This is a beast of a post but it’s informative and detailed and well, some of you asked for this, so I hope you like it!
Packing is the devil. It causes me the most terrible anxiety that falls somewhere in between being in a car with someone who looks like they are about to puke (high anxiety) and waiting for the bus at night (low anxiety). I’m going to share the details of what I packed for our ten-day honeymoon, explaining what we used and what I didn’t use. AND OF COURSE, I will tell you ALL ABOUT THE DRESSES!
WE BROUGHT IT, WE USED IT:
Sunscreen- Like I said in my first honeymoon post, we bought seven bottles and used every last drop in all of them! We almost had to buy more, but the resort prices made us ration our supply and the last few days we used less and less.
Bug spray- We brought two bottles and came back with plenty left, but were so relieved to have had some because the bugs got really bad at night, especially on days where it had rained. And we still ended up with quite a few bites despite the spray!
Swimsuits- I brought five bikinis and one tankini (for the excursion day) for our ten-day trip and I wore them all multiple times!! My tip would be to bring as many suits as half the days in your trip. Example, eight day vacation = four swimsuits. That way, you can change suits based on pool, hot tub, and ocean, and you’ll always have something dry to wear!
Mr.Sword took this pic of my pale body trying to catch some rays.
Mr. Sword (under my tutelage) brought four pairs of trunks and it was a good thing too because one of his got ruined in the hot tub after a cleaning where they used some type of chemical that wasn’t all dissolved apparently! Mr. Sword is a minimalistic packer and I think he was shocked to realize he needed so many, but his trunks could double as shorts so he was able to wear them everywhere!
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 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 7:00 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.
Most mornings we were able to go back to sleep for a bit, but some days we took a lazy nap around 1:00 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!
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 Jamaican inspired dress!
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.
(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.
Remember how I bought a pair of custom designed shoes from a shop on Etsy three and a half months before our wedding? Well, I did. I had a great experience with the owner of the shop and I paid $200 for my gorgeous crystal-covered, tartan highlighted heels.
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!
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
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 our 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…
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.
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).
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!
Lest you think all I do is blog, know that this post was written weeks before our 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:
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:
Hello, hive! I’m back as a married woman and I’m dying to share a sneak peek of our wedding day! My post that went up yesterday was written late Friday night by a very happy Miss Sword with a very nervous tummy. I hinted that we had a good chance of having rain on our wedding day and I’m here to report that the weather was absolutely terrible! Cold and rainy all day.
But that didn’t stop us from taking two hours worth of photos outside (as planned). I’m crazy, I know! By the end of it I couldn’t feel my toes, Mr. Sword had a bright red nose, and my hair/makeup/bouquet were all quite wet even though we did are our best to stay underneath a bridge and a parking garage.
All that aside, I cannot describe our wedding as anything other than perfection. It was amazing. Everything worked out beautifully and we received compliments all night about how much everyone loved it. I couldn’t have asked for more.
These things I know for sure:
Lots of planning and prep = a smooth wedding day.
If the Bride and Groom have to travel in bad weather and take photos in bad weather, but ALL of their out-of-town family and friends are able to make it to the wedding easily, it’s more than worth it.
Falling out of love with your dress happens, but when your Big Day arrives, you might love it so much you won’t want to take it off.
Ceilidh dancing is pretty much the best thing EVER. Although, Strip the Willow almost killed me…
Mr. Sword and I have amazing family and friends in our lives.
Marrying your love is the most brilliant way to spend a Saturday.
And now some behind the scenes photos from our day…enjoy!
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.
Gah! There, I said it! Glad it’s out in the open. We are so close to the wedding now and I am so excited to be getting married, but since we’re so close to the wedding that means we’re also close to our Caribbean honeymoon, and suddenly everything I see in the stores is A MUST HAVE!
The Swords will be going back to their regularly scheduled life after the wedding because we purposely wanted to give ourselves a few weeks in between the wedding and the ‘moon. We thought it would be nice to have some time to unwind in between, as well as have something fun to look forward to post-wedding. Another big selling point with waiting until the beginning of April was coinciding our trip with my nanny kiddos’ spring break so Boss Lady could take her vacation while she was sans nanny.
In case you’re wondering why I never talk about where we’re going it’s because I have no clue where we are going! Read this post to catch up, but basically Mr. Sword booked the entire honeymoon by himself, making the big decisions like which island, which resort, which flights, which package, etc. It was something he was excited about planning, and it was something I was excited about that didn’t have to be on my list!
Back to the shopping…I started off with a big purchase thanks to my tax refund money and a huge sale at Kate Spade. Isn’t this the perfect handbag for a beach-y vacation?
Unfortunately it’s all sold out at Kate Spade but you find it here on Amazon
Then there’s this maxi dress I found at a store called 2b in the Woodfield Mall. I was shopping for a bridal shower dress and I literally did a double take. I could totally picture myself wearing this on our honeymoon, so I snapped it up. My particular dress has a different floral pattern on the bottom but you get the idea from this picture.
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!
At this point in the game, I’m pretty sure I email and talk to our vendors more than I do my friends and family. I kid, but I do feel like my relationship with the people I’ve hired to do our wedding is growing rapidly. The closer we get, the more questions they have, the more questions I have, and the more decisions there are that need to be made, which means we need to be in constant contact.
(All of the photos in this post are just for fun! I miss the days of browsing for inspiration and I figured pictures of other people’s weddings made sense for this post about vendors. In the photograph above, those chocolate centerpieces remind me of the my initial decor idea that was thrown out by, wait for it, EVERYONE. Pine cones. Sigh.)