wedding.

It took FOREVER to pick the right photo for our STD, but since we’ve received lots of compliments on it I’m thinking we made the right decision!  Hope you like them as much as we do!  Sorry for the extra large photo but I figured they’d be easier to see this way.

(all photos personal)

We were thrilled with the final product of our save the date despite the stupid typo… how did you feel about yours?  Are you glad you took the time to send them out?  Anyone else expecting lots of out-of-state and out-of-country guests?