Tag Archive | sword

A Highland Fairy Tale: We Steal a Midnight Kiss

One of my favorite moments of our whole wedding weekend took place around midnight the night before our wedding.  The rehearsal dinner was finished and BM L Dawg and H were trying to sleep in the adjoining room while I was trying to type my last post as a Miss in the living area.  Don’t you just love hotel suites?

I had previously said goodnight to Mr. Sword in the lobby as we split up, him to the bar to have one last drink, and me to the girls’ getting ready room where I was staying for the night.

But as I sat there typing away at my laptop, trying to shove all of my emotions into concise but eloquent thoughts, I decided I wanted to see him one last time.  I mean, he was so close, I could hear laughing coming from the hotel bar, voices of people who were here for our wedding.  In that moment, I wanted one more goodnight kiss.  One more embrace.

So I texted him, “Where are u?”

And he replied, “At the bar with my dad!”

“Nice ok!  If you leave soon come knock on my door to say hi! 🙂  I’m blogging.” (Clearly, it’s all about the hive.)

“Will do! Just having one!”

(The Swords are avid users of the exclamation point!)

About ten minutes later (or some other amount of time, I have no idea but ten minutes sounds nice) I heard a faint knock at the door and there he was, the man I was going to marry in mere hours!  I got butterflies in my stomach as I crept out into the hall.

I only have a foggy memory of what we said to each other, but I probably asked him how the bar was and if he’d be OK sleeping by himself. (Guys don’t buddy sleep, ya know?)  I probably said something like, “We’re getting married tomorrow!”  And then he probably said something like, “It’s after midnight, I shouldn’t see you, it’s technically our wedding day.”  To which I probably responded with a “Bah, who cares?”

While I don’t remember words, I do remember feelings, (as does my Mister).  We remember feeling happy, giddy, safe, loved, and calm.  I remember feeling this was the beginning of something amazing.

I had always pictured my last night as a single lady gossiping with my friends or crying tears of joy with my sister, but my friends were tired and wanted to hit the hay right away, and my sister has really long hair and wanted to shower in her own room so she opted to sleep with her fiancé to make things easier in the morning.  I guess I was meant to be alone with my thoughts and I think it’s sweet that my last conversation before I went to bed was with my future husband.

After our quick chat, we kissed once or twice more and said goodnight for real and I finished my post, stowed my laptop, and fell asleep surprisingly quick for someone who can rarely shut their brain off fully when they are extra excited.

Tomorrow I was going to be the bride.  I was going to marry an amazing man and celebrate with my favorite people on the planet.  There’s nothing quite like going to bed and knowing you’re going to wake up to your very own wedding day.  As I fell asleep I knew tomorrow would be golden.

Photo by Friend AB

Photo by Friend AB

Did you have one picture in your head for the night before your wedding only to have something different happen?  Anyone else steal a goodnight or goodbye kiss from their partner at an unexpected moment?

Sword Wedding footer FINAL

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!

Swords of the Caribbean: The “To Do” List

Yesterday I shared my “avoid” list and today it’s time for the equally  exciting sequel!  These are the Sword recommendations for getting the most out of your amazing beach vacation.

DO THIS:

Do get up early to reserve chairs.  The simple truth is there are more people than there are prime lounging locations and to get a spot near the beach under a little canopy or right next to a pool you gotta wake up early.  Mr. Sword and I quickly learned that 7 AM wasn’t early enough so we set our alarms for 5:30 AM (punch me in the face) and took turns going to reserve our spots.

We gave up on trying to save towels and used my flip flops and a pink t-shirt instead.

We gave up on trying to save towels and used my flip-flops and a pink t-shirt instead.

Most mornings we were able to go back to sleep for a bit but some days we took a lazy nap around 1 PM.  Naps are fun in Jamaica, not so much in real life.  Mrs. Mink touched on this in her post about Jamaica too which I read luckily read before we went, so thanks for the tip Mink!

A view of the seating area by the beach and a squinty Mr. Sword.

A view of the seating area by the beach and a squinty Mr. Sword.

Do get a couple’s massage.  Because why the hell not?  Mr. Sword is the type of guy who LOVES massages but who refuses to let his wife massage him.  Why you ask?  He thinks I’m just roughly poking him and I think he just can’t handle my awesomeness.  So we leave it to the professionals, and it’s sexy.  The robes, the nudity, the side by side breathing, the low-lighting and sweet-smelling room, it’s all gooood.  And if there is a spa on your resort you should really check it out!  I also did a seaweed wrap because we had a credit to the spa leftover from our package which was fun but slightly less so because I wasn’t with my man (awww I know, so cute you wanna puke).

Posing near the beautiful fountain outside Red Lane Spa.

Posing near the beautiful fountain outside Red Lane Spa.

