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It’s official, my Groom has something to wear!

11 Apr

BIG, VERY EXCITING NEWS… our tartan has been designed AND ordered.
(insert applause and sigh of relief here)

One of the main wedding-oriented tasks we wanted to accomplish on our trip to Scotland was the making of this tartan. After much encouragement from American family and friends, I was surprised when the Scottish’s friends were the ones who thought it was a little unnecessary and over-the-top. I guess it makes sense, their culture doesn’t buy into the crazy, big weddings that we do on this side of the pond and while they are all so excited to come to the wedding, they are just being practical and I totally understand that.

But since making a family tartan was deemed “top of the list important” to the Scottish and I, on the day after my arrival the Scottish and I sat down at a website that not only let us pick our colors but also arrange each color at different widths. We decided to follow a pattern we liked so that our tartan had a good chance of looking somewhat normal. Our colors were taken from the wedding theme and I’m thrilled with the result.

Once the kilt was designed, the Scottish went online to register it. We recently found out that we can’t use just the Scottish’s surname because your clan/family name would have to be registered by the the Court of the Lord Lyon in Edinburgh and that is usually reserved for historic family clans that already have tartans. And I totally get that, plus we can’t just make a kilt for every person with that last name, but we CAN make it specific to our branch of the Scottish’s last name. The woman at the Scottish Register of Tartans suggested we use both of our last names with a hyphen in between. So not only will my new last name be associated with the kilt but also my maiden name, pretty cool right?

We have to wait about a month and a half before it arrives but I can promise you there will be a follow-up post with more details.

For now, I am really excited and here’s why:
1) It’s the Scottish’s first kilt!! He’s never worn one before and I’m happy to announce that he’ll be wearing his personalized kilt for the first time on our wedding day.

2) We now have a family tartan!! For those of you who’ve read about my kilt woes then you understand how much I wanted this special element of his culture to be incorporated into the wedding. I picture us passing down the tartan from generation to generation, and it’s my way of embracing his country and it’s traditions (which isn’t always easy with us living in the US).

3) This is one more thing we can check off the wedding to-do list! Usually it’s the bride who orders her dress first because of the time it takes to get in and altered, but in our case, the Scottish got to join in the joys of formal-wear-ordering-fun.

Before I unveil the design, here are a few tartans we looked at for inspiration.

Rangers Tartan

Colhoun Tartan

Those are both lovely but it’s time for the big reveal and without further ado, HERE IS OUR NEW FAMILY TARTAN:

(insert last name here) Tartan

Unfortunately it’s a small photo and it’s nearly impossible to see all the different lines of color, but the majority of the tartan alternates between plum and a forest green. I’m sooo curious to see how the colors look in person!

Finally, I know it’s not good etiquette to talk about money and budget when pertaining to the wedding but I pride myself on the honesty of this blog and I like to express gratitude when it’s due. The Scottish and I are grateful to his parents for helping with the monetary expenses of buying a custom-designed kilt, and want them and everyone to know how special they are to us.

Quote: “KILT, n. A costume sometimes worn by Scotchmen in America and Americans in Scotland.” Ambrose Bierce

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Fat Bastard is my favorite fictional Scottish Character

18 Mar

“Get in mah belly!!!” I’m quite good at reciting this line from my all-time favorite movie series EVER, Austin Powers. I think Mike Meyers is a comedic genius and that trilogy has been making me laugh for as long as I can remember. My brother and I used to entertain the family with lines from the movies while we sat around a campfire roasting marshmallows. Good times. And while I can very succinctly replicate Fat Bastard’s accent, I am a big failure when it comes to copying my fiancé’s Scottish accent. I always seem to sound British cockney or Australian, Irish, or just plain mentally ill. However, my interpretation of his accent is always good for a laugh and last night while drinking beers with our friends who were in town from Minnesota, we came up with the moronic brilliant idea that at our wedding, the Scottish should thank everyone in an American accent, and I should thank everyone in a Scottish accent. That way our toasts will surely be memorable.

It got me thinking less about my venue stress and more about how I want to incorporate as much Scottish tradition into the wedding as possible. Thanks to Best Friend, I found a website called “Scottish Wedding Dream,” and finally have found some time to explore it and since I was exploring I thought I would share my findings with you, my readers. Below you’ll find a few gems that I figured were worth sharing in a segment called Traditions Part One.

