Tag Archive | reception

The Big Bad Budget Post- Sword Edition

I want to start this post with a collective groan (ullllhhh) because it’s all about wedding budgets and money.  I’m going to share our real figures accurately as possible, aside from rounding up or down to keep things easier.  (I hate math.)

Obviously, some of you might be like, “HOLY SH&T MRS. SWORD, you spent that much on one day?!?!?”  And some of you might be like, “Wow, that’s barely anything.  My entire budget is two or three times that.”

But hopefully most of you have less extreme reactions to our budget and can find something that relates to your own wedding.  Everyone’s situation is unique to them, and we all know there are two major things that affect the cost of a wedding: location and budget.  That being said, here is the Sword nitty-gritty.

Mr. Sword and I got married in Bloomington, MN in the County of Hennepin (much to the dismay of many of our friends who wanted an excuse to take a trip to Scotland).  I went to this Cost of Wedding website for more information on the average budget for someone getting married in this area.

Average Cost of Wedding in Hennepin County, MN: Between $20,732 and $34,553, with most couples not spending over 10,000 dollars.

The Sword’s Wedding Budget Goal: $25,000

Total Cost of A Highland Fairy Tale: $28,267

For a grand total of 3,267 dollars over budget, we’ll take it!  🙂

Who Contributed: 1/3 Mrs. Sword’s parents, 1/3 Mr. Sword’s parents, 1/3 the Swords themselves.  It was a group effort!

The Budget Breakdown:

Rehearsal Dinner at Cowboy Jack’s: $1,500 (this includes burgers and a drink for about 70 people and Mr. Sword’s tres leches groom’s cake)

Bridal Attire (including alterations, jewelry, and shoes): $1,300

Groom’s Attire (including custom-made kilt from Scotland and accessories): $2,000

Coffield Wedding 0160

YES, we spent more on Mr. Sword than me!  Love it.

6 yards extra fabric of family named tartan that is really one-of-a-kind and was used multiple times: $645.00

personal photo

personal photo

Flowers: $550 (five bouquets and four corsages)

Coffield Wedding 0276

Centerpieces: $285 (this is just what we spent, Mom Sword spent more finishing them up)

LC0095

Venue and Catering: $11,000 (this includes three sections of the ballroom and all that comes with them, one hour open bar, plated dinner for all guests, beer, wine, signature drinks, soda, late night snack, draping behind sweetheart table, purple uplighting, and the cake)

Coffield Wedding 0868

Atrium rental fee for ceremony: $500

Coffield Wedding 0542

Officiant: $275

Marriage License: $40 (MN charges $115 unless you show proof of premarital counseling which lowers it to 40 bucks)

Bagpiper: $250

Coffield Wedding 0498

Photography: $2,160 (after a discount for finding her through a blog)

Videography: $2,300 (for four separately edited films- trailer, full video, ceremony, and Best Man Speech)

Ceilidh Band: $550 (for one hour of playing)

Coffield Wedding 0738

DJ (including glow sticks, extra lighting, and lapel mic rental): $1,040

Wedding band hers: $600 (white gold)

Wedding band his: $210 (tungsten)

Hair and Makeup: $200 (for a trial and the day of, which was super discounted, I love my girl!)

Hair Extensions: $170 (have worn them a total of four times so far and plan on wearing them again in the future, so worth it!)

personal photo

personal photo

Gifts for bridal party and family: approx. $1,000 (which sounds scary but that is split between 20 people which equals roughly around 50 bucks a person, seems reasonable to me)

Shortbread favors for guests: $115

Invitations and STD’s: $642

Sorry for the blurs!

Sorry for the blurs!

Storybook Guestbook: $90

Coffield Wedding 0630

Crafting supplies, OOTG bags, stamps, and other misc: $500 (most of which was spent at JoAnn’s)

personal photos

personal photos

Tips for vendors: $370

Accommodations: $260 (for two nights, one before wedding, and one after, wedding night was complimentary)

Sword escort card display: Gifted by Mom Sword

LC0082

Pre-wedding Mani/Pedi: Gifted by BM L Dawg

Not Included Costs: Honeymoon and engagement ring.  We feel those two items are separate from our wedding budget.

What We Skipped:

Transportation:  One stop shop wedding meant we didn’t need to transport guests at all.  The hotel had a shuttle that ran people to and from the airport as well as the Mall of America.  When we went off-site for photos we had family and friends drive us.

