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Well, it’s been a rather uneventful couple of weeks – and being stuck with strep throat for the past week hasn’t helped!!  After receiving the huge itinerary and suppliers list, Neil and I had an opportunity to make some decisions.  Most of them were easy to make as there was really only one option to choose from.  From there, it was just a matter of deciding which package we wanted from each supplier.

One of our decisions was on our hair and makeup artist – well, I guess that was just my decision – and now I’m just awaiting a contract from Wendy so we can make a payment.  Hair and makeup is quite pricey – but they’ll be with us throughout the entire day, which will be nice for touch ups, and she’ll be able to come to our hotel to work her magic – so in the end, it’s all worth it!!

We’ve also decided on our videographer.  While Neil is highly against having a videographer, he didn’t have much say in this area – it was pretty much already decided by Mom.  It was especially important to her since not everyone will be able to join us Scotland.  Unfortunately – our videographer has been in London for the past couple days but promised to get us a contract in the coming days.

On the photography end of things – Neil and I have narrowed it down to two different choices, now it is just a matter of deciding how much we want to spend!!  I’m hoping to have a photographer nailed down by the end of this weekend.  Their styles are very similar and it’s really just down to the differences their packages offer.


Twenty-three years ago today, Dave and Ellen Barnes welcomed their second son, Neil Lawrence, into the world.  Troy gained a little brother to pick on and the Barnes family was changed forever…

…Happy Birthday to my Dude – I love you more and more each day.  I can’t wait to start our forever…

With St. Patrick’s Day being yesterday, I thought today would be a good day to educate all our journal followers on the difference between Scotland and Ireland – specifically in regards to traditions that are often mistaken during St. Patrick’s Day.

Firstly, while geographically Scotland and Ireland are very near one another, they are not part of the same sovereign state.  It may surprise many of you, but Ireland, including the capital city of Dublin is part of its own sovereign state and is not included in the United Kingdom.  The United Kingdom (or “Britain”) consists only of England, Northern Ireland (which is not the same as Ireland), Scotland and Wales.  Ireland has an entirely different governing system and they are not under the rule of Queen Elizabeth II, but rather are governed by President Mary McAleese.

Secondly, while I was in the car this weekend, I heard a commercial promoting a St. Patrick’s Day event…in the background of this commercial were bagpipes.  I consulted Wendy about it, and this was her response: contrary to popular belief, bagpipes are thought to have originated in Egypt then used by the Romans in battle.  Some believe it was the Romans who introduced the bagpipe to the Scots while others believe it was, in part, the Irish during Colonization – either way, it was the Highlanders (who are from Scotland) who further developed the instrument and the vast majority of the music, both ancient and modern, was written by Scots.  The Highland bagpipe, which is the style most used by pipers and pipe bands, was certainly developed in Scotland and was used in war as well as for entertainment.

And finally, the kilt.  My mother called me yesterday asking about the kilt because the DJ on the radio was wearing a kilt in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  Ah…another misconception.  I consulted with Wendy on this as well.  The kilt was developed in Scotland and was originally just a long length of cloth that was draped and tied around the waist and shoulders.  The earliest evidence of the kilt was in Scotland in the 16th century and its use in other countries is much more recent (including Ireland).  Original tartan patterns (which is the plaid used in kilts) were unique to each Scottish clan (or families) and these are now known as the ancient tartans.  The clans then developed a hunting and dress tartan which weren’t used for day-to-day wear.  Traditional Irish dress is similar to the style that you see Irish dancers wearing, and the kilt was only really accepted quite recently…and can possibly be attributed to the fact that someone designed an Irish National Tartan!!

So now that we’re all Scotland vs. Ireland pros…please promise me that you’ll remember this forever and correct the next person who gets it wrong!!! 🙂

Now, to recap…
bagpiper2 not-equal-sight irish-dress4

This is SCOTTISH dress…                                            This is IRISH dress…

As you can tell, they’re quite different!!!

Because we’ve already had to change the date of our wedding once, we’ve decided that it probably wouldn’t be such a bad idea to start booking some other suppliers for our big day!!  I emailed Wendy last night to get an idea of some suppliers and other things to think about prior to our wedding.  Little did I know that Wendy had already been working on a big itinerary and suppliers sheet for Neil and I to peruse.  It was quite extensive – I’m talking 8 pages of extensive – and included everything we’ve never even thought of, like…

  • Complete bridal party details
  • Ceremony venue details
  • Registry information
  • A highly recommended Minister from the Church of Scotland
    • In Wendy’s exact words: “As with most ministers, wedding planners aren’t their most favourite people in the world…he would like to speak with you in person…”  So hopefully we’ll be calling him in the next couple weeks.
  • Some options for ceremony music, including harps and bagpipes…yes, bagpipes!!
  • A website full of bridal cars…my dad and I are excited about this one!!
  • Accommodations information
  • A full list of photographers to choose from, which Neil and I will diligently be searching through this week.
  • A “non-cheesy” (as Wendy puts it) videographer for the day.  This is especially important so we can share our day with friends and family who could not make it.
  • A suggested florist for us to use
  • Wendy is having our wedding cake made in her hometown then will bring it with her to the wedding…she thinks we’ll have more options with this rather than having the Hotel create a wedding cake.
  • And finally, a hair stylist and make up artist that she works with frequently and tends to stay around throughout the day to help with touch-ups!!

Wendy also created an itinerary for the day so we know what to expect.  While it may still change, it just puts butterflies in my tummy to think about it!!  Our wedding is finally starting to take shape!!

Oh…and about the videos!!  My mom and I spent about half-an-hour looking at videos online of the videographer we’re using.  It was so fun to watch other weddings take place and imagine our wedding.  There was even a wedding that Wendy had planned located on their website – so it was nice to see a wedding with Wendy’s personal touch!!

We started on December 27th…and they just got out the door on March 13th.  What’s wrong with this picture?! 

Right after Neil & I got engaged, him, Paul, and I spent an entire night on the computer trying to come up with engagement announcements that tied into our Scottish theme.  We first started out with the background being the Scottish flag then writing in the open spaces.  Neil and I loved this idea, but when we showed it to my mom – she had no idea what the design was supposed to be…we realized that not everyone knows what the Scottish flag looks like (hey! I wasn’t 100% sure until we started this project!!)  To avoid confusion, we decided on some other more elegant designs, but that still embraced our Scottish theme with the blue and white (which has since turned into our official wedding colors).  We had two different designs to choose from and several different wording ideas.  We sent all these through to my parents and sister and through colaboration, we eventually decided on a final announcement.  Minuteman Press was very helpful in the printing as they were able to turn the entire project around in less than 24 hours. 

After picking up the announcements and response cards, we started addressing the envelopes.  Unfortunately – we had more than just a few issues with some addresses.  After about a week and a half (and numerous emails!!) we finally got in touch with my ever-busy parents and got some of the issues addressed.  This morning, I stamped all the envelopes and did the wonderful duty of licking them (okay, I’m lying…I cheated and used a water bottle.)  When I laid them all out to be picked up by the postman, Joe asked if the postman was going to take all of them in one trip…ohhh, Joe!!

Well – at about 2:30 pm, Mr. Postman did indeed take all the envelopes…every last one of them!!  Joe was quite impressed!!  So…get ready to check your mailboxes to witness the first piece of Neil & Amanda Wedding History…it’s going to be a blast!!! 🙂

A Scottish Blessing

A thousand welcomes to you with your marriage. May you be healthy all your days. May you be blessed with long life and peace, may you grow old with goodness, and with riches.