Do get a room facing the ocean.  I’m so happy Mr. Sword splurged on the ocean side view room (and concierge services for that matter) because I can’t imagine going all the way to Jamaica and staring at a building or your typical garden all week.  We were on the second floor and used our balcony often but probably could have enjoyed it even more!

I feel like I have a slight tan in this picture.  Success!

I feel like I have a slight tan in this picture. Success!

The best part was having a few private breakfasts on the balcony while still being outside and staring at the beautiful Jamaican beach.

I took all inclusive to mean order enough for three people at each sitting because there's no immediate bill!

I took all-inclusive to mean order enough for three people at each sitting because there’s no immediate bill!

Do try to wear lingerie as much as possible.  And no, I don’t have photos of this part you freaks!  🙂  Sorry if this is TMI but I think I might have brought more lingerie than swimsuits and my reasoning was this, 1)  I had just received a ton of it as gifts so most items were new and never before seen by Mr. Sword and 2) I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of opportunity for sexy beach vacations like this in the future and I wanted to make it special.  It was our honeymoon after all!

Do go for the concierge package.  From the minute you arrive you get whisked away to a special air-conditioned room for check-in that is only for concierge guests.  They book all of your reservations for you, including dinner, spa, and any excursions you want to plan.  But my favorite perks have to be the free mini bar complete with water bottles, pop, wine, beer, and hard liquor, and the complimentary robes in our room.

Comfy Swords relaxing.

Comfy Swords relaxing.

Do have one special and private candlelit dinner on the beach if the budget allows.  This was an evening I’ll never forget.  The food was amazing, the woman serving us was adorable and kind, and I was alone with my love on the beach in Negril.  We reminisced about our trip, our amazing wedding, and dreamed about our future.  Mr. Sword being the smart guy he is had us book our special dinner for TWO nights before we left so we didn’t have to spend our last night packing after our romantic meal.  Such a good call!

Part of the package included a bottle of champagne and a rose for the lady!

Part of the package included a bottle of champagne and a rose for the lady!

Do explore the freebies.  We took a boat ride in the glass bottom boat to view some fish and coral, we  took the two-person kayak out and tried our hand at the water trike (which was super lame btw).  We were going to go snorkeling which was included as well but Mr. Sword ended up with too much water in his ears and we didn’t want to make him even more uncomfortable.

Our favorite photographer Dale sneakily snapped this pic of us!

Our favorite photographer Dale sneakily snapped this pic of us!

There you have it, the Sword honeymoon!  We had a great trip with mostly beautiful weather (it rained a few of the days) and made so many wonderful memories.  Even though we kept to ourselves a lot of the time, we still managed to meet some great new friends that we hope to run into again some day!

I highly recommend going the all-inclusive route if you enjoy things like not carrying your own bags, gluttonous eating, reading on the beach, and doing a lot of nothing!

This is my favorite.

This is my favorite.

(photos by Sandals Snap Shots or personal to the Swords)

Next up, I’m gonna close the Sword honeymoon series with a request!  I’m going to share my packing list and detail what I actually used and what wasn’t worth bringing.  Hopefully this will help those of you gearing up for your moons!

Swords of the Caribbean: The “Avoid” List

I’d like to start with my “avoid” list so I can end on a positive note tomorrow with all the positives of our sunny beach vacation!  Plus, I’m a whiner at heart.  So here we go…

Sporting my new Jamaica dress!

Sporting my new Jamaican inspired dress!

AVOID THIS:

Avoid going to a Sandals resort on Reunion Week because your neighbors will be predominately middle-aged and older couples who have been there many times before making you and your partner look like all-inclusive resort noobs.  They’ll know the ropes, they’ll get all the good seats, and worst of all the resort will focus on celebrating anniversaries instead of honeymoons.  Seriously, every little reception we went to was focused on who’d been married the longest!  I’m a bit of an attention whore and as it was our honeymoon I was excepting some perks.  Don’t expect perks.  Especially on reunion week.  Expect lots of sage married advice instead.

Sexy Mr. Sword in our posing in our room

Sexy Mr. Sword posing in our room

Avoid showering at all costs.  I quickly learned that the showers had two settings, freezing, and somewhat luke warm, and don’t even get me started on the lack of pressure.  I prefer my shower water to beat me aggressively at a scalding hot temperature.

In front of the main pool one evening
In front of the main pool one evening

Avoid doing day trips and leaving the resort or at the very least keep them to a minimum.  We did one excursion to walk up the Dunn River Falls (beautiful) and kiss a dolphin (amazing) but we were gone from 8 am to 8 pm and it was such a long day that consisted mostly of traveling!

