Tag Archive | Pastor

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Rehearse and Kids Scream

The rehearsal time we were given by Embassy Suites was 8 PM (it was either that or 4 PM) and I think we started pretty close to on time which was shocking considering the amount of interviews we were trying to cram into the hour of 7 -8 o’clock.  At first no one was sure what to do and the atrium looked like this:

Highland Fairy Tale Week! 106

Once I did quick head count to make sure everywhere was there it was time for Pastor P to take over and begin the rehearsal.

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I had been adamant about NOT being in charge because I knew my stress level was going to be high that night and I didn’t want to be shouting directions or running the show.  And for the most part, it was fine.  Mom Sword knew how the processional should be orchestrated and we had brought the music and some speakers so the bridal party could rehearse their entrance.  Being that there was JUST enough of the song for our four couples to walk down the aisle, the timing was pretty crucial.

Melissa camera 4

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Highland Fairy Tale Week! 122

Dad Sword and I getting ready to practice our big moment!

Dad Sword and I getting ready to practice our big moment!

For those wondering, we chose NOT to hire a DOC and honestly, it was fine, in fact it was more than fine, it was great.  We had a coordinator from Embassy Suites that made sure our ceremony was kept private (or as private as you can be in the atrium of a hotel) and who also helped with some ceremony/reception details but for the most part, it was just us managing my insane schedule and type A expectations (and by us I mean my bad ass honor attendants and family members who did a lot of the coordinating).

Highland Fairy Tale Week! 118

The actual rehearsal was really productive and definitely set my mind at ease so if you’re a control freak like myself, I HIGHLY suggest having one.  We lucked out and hired the nicest bagpiper ever who agreed to attend our rehearsal so he could practice piping in the space and be ready for Saturday.  Also, everyone LOVED him.

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In fact the only real “problem” with the rehearsal was the obnoxious screaming adolescents who decided it was more than OK to shout across the hotel from one side to the other during our ceremony run-through.  Note: I do not have pictures of the “shouters” but these are just a few of the folks who were watching us practice.

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Honestly, one of my favorite things about our venue is the atrium and it’s high ceilings and open/outdoor feel.  I knew going into this that our ceremony was going to be observed by uninvited spectators.  And that’s fine by me, heck, I love an audience!  But when the spectators are screaming, “OUR ROOM IS SO COOL, WHAT DOES YOURS LOOK LIKE?” and “WHAT FLOOR DID YOU SAY YOU WERE ON?” while we’re trying to communicate about where the readers should stand or how we’re going to get the handfasting cords to Pastor P, it’s extremely frustrating!

I kept looking up with a glare, and asking friends and family, “Is this for real right now?  I mean, don’t they see we’re in the middle of something?”

No, they don’t “see,” because they’re preteens and they’re excited to be checking into the hotel, and they’re self-absorbed (aren’t we all?) and so they kept right on shouting, and I kept right on muttering, “If this happens during the actual wedding, so help me I will….mumble mumble mumble.”

Note the people and luggage behind Littlest C and Cousin Dancer in this pic below.  For all hotel brides out there, remember Friday is check-in night and therefore tends to be extra crazy!

Melissa camera 2

Hey look, our cinematographers stayed after the interviews to catch some of the rehearsal, how nice of them!  You can see one videographer on the second level of the photo below:

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You’ll have to wait to hear how the actual ceremony goes but let’s just say, when you put on a white dress, people get it.

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Did you have a rehearsal or do you plan on having one?  I feel like it’s less common these days but still a good idea!  Anyone else get married with lots of folks watching?

(all photos personal and really blurry, my apologies)

How did your rehearsal go?  Did anyone else have to deal with a hotel rehearsal?  Would the yelling have annoyed you too?!

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!


A Highland Fairy Tale: We Ride the Elevators of Anxiety

Before we get to the elevators, let me back up a bit…

Immediately following the luncheon, the bridal party and I left to get our nails done at Livvy Nails and Spa in Lakeville, MN.  I had picked this salon on a previous planning trip and they were ready for us when we arrived (although there was some miscommunication on when exactly that time would be).  Some of us got regular manis, some got gel manis, and some of us went for both a gel mani AND a pedi (like me!).

