Tag Archive | Scotland

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!

Once Upon a Time: Princes and Presidents

I have one more post regarding our invites but if you’re just tuning in you can see our fairy tale design here and all the little extra things here.

Initially, I wasn’t going to spend the time printing invitations to invite my favorite VIP’s to the wedding but then I thought how cool is it I’m getting married while Barack Obama is president!?!?  It makes my liberal heart happy.

And similarly how awesome is it that my life sort of mirrors Princess Kate’s life?

image via Wikipedia

image via Wikipedia

What, you don’t see it?

Hello!  We both are going to be married to men from the UK with thinning hair!!  (Note: Mr. Sword approves this comment about his hair.  The best kind of people are ones who can laugh at themselves, and Mr. Sword is the best kind of people.)  Back to how I’m similar to Kate… we’re both super down-to-earth (well mostly just her), we’re about the same age (29 and 30)… AND did you know William and Kate went to uni at St. Andrews which is in Scotland, which happens to be the country where Mr. Sword is from??  OK, so I’m being silly and grasping at straws…

But we DID dress up as the happy royal couple two years ago at Halloween.  (This is also proof I look better as a blonde.)

Mr. Sword thought this was a terrible costume idea.  He doesn't share my love of the royal family.

Mr. Sword thought this was a terrible costume idea. He doesn’t share my love of the royal family.

Once I started thinking about inviting my favorite royal couple, and the President and First Lady Michelle, I knew I couldn’t leave out Cinderella and Prince Charming! I am Cinderella myself after all!  (Remember the princess headbands MOH Big Eyes bought us all?)

Hen Do!!!! 025

Classic Miss Sword pose strikes again!

In case you have any such similar obsessions, here are their addresses.  It was extremely difficult to find one for Prince William and Princess Kate.  Forgive me if it’s wrong!  I know a lot of Bees have received congratulations from VIP’s and I’m hoping we are just as lucky, although in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal, but if you have the extra invitations, why not?  🙂

Holiday painting with Kiddos '12 045

Also, for those interested, the font for our addresses was free and it’s called MKBritishWriting.  You can find it here.  I picked it after about 30 minutes of browsing and was going to keep the same font from our Save the Dates until Mom Sword said those addresses were too difficult to read and they made our letters look like spam. FAIL.

We also used the free wedding Forever stamps for our US invitations because they fit within the weight of a standard letter.  Two things I didn’t spend much time or energy on was fonts and stamps.  We kept those things simple with minimal effort.

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)

Are you inviting VIP’s to your wedding?  Also, in somewhat related news, Kate Middleton is pregnant, yay!!  Who wishes they were pregnant at the same time as the Duchess of Cambridge?  Ask around, baby envy of the royal couple is a real thing!

Stag Do(s) and Don’ts

Last week, I said I’d recap Mr. Sword’s bachelor/stag party but it’s going to be a bit difficult because HE FORGOT TO TAKE PICTURES.  Clearly, he’s not meant to be a blogger like myself.

Mr. Sword had quite the weekend though!  I guess they drank at their rented home away from home, drank at the local bars, went on a whiskey tour, sang karaoke, and the cops only showed up once.  Success!!  😉

I did manage to steal one photo from Facebook, and luckily, it’s a tame one.  This was taken at a Whiskey distillery in Keith, Scotland.  The story goes that not everyone was feeling well enough to go on the tour the next morning.  Hehe.

Mr. Sword and friends/ photo by Best Man Doc

And keeping with my theme, here are some Stag Do(s) and Don’ts!


DO rent a chalet (house) in the middle of nowhere to ensure one rockin’ good time.

In lieu of a photo I have this quote from one of our groomsmen: “Turns out a stag in the middle of nowhere with little planned is absolute carnage. Ruined.”


DON’T be afraid to invite over everyone in the bar to your rented chalet to party until the wee hours of the morning.  Mr. Sword said that everyone in Keith is insanely nice and were really fun.  I say, inviting strangers over to my house (rented or not) is the last thing I’d ever do!  Clearly, I’m not very friendly though.


DO take lots of shots and play lots of snooker.  (Snooker = pool table.)  Mr. Sword said he didn’t get sick even though he drank in excess and stayed up all night.  It’s gotta be that Scottish blood.  I felt sick hearing about the amount of liquor he ingested.