All quotes are taken from here: I hope you like Tartans.

Traditions Part One
Handfasting. I love being engaged and I love that I get almost a year to prepare for marriage and to enjoy my final days of being legally single before I commit to the love of my life. Back in the medieval times in Scotland, they had a similar engagement period known as handfasting. It’s essential marks the start of a “trial-run” of the marriage and the bride and groom’s hands are tied together with a cord or cloth of tartan pledging themselves to each other. One year and one day later they decide to either stay together and have a wedding or to separate. And being very egalitarian about it, either party could decide not to go through with it. My favorite reason behind handfasting is this:
“There were practical reasons for this arrangement. Children were needed to work in the father’s trade. During this year, the bride’s fertility, or lack thereof, could be determined.” So basically it’s like the modern-day couple living together before getting married, but without birth control since the goal is procreation. OH how times have changed.

Surnames. The whole idea of taking the man’s last name is such a personal thing that I don’t think any woman should feel bad no matter what she chooses. Some feminists consider changing your name to be a step back for women everywhere, whereas some conservative brides consider it a disrespectful act to keep your maiden name. I don’t care what anyone else does, but I have decided to change my name. To me, it’s a symbolic act that outwardly shows the joining of my life with the Scottish. Plus, my mom took my dad’s name, and it makes me feel good to follow that tradition. Why should me taking my future husband’s name have anything to do with my views on gender equality? I still am who I am regardless of my last name, and I plan to become famous either way. 🙂
On a peculiar and interesting note, Scottish tradition states that it’s bad luck if couples share the same first letter of their last names. It is eloquently explained in this rhyme:
“To change the name
and not the letter
Is to change for the worst
and not the better.”

Umm, yea, doubtful… BUT I am going from an “L” to a “C” just to stay on the good side of my Scottish luck. 🙂

Stag and Hen Parties. Translation: Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties!! WHOO-HOOO!! Since I’ve known the Scottish he has always referred to his big event as a “Stag Do,” and it makes me feel inspired to call my upcoming girl fest a “Hen Do.” Why the heck not?? Apparently, embarrassing the groom goes back a looong time because tradition states that the groom had to carry a basket of stones on his back while walking through town (called Creelin’), unless his bride were to give him a kiss, then he could stop. What fun that sounds like… I suppose it’s not much different from the “Let’s get the groom so completely trashed and make him do stupid stuff” that happens these days. Pretty sure my Scottish would prefer to get drunk before being embarrassed.

They say the Hen Party started because people used to bring gifts for the bride-to-be’s upcoming wedding feast (sort of like a Bridal Shower?), and often times these gifts included hens. Then a few days before the wedding everyone helped pluck the hens and prepared them to be eaten. While I love the idea of having a “Hen Do,” I’m gonna go ahead and say right now that I prefer lingerie and kitchenware to poultry.

That’s it for now, but there are so many more traditions to discover. One tradition told to me by FMIL is to add a bit of white heather to your bouquet for good luck. I think that’s my favorite one so far!!

Is anyone else incorporating their heritage into their wedding planning? Or has anyone seen a cool wedding tradition in action? If so, what are they?

Quote: “The judicious bride saved these special feathers to stuff future pillows and comforters for her home.” Scottish Wedding Dreams Website

Eminem and the Spice Girls

14 Mar

Well, well, well, I am embarrassed to say that I didn’t do much on my day off. I shouldn’t feel this way because most people in my life ENCOURAGE me to relax now and again, to work less, to chill more. Alas, I hold myself to high standards and had great intentions to go to my Pilates class, sweep the floor, and do the laundry, but nothing really needed to be done. Nothing was urgent and I was just in a mood to sit on the couch (yes I know it’s beautiful but I am lucky enough to be able to walk around outside for my job almost everyday so it was OK to be inside). So sit on the couch I did.

But because I am who I am (and that is my mother’s daughter), I was productive. I still needed to make the bouquet for my friend’s rehearsal dinner, you know how you take the bows from bridal shower gifts and arrange them into something she can hold while doing her dress rehearsal of walking down the aisle? Well I made that today and I’m quite proud of it but because my lovely friend reads this blog, I don’t want to post any pictures of it so she can be surprised. 🙂

The other productive thing I did was start my wedding dance songs playlist. WHOO-HOOO! Why so early you ask? When there are engagement photo props to be made, Scottish wedding traditions to research, contract agreements to go over, and other things piling up? Well, again nothing was that urgent, and starting something that can be revised along the way seemed like way less commitment.