We were in a bus for a total of seven hours because we had to pick up about 14 other couples from different Sandals resorts’ in Montego Bay on our way to Ochos Rios.  It was really fun and entertaining on the way there because our tour guide taught us tons of information about the history of Jamaica but by the time we headed home later that day I was ready to plop into bed from exhaustion (especially after days of doing nothing).

This is what we were missing when we were on that bus.  Bliss.

This is what we were missing when we were on that bus. Bliss.

Avoid the resort photographers.  Unless you’re like me and love getting your picture taken, it’s best to politely decline after a while because they will ask you EVERY SINGLE DAY.  Mr. Sword and I took photos almost all ten days (because I wanted pics in all my outfits) and he was a trooper but he was getting really sick of it.  We ended up making friends with one photographer in particular and tried to seek him out by the end of our time in Negril.  And hey, if it weren’t for Dale we wouldn’t have beautiful shots like this:

photo by Dale from Snap Shots in Sandals Negril

photo by Dale from Snap Shots in Sandals Negril

Aren’t we awkward cute all wrapped up in a palm tree?

Avoid the bland buffet and eat at the nicer restaurants.  The buffet is nice because you can eat as much as your heart desires (and boy did my heart desire some food) but the restaurants that have a wait staff and menu seemed to have a much better cuisine.

quantity yes but not quality

quantity yes but not so much quality

Avoid technology (which we did successfully I might add!) so you can enjoy your partner and ALL of this:

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Next up I’ll share all the stuff you MUST do while at an all-inclusive resort and share more pics from our trip!

(all photos personal)

Can you relate to anything on my list?  Anything else that should be avoided?

Swords of the Caribbean: My Big Fat Jamaican Honeymoon

Damn it feels good to be back!  Hi hive, long time no blog.  The Swords are back from their first beach vacation and they are the epitome of bronze gods.  False.  They only managed a wee tan (that has since left them) and one good day of sunburn (OK, that was just me).

Day One: Really White

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Day Ten: Less White

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Back in June of 2012 Mr. Sword booked us a wonderful package at Sandals Negril in stunning Jamaica.  He made a fabulous choice and we really enjoyed our beautiful home away from home on the famous 7 mile beach at an all-inclusive couple’s oasis.  It was an amazing ten days!

Well, an amazing 8 days anyway.  The first day I spent gawking at other couples (I’m a people watcher) and trying to make a schedule while squinting from the sun, and the last day I spent dreaming of my own bed and a shower with some power.

Am I the only person who thinks ten days is really freaking long?!?!  🙂  I kid.  Kinda.  I’m a person who is constantly on the go and while I love relaxing on the couch after a long day, I have trouble doing nothing for days on end.  It’s a habit I never really learned as a kid, just like ironing and sports.

The absolute BEST part of the vacation was spending so much quality time with Mr. Sword.  And it’s wonderful to be so happily in love after all these month of marriage.  (Sorry for the dumb jokes but I’m just giddy to be back!)  🙂

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In all seriousness we had a blast laying side by side in lounge chairs next to the ocean and walking hand in hand on the beach.  We loved getting dressed up to visit all the different restaurants, flirting (with each other) in the pools, and cuddling up together in the hot tub.  It was a wonderful ten days and I know I haven’t been that relaxed in a loooong time.

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If you’re wondering why there’s all of these professionally posed photos of us it’s because we spent a bazillion dollars for the rights to them and that means I must post as many of them as possible!

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I was planning to go into detail about each day of our honeymoon but it would get pretty redundant fast (we ate, we went to the beach, we ate, we went to the pool, we ate, repeat) so instead I’m going to share a “to avoid” list and a “to do” list in my next two posts.  Hopefully they are helpful to those of you still planning your honeymoons and entertaining to the rest off you!

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Fun facts in rapid succession with little to no explanation:

We arrived in Negril with seven full cans/bottles of sunscreen and used every last one of them.

I kept my phone off the entire time and never went online so our unplugged honeymoon was a success.

The Jamaican people are amazing and it was great getting to know some of them.

I ate a disgustingly large plate of nachos almost every single day and I drank alcohol constantly without ever really getting too tipsy.

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(all photos taken by Snap Shots of Sandals Negril)

Are you considering going to Jamaica or another Caribbean island for your honeymoon?  IS ten days a long time or am I a crazy person?

Unplugged Honeymoon

I know my fellow bees have discussed the pros and cons of having an unplugged ceremony, but today I want to share why we’re choosing to have an unplugged honeymoon.

Heaven on Earth: Katrina & Matthews Queensland & French Polynesian Honeymoon – Part 2 Bora Bora

Photo by: Dandi on Polka Dot Bride via Lover.ly

(If you want to read about where we’re going and why I don’t know much about it, see this!)