I was happy as any nail snob could be and since I asked you all for an opinion on my polish colors, it’s only fair that I tell you what I picked!  I went with Essie’s dark purple “damsel in a dress” on my toes and bridal white in gel on my hands!  I also brought Essie’s lavender  “go ginza” as option for the girls’ and most of them did choose either the dark purple or the lavender to compliment their dresses.

Personal photos/Collage by Mrs. Sword

Personal photos/Collage by Mrs. Sword

We ended up leaving the nail salon in shifts as people were finishing up because it was time to check into the hotel rooms and get organized for the rehearsal.  I was in the last car load, being that my appointment was one of the longer ones, and I was starting to get a bit anxious on the drive to Embassy Suites.

My biggest concern was making sure we had the right people in the right hotel rooms near each other.  I wanted the girl’s getting ready room (where I was sleeping Friday night) to be directly next to my parent’s room so I could get my dress on with only Mom Sword and Sister/MOH Big Eyes in the room. I wanted it to be a private moment and I didn’t want clothing and makeup supplies in the shots.  Mrs. Sword Wedding Tip:  Keep an area clear in your room to get into your dress OR go somewhere else entirely.  It’s amazing how calming it was to step into my dress one hotel room over from where the getting ready commotion was taking place.

The problem was I wanted to be next to my parent’s room and my parent’s wanted to be next to my grandparent’s room and everyone in the family was checking in at different times.  Oh and to complicate things further, the girl’s getting ready room had to be on a different floor than the guy’s getting ready room.  Due to all this and who knows what else, my poor father had to transport my heavy, ruffled wedding gown to a grand total of FIVE hotel rooms before it could be officially hung up.

The funniest part was (and I heard this later on) that Mr. Sword was sitting at the hotel bar chatting with his groomsmen and buddies who had just arrived that Friday afternoon.  And since my dress had been steamed our alterations friend L suggested we don’t cover it again so it was imperative that Mr. Sword look away every time my Dad went huffing and puffing across the lobby.

Photo by FIL Sword

Photo by FIL Sword

Poor Dad Sword, I wish there was some way we could have prevented this, but the truth is with hotels there is no guarantee of early check in, or which rooms you’ll get, or who you’ll be next to, you just have to wait until the day of and hope they are accommodating.  And thankfully Embassy Suites Bloomington WAS very accommodating to us!

To make matters worse, the elevators at our hotel were awful.  This is truly my only complaint about this Embassy Suites, but it’s a big one! Update and improve your elevators people!  The elevators are actually quite beautiful, they are clear glass, and centrally located in the hotel, but slow.as.hell.  I wish I could say this was the last time they were problem but alas it is not, and you’ll just have to wait for a later recap to find out more!  😉

Photo by Aunt K

Photo by Aunt K

Dad Sword wasn’t the only one running laps and waiting on the elevators, I too had to run around and finalize details with Mom Sword, Pastor P, and Mr. Sword!  Then a little before 7 PM our amazing videographers arrived to start taping the family and friend interviews to put in our wedding video so we had to get them to a secluded room and make sure people knew where to go.  And yes I did take the stairs when I could but we’re talking 8 floors here and all while wearing heels and carrying things!

Apparently there were other issues surfacing as well, like the stickers we had bought last-minute to label who had a vegetarian or a kid’s meal on the escort card swords were not stickers at all but jewels with no adhesive so a few ladies had to run out and buy glue.

There was also a mad scramble to get the keyboard, amp, and music stands set up for the rehearsal later that evening.  Luckily I knew nothing of these issues (I love my family and friends) and my biggest focus when I got back to the hotel was squeezing into my fancy rehearsal dress which I first talked about HERE.

I blame 40% of my stress level on being a bride the day before her wedding and the other 60% on those damn elevators!

Looking back now, it’s a big joke in our family, the worst part of the Sword wedding were the elevators from 1970, HAHA, and in retrospect, who really cares?  I can TOTALLY laugh about it now.  🙂

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!

Why, hello there!

The first look is probably one of the biggest wedding fads around today.  (Second to maybe the photo booth or candy buffet?)  I am not having a photo booth OR a candy buffet… despite my love of photos of myself family and friends and my love of sugar, but we ARE doing a first look.  And it’s gonna be AMAZING.  Well, at least I hope so.

Currently, I’m low on inspiration and ideas for Mr. Sword’s and my first look.  But that’s not because there is a shortage of cool ways to do it!

image via Mrs. Porcupine on Weddingbee/ photo by Klose Photography

Soft Pink and White Wedding Details Using Baby

My goal is to do something completely different and random.  For our first look we plan on going off-site from the hotel (the only time all day) with our bridal party to take both the couple and bridal party shots.  But most of the crazy ideas I have just don’t seem plausible…

Maybe we should walk through a maze, both of us starting at different points and with photographers in tow, and just wait until we run into each other?  Can’t get more of a genuine surprise than that, but then again, a corn maze in March… in Minnesota?

Or maybe we could use our fake Claymores (yes I went back and bought another one), but how do you hide behind a sword?  And why are we battling each other on our wedding day?

What if we go to the Mall of America and I ride down an escalator into his arms?  It sounds dramatic but also like an accident waiting to happen with my dress getting caught in the stairs, and then’s there the problem of all the random shoppers and no privacy!

Needless to say, I’m stuck.   I’m sure one day it will just hit me, and in the meantime I’ve chosen to focus on a different photography-related dilemma.

The back story is, I’ve known forever that I was NOT going to wait until the end of the day to see Mr. Sword while walking down the aisle.  I was perfectly OK with having him see me before the ceremony and setting aside a special time to make that happen.  But then I started thinking about all the family portraits we want to take, and how we’d rather not squeeze them in post-ceremony since we want our family to enjoy the cocktail hour which starts immediately following the ceremony.  Plus, we had also decided to do the very traditional receiving line with our parents post-ceremony so that we can make some introductions and guide folks to the ballroom.  Because of all this, it was imperative we do all of our formal shots BEFORE the wedding.

But then I started thinking that because of all the pre-wedding photo-taking, Dad Sword might see me reapplying my makeup instead of looking teary eyed, and Grandma Sword might watch me posing doing my ugly laugh (it’s bad) when I’d rather be available to hug her when I see her!  My aunt’s first glimpse of me might be plopped in a chair resting in between shots, and Mr. Sword’s parents might get the pleasure of seeing me trip, cry, or whine the first time they see me as a bride instead of glowing down the aisle! Although let’s be honest, tripping and crying down the aisle seems a lot more realistic, but I’m gonna do my damnedest to keep the whining at bay.  😉

In my mind, none of this seemed right and I wasn’t sure how to fix it.  I was explaining my concerns during a pre-martial session with Pastor P when Mr. Sword came to the rescue with a solution!  As he often does.  🙂  Mr. Sword suggested that I do a first look for the families so they can get a special reveal before the photo taking shuffle commences.  BRILLIANT.  I was in love with the idea, our family first look.

We decided that both Mr. Sword and I should be revealed together because this first look is for both of our families, and this will be the first time most people will see Mr. Sword in his kilt!

Unlike our couple first look, I know exactly how to do this one.  There is this clear elevator in the atrium near where our ceremony will be taking place.  My idea is to start from the top of the hotel and take the elevator down to the ground floor, exit, and walk down the staircase to meet our lovely families.  After some hugs and tears the family portraits can start immediately, making use of the beautiful atrium space.  Imagining this moment gives me goosebumps, and I’m so excited for both of our first looks!

What did you do for your first look?  Did anyone else take family photos before the wedding?  How did you make it work?

Pastor P Says We Pass!

The test I am referring to is the inventory questions that our Pastor gave us to complete in regards to good ol’ premarital counseling.  I’m actually a HUGE fan of premarital-talking-about-your-future life-together-stuff.  As a full-time observer of relationships, a chronic over share-er and an advocate of open and honest communication, I welcomed any counseling that my childhood Pastor suggested we do.  Luckily Mr. Sword is awesome and just as willing to partake in whatever was asked of us.

But I’d be lying if I said the state of Minnesota hadn’t influenced us as well.  To obtain a marriage license in the land of a billion lakes it’s a staggering 115 dollars but with a mere 12 hours of premarital counseling, you can acquire one for the reduced fee of 40 dollars.  Umm, yes please!  I think it’s a nice way to encourage people who otherwise wouldn’t consider it, and those of us who are already going that route, it’s a win-win.

Pastor P was the first Pastor I really remember when attending church back in the day.  She is the person who guided me through confirmation and my statement of faith, and she’s known my family for decades.  I was super pumped when she first approached MOH Big Eyes inquiring if we had decided on an officiant yet because I was hoping to have someone who knew either Mr. Sword or myself personally because I really dislike generic wedding ceremonies or one’s where the officiant is saying odd things that don’t make sense for that couple.

Being in a LDR with our wedding (and our Pastor for that matter), made finding time for 12 hours of counseling a bit challenging.  Since the beginning of the summer we have met with her three times and that, combined with homework to do in Chicago will get definitely get us to 12.

Sitting in the hot seat


Pastor P

The best part of doing the premarital inventory was knowing that we had discussed all of the issues/questions previously!  The first thing Pastor P said (after grading them) was, “Well it’s obvious you two communicate!”  And by “grade” I mean, line up the answers to see how we both answered in each category.

An example question went something like this: “What will be your partner’s main concern during your marriage? I put “finances” for Mr. Sword and he put that he’d worry about “finances.”  We both agreed we want to decorate our house in a modern/contemporary style, we’d like about 2 kids, we don’t keep any secrets from each other, and that Miss Sword is sort of in charge.  Awkward. 🙂  We had to explain that while I tend to make the majority of decisions, when Mr. Sword puts his foot down, I listen.  Like I’ve said before, he is a laid-back guy, and goes with the flow most of the time, so when he has a strong opinion about something, we both honor it.

To be honest I sort of hate that stereotypical “the man rules the roost” sort of mentality that can be seen on TV and/or observed in real life.  I come from a very matriarchal family, so it only makes sense that I would find someone who fit better into that family dynamic.  This is not to say that I don’t value Mr. Sword’s ideas or that we aren’t equal partners because that is completely untrue.  Sometimes it just comes down to personality differences.  I am outgoing, assertive, and the inspiring motivator for our relationship, he is mellow, sweet, and the loving support for our relationship. We both bring in humor, silliness, heart, and respect, and overall, I think it works for us!  Sister Big Eyes found someone who compliments her just as well, but I would definitely say they fall into the same matriarchal family style as we do.

Speaking of Sister, she and FBIL are having Pastor P officiate their ceremony as well.  Another wedding share.  What are we at now?  Is anyone keeping track?

Because I clearly don’t post enough pics of the two of us. Not!

(all photos personal)

Who has the more dominant personality in your relationship?  Are you doing pre-martial counseling?  Does any other state give a discount like MN?

Following up!

Since I’d made a list of goals and “wish list” goals before leaving for our big planning trip, I’d thought it’d be fun to go through them and see how much I got accomplished.  I have to say that while the trip was overall really good and productive, it was also a bit stressful and a little too fast-paced at times.  If at all possible, I DO NOT recommend cramming in as much stuff as we did, unless of course you have to!!  I’ve also added a list of things that were accomplished that I didn’t even plan for!!  🙂

Mean, lean, list-checking-off machines!

Lean, mean, list-checking-off machines!

Goals for Minnesota Trip #2:

  • choose our photographer- CHECK!
  • choose our videographer- CHECK!
  • complete cake testing- CHECK!
  • solidify signature drink- CHECK!
  • take our Pastor out to dinner and discuss the ceremony- CHECK!
  • select and buy a wedding dress- CHECK!
  • hire a bagpiper- CHECK!
  • eat at one or two of the restaurants we are considering for our OOTG rehearsal dinner-CHECK!
I have to toot my own horn for just a second here because I’m super impressed with Mr. Scottish and myself for somehow accomplishing all the major things we set out to do while in Minnesota.  I will be doing individual updates on everything (complete with photos) so I won’t go into details now, but it’s worth noting that I’m also thrilled that no one canceled on us the entire week.  Let me repeat that, aside from one or two rescheduled appointments, EVERY SINGLE VENDOR was where they said they would be when they said they would be there.  And most people commented on how ahead of the game we were with our appointments.  WIN WIN.
Let’s see how we did with our “wish list” goals!

