On My Way Down the Aisle: Wedding Series

A large percentage of the Bare & Me Blog viewers are our beautiful, recently engaged bride-to-be’s…including myself! I am so incredibly lucky to call the owner of Bare & Me, my mother. I thought that it would be really fun to write about my experiences and my process of planning my wedding. During this “On My Way Down the Isle: Wedding Series” feel free to ask me questions or request topics for me to write about.

Naturally, I thought that I should first write about where our love story began and how he popped the question! My incredibly loving fiancé’s name is Matt. When the world is coming down on me, he always has a way of breaking down my walls and finding a way into my heart. I know this sounds cliché, but you know when people say, “When you know, you’ll know?” I knew from the second he held my hand, it was going to be forever.

Matt and I have known each other for a long time, since elementary school but we didn’t develop a close relationship until recently.  During the time that I was single (in 2013) I went to a local bar with my friend and we ran into Matt and his best friend, Casey. Both Matt and I were recently single but weren’t quite ready to date again. But Matt took my number down anyway. Months went by with a few texts messages here and there, but the real love story begins in September 2013.

My brother, Zack, played High School Varsity Football and Matt was his Coach. I didn’t realize that it was Matt until I saw him throwing a football down the sideline, their opening game. I yelled “MATT” and told him to meet me at the entrance to the bleachers. As I’m walking down, I thinking “What am I going to say to him!? I haven’t seen him in months!” When we met, I had this goofy smile on my face and he grabs both of my hands and says, “You look so beautiful today…” Instant butterflies. I don’t even know where he got the nerves to say that, neither does he. I was almost speechless. I gave him tight hug and told him good luck. They won that day and I give credit to myself. I was now his good luck charm.

One of my brother’s High School Varsity Football rules was they all had to ride back to their school on the bus together. So I came up with every reason to ask my father to pick him up from school. I texted Matt and told him that I was picking him up and I’d love to see him. Once the bus pulls up, Matt meets me at my car. We talked for a few minutes, about anything that we could think about at the time. We ended up making plans to get a drink after the game at one of Matt’s favorite local bars (Which I secretly hated). But I went anyway, because I wanted to see him. I walk into the God-forsaken bar, sit down next to Matt, and I ask for my favorite beer, a Shock Top. It was Matt’s lucky day because we were sitting next to these men who were questioning Matt’s knowledge and opinion of sports. If I was impressed with ONE thing, it would be Matt’s knowledge of sports. He knows every stat, from any year, about any sport. I happily sat there, staring at him, quiet. He glanced at me about every 5 seconds and at one point grabbed my hand and held it tight. I wouldn’t normally be swooned by a man who was having a conversation with someone else, but Matt assured me that all he wanted to do was hold my hand and let me know that he was thinking about me the whole time.

After a drink, I told him I wanted to get my favorite dessert, frozen yogurt. Finally we had a chance to talk and learn more about each other. Likes, dislikes, family, friends, the usual “first date” questions. I told him that I was speechless when he told me I was beautiful. Then, when I thought there wasn’t anything that he could do to take my breath away, he kissed me. Again, speechless.

After only 3 months of dating, on February 14th, 2014 (Valentines Day), we moved in our first apartment together. You can say that our relationship moved fast, because it did. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. After a couple of months living in our first, small rental apartment, we brought home a little kitty, that we named Moe. It was a perfect beginning to our little family. Moe was very easy and very low maintenance. So naturally, we brought home a little puppy named Rosie because our little 750 square foot apartment wasn’t already a Zoo. I thought I had it all. I had recently scored my first big design job in Washington, D.C., I was living on my own, and had my own little family; Matt, Moe, Rosie and I.

On April 6th, 2014 my family invited Matt and I over to their home (where I grew up) for dinner. My dad built a nice, warm fire in the backyard and we sat outside an opened a couple beers. Only minutes go by until Matt asks to talk to my dad alone. Again, instant butterflies. I knew. I just knew. There are only so many things that Matt and my dad wanted to talk about, right? I run inside with my mom and I just start freaking out. I keep asking my mom, “What’s going on? What the heck is going on, MOM!? She goes outside to talk to them and I hear my mom scream. She runs back inside and says, “Nothing is going on, don’t worry about it!” My mom is not a good liar. After a couple minutes which felt like a couple hours to me, my dad calls my mom, my sister and I back outside. At this point it’s dark and the only light we have is from the fire. I go to sit down and Matt’s not there. Did my dad scare him away!? “Dad, where is Matt?” I start crying because I hear footsteps behind me. Matt stands in front of me, grabs both of my hands like he did the first day of our crazy-in-love relationship, told me a bunch of things I didn’t even hear because I was crying and so nervous, a gets down on one knee, opens this beautiful white box, which held the most gorgeously perfect diamond ring that I couldn’t have picked out better myself, and asks me to marry him. Of course I said yes to my once in a lifetime love.

I will become his and he will become mine September 13th, 2015 and I couldn’t be more excited for this year. I love you, Matt.

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XO,

Jessica Calkins

10 First Date Ideas!

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We all know that the first date is always a little nerve wracking! We wanted to give you guys some ideas on how to take some of the pressure off. There is obviously nothing wrong with getting dinner on your first date, but doing something totally out of the box can make the experience much more exciting!

 Bring out your competitive and fun side by taking your date to an arcade or fair. This helps you guys to unwind and have some fun while still getting to know one another! As long as your date isn’t too competitive, it could be a really fun night!

 Instead of going to one place and having your typical dinner, you can start at one restaurant for appetizers, the next for the entrees, and the last for the desert! Its like three dates in one! I have done this before and I must say, it is a blast!

 Animals always bring out the loving side of people. Why don’t you head to a local animal shelter and spread the love? It could be a great icebreaker!

 Rent some bikes and ride through the city with each other. You guys can get some exercise while getting to know one another.

 Score tickets to see a concert! You guys can sing your little hearts out to your favorite song, and the rest will fall into place.

 Take a road trip to the next state over and try something new together. Stop at places that stand out on the side of country roads and be as adventurous as possible!

 Take a cooking class together. Come on ladies, who doesn’t find a man that can cook extremely attractive? Lets test the waters a little bit and see what they can do!

 Set up your own personal wine tasting at your house. This allows you guys to save some money while also keeping the romance there! Who doesn’t love some wine?

 Take a day trip to the beach and walk on the boardwalk! Indulge in some fatty foods. Boardwalk fries, ice cream, pizza! Go into the stores and try on funny hats and sunglasses! Let loose and be silly for the day. Everybody needs a little fun in his or her lives.

 Go to a local farmers market and pick out some awesome ingredients for a fancy dinner later on in the evening. You guys will have the whole day to get to know each other so that later on in the evening you can loosen up a bit and crack a bottle of wine! Again, wine is GOOD!