Again, here’s a quote from a different groomsmen, “The town of Keith has broken me. I am a shadow of a man. A shadow.”


DON’T forget to thank your awesome Best Man for throwing one hell of a Stag party!  (For the record, Mr. Sword didn’t forget and got him a personalized cigar holder.)  Best Man Doc has a PhD (hence his nickname), and has been an awesome friend to Mr. Sword for many years.  In fact, all of Mr. Sword’s buddies back home are really great guys and I’m excited to party with them in Minnesota in a few short months!  Is it March yet??

When I told my future father-in-law that I’m excited both Mr. Sword and I have such great memories from our parties, he replied with, “Yes, but I think Mr. Sword’s memories are a bit fuzzier than yours.”  HAHA.  So true.

Miss Sword Wedding Tip: I recommend scheduling your stag/hen parties for the same weekend if you can, it’s nice to be busy with your friends while they’re busy with theirs, plus then you get to share that special weekend with your partner even if you’re not physically with them!

Do you know what happened at your partner’s bachelor/bachelorette party?  Did anyone else’s guy go away for a long weekend?  Who wants to party in Keith now?

Finally a favor!

First off, we’re coming to the time in this wedding planning process where I might reveal things I don’t want my guests to know until the wedding.  I’m lucky to have some awesome girlfriends (and some guy friends, I’m looking at you B) who read this blog faithfully.  But that said, I want you guys to scram.  You don’t get to read this post.  I’m serious.  So serious I even spent a ridiculous amount of time making the image below.

(icon by Weddingbee, edited by Miss Sword)

Cool.  They’re gone.  Well, I doubt ALL of them are gone, but we’ll pretend they listened.

Hive, I’ve had the inspirational moment I’ve been waiting months for, I’ve decided on a favor!!  I was beginning to think inspiration would not hit, but it did and with plenty of time to spare.

Favors are not something I’ve discussed here before but they’re something I’ve given a lot of thought to.  I was determined to find the one favor that everyone will enjoy AND use again but that still fit our Highland Fairy Tale theme.  Yeeeaaa, that doesn’t exist.  It’s time to face the truth, the only acceptable favor is something edible (or consumable like Mrs. Wallaby’s tea favors, which I’m in love with btw).

No one wants cheap crap with your wedding date on it!  They just don’t.  Unfortunately, I had a hard time accepting this.

Here are the Sword favor rejects in no particular order:

Luggage tags.  It’s useful, and it’s fitting for all of our guests who are flying in from Scotland, Chicago, and the East Coast.  And it kind of matched the little airplane on our STD’s.  Remember?

But the ones in our price range looked a bit cheap, and to be honest, it doesn’t really fit the fairy tale theme.  You think I’m obsessed with the theme, but trust me when I say Mr. Sword is encouraging us to keep everything cohesive as well!

Playing cards.  While they don’t fit the theme outright we thought it would FREAKIN’ SWEET if we could somehow print the tartan on the back of each card so that everyone could take home a piece of Hislastname-Mylastname fabric.  In the end, that idea was CRAZY, expensive, and implausible.

image via Karmakiss

Sword pens.  Yea, I went there.  I’m not ashamed.  They might show up somewhere at the wedding but clearly they were not right for a guest favor.  We are hosting a wedding,  not throwing a birthday party.

All this time, I kept thinking, I’d really prefer to give our guests something they can keep forever, even though no one keeps wedding favors forever unless maybe they’re  your parents.  Yes, my denial went deep.  I considered donating money to a charity as well but I really wanted a little something to give each guest for taking the time and money to attend our wedding (as if a favor can express enough gratitude, because it most definitely can’t).

FINALLY, one Friday night while talking wedding with Mr. Sword, it hit me:  WALKERS SHORTBREAD!

Duh!!  How could I have missed it before?  OH RIGHT, I was avoiding food favors like they were the plague.

Walkers shortbread is a traditional Scottish treat that is both edible and on theme (highlighting the Highland part of things).  The best part is they can be ordered in small packages making them the perfect size for a favor!

image via Amazon

My first experience with Walkers was during a visit to Scotland when Mr. Sword and I stayed at a little B&B in Carrbridge (near Aviemore, Scotland).  We arrived to find this taste of Scotland waiting for us in our sweet little room.