Those of you who know me well, know that I am a loser when it comes to music. I’ve been to a total of two concerts in my life, I can never tell you who sings what, most of the music I listen to can also be found on the radio, and my IPOD is over 5 years old. I know, what a winner.

Don’t get me wrong, I love music. I’m one of those people who desires to have background music scoring their life, but I just don’t obsess about or collect or enjoy music in the same way other people do. That said, I am going to be very deliberate that every song on our list is totally and completely AWESOME. The songs will be awesome but also the most random collection of music possible. Basically I just love the most popular songs from the famous of artists. See how all that radio listening pays off! Our wedding will have fun and crazy bump and grind top 40 music, followed by The Beatles, followed by Mariah Carey, followed by Mumford and Sons, followed by Destiny’s Child, etc, etc. By now you’ve figured out that I also love both Eminem AND the Spice Girls. I mean, what’s not to love? I just want to have the time of our lives, and dance all night. Lucky for me, most of my girlfriends are sizzlin’ hot on the dance floor, all of my family knows how to kick up their heels, and most of the Scottish’s friends will be drunk enough to dance as well so I’m thinking it’s going to be one heck of a night! They say that your guests have a good time when they see YOU having a good time! So the Scottish and I will pick the songs that make US want to dance and I have no doubt it will be amazing and beautiful. And hopefully a little dirty.

And just to keep everyone on their toes (hahaha), they’ll be some authentic Scottish dancing known as a Ceilidh, and I literally can’t wait for that unique part of our evening!

Oh and I started crying when I thought of dancing with my dad. I love wedding planning!!!!!!

Quote: “Life is one grand, sweet song, so start the music.” Ronald Reagan

Never thought I’d do THIS

13 Mar

I think I will be booking my wedding venue sight unseen.

Now, before anyone freaks out, calls me crazy, (or just plain stupid), let me explain. Just because my fiance and I will not be viewing the venue does not mean that no one will have seen it. In fact, two very trusted people have seen said venue and have fallen in love with it. They are my mother and my sister, and I heard through the grapevine that one of them may have cried tears of joy. How is that for a confirmation? Besides that, who knows me better than my mom and little sis? They get my taste for fancy, they know my need for drama, and they understand how I want things to look more expensive than they really are… in short, they know how to think like a princess. 🙂

This isn’t an easy decision though and in all honesty, it’s not been officially made. I still have to have the final conversation with the Scottish about this and before that he and I are viewing a hotel (of the same chain) here in the Chicago area to see if this is the sort of place we can envision ourselves getting married. The other part of the plan is for my mother to check out an entirely different hotel option before any deposits are made, and then if we all agree that it is the right step, we might just go for it. Sight unseen.

The thing is, I can’t get back to Minnesota until early May! And if we go with our March idea for a wedding (more on that to come in a post called, “I’M HAVING A MARCH WEDDING IN MINNESOTA SO I MUST BE A LUNATIC EVEN THOUGH SO FAR THIS CURRENT MARCH HAS THE BEST EVER”) and it’s already less than 365 days til the BIG day, yikes but also how exciting is that!?!?! The venue needs to be booked so we can send out STD’s to everyone, so people from across the pond can start pricing flights, so other vendors can be booked, etc, etc, ETC.

That said, it’s quite frightening to commit to something you’ve never seen. But it helps that we have limited options to begin with:
1. We love the idea of one-stop wedding hopping, especially considering our percentage of OOTG. (Quiz time, do you remember what that means? Out-of-town guests, yay GO YOU!) We really want our guests to have the luxury of one space fits all! We want people to be able to flow easily from ceremony to cocktail hour to reception and finally to their comfy hotel beds. Speaking from experience, I’ve always enjoyed the option of switching my shoes, putting my purse away, or just using a private bathroom when I’ve stayed at the same hotel or lodge that the wedding reception was taking place in.
2. We save on transportation costs. The Chicagoans and Scottish folk will be able to avoid car rentals because the hotel we are looking at has free shuttles to and from the airport as well as shuttles to the MOA (Mall of America) and other places. The Minnesotans can drive if they so desire because the hotel is only 15 minutes from our Twin City suburb, and they will know the area. They’ll also know how to drive on the right side of the road. (Hehehe, Mr. Scottish isn’t going to find that as funny as I do!)
3. I am without a church to call my home. I grew up attending church in an elementary school cafeteria. We were big on faith and people but didn’t have much money so we rented our space every Sunday from a local school. When my church joined with another church in the area that had a nice sized building I was getting older and soon went off to college. It’s a nice building but it’s just not big enough to house all of our friends, families, and my princess dreams.

