On My Way Down the Aisle: Location, Location, Location

Now that Matt and I had a rough idea of the style of our wedding, the next big step for us was to find a location where we would say “I do!” The location of your wedding dictates the theme, date/time and overall atmosphere of your big day. I have always dreamed of getting married outdoors and near water. Originally, my dad came up with the idea of renting out an estate somewhere in Maryland. We would host the rehearsal dinner, wedding ceremony, and reception in the same place; easy and affordable! However, it was very difficult finding a place that allowed events over 15-25 people. I wanted to keep our wedding small, but not tiny! Also, my dad is an incredible chef and I always envisioned him cooking for my wedding; no one could do it better!

We had a couple places on our list, but only one of them fit the criteria (within budget, allowed events over 50 people, and didn’t restrict us on what vendors we used) that we were looking for! It was this beautiful outdoor lighthouse museum that they had converted into this event space. The lighthouse was by the water and from the pictures, it looked perfect! So Matt and I decided to take both of our parents to look at the property. I was so excited and so sure that Matt and I were going to get married at this gorgeous setting. As we pull up to the property, my mom says “Oh Jessica! Heck no! What is that? Is that a barbed-wired fence?” I tried to stay positive and told her maybe it was worth looking past the barded-wired fenced gate!? The property manager met us at the gate and let us in. She took us for a tour and there was barded-wired surrounding the entire property. Not happening!

My heart was crushed and I felt so defeated. My dad told me to stay positive and start looking up places that we could look at on our drive home. I found this one venue that seemed a little out of our budget and they also had their own catering company. My dad insisted that we go take a look because of how beautiful the setting was. I called the Event Office and let them know that we were coming. Once we pull up, my mom (who is sitting in the passenger’s seat) turns her head back at me with these round eyes and big smile. It was STUNNING! There was water, sailboats, green grass, flowers, sand, and one happy couple. Even though I was so excited, I couldn’t get my hopes up because we had a budget to stick to!

We walk into the reception space where the Event office was located and I am literally designing the reception space in my head as we walk around. Dark hardwood floors, light that filtered into these large windows that framed this beautiful picture of the water and sailboats outside, light white pieces of fabric…Picture perfect! We walk up the stairs to the second level of the reception and balcony area and meet the event coordinator, Michael.

Matt, our family, Michael, and I sat down and discussed our vision and budget. There was one downside. Michael said that we would have to use their catering company but assured us that they would do an excellent job. He had his chef serve us food and dessert, which was a nice treat. Matt and I weren’t set on having a traditional plated dinner at our wedding. My dad suggested that instead of doing a platted dinner, we do h’ordeuvres and carving station.  This cut down the price tremendously and would add to the laid back vibe we were looking for. In order for my dad to enjoy the wedding, we compromised on my dad cooking for our rehearsal dinner! Everybody wins. What also cut down the expenses was having our wedding on a Sunday. Since most weddings are held on a Saturday, venues have Sunday’s open on their calendars! Matt and his entire family are teachers in the county school system. So in order to party all night and not have to wake up early for work next Monday, we chose a Sunday that fell right before a holiday that schools normally had off! Problem solved!

After a lot of discussion, budgeting, and compromising, Matt and I decided to get married in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland at Herrington on the Bay! We couldn’t be more excited…Check out the pictures below!

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On My Way Down the Aisle: Time to Start Planning

After Matt popped the question, I could not wait to start planning. We told our families and friends the news and you can only imagine the amount of ideas that overwhelmed Matt and I. What wedding planning really turns out to be is a balancing act of what you’ve dreamed of since a little girl and incorporating ideas of the ones you care about most. Though it was and still is a tough balancing act, I always kept in mind that this is me and Matt’s big day.

The first thing that I did to start our planning process is think of the style of wedding that I wanted. I’ve always wanted a laid back, outdoor wedding, where my family and closest friends could come celebrate my future husband and I. I had three important elements that needed to be a part of our wedding; the water, flowers and greenery everywhere, and candle light. Then we started thinking about color themes…well I guess I did because Matt wanted our wedding colors to be burgundy and gold (Washington Redskins colors). Sorry babe, not happening. After changing my mind three times on the colors that I wanted, I finally decided on a blue-gray and white theme while mixing metal, wood, and glass for texture.

Once I had a few ideas in place, I started pinning on my Wedding Pinterest board. I’m sure everyone saw this coming. Pinterest is loaded with inspiration and it also helps you communicate with your family, friends, wedding planner and vendors exactly what you want for your big day!

Here are a couple of images I pinned to my board. Having this “inspo board” (what we call it in the design industry) has helped as a source that I can reference when making decisions throughout the process. No one likes a wedding where their theme is totally jacked up!

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As I’m sure you can probably tell, I’ve made a lot of decisions based on my design and personal style. I am lucky enough to have a man that lets me have what I want on our big day. He has been extremely supportive and helpful throughout the whole process…Make sure to check back tomorrow to find out where we chose to get married!

Xo,
Jessica Calkins

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