I should really clarify something: “unplugged” in my eyes means NOT connecting with social media or communicating with others by using electronic devices in any form.  (Also, for what it’s worth, I LOVED seeing photos on Facebook the day following my wedding so I definitely didn’t mind have a plugged in ceremony!)

I just bought a new laptop hive.  It’s a really nice, compact Sony Ultrabook complete with Windows 8 and a touch screen.  I love technology even though I’m rubbish at working most gadgets.  Enter Mr. Sword.  He is intuitive when it comes to most devices and what he doesn’t know offhand he looks up and teaches himself (and then he teaches me).  We’re exclusively Android people because Mr. Sword doesn’t like Apple products (due to the lack of customization) and I just like to be different.  We’re those people that desire to someday run our entire house (lights, music, etc) off of one tablet that is located IN THE WALL.  We love all things Google, we are eternally grateful for the ability to Skype with Mr. Sword’s parents in Scotland whenever we want, and we both use Facebook to keep in touch with those close to our heart but who are far from our home.

We LOVE technology but technology is NOT welcome on our honeymoon to the Caribbean.  (Let’s assume for the sake of this post that WiFi is easily accessible wherever we are staying, which it usually is these days.)

While it would be fun to text “OMG this sunset!” to my friends or share photos on Facebook of our toes in the sand, the only person I want to be connected to on our trip is Mr. Sword.  That also means there will be NO browsing blog posts before dinner, playing games on our phones while waiting for transportation, or uploading pictures after a long day of sight-seeing.  We won’t be posting updates or tweeting about our latest excursions because no one needs to know what’s going on during our honeymoon. This trip will be about each other.

Side note: We will be keeping our phones with us in case of emergency but we won’t be using them for much else besides telling time (I don’t wear watches, ugly wrists).  And we’ll also be bringing our Kindles because there’s no better way to lug a large quantity of books with you and not take up a ton of space.

I know I’ve mentioned this before but our honeymoon will be our first vacation alone in over three years of being together which makes it extra special!  After our Big Day Mr. Sword and I went straight back into life and work.  We also had my wonderful in-laws in town visiting us in Chicago immediately following the wedding in Minnesota.  They were so sweet to be concerned about crashing with us newlyweds but we assured them our wedding was about family and we encouraged them to stay with us while they were still in America.  (We don’t get to see them often enough!)

The honeymoon on the other, we explained, is only about us.  The honeymoon is about relaxing after a stressful year of wedding planning, about spending quality time together that doesn’t include paying bills, driving in the car for 8 hours to MN, or buying groceries.  It’s about trying new and exciting things together, laughing our asses off, being romantic, and making memories to keep for a lifetime.  And that’s why it doesn’t feel right to bring technology with us.  Hello third wheel!

This also means I will be taking a break from blogging for a few weeks (can’t believe I’ve been a Sword since this past July!).  I’m going to take some time to be present with my new husband but I’ll soon be back with honeymoon posts and eventually wedding recaps (whoo-hoo)!

When we get home from the Caribbean we will be so excited to share our adventures with family, friends, Weddingbee, etc!  🙂  At that time we will choose which photos to post and which ones to keep to ourselves, we’ll choose which stories have to be told and which ones are better left unsaid, and we’ll update our status’ with life comparisons and complain about the lack of warm weather we had to come home to in the Midwest.  Life will go on and we will welcome technology back with open arms.  But on our honeymoon, it’s just me and him and it’s gonna be grand.

Would you consider an unplugged honeymoon or do you prefer to stay connected no matter where you are?  Did you go to the Caribbean, and if so where??  I’m going to miss all of you and your awesome comments and my fellow bloggers’ posts!  Sniffle sniffle.  See you all in a few weeks!  🙂

Love,

Mrs. Sword

Obligatory How I Found My Wedding Dress Post

Since I kept Evie (remember how I named her?) a secret from all of you until after our wedding I figured it’s only fair to explain how I found her, and most of all share photos of our alterations journey together!

To recap, I bought her at the Wedding Shoppe, Inc., back in June of 2012 with Mom Sword, Sister Big Eyes, Auntie B, and BM L Dawg in attendance. There were some tears and I had the “this is the dress” feeling so I considered it a successful day! After a week of disappointing appointments and knowing I was heading back home to Chicago in two days, I was so thrilled to have found my wedding gown!

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This dress is the epitome of glamorous in my eyes.  It’s sexy on top and fit for a princess on the bottom.  It’s dramatic and a little crazy (like me) and it was actually really easy to wear all day!  It was very comfortable and my favorite part was lifting up the bottom of the dress and feeling like I was being swallowed up by the ruffles.

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Naturally everyone wanted to get in on the lifting of the ruffles, or make fun of me, either way I didn’t mind.  I’d found my dress!  So you can imagine my surprise and frankly, disgust, when I first tried it on again in October.  It was so wrinkled and ill-fitting (hard to tell in the photo below), and it was far from glamorous.

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This is one of the few pictures taken from my first fitting and there’s no need to go into all that again.  You can tell by my face in the mirror that I am NOT happy.

Fast forward to my fittings with our family friend L, a five-pound weight loss, a steamed dress, and you’ll see me as a happy bride-to-be!

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We ended up taking in the sides where it hit my legs and everyone warned me that dancing would be difficult but I’ve always preferred my clothing to be body hugging and I’m here to report I danced the entire night without a problem in my tight fit and flare gown!  🙂

The second fitting (first time looking at alterations) was where we discovered the veil I’d borrowed from Mrs. Archer didn’t match my ivory dress at all (I was so sad)!  Luckily, L had a bit of ivory tulle lying around her sewing room and she ended up making me the beautiful veil you’ll see in all of my photos.  We did something a bit different by making a small poof at the top of the veil to sit behind my tiara. I can’t wait to show you guys the way it looked in the professional photos!

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I chose to do a three-point bustle.  It was pretty simple (or so I hear), the most difficult part being finding where the hooks were located.  The best part about having a jagged, ruffled bottom was that I could bustle my gown for our rainy pre-ceremony photos without wrinkling my dress, which was then un-bustled for the ceremony and then bustled again for the reception.  Phew, that’s a lot of bustling!

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Sister/MOH Big Eyes practicing the bustle days before the wedding!

Sister/MOH Big Eyes practicing the bustle days before the wedding!

I practiced walking down the hallway and family friend L told me to remember to keep my head up anytime I was walking, she said it’s so awkward when brides stare at the ground the whole time worried about tripping on their dress.  The many layers of my gown made walking tricky at first but by the end of alterations it was the perfect length.

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I could stare at the back of my dress forever but alas it’s time to say goodbye… for now… I am so incredibly LUCKY that I get to do a wedding gown photo shoot with my sister after her Big Day in June. I can’t wait to wear Evie in some warmer weather and take some cool shots next to my lovely sister.  And don’t worry I’ll definitely be sharing our Rock the Frock Sister Shoot with the hive!

(all photos personal)

Did you go through a love/dislike process with your wedding dress too?  How did your alterations go?  Who else is obsessed with RUFFLES!?!

Pre Wedding Depression, Didn’t See This One Coming

Disclaimer:  So yea, I’m going to talk about depression and I know that word can mean different things to different people and it can cause lots of very strong opinions, but I just want to recognize that everyone’s journey is unique to them and I only speak for myself.  Cool.

Scotland April 2012

Scotland April 2012

Throughout my year of wedding planning I was well aware of and well equipped to handle post wedding depression. I had read about it, heard first hand experiences about it, and had personally experienced the feeling of loss that can overtake one after something exciting ends (in my case, when I show I was performing in closed, it always left me a little sad). I was doing everything right to combat post wedding depression. I kept my friendships active, I planned for events post-wedding, and I reminded myself that there would be many exciting life events to look forward to with Mr. Sword.

Fortunately, I don’t feel any PWD (yay)! I loved my wedding day; I’m grateful it went so well and I’m happy to be married to the love of my life. But it turns out I was preparing for the wrong thing…

If you Google Pre Wedding Depression you can find articles that talk about it. They mostly go on about brides being so stressed out planning their wedding that they turn “blue.” This is not what I felt. I can handle stress. I can handle my anxiety (poorly but I can), and I can handle being “blue.” What I felt in the last few months of planning was painful.

It probably wasn’t evident from my blogging and it didn’t affect my job as a nanny but in my downtime I was apathetic, lonely, pessimistic, melancholy, and just plain sad. My Mom says when we have many changes in our lives our chemical balances can get off, and whether that’s true or not, that’s what I felt. Mr. Sword was traveling every week for work and I had way too much time to be alone, and to think. I was agonizing about all the upcoming changes in our careers, our location, and our relationship. I was feeling overwhelmed at the responsibilities of being someone’s wife, as I suddenly thought I wouldn’t be enough. And I was scared of failing, at well, everything.

So of course I picked fights with Mr. Sword. I had lots of emotional breakdowns on the phone to Mom, Sister, and Best Friends. I spent a few Saturdays in bed too depressed to move.

Sure, there were a few factors that helped contribute to my low mental state, the holidays were over, the winter dreariness was just beginning, and the thought of hosting the biggest event of our life seemed so overwhelming that everything else in life looked equally as daunting. Whatever the trigger, I knew I was not feeling like myself. I knew something was off.

At first it became apparent that I was a wreck every other weekend and so I began dreading every other weekend. I thought about seeing someone outside of my family to talk about things with but eventually we decided to go the holistic route and stocked up on herbal pills and extracts to help aid me in positive thinking and lower my anxiety. These things worked… slightly? Or perhaps they were a mental trick, either way I was working on feeling better and I was glad.

Soon enough both January and February past and by March I was starting to feel like myself again. I was still nervous for the big day (hello control freak) and I was still prone to emotional breakdowns (but what bride isn’t?), but I was happy and positive. It was a relief to be excited for the future again instead of dreaming up worst case scenarios.

Looking back from the other side I feel blessed to have had so many amazing people in my life that listened to me when I needed that, or made me laugh when I needed that, or acted excited about the wedding when I needed that. Mostly I’m grateful for having a partner who will discuss anything with me no matter how crazy I sound, who I can trust with my worst and most personal fears, and who loves me even when I’m not feeling 100% like myself.

love you baby!

Muah! love you baby!

(all photos personal)

Treading carefully here, does anyone else want to share their pre or post wedding depression experiences?  How did you get past the low moments?

The Monumental Task That is Gifting Everyone

It’s time to discuss gifts in this photo heavy post!  I tried to be concise but I also wanted to squeeze it into one post so bear with me and hopefully you’ll get some ideas for gifts for your family or bridal party!

First, three tips:  1) Shop early.  You know you’ll need gifts so no need to wait until the last month.   2) Make a list of everyone you want to thank early so you don’t forget anyone.  3) A theme can help guide your gifting.

Here are the gifts we bought for those involved with the Sword Wedding starting with the ladies!

Bridesmaids and Honor Attendants: Dressing for the wedding.

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The first decision I made was to gift them their jewelry for the wedding (including the infamous tartan necklace which is not pictured in the photo above and a pair of earrings), and from there I added a black scarf/wrap to keep them warm during outdoor photos.  I also added a lip plumper lipstick from Victoria’s Secret, plus notebooks for the maids and mugs for the honor attendants.

My favorite piece that we gave the ladies was their custom-made reusable tote bags found on Etsy (which you’ll soon notice is a theme with me.)

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I absolutely loved them and would definitely recommend them except I didn’t care for the bows they came with, they seemed too pink and too lacy for our wedding.

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Luckily I already had something else in mind.

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Corresponding princess key chains for each girl!

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Ahh, much better.  I also wanted to get a little something extra for my Sister/MOH Big Eyes to thank her for all her help with our wedding so I went back to Etsy and found this bracelet that had a quote engraved on it from the movie Beauty and the Beast, which is fitting because MOH’s princess identity is Belle.  It says, “I want much more than this provincial life.”  Lovely.

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Groomsmen: Cheers, I’ll drink to that!

This group was easy.  A personalized flask seemed to be the perfect gift for our favorite alcohol-loving men.  I make them sound like a bunch of drunks, but that’s not entirely true.  They just enjoy their libations.  We went to Things Remembered for these and were thrilled with the results.  It’s too blurred to tell but we added each guy’s name and the wedding date, as well “Best Man” for our Best Man.

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We also had to throw in a reference to the Chicago Bears as Mr. Sword is a HUGE fan.  I know it seems weird that a Scotsman cares about American football as much as Mr. Sword does but he actually grew up watching NFL in Glasgow with his Dad.  So we went with the drinking theme and got them each a Bears key chain bottle opener.

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Parents: New family member, more love.

I was on the hunt for something different you guys!  I wanted to give the parents something besides a frame.  But when I went to Mom Sword and asked her what she wanted she said point blank, “A frame.”  GAH!  So it was back to Things Remembered with their awesome engraving skills to pick up two gorgeous frames that we will eventually be filled with wedding pictures.  No I.O.U’s included, for some reason they bother me!

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The names have been edited out but the champagne colored frame is for Mr. Sword’s parents and has his name first, and the silver one is for my parents and it has my name first.  Aren’t we clever?  And of course we included the wedding date!

To supplement the frames we found these beautiful necklaces from Etsy which say “thank you for raising the woman/man of my dreams.”  My heart melted when I first saw them and I just knew they’d be perfect for our moms!  Even if they hardly wear them, they’ll be a sweet reminder of the wedding day and carry such beautiful sentiment.

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Finally, the Dads had to get a little something extra so we went back to Da Bears theme and found these t-shirts!  Dad Sword is a Vikings fan through and through but he’s already worn his Bears shirt once because he likes his son-in-law that much!

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Flower Girl: One of a kind.