So ultimately, it made sense that we would have a religious-based ceremony but that it wasn’t going to be in a church. To be honest, I had always pictured myself walking down a beautiful aisle in a gorgeous church with stained glass windows, a commanding organ, and a familiar pulpit, but those kinds of churches don’t exist in my non-denominational faith anyway, so when discussing venue options with my parents that first night we were engaged, both the Scottish and I decided on a hotel with little hesitation.

I am ready! I am ready to commit to a date, a place, and a time. This wedding will be uniquely our own and it will happen where and when it should. It’s a practice of faith really, believing in something you can’t see, and trusting the ones you love. Not a bad thing to have to practice in my book.

Quote: “All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust.” Peter Pan (J.M. Barrie)

Kilt Woes from an American Bride

8 Mar

Formal Scottish Garb

Soooo, we had our first big budget-stressing WR fight tonight. About Kilts. One of us thinks it’s too expensive to get a custom kilt made and legally registered to the Scottish’s last name. The other person thinks it’s worth the money for a lifetime of family memories.

Can you guess who is on what side? My logical, realistic, super smart Scottish fiancé believes we should NOT go the custom route because we simply cannot afford. He says it’s something we can do in three years time. My opinion is this, when is there ever an extra 1500 dollars lying around to spend on a specially made tartan and all the accoutrement that go with it (and trust me there’s a lot of things, including but not limited to a man purse and a knife type thing)? There is always something expensive to buy no matter the stage in life, ie. car, house, babies, living in Chicago, etc, so why not now? Why not have the beautiful memories captured on film of this one-of-kind kilt for generations and generations to come? This isn’t for us, this is for our kids who are going to grow up learning about America and Scotland, this is for our grandkids, this is for Scottish Mum and Dad, for his wee sister, for everyone! I can see my future and I can see my adorable children and I get tears in my eyes. I want them to know both cultures and I can’t think of a better way to start off our life together than with my FH wearing a kilt representing his Scottish last name. I can envision him buying one down the line and wearing his family clan’s kilt to someone else’s wedding for it’s first outing and it just breaks my heart.

I know it’s not in the budget right now. Heck, most things I want do not fit in the budget right now! But I am a romantic at heart. I am hopeless and family oriented and passionate and would be so proud to have his family name attached to his wedding garb.

You know I’m serious because I started taking stuff OUT of the budget. I offered to nix a videographer and also take money from my dress budget. It’s that important to me.

Sigh, I love my fiancé and this will all get worked out and I have faith that the right kilt will be worn on our special day no matter what it looks like or what name it is associated with. So I’m going to go to bed now. Nothing more can be decided tonight.

PS I had a post started about how wonderful the Scottish is and how happy I am to be engaged! All still true, but life is funny sometimes. I guess that one will have to wait!
PPS Blogging = best wedding therapy yet!

Quote: “Frankly, I am not in the mood to find a quote about kilts.” Me

I can’t believe it!

2 Mar

The most amazing thing happened! Last night, the Scottish and I were invited to an engagement dinner hosted by some of our good friends. The food was amazing and the night was great but that’s not the story. I was attempting to show some of the girls my “proposal reenactment” video that has the Scottish and I standing happily in front of the big window and my mother asking us to put on the ring and commenting on how she was glad she didn’t mess up this time. Then I pressed play on what I thought was just a video of the view out the window and it turned out to be MY ACTUAL PROPOSAL. SHUT UP. NO WAY. The moment, as brief as it was, HAS BEEN RECORDED. I have that memory forever and I love how happy and surprised I look in it. I love the randomness of it and the fact that my mom can’t hold the camera straight because she’s so happy too. The Scottish is so quiet that you can’t hear his words, but I remember exactly what he said and I’m just so pumped that I found it! I feel like it’s magic and the video appeared out of nowhere. I think I will post the video on the blog at some point, but not… quite… yet.