Now if only they came packaged in green instead of bright red- yuck.

(all photos personal unless otherwise noted)

Did you do an edible or consumable favor as well or have you stumbled on the perfect favor that lasts a lifetime?  Have you tried Walkers Shortbread before?

On being a wedding guest

This past weekend I was at the wedding of a college friend of mine from U of I. They got married at a vineyard in Virginia and even though the weather was being a bit temperamental, the wedding was lovely and a real definition of love.  For those of you going with an autumn, rustic or winery themed wedding, take note!

the outdoor ceremony option

Mr. Sword in the reception space

the adorable sweetheart table

During our visit to the DC area and before my friend’s wedding, Mr. Sword and I were lucky enough to visit and stay with one of my high school girlfriends.  We met up with her for dinner and got to explore the city she calls home (for the time being anyway, her hubby is military).  Even though I was flying to Virginia for a wedding, it felt silly not to stop in and say hi to my friend when I was so close!  Not only did we get to catch up but she also did my hair and makeup before we left for the wedding, what an awesome friend.

Getting pretty

And we weren’t the only people making the most of our flights to the east coast, I would say at least 5 other friends (or more) were visiting other friends or in some cases, family, while they were in town for the wedding, which got me thinking.

Weddings have become such different beasts over the years.  Now more than ever, couples strive to make their celebrations as personal as possible, and there seems to be no limit on ideas.  If you can dream it, you can make it happen!  Locations are virtually endless with the ease of travel these days and with the added perk of seeing other people you know, destination-type weddings make great excuses for mini-vacations.  🙂

Once upon a time (back in the day) people used to go to college in their home state, buy houses near their parents, and marry in the town where they were born. Now this still happens of course, but not quite as often.  People are also getting married later in life after living away from home for years, after having established many different friend groups, after they’ve held “real” jobs and maybe even after they’ve been abroad.  Because of all this, people end up having friends splattered all across the country and lots of out-of-town guests by the time they get hitched.

I know for a fact that many people are going to use our wedding a way to either explore the US or visit family and friends and I’m more than OK with that!

Wee sis and her fiancé B will be hitting up New York before our wedding, and another groomsmen has plans to see Vancouver before making his way to Minnesota. I’ve heard plans of a few Chicago guests who are visiting Minnesota folks either before or after our big event, and my in-laws plan to take a mini-trip to Duluth for a few days following the wedding before flying back to Scotland.  We have about 75% of our guests* coming from outside of Minnesota so I will be humbly and eternally grateful to those who make the trip and I encourage all of our traveling guests to make the most of their visit up North!  🙂

I love attending my friend’s weddings, no matter where they are located.  It’s always worth the trip. 🙂

Happy Swords!

(all photos personal and used with permission)

How many weddings would you say you’ve gone to that are out-of-state or out-of-country in the last few years?  Do you think weddings have changed much over the last few decades?

*For those of you who like numbers (I don’t, this is all courtesy of Mr. Sword), this is our guest break down pre-invitations going out:

image courtesy of Mr. Sword

How to keep a Sword in the country

In this case, I mean Sword as my Mr. Sword, not the actual weapon.  At this point, most of you know Mr. Sword is from Scotland, because let’s face it, I talk about Scottish stuff all the time!

obligatory photo of Scottish castle by Miss Sword

Mr. Sword has been in the US since early 2009 and is able to work here because of his L1 visa, which is all fine and dandy, but when you are here on a visa you have very limited control on where you work, live, and can move.  While he’s happy at his job, it’s scary to think that they are the only reason he’s able to stay in the US.

However, after March of 2013, we can begin the process of applying for a green card because Mr. Sword will be married to yours truly.  We are looking forward to being able to make decisions for our new little family based on what is best for us and not because we have no other options.  The process of applying for a green card is daunting to say the least.  I know it can vary from taking a year or so to about five years depending on what country you are from and how long the paperwork takes to get through the system.

I have no idea where to start but I’d like to begin compiling the necessary pieces before the Big Day if at all possible, and that is why I’m thinking of purchasing THIS book:

It looks like it could be very informative but also very long and boring.  And not every section applies to us.  Case in point, “If you are getting married for legitimate reasons, you can skip this section and continue reading at Section D.”  They want to make sure you’re not trying for a “sham marriage.”  NICE.