Having only one flower girl made it so I could go a bit crazy on Littlest C and not worry about having to buy duplicates, so that’s what I did!  We bought her a book that has multiple pages for adding photos from the wedding and for journal-ling memories and specific details as well as pockets to store the actual petals that she dropped during the ceremony.  (Are you crying yet?)  I also gifted Littlest C her wedding day jewelry like I did for the rest of the bridal party, and the best gift of all, (thank you Etsy, yes, AGAIN), has to be the personalized handkerchief i ordered for her with this inscription on it: Today you are young but the years will quickly pass by And soon you’ll be a bride in the blink of an eye.  So here is something for that time when you will say I need something old for my wedding day.  Cue my sobbing!

Flower Girl book can be found here on Amazon.  Totally worth it!

Flower Girl book can be found here on Amazon. Totally worth it!

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Ushers: Electronic Thank yous.

All four ushers (three cousins and nanny kid Big C) received a gift card, a movie, and of course their piece of tartan, the bow tie.  For my girl cousin usher, she received her bow tie in the form of a hair clip.  Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of their beautiful ties!

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This is getting really long so I’m going to stop with the pictures but I want to mention we also chose to thank our two readers for reading, my cousin for walking our remembrance flowers down the aisle, Boss Lady for making all of the beautiful tartan pieces, and FBIL for playing guitar during cocktail hour.  These gifts ranged from jewelry to gift cards but we definitely put thought into each and every one of them!

And don’t forget to write a personalized thank you note to go with each gift because sometimes that means more than the gift itself.  Mr. Sword and I sort of split up the thank you cards because I wanted us both to take part in this process.  Even though Mr. Sword complains about writing he’s actually pretty good at it!  🙂

(all photos personal and many of these gifts can be found clicking on the provided links)

Have you finished up buying your gifts for everyone?  Any amazing gift ideas that you want to add to the list?

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?

A Bee’s Life: Sword Edition

Lest you think all I do is blog, know that this post was written weeks before my wedding in preparation for posting when I knew I would have zero free time.  I do love to keep a schedule, wedding or not! 🙂

This is by far my favorite series of all the bee ongoing series’ because I love to learn about what goes on behind the scenes of anything.  When I first found Weddingbee and before I applied to be a blogger I poured over as many of these entries as I could find.  I found them to be extremely helpful and insightful and inspiring, and I hope my post helps you in the same way.

1.  How I found Weddingbee:

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Well, this one’s easy.  I got engaged in February of 2012 and immediately started asking my friends for their favorite wedding blogs.  One of the of recommendations was Weddingbee.  The Fairy Tale/Magic generation icons were just beginning to appear and I proceeded to fall head over heels in love with this community.

This is going to come across slightly arrogant or conceited but there’s no other way to say it.  I kid you not, from the minute I laid eyes on this fantastic website I knew I was supposed to be a WB blogger.  I know it sounds dramatic and weird but I swear, I was drawn to it and I had this gut feeling I was going to be a blogger one day.  Mind you, I didn’t have a wedding blog going at the time and no idea where to even begin, but being that I was having a Fairy Tale wedding that coincided with the Fairy Tale/Magic generation, I felt it was all meant to bee!

2. My application story:

Before I talk about my application I want to share that my passion for writing started at an early age.  I used to write a ton in my angsty teenage years in the form of poetry and journal entries.  I’ve been obsessed with quotations (as I’ve mentioned before) for as long as I can remember, because I’m drawn to the way others communicate their thoughts.  I also used to write short plays for my home church’s drama team and I’m the person who gets asked to write little notes or change song lyrics for family celebrations and parties.  Despite all this, there was NO WAY I was gonna start a blog.

Even once blogging became popular, I still had no desire to start one.  This is the dialogue that went through my stupid little head: Me?  A blogger?  Puh-lease.  Blogging is weird and if everyone is doing it that means I’m not going to do it.  I’m too unique for blogging.  I need to begin working on my novel yo.

Obviously, I got slapped in the face (figuratively) by my stupidity and decided blogging was good, and especially helpful if I wanted to continue writing.  So I started a personal/relationship-focused blog back in October 2011.  Mr. Sword was known as “the Scottish” and I shared many embarrassing moments about my life with gripping topics such as, Why Do I Look So Fat in Pictures?, Are you in a Bi-Facial Relationship?, I’m a Church-Crier, and Here’s Hoping My Babies Come Out with Scottish Accents.  I also talked about my relationship with Mr. Sword as well as offbeat or unusual types of relationships (which I’ve talked about before).

When I started to blog about wedding related content I was shocked to find that most of my faithful readers did not give two craps about my wedding planning.  AS IF!  🙂

So I started a new blog and devoted it solely to talking about A Highland Fairy Tale.  For months I talked about Weddingbee and how I wanted to be a blogger for them.  I dragged my camera to every vendor meeting and wedding-related outing or event.  My family was like, “Yeaaa, OK, what are you even talking about?”  They didn’t get it.