Sooooo I made my wedding collage. For those of you who are like, “what the hell is a wedding collage?” It’s the hodge podge plastering of all your favorite ideas, magazine clippings, and colors on (in my case) a canvas square frame. I like mine but it’s definitely not as beautiful or as lovely as the collage in my head. And that’s OK, because these are just ideas. They are thoughts and concepts and a way to easily explain my vision to vendors, friends, and family. (More information to come on my wedding inspirations in later posts.) What do you think of my collage? Have any other brides made one for their wedding? Did yours turn out the way you wanted it to?

Last but not least, I received a gift in the mail from my family in North Dakota and I’m so in love with it! These girly bridal accessories were literally made for ME. I plan to be proudly toting this bag around for the next decade year! Remember, this is about enjoying every single minute!

Thank you for reading this Friday night post.

Quote: “Getting married is the boldest and most idealistic thing that most of us will ever do.” Maggie Gallagher

I have a dilemma

29 Feb

I must blog more. I feel strongly that writing is what I need to do right now. I need to buckle down and post more frequently; I need to share more, acquire more readers and get more hits. Blogging makes me happy and it’s my main artistic outlet at the moment so I’ve got to give it all I’ve got! In my head I see these foggy goals and good intentions but I also see NO FREE TIME to blog. I am going to be the busiest I’ve been in looong time due to the planning of my ultra-fabulous wedding. In the 1.5 weeks since I got engaged it’s already become life-consuming, and I don’t mean this in a negative way. I get to plan one wedding and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it, I’m going squeeze every drop of fun out of the bottle and I’m going to smile even when I’m so tired I wanna I die because I get to marry the man of my dreams and this is the most exciting time in my life! Any free time I have goes to planning, car rides with the Scottish have become wedding updates and recaps, and I’ve already pushed my bedtime back an hour (which isn’t so terrible since I went to bed earlier than my grandma anyway).

Lucky for me, I have the bonus stress of planning a wedding in another state and the double bonus stress of marrying a non-US citizen and all the fun paperwork that comes along with that. I have searched the web and there doesn’t seem to be any brides-to-be out there blogging about either topic. I mean, a wedding in Minnesota, in late winter/early spring, are you a lunatic? I know people have done it, I’ve seen the pictures but where’s the juicy inside scoop? I want to know what happened when the snow prevented your cake from making it on time and how you had to serve your guests store-bought cookies after a frantic trip to the grocery store, or how your MOH slipped on ice and ended up in the hospital for a fractured ankle but the photographer followed you all there to get some beautiful pics anyway. And hello, I know I am not the only person marrying a foreigner but why isn’t anyone blogging (bitching) about all the stupid rules and steps you have to follow, and do they really quiz your family to see if you’re in love? I need to know these things! But most of all, I want to laugh.

When all of this gets so overwhelming that I can barely afford to get to Minnesota let alone pay for the caterer or the DJ, I want to be able to laugh. Or I want to cry, either one works. I know I have trouble going with the flow sometimes, but I never have trouble laughing. So that’s my plan. Plan, laugh, mistake, laugh, hiccup, laugh, fail, laugh (and then cry)… you get the idea.

And since I can’t find any blogs with topics that fit my fancy, I will just have to write about them myself. I will make myself laugh and it will be sort of weird but I will do it.

Do you see my dilemma in all of this? It’s hard to believe but not everyone wants to read about weddings all the time. *GASP* I’m already making the conscious effort to not be a one-note Nancy and only discuss wedding things with friends in person, but while it might seem excessive, this is the place where I should be able to let it all out. On the other hand, I hate to lose readers and I hate to write with such tunnel vision, but it’s only one year of my life and then I promise to talk about normal stuff again. Until I have kids. Haha, just kidding! Kind of.

I still want this to be a relationship-focused blog, it’s just going to be about one relationship in particular most of the time, but within that, I can examine my relationships with my mother, sister, friends, father, brother, future mother and father-in-laws, my relationship with myself, and more!

I’m also going to submit my blog to the wedding website known as Weddingbee in hopes of being chosen to have my posts featured on their website to reach thousands of women. But to do that I need to write solely about my wedding and write more frequently. And when the next Midwestern bride marrying a gentleman from the UK searches the web for insight, she’ll find me, and hopefully she’ll laugh. 🙂

Quote: From a bridal magazine, reminding brides to not over-tax their maids: “Are you planning a wedding or running a sweatshop?” It made me laugh.

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