Chair Covers:  Ah, yea, didn’t miss ’em.

Photo Booth: A good wedding trend, but one I had no desire to indulge in.  Our dance party reception was a hit without it.

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography unless otherwise noted.

Phew!  Hope this post was informative and interesting at the same time.  Tomorrow I’m going to share my vendor reviews and then it’s time for The Swords to say goodbye.  😦

Advertisements

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Make Out in the Hallway

Around 10 PM two things happened, 1) The late night snack was brought out for people to munch and nibble on (definitely recommend this if it’s a possibility at your venue, we went with the bar food option cause well, it made the most sense for us) and 2) Mr. Sword and I slipped away with Crystal to take the last couple portraits of the night.

This was probably the first time I sat down in hours and boy did it feel good!

Coffield Wedding 0849

OK. OK, so this was a bit posed but it was still fun!  Gotta love a dramatic swoon amid purple lighting.

Coffield Wedding 0850

Coffield Wedding 0851

After sitting down for a few minutes we slipped out of the reception room and into the hallway.  I love these photos because they’re relaxed and different.  My make-up might have worn off and I might have been veil-less but I was feeling exhilarated!  Also, my dress was still rockin’ after hours in the rain and tons of sweaty dancing.

Coffield Wedding 0857

Coffield Wedding 0854

Crystal then encouraged us to get frisky.  Normally my man isn’t into PDA but he looks mighty comfortable in these next few pics, haha.

Coffield Wedding 0860

Coffield Wedding 0865

Coffield Wedding 0858

Coffield Wedding 0853

We also managed to get one bridal portrait taken, and shockingly this is the only full-length picture of me by myself all day!

Coffield Wedding 0861

The last photo of the night was taken in the lobby of the Embassy Suites.  It’s definitely become a family/friend/fan favorite!  Hopefully you an see why!

Coffield Wedding 0866

Since this photo is also Mr. Sword’s favorite I had it made into a canvas to display in our home.  Can you find it?

personal photo

personal photo

After returning to the reception it was time for Crystal to leave.  Our final song of the evening was chosen by Mr. Sword, “Closing Time” by Semisonic.  He picked this song because he said it always reminds him of an American bar since it’s played so frequently at closing time.

The party kept going until midnight at which time people either left to go home or went up to their rooms to crash while others continued drinking at the bar.  And with that our wedding was over!  Mr. Sword and I rode the elevators of doom one last time to our 8th floor hotel room where we were met with this:

personal photo

personal photo

It was an amazing day and a dream come true.

The next post is the final one of our wedding recaps!  Thanks for hanging in there everybody.  🙂

Did you take any sneaky late night photos during your wedding reception?

All photos by Crystal Liepa Photography unless otherwise noted.

Sword Wedding footer FINAL.jpg

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!
Dancing and drinking!

FBIL and a Guitar

Let’s talk about music again.  For someone who only listens to the radio, doesn’t own a music playing device, and self-proclaims that she has bad taste, my wedding is going to have the most wide-range of kick-ass music ever!

For starters, the ceremony will begin with our bagpiper Evan and will also feature my Sister/MOH Big Eyes singing a song from the TV show, Smash.  For the parents processional we’re having this song by Sigur Ros, have you heard of it?  Mr. Sword picked it (obviously), but I love it.

The bridal party is completely stoked about walking into this princess gem, (I say sarcastically).

This brings us to cocktail hour, which I have yet to talk about.  I assume most people have their DJ’s play some sweet tunes during this hour of hosted bar and passed hors d’oeuvres, but we are lucky enough to have my talented future brother-in-law playing his guitar and singing instead!

G performing

FBIL frequently plays his music, both covers and songs he’s written at local bars and coffee shops and he’s really good.  Not like, “Aww he’s good, he’s family so we just say that!”  But good as in he’s a talented musician and I’m proud to welcome another artist into the family this coming June.  🙂  Plus, I love the atmosphere that the live music will offer our guests during cocktail.  This wedding has it all!

Sister Big Eyes and FBIL performing together at an outdoor wedding, aren't they cute?

Sister Big Eyes and FBIL performing together at an outdoor wedding, aren’t they cute?