“Wish List” for Minnesota Trip #2:

  • hire a Ceilidh band- CHECK!
  • choose a gown for my bridesmaids- CHECK!
  • brainstorm venue options with Sister/MOH Big Eyes for her wedding- CHECK!  (well we saw Sister Big Eyes’ venue, but it had already been chosen)
  • get The Glue fitted for his kilt rental- CHECK!
  • clean and consolidate the one closet of my stuff still left at my parent’s house- nope
  • work on centerpieces- CHECK!
  • plan my next wedding planning trip to MN- CHECK!
  • visit with friends and family- CHECK! 
  • hit up Sam’s Club- nope, but my Mom went, does that count?
  • order our STD’s (photos pending)- CHECK!

It feels so good to see that most of these items can be checked off the list as well!  I had no idea how much we actually accomplished until I did this (it all felt sort of muddled in my brain after five days of non-stop moving).  Now let’s see what else we got done that I would consider an “extra.”
  • buy Dad a new suit from Kohl’s
  • show Auntie B and BM L Dawg our venue for the first time
  • buy supplies to make cutesy girl-type cards for ???? (can’t reveal that info at this time)
  • take Mom around Bed, Bath, and Beyond to show her what we’ve registered for
  • try on summer dresses for Sister/MOH Big Eyes’ wedding
  • help my Mom buy her dress for Sister/MOH Big Eyes’ wedding
  • buy my bridal corset bra
  • find a headpiece for bridal outfit (a gift from Auntie B, more details on that to come)
(all photos personal)

WOW.  I can’t wait to get started on all the updates!  Does anyone else use wedding check lists?  Are you ahead of the game or are you using a more relaxed timeline?

My “BEFORE” Thoughts

I decided to sit down and write a little bit about my expectations before we leave for our 2nd wedding planning trip to Minnesota.  While it’s crucial to get a lot done in a short amount of time, I don’t want to lose my mind doing it.  I figure if I have some concrete goals to accomplish, and a “wish list” of things that I’d like to accomplish, I won’t be as sad if things don’t go MY WAY.  Plus, compiling lists make me giddy with excitement, similarly to how I feel about ice cream and cleaning the bathroom.  (Yes I’m a freak, but a clean bathroom gets me HIGH.)

Me eating ice cream in Scotland near the Edinburgh Castle. Hard to see the giddy but it’s there.

Also, the photo is crooked on purpose.  It’s Mr. Scottish’s favorite way to take photos.  Umm, yea, cool.  (not)  And unfortunately I have no photos of me giddy while cleaning.  These photos will have to do!


Unpleasant I know.

Back to the task at hand!

Goals for Minnesota Trip #2:

  • choose our photographer
  • choose our videographer
  • complete cake testing
  • solidify signature drink
  • take our Pastor out to dinner and discuss the ceremony
  • select and buy a wedding dress (more on that to follow in another post)
  • hire a bagpiper
  • eat at one or two of the restaurants we are considering for our OOTG rehearsal dinner

“Wish List” for Minnesota Trip #2:

  • hire a Ceilidh band
  • choose a gown for my bridesmaids
  • brainstorm venue options with Sister/MOH Big Eyes for her wedding
  • get The Glue fitted for his kilt rental
  • clean and consolidate the one closet of my stuff still left at my parent’s house
  • work on centerpieces
  • plan my next wedding planning trip to MN
  • visit with friends and family
  • hit up Sam’s Club
  • order our STD’s (photos pending)

PHEW, THAT’s A LOT!!!  🙂  Are you curious to see how we do?  What type of lists do you make in regards to wedding planning?  And also, what makes you “giddy with excitement?”  (Doesn’t have to be wedding related!)

(all photos personal)