Then I applied in mid June.  And I waited.  And I waited.  I waited over five weeks and still I had heard nothing.  A new bee hadn’t been introduced in forever and there was literally one fairy tale icon left (sword).  I finally mustered up the courage to email Pengy to nonchalantly ask if they’d received my blog submission.  I went to bed right away and braced myself to wake up to a rejection email.

I did wake up to email from Pengy, but it wasn’t a rejection, it was an acceptance.  I had been accepted!!!  NO FREAKIN WAY!  I know it sounds silly but I meant what I said in my first WB blog post, this really is a dream come true, and I was so excited to start sharing my wedding plans with this awesome community.  My gut instinct had been right and now I was going to be a Weddingbee blogger.  I will never forget that awesome feeling AND how I almost fell on my face when I ran into the bathroom to tell Mr. Sword that I had been accepted.

Naturally I told everyone.  And most people were like, I knew you’d get accepted!  (False. They had no idea.  Most of them were like, what is blogging again?)

3. What’s it like blogging for Weddingbee?

I’m gonna give it to you straight.  If you follow the suggested guidelines  and blog frequently and honestly about your wedding for all of the months leading up to your wedding, it is going to be a lot of work.  And when I say work, I mean, it’s like a part-time job.  All of a sudden not only are you planning the biggest event of your life but you’re also documenting it every step of the way.  I don’t mean to sound scary but blogging is a large time commitment.  However, if you LOVE weddings and writing, then it’s totally worth it!  🙂

But wait, there’s more! I wouldn’t leave this post hanging without a list of my unasked for tips!

Miss Swords Tips to Blogging Bliss

1. Do lots of blog prep.  By prep I mean writing posts in advance as ideas come to you.  My posts that have a few days or weeks to sit before being revised are so much better than the ones I hammer out the night before my self-imposed deadline.  My personal schedule (if you haven’t already noticed) is to blog three times a week, M, Tu, and W.  The secret to my consistency is that the bulk of my blogging is done on Thursday and Friday when I have more free time and don’t feel rushed.  Sure, I spend a lot of evenings revising and sometimes scrambling before a post goes live, but it saves me loads of time in the end.

2.  Keep a Google document with a list of topics and ideas for those days when your brain is totally fried.  My spreadsheet has a column for the blog post idea, the working title, the title that actually gets posted, and the date it was posted.  This helps me stay organized and it’s a good way to quickly browse all of your topics.

3. Find the things that make YOU interesting and extra special.  (Hint: there is no wrong answer here.)  We, as readers of WB, all connect with different people and different wedding themes, so don’t hide the parts of your wedding that make it unique.  Here’s what makes The Swords so interesting:

  • I’m marrying a dude from Scotland.  Like he’s here on a visa and needs a green card.  We fly to Glasgow every year.  We designed a family tartan because his last name was not associated with it’s own clan.
  • My little sister is getting married three months after me.  We are both brides and maid of honors at the same time!!  WHOA!  And she steals shares a lot of my vendors.  It’s a bit crazy.
  • I’m a weirdo.  I take way too many photos of myself, I’m wearing a tiara with my wedding gown, I can’t handle my liquor but there will be a lot of drinking at our wedding, and I’m obsessed with my boobs.
This was taken the Friday before our wedding!

This was taken the Friday before our wedding!

4. Do the thing that you’re the best at.  I am good at writing lots of content and advice.  I’m also good at pushing the envelope and bringing up controversial topics.  I’m not good at crafting, researching, making inspiration boards, posting photos from other weddings, and I especially suck at making color palettes.  Know yourself well enough to know what your strengths and weaknesses are in regards to blogging.  Do you do better at comparing and contrasting?  Do you thrive on scoping out other blogs?  Do you enjoy commenting on articles or links?  Are you funny?  Are you a bit offbeat?  Blog your strengths, I can’t stress that enough.

5. Grow some thick skin.  The thicker the better!  I can be a real Sensitive Sally sometimes, but I had to let that go when I became a bee blogger.  You know how you’re supposed to keep your mouth shut if you have nothing nice to say?  Well, that doesn’t always happen on the interwebs.  And you might get some hurtful comments on some of your posts.

After one particularly mean comment I was talking to Mr. Sword in attempt to feel better and gain some perspective.  Luckily, my husband is one of the smartest men I know and he reminded me that for every person that doesn’t like something you write, there will be someone who does like it.  He said if you put yourself out there, you will get both good and bad feedback and that’s OK.  100% of people who read your stuff will not like it.  It’s impossible.  And then I felt 100% better.

I blog not only for Weddingbee and the community of readers but also for myself and for family and my future.  I am so excited to have this entire year of written memories recorded in one place.  How cool!

On that note, this post is complete.

Good luck to those bloggers who are itching to write for Weddingbee!  Thanks for reading my story.