This books appears to cover things like collecting and managing your paperwork, how to prepare to meet with US officials, navigating the two-year testing period, what to do if you’re rejected, how to renew green cards and visas, and tons more!  While it seems like it’d be helpful, I’m still undecided on whether or not this book is worth purchasing… isn’t there a blog I could read instead?

In the meantime I have some FAQ’s of the Swords…

What is a green card really?  According to this website called USA VISA Express, “A Green Card holder is a status that grants a person authorization to permanently live and work in the United States.”

Does this mean Mr. Sword will become a U.S. citizen?  No, having a green card is different from being a citizen.  From my limited understanding, Mr. Sword will still be a Scottish citizen and unable to do things such as vote while he’s living in the US.  And to be honest, Mr. Sword has no desire to become a U.S. citizen, he’s proud of his heritage and so am I; we want him to be able to live here full-time while still embracing the culture he is from.

How much does it cost?  A billion dollars!  (I’m kidding.)  Too much.  I have no clue at this point, but I heard from a mutual acquaintance who married an Englishman that it’s 500 dollars for me to sponsor him and 1000 dollars for him to apply.  But this number depends on whether or not we hire a lawyer or an online source to help guide us through the process, which could add a few more thousand to our overall number.  Right after paying for a wedding too!  Puke.

Will they interview your friends and family?  Possibly.  I hear that could happen.  I’ve also heard we should start saving old emails, photos, and cards from our life together, as well as utility bills with both our names on them.  Umm, maybe we can submit our wedding video as evidence?  🙂

Will your kids be duel-citizens?  Yes, I think so!  I guess even though our children will most likely be born in the US, because Mr. Sword is Scottish and I’m American, our kids will be citizens of both the US/UK.  Some resources say you need to register them with the British Embassy and others say, just get them passports from both countries and you’ll be  set.

Mr. Sword has the best way of describing it, which always makes me smile.  He says when our kids fly over to Scotland, the customs people will be like, “Hey, welcome back!”  When our kids fly home to America, the people in customs will be like, “Hey, welcome back!”  Currently, when Mr. Sword and I travel abroad we go through different custom lines, so it’ll be nice for the kids to be able to hop in the “welcome back” line instead of the “What are you doing in this country?” line.

So that’s what’s on my mind today.  Does anyone have any tips or resources I should consider besides the book I’m looking at currently?  Please be kind if I have posted misinformation, I’m still learning about all of this stuff!

Guess who’s engaged?

No, not me silly!  I got engaged this past February.  It’s actually someone who is like a sister to me but no, I’m not talking about Sister Big Eyes, although she just got engaged in May.

OK, no more stalling… IT’S MY FUTURE SISTER-IN-LAW!!!  That’s right, Mr. Sword’s Wee Sis got engaged last week to her man B and we are so excited and happy for them!!  🙂

Can you tell she’s related to Mr. Sword?

Wee Sis and her guy B have been together since Uni (college) and already own a house together (because they are that cool)!  It is a real bummer we don’t live closer because they are awesome people and it’s a shame we don’t get to see them very often.  It’s hard to have family across the pond, but thankfully with email and Skype, we are able to keep in touch pretty often.  I can’t wait to see them in March at our wedding so I can congratulate them in person!

B was quite the romantic when he proposed to Wee Sis!  He led her up the front steps and through the house by way of 100 candles and lots of flowers!  Wee Sis said that while they had discussed getting married quite a bit, she had no idea when the proposal was coming!  She was completely surprised (and a bit warm due to all the candles) when it happened!

Not only am I excited for their wedding because they are part of my new family, but also because it will be my FIRST Scottish wedding in Scotland!  True to UK style, they are going to have a long engagement of about two years or more so they can enjoy this special time and save a bit of money.  Wee Sis is ready to start reading Weddingbee for ideas though!

Well, that’s me fresh out of sisters, so unless The Glue is ready to tie the knot (he’s not btw), then I guess I’m done sharing family related engagements for a while!

Just wait til we all start having babies around the same time.  Yeesh.  🙂

(photos courtesy of B)

I love to hear engagement stories, did anyone you know recently get engaged?  How cool is it that BOTH my sister and Mr. Sword’s sister are engaged?