After cocktail hour ends we’ll have the grand march, followed immediately by the cake cutting, toasts and then dinner.  After dinner it will be time for the first dances and then our Ceilidh band, The Gunn Slingers, will perform an hour of traditional Scottish music and led group dancing.  Dear Sword Wedding Guests, BRING YOUR DANCING SHOES AND YOUR OPEN MINDS!  I want to see everyone on the floor.  I promise I’ll be the klutziest one out there.  Seriously, I have zero idea of how I’m going to dance in my dress.  Oh well, too late to worry about that now!  The night will end with a rockin’ party atmosphere and our DJ playing mostly popular get down and dirty music with a few oldies mixed in for good measure.  Phew!

The only thing I haven’t decided on is what to have the DJ play during the hour we have allotted for dinner time; does anyone have any suggestions?  Our DJ is supposed to call us this week to ask for name pronunciations so I can pass the information on at that time.  The question is, what do you play during dinner when your wedding covers all types of music from princess movie themes to bagpipes to folksy love songs to Ceilidh music to today’s best pop?

(photo from FBIL’s personal collection)

What did you play during dinner?  Anyone else having live music during their cocktail hour?  Anyone else having a smattering of different types of music at their wedding?

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?  🙂

Pick Your Battles (even the silly ones)

You can’t get upset about everything.  It will make you crazy.  But sometimes things are worth fighting for, and if you’re like me, you’ll pick the most random, unimportant, and silly battle of the bunch.

Hive, I freaked out about the color of paper.  See, we are framing our signature drink info and a few quotes/e-pics to be placed around the reception room.  One day while we were in Minnesota and I was having my hair/makeup trial with Laura, Mr. Sword was given the job of printing the quotes onto paper and putting them into frames.  (Shout-out to Mrs. Treasure for letting us re-use some of the black frames from her wedding!  Yay Chicago bees!)

The odd thing about the battle I picked is that there are other aspects of the wedding that are turning out a bit differently than I had anticipated, but I’m letting those things go.  The guestbook, the favors, and the bagpipe tunes are not entirely perfect and I’m OK with that!  We’re doing an amazing job planning this wedding and our day will be wonderful no matter what happens.  But as a writer, and a lover of words, I just wanted our framed love quotes and drink menus TO BE PERFECT.

So I threw a fit about the paper color because when I asked for ivory Mr. Sword and Dad Sword came back from Kinkos with this weird buttercup/pastel yellow.  It was terrible.  It just wouldn’t do.  And no amount of words would make me see otherwise.  “There is no yellow at our wedding!”  I exclaimed, frustrated that no one else could see the difference as well as I could.  They all started laughing at me and then I started laughing at me and it became clear I’d lost it over the dumbest thing on earth.

A few days later, Mr. Sword, myself, and Mom Sword went looking for the perfect ivory paper at Archiver’s.  It soon became apparent that there are about 30 shades of white and off-white paper but nothing that seemed to match the ivory matte in the frames.  Some looked too gray, some looked to white, and some looked too yellow.

Christmas 2012Wedding 306

And that’s how we ended up with lavender. Ivory be damned!

Christmas 2012Wedding 308

Mr. Sword eventually printed on the lavender paper and the cut it down to size using a paper-cutter.

Christmas 2012Wedding 363

This is the finished product, didn’t he do a great job?

Christmas 2012Wedding 371

As soon as all the papers were in the frames I was convinced I’d chosen the wrong quotes.  Clearly, I over-cared about this project just a little.  We’re letting it sit for now.  And in the end we’ll be married, so who really cares?   🙂

Everyone has a battle worth picking.  Even if it doesn’t make sense to others.

In case you are as enamored with quotes as I am, here are some of the ones we chose to display at our reception.  Steal away!

“Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”
Nicole Krauss, The History of Love

“If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so I never have to live a day without you.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

Some Things Go Together by Charlotte Zolotow
Pigeons with park
Stars with dark
Sand with sea
and you with me.
… Hats with heads
Pillows with beds
Sky with blue
and me with you.

“A person doesn’t have to be perfect to be exactly what you need.”
J.D. from Scrubs

And from one of my favorite movies… Ever After

Danielle: A bird may love a fish, signore, but where will they live?
Leonardo Da Vinci: Then I shall have to make you wings.

(all photos personal)

What was the stupidest battle you picked?  Or what project do you over-care about?  Who else is putting love quotes around their reception?

Why I Love the Online RSVP

When I first shared our Once Upon a Time invitations with the hive I talked briefly about my love of online RSVP’ing, but I figure it’s worth sharing my thoughts again and this time in more detail.

I have a confession to make, I placed a lot more importance on our RSVP deadline date than I originally thought I would.  I ended up attaching some emotion to the RSVP waiting game and frankly, it’s not something I would recommend!

I have secretly been waiting for Jan. 15th for a while now; feeling beyond curious about who will be able to attend the wedding and who will not.  I know many bees before me have written about their disappointment when certain family members or friends submit a “no” response, and I am here to commiserate with them.  But I truly believe that everyone who is meant to be there will be there and the wedding day will be fantastic no matter what.

We chose a deadline early enough to give us plenty of time to track down the stragglers and to be certain that guests had ample time to make hotel reservations and flights.  If most of your guests are in the same state/city, I wouldn’t think you need to know as far in advance as we do.  I’m also anxious to have a real number in my head!  For the past year when talking about our guest list it’s always been a range of numbers, like 110-150 or our best guess, 130ish?  Soon enough, we will have a confirmed number.

Speaking of numbers, out of the 186 people invited, we have heard back from 129 of them with 102 folks attending and 27 declining.  A great start!  Since we are inviting a few families, I think it also makes sense to look at our guests as households or invitations.  We sent out 86 invitations and have heard back from 63.  Out of those 63 households, 50 have accepted and 13 have declined, with 23 households left unknown at this point.

While I love the idea of receiving the RSVP cards in the mail because it’s traditional and beautiful, I have to say going online with our RSVP system was one of the smartest decisions we made! I love the ease of it and the way it keeps track of everything for us.  I can just log in and see our numbers quickly without counting or entering in information myself.

So imagine you are a guest invited to our Highland Fairy Tale wedding.  Your first step is to type in our wedding website URL to find this home page.

website home page cropped
After browsing our engagement photos and reading our proposal story, you’ll locate the “RSVP” tab on the left and click it.  After which, you’ll see this:
household screenshot

At this point you’ll enter your name in the boxes provided to bring up everyone in your household.  For most that means couples or families, but also people who are dating and/or have different last names.  Each name was entered separately into the website and organized under a household name.  For the few plus ones we gave (mostly to friends traveling from Scotland of whom we didn’t know their relationship status) we put them in as Guest Householdname.

NOTE: This can be tricky with family members who have the same last name but are part of different households.  WeddingWire will show you all of the people with your matching last name but since we’ve invited our favorite people in the world, we are just trusting that folks are only RSVP’ing for themselves and no one else.
Once your name comes up and you find the “click here to RSVP” button, you’re taken to this page:
online rsvp screenshot

The example I’m showing is from a two person household that is coming from out-of-town, thus their response is needed for the rehearsal dinner as well.

In case I haven’t spoken highly enough of this system yet, here are my top four reasons as to why I love online RSVP’ing:

1. Instant Gratification:  The second someone’s RSVP is submitted Mr. Sword and I each receive an email complete with their response, meal choices and their personal note (if they left one).  I cannot tell you how much my heart leaps every time I see that WeddingWire has sent me an email saying, “So-and-So has submitted an RSVP to your events.”

2. Endless Meal Options:  This reason makes me laugh because we really utilized this website feature for our wedding, but not in the most typical spot.  I’ve talked before how we are serving chicken or a vegetarian option at our wedding, but our rehearsal dinner is a completely different story.  With one set price and the ability to offer my out-of-town guests whatever type of burger their heart desires, we had many options in our drop down menu.  I’m.not.kidding.

food options two

3. Procrastinators Aren’t Punished:  You know those people who wait until the last-minute for everything (we had a few)?  The online RSVP is amazing because even if they remember at 11:55 PM they can still get their response in on time, without it taking days to go through the mail.  Or they can respond a few days late and we’ll get their RSVP seconds after they submit it.  (See reason number one again.)

4. Money Will Be Saved:  We saved money by not buying reply cards, envelopes, and stamps (both US and UK).  Every little bit of savings helps the overall budget stay on track!

Finally, we chose WeddingWire because when we first picked a site to host our wedding website, Mr. Sword thought WeddingWire had the most customize-able options. We ended up deciding NOT to password protect our site (although it’s probably a good idea) because instead we decided to be stingy with who could see our website information.  We never posted the URL on Facebook or in mass emails, and the first time most guests saw our website was three months before the wedding when we sent out the invitations.

