One of the things that I promised my mom when we started discussing the Chinese Tea Ceremony part of the wedding is that if she had a dress made that I would wear it at night so that everyone could see it. After I passed my hot dog on to someone else, I headed down to the bridal suite with my MOH to get changed. As I mentioned, I was WAY full from dinner and sweets and whatnot, so shimmying into the cheongsam was, um, a challenge.
But after some tugging and pulling, I got her on and headed back upstairs to keep on dancing!
Here it is, mere days before our wedding and I’m finally coming clean. I’ve tried so hard to delight you all for months, I’ve shown you almost every single aspect of our wedding from the mundane to the exciting, and now I have one last thing to say:
I hate plaid. Plaid is too harsh with its crisscrossing lines and it’s abominable mixing of colors that never seem to go together. I don’t buy plaid shirts, and I don’t wear plaid scarfs. I’ve never seen the appeal.
Wait! What is plaid again? Let’s consult the all-powerful Google, shall we? Below is a screenshot from my laptop.
Oh that’s right! Plaid is cloth with a tartan pattern. So that means, THERE IS PLAID ALL OVER MY WEDDING.
One thing I have gotten from a lot of the comments I have received is that people are excited to see a British wedding. So I want to pause my planning documentation for just a moment and share something with you.
I was watching YouTube videos the other night and came across a clip of a Peter Kay sketch where he talks about family weddings. For those who are not familiar with Peter Kay, he’s a comedian from my hometown in the north of England, and this particular scene literally has me in tears of laughter. I would very much love it if you watched even the first two minutes of this to gain a little insight into what is—for a lot of people—a typical British wedding.
I found my wedding crush!! You know what I’m talking about right? That wedding that seems to match something of your theme/style/decor and gets you inspired for your own Big Day?
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to view the entire gallery of this wedding but the photos I discovered are truly awesome and affirming. And hopefully our wedding will look pretty similar to this except for 50 degrees colder.
Here’s what I found:
MEN IN KILTS THAT DON’T MATCH
It’s no secret I’ve been slightly concerned (but mostly just curious) about how our photos will look with each of the groomsmen and Mr. Sword sporting different tartan patterns. Furthermore, they’ll all be wearing different jackets with all the groomsmen in the more formal Prince Charlie style and Mr. Sword showcasing the more semi-formal Argyll jacket. After seeing this photo, I’m happy to report I’m digging the mismatched guys look and I’m SO excited to see how our bridal party pulls it off as well!
photo by Leah Fontaine Photography
Note the different sporrans and how beautiful they all look together!
SHE HAS FOUR BRIDESMAIDS AND THEY ARE IN DARK COLORED DRESSES
Ball Cap and I are both of Polish heritage, and we wanted to incorporate a few traditions into our wedding day. We had already served our guests some Polish dishes with dinner, but there were three things I clearly remember from Polish weddings I attended as a kid that we wanted to include during the night.
The first was the removal of the bride’s veil and an apron tied around her waist. Traditionally, this takes place on the first day of the Polish couple’s two-day wedding celebration, and it symbolizes the bride giving up her innocence and accepting her duties as a wife, mother, and hostess. The removal is done by a married woman, or in my experience, my mother.
I took my place on a chair in the middle of the dance floor. I completely forgot that I should have been sitting on Ball Cap’s lap for this part!
I’m not changing my name, simple as that. Not because I’m a feminist, not because I like my name (I do), not because I don’t like Mr. Toadstool’s name; simply because I don’t have the option (not that I want to).
Image via Simpsons Wikia
I always wondered why Marge’s last name was Simpson just like everyone else’s, until in seventh grade my English teacher explained to me that in some countries the woman drops her last name and takes her husband’s. Really? Just like that?
I’ve mentioned before—just briefly—that Mr. Wallaby’s family is Persian. His parents came over to the US from Iran in the 1970s with nothing but two new left-hand rings and $200. They have owned a number of small businesses—gas stations, dry cleaners, day cares, you name it. They raised four kids (Mr. Wallaby, Best Man A, Bridesmaid H, and Bridesmaid R) here in Houston and slowly built up a community of Persian families, with whom they now celebrate holidays and throw dinner parties every couple of months. Mr. W grew up speaking both Farsi and English, and he has a huge appetite for his mama’s Persian food. Now that Mr. W and I are getting married, it is very important to us to include his family’s culture in the wedding celebrations. We are having a Protestant ceremony, but we wanted to honor the Persian culture in other ways.
The sofreh aghd is the center stone of Persian weddings. A sofreh is a colorful, decorative spread of symbolic items.
