In addition to the many things I am- nerd, performer, writer (just to name a few)- I am a hopeless romantic. I melt when watching Rom-Coms or reading Jane Austen, and I giggle like a child when people share their cute, romantic stories… Love is such a powerful, inspiring topic. I know, I probably sound cheesy, but let me say this: falling in love with my now husband was the best thing that ever happened to me. Here is our story:
Apparently, I met Aaron when I was two. My mom even remembers seeing three-year-old Aaron and thinking, “What a cute kid! It would be so awesome if he and Aleese got married someday…” 😂😂 Aaron and I both come from families heavily involved in the show business industry, so our parents connected in many ways. For one thing, my mother knew Aaron’s parents in college before he and I were even born (they were all going for their Music, Dance, Theater majors at BYU). Aaron’s family even once performed at my dad’s theater in Southern Utah when I was about ten. I have vague memories of these things, but I really remember getting to know Aaron during our early pre-teen, teenage years.
Throughout my childhood, we would usually move to a place where my dad could make a living as an entertainer. Thusly so, our family moved nineteen times (I think I counted that right)! BUT, we lived in the Branson, MO area the longest out of all our moves. I LOVED Missouri- still do, especially since Aaron and I live there now. ;P All of my closest friends live in Missouri, and the beautiful hills and lakes of the Ozarks will always have a special place in my heart.
Anyway, Missouri is where I had my first major crush… a crush on Aaron’s cousin! You heard me right! You may be thinking, “Isn’t it horribly awkward now?” Nah, we’re all good friends and laugh about the past. I liked his cousin for while, but it obviously didn’t work out! Haha!
In the meantime, during my crush sesh on his cuz (I was about 15 or 16 at this time), Aaron always thought I was cute and would often flirt with me. I specifically remember trying to majorly friend-zone him… I thought he was a geek! He totally is, but I didn’t realize how endearing it would end up being. 😉 He soon won me over… During a really rough time in my life, Aaron was immediately by my side. He would text me to try to cheer me up, tell me fun stories about his life, and we even went on a date or two. And finally, one night when I came to watch his family’s show, Aaron came out on stage and began singing “Feelin’ Good” by Michael Bublé. I will now write the thoughts going through my head at that very moment in my life:
“Dang… he is a GREAT singer. You know, he’s actually really cute. He dances pretty well, too………….***this represents a long pause as I continued to watch him perform***……… Oh, my goodness! He just winked at me…”
And there you have it, ladies and gentleman! I was officially crushing on my future husband at 16 or 17 years old! But, I was still wary. Because I had a bit of heartbreak in the past, I decided to pray about whether or not it was a good idea for me to pursue the possibilities of a future relationship with Aaron. After praying, I opened my scriptures to a random spot and read a verse about Aaron (the brother of Moses) being a good man. And at that moment, I knew Heavenly Father was telling me that one day I should marry a man who has some of the qualities Aaron Hughes (my now husband) has. Isn’t that cool? I didn’t think I would for sure marry him, but even if it never worked out, I knew that getting to know him would help me understand what traits I should look for in a future husband.
It was really fun hanging out with him or just texting each other here and there. But then… a few months after he turned 18, he left for a two-year, LDS mission in Tokyo, Japan. Let me explain a little about these missions: Our only contact was through letters or occasional emails. And that is where the turn in the story comes in. All stories need plot twists, right? It wouldn’t be interesting otherwise. Three or four months went by, and I was starting to move on. Letters and emails became less frequent and then I had a boyfriend! ;P Not only one boyfriend, but THREE (not all at once, of course 😜😜😜😜)! The third boyfriend came about when I left for BYU after graduating high school (Aaron still wasn’t home yet). And- here comes the major twist- we got engaged!!!!!! 😮😮😮 However, our engagement was broken off two weeks before Aaron got home from his mission. ***Disclaimer: it was not because of Aaron… haha. Aaron just got lucky. 😜***
Man, that break-up was HARD! I fell into a depressive state, and it was rough getting through the rest of that first year in college… But one day, I felt a strong impression that I should email Aaron. I’ll copy and paste bits and pieces of that email:
He sent such a sweet reply, saying how he would love to catch up when he got home. He also recommended I read Chapter Nine in the Book of John (in the Bible) to help cheer myself up. And then, of course, he got home. Just a couple days after that, he sent me a Facebook message asking if we could Skype at some point. We did. It was SO fun to talk to him, but I knew he was interested in pursuing a relationship with me, and I explained that I still was not ready. But, I told him that I would be making a visit in just a couple months in order to get things together for my impending move back out there (after lots of prayerful consideration, I decided to leave college and start auditioning for some shows in Branson, MO). We promised each other that we would go on a date then and catch up. Of course, in the meantime, we both went on dates with other people here and there, but we eventually got that date with each other. Something still felt off… On my end of things, I was creating a wall and protecting myself from more heartbreak, and I think he felt that to some extent. But when I officially moved out there in August of 2016, our connection was rather apparent.
Be prepared, there’s still more conflict in the story… This is the “climax,” as writers would call it. LOTS of girls liked him, but there were various miscommunications between him and one particular girl (don’t worry, we’re all friends now and it’s hunky-dory!). Without going into any details, it caused a lot of confusion- especially for me. Finally, he decided to call me and set things straight. The words, “I really like you” officially came out of his mouth, and he asked if I would be his girlfriend. That was a REALLY happy day! 😍😍😍 And here comes one of the BEST parts of this story: OUR FIRST KISS! 😗😗😗😗😗😗😗😗
On our first official date as a couple, we played Monopoly on a picnic bench! We both LOVE games, but Aaron added a little twist to this one… he downloaded an app on his phone that generated different “dares” or challenges. Every time one of us rolled a double on the dice, we had to do the dare generated- as long as it was appropriate. 😜 At one point, I rolled doubles and I was dared to kiss the person next to me!!! I KNEW that he was hoping one of us would get that dare, and he even confirmed my suspicions later! 😜😜😜 And that’s how THAT happened! Isn’t that the best first kiss story ever? He later told me that he didn’t know how to approach kissing me since he had never kissed a girl before, so he came up with the “daring” idea!! 😂😂😂 I guess it worked…
At one point during our “courtship,” I guess you could call it, we both arrived at the point that we KNEW we were supposed to get married. This happened when we took a temple trip together and both received spiritual promptings that we had found our eternal companions. ***For those of you confused by “temples” or “spiritual promptings,” LDS.org can answer a lot of your questions.***
We started dating on August 25th, 2016, and he proposed on October 4th, 2016. I should probably tell you guys how he proposed… That’s important, huh? Haha. He took me out for dinner at the Chateau here in Branson (a REALLY nice place to eat). At one point, I excused myself to “use the restroom.” Really, I called my mom. This was how our conversation went:
ME: “Mom, he’s going to do it! I am eating lobster and chocolate soufflé right! I