I have to admit I am most curious to see if we got a higher or lower percentage of people to RSVP by our given deadline than if we would have sent out paper response cards.  Since every group of guests is different the only way to really test my theory would be to experiment on the same group of people.  But no one, and I mean NO ONE is going to want to take the time to plug-in every guest’s name to their website AND address and stamp the same amount of return cards.  But if you do, let me know how it goes?

(all photos are personal shots of the Sword wedding website, edited by Miss Sword)

Does anyone else love online RSVP’ing as much as me?  Did you give a deadline and if so, what were your counts at that point?

Consummating Without Libations, Whaaa?

(Here goes a really awkward and embarrassing post.  Especially as I have lots of family who read this blog.  Please continue to read my entries after today, I beg.  Thank you.)

I want to talk about the wedding night.  The ooo la la, after the party ends, sexy post-reception time of the night…

I know this subject can be a bit taboo, especially on public websites, but when we plan our wedding day we tend to think about all the parts of it, even the late night parts.

And my disclaimer is this: Everyone’s situation is different and completely unique to them, but at the top of this blog post it says by Miss Sword, so remember these are my thoughts on the subject and my thoughts only.  Let’s dive in, shall we?

While I consider myself to be sexually liberal, when it comes to my wedding night I consider myself to be quite old-fashioned.  I believe that it’s important to consummate your marriage, and that’s exactly what we Swords plan on doing.  (Yes, we’ve talked about it.)

At the same time I understand that for some couples, wedding night sex just isn’t a priority whether it be because of exhaustion from a long day of hosting, familiarity/years together, or getting a little bit too drunk and passing out before anything can happen.  I’m sure it’s different for every couple!

For me, it’s not only about sex, it’s about intimacy.  It’s the only first night of marriage we’ll have, and as a true romantic, I can’t help but think it will be an extra special night.

Plus, I don’t know about you, but I’m so excited to dance and party with all of my awesome guests as well as my awesome soon-to-be-husband so I imagine the amount of quality time Mr. Sword and I will get together during the reception will be pretty limited.  I look forward to being alone and relishing in the last few moments of our wedding day together.

But what about my wacky post title??  Here goes the most embarrassing thing I will put on the internet probably ever.  One can only hope.

When we were in MN over my holiday break I was out to dinner with BM L Dawg and this conversation really happened.  I swear.

(Wedding chatter that somehow led to this topic)

L Dawg: Are you going to drink on your wedding night?
Miss Sword: Well yea, probably.
L Dawg: Are you sure?
Miss Sword: Why?  I’ll just have like one or two drinks.
L Dawg: Do you really want to spend your wedding night in the bathroom?

BAHAHAHA.  The funniest part is that she’s not implying I’ll be in the bathroom throwing up due to excessive drinking, but because I’ll have to go, go, go… number 2.  That’s right.  Alcohol makes me have to poop.  Like right away.  Like a couple of hours or so after I start drinking.  Like I can’t sleep because I have to get up every hour to go to the bathroom to either pee or poo.  Needless to say, that doesn’t scream sexy times to me or Mr. Sword for that matter!

And yes, I realize everyone needs to get rid of the toxins in their body post drinking, but I’m talking about one or two girly cocktails, not a night of beer and shots!  Clearly something is wrong with me.  Blame it on years of vomit related anxiety from drinking, a quick digestive system, a nervous tummy, or a slight allergy, but that’s the icky truth.

Mainly, I just want to feel good about myself and I want to wear my wedding night lingerie without feeling bloated or sick.  For me, having some uninterrupted private time with Mr. Sword is much more important than getting tipsy.  Trust me when I say I’m equally IF NOT MORE fun without booze.  Remember my post on drinking?  It’s just how I was raised.  And while I want everyone else to have fun and get totally hammered if they so choose, I want Mr. Sword and I to remember our Big Day and enjoy it without any fuzziness.  (Luckily for Mr. Sword, his tolerance is pretty high.)

Of course I will definitely pose with our signature drinks and have some champagne during the toasts but I’m pretty much set on staying hydrated with water and having the time of my life sans alcohol.

And I look forward to being one of the most loud, obnoxious, and hilarious people at our wedding.  Look for me, I’ll be the one hanging on Mr. Sword, drinking diet coke, and flashing my cleavage at all my girlfriends.  Mom Sword will be so proud.

How important is wedding night nookie to you?  Does anyone else plan on not drinking at their own wedding but still having a rockin’ good time?  Tell me I’m not alone!