A traditional sofreh / Photo by Shang Chen Photo
What I find most special about sofrehs is the symbolic meaning of each item that is carefully crafted and displayed on the sofreh. There is a large mirror at the head of the sofreh to bring light and brightness into the future. On each side of the mirror is a candelabra to symbolize fire and energy. There is a variety of food and treats too—a spice tray of seven herbs and spices to ward off evil; flatbread to bring prosperity to the couple; decorated eggs, walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts to symbolize fertility; rose water to perfume the air; crystallized sugar to bring about a “sweet life” for the newlyweds; and pastries to be shared with the guests after the ceremony. Gold coins are displayed on the sofreh to represent wealth and prosperity. And there is often a termeh, a traditional embroidered cloth handed down from generation to generation to symbolize family and tradition.
Since I first started blogging about my Scottish fiancé, many of you have been asking if we will be having a Ceilidh (kā-lē) band at the wedding, and the answer is a resounding YES!! A Ceilidh is technically a big Scottish party with lots of music and dancing, and most of the time (in Scotland), it follows a wedding but sometimes it’s just a stand alone rockin’ good time! Each Ceilidh band usually has their own caller or person who directs the dancing, and this is KEY for our wedding, because I know this will be the first Ceilidh for most of our lovely guests!
I first alluded to how we found our band back when I wrote about my brother renting his kilt for the wedding. My parents really saved the day by attending the Minnesota Scottish Fair and hunting down the lead person of our band to ask him if they performed at weddings. And thank goodness they did, because you’re sadly mistaken if you think there are a plethora of Ceilidh bands roaming the Midwest. I think I found about three, including the one we booked! Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a hold of any of them, and at one point I was considering nixing the whole idea, but fortunately it didn’t come to that!
Luckily, we found The Gunn Slingers, and while we were in Minnesota this summer we met with their accordion player and caller, Neil Gunn. He is Scottish and married to a girl from Minnesota. His drummer is Scottish and married to a Minnesota girl as well. Does any of this ring a bell? I can’t make this stuff up people!
Meeting with Neil happened to be our latest appointment of the whole planning trip, and only a true night owl (or Scottish person) could stay up this late! Just kidding—it was like 9 PM, but still, that’s only one and a half hours before my bedtime. LAME. Naturally, we met at a bar, and it was a great time! We could have chatted all night (if it weren’t for my blasted bedtime). Neil shared with us that he had a bit of a learning curve when he first started calling for Ceilidh’s in Minnesota. He quickly figured out that people will just stare blankly at you if you say, “Now, turn anti-clockwise!” Counter-clockwise works much better here.
Neil was nice enough to take a picture with me when I told him I was blogging about my wedding.
Finally, I leave you with some video gems of random wedding guests dancing at a Ceilidh.
A few of you hive members have been asking for a breakdown of all the different pieces and accoutrement of the Scottish kilt, and I’m here now to present my limited knowledge on the subject based on, well, Google and not much more. Mr. Sword is new to the world of kilts (although he can pronounce all of the different pieces perfectly), and I’m new to any place outside of the Midwest (and I can pronounce accoutrement). Clearly, that makes me an expert.
If you’d like a quick reminder of Mr. Sword’s awesome wedding garb, check this out! Otherwise, here are all the different parts of traditional Highland dress, listed in the order of how you should put them on:
1. Shirt. It should be plain, white, and as simple as possible. Either button or cuff-link sleeves will do, but nothing too fancy. It is usually worn with a simple black bow-tie.
2. Kilt Hose and Flashes. These are the long socks that come up to just under the man’s knee, and the short strips of fabric that are hanging from the garter. The hose are folded over once right before the knee and the flashes are usually made of the same fabric as the kilt or at least something complementary. I guess it’s uncommon to wear white kilt hose, but cream (which is what Mr. Sword’s are—although the color is labeled as arran) is perfectly acceptable.
3. Sgian Dhubh (which sounds like “skiii in dooo” when Mr. Sword says it). This is the small knife that is usually worn on the right leg. It means “black knife” and is purposely concealed in the kilt hose so that it is accessible in case one needs to defend themselves from an attacker. In recent years, it has proven difficult for men to travel overseas with their sgian dhubh’s because of weapon laws.
I live in a small city surrounded by farms and small villages full of traditions and customs, places where everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everything. I’m constantly amazed by how different these traditions are sometimes; one that’s been on my mind lately concerns weddings.
My grandma—who grew up on a small village in the middle of the hillside—talks about the tradition of village weddings, weddings where everyone in town is invited. Traditionally the family lets everyone know by putting a spot on the radio, papering the village with flyers, or by word of mouth. Sometimes people from neighboring villages might show up.
The reception is hosted in the town square. The couple’s families sacrifice a cow or some sheep to feed the entire town, they might provide beer for everyone, and of course they pay a live band to play the entire night.
If the event’s really big other people might even sell food or snacks around the city square, kind of like a fair. Sometimes the entire village might help and contribute to the party.
Remember how excited I was when the kilt arrived? Well, it happened in such a flurry that I didn’t get much time to process the whole thing. As I write this, I still can’t believe we have our family tartan fabric. I’m sitting here imaging our future children wearing little baby kilts and it makes me laugh out loud and tear up at the same time.
Ever since we got engaged I knew deep down it was a good idea to pursue the notion of a personalized family tartan, but I didn’t know how hard it would be or how blessed we would end up. This was one of my first unique wedding ideas and one of my best, if I do say so myself. Mr. Sword and I have made the decision that we plan to live in the US for an indeterminate amount of time, and I intend to keep his culture alive in our household for the rest of that indeterminate amount of time.
The night after Mr. Sword tried on his new ensemble in its entirety, we were sitting on the couch relaxing and chatting before going to bed. I looked at him and asked him if it was worth all the money, the stress, and the waiting. He looked at me and smiled, replying, “Oh yeah, definitely,” instantly making me grin as well.
Mr. Sword and I have a few weddings to attend before our own, and technically his work Christmas party is cause for formal Scottish garb, but we won’t be debuting his outfit until our Big Day. It seems only fitting that his ensemble commemorates the start of our lives together since the tartan pattern is officially named Hislastname-Mylastname.
Here is my handsome groom at last!
This is such exciting news!!! The kilt we ordered months ago has arrived and now so many things are set in motion! The most important thing being that Mr. Sword has something to wear to our wedding! But this also means that the extra fabric is here, which consequently means my awesome Boss Lady can begin making the bow ties and sashes for the rest of the bridal party out of said extra fabric. The arrival of the fabric also means I can pick a color for the bridesmaids’ dresses, and I’m happy to report that it will be eggplant like I had hoped for! Eggplant is the darker of the two purples options we were given and will go perfectly with our dark wedding colors.
I think the box looked pretty good after traveling to us from Scotland. What do you think?
OK, so the night we got the kilt I was hanging out late with my nanny kiddos and decided to bring them over to my house for dinner. We were waiting until Mr. Sword got home before we opened anything and I decided to have Nanny Girl play photographer as we opened our treasures. I think she did a pretty good job for a five-year-old! Here are a few of the highlights from that “first look.”
When we were in Minnesota for our big wedding-planning trip number two, we made an appointment for my little bro to get fitted for a kilt. All of the other groomsmen are from Scotland, making my brother the only American groomsman. The best man and the groomsmen have been asked to wear a kilt to the wedding, but they can wear whatever tartan they’d like, which is good because most of them already own one. Lucky for us, The Glue was more than happy to embrace the Scottish culture by wearing a kilt as well. We all agreed it would be a bit odd if he was the only guy up front in a regular suit.
Back in May when my parents went to the Minnesota Scottish Fair (who knew!?!) for some reconnaissance work regarding a Ceilidh band for our reception (more on that later!), they stumbled upon a place for The Glue to rent his kilt. The Celtic Croft not only allows you to rent a complete kilt package, which includes a jacket, shirt, shoes, and all of the other specific pieces needed for an authentic look, BUT they also let you keep the kilt for an additional $35. WHAT A DEAL! The Glue is excited to have his own kilt even if it’s not the same fabric as our newly named family one.
This appointment at The Celtic Croft was the only wedding-related appointment that I did not attend during that crazy week. It was just for the boys in the family (Dad Sword, The Glue, and Mr. Sword), and anyway, I was busy trying on wedding dresses at the time.
*All photos by Klose Photography
After our formal shots we moved into a side room to sign the ketubah. A ketubah is, in essence, a Jewish marriage contract. It is the religious equivalent of a state’s marriage license.
We just had our parents, the Rabbi, my sister, and Mr. P’s brother, who would be the ones to sign our ketubah, in the room. Our Rabbi spoke a little, he read through our ketubah in both English and Hebrew, and then we got to the signing.
So last we left off, Mr. Sword and I couldn’t decide on whether or not we should rent a kilt or have one custom made. Stressful times, baby.
But I’m happy to report that on our trip to Scotland, we were able to sit down, re-discuss the options, and look into the process of making our own.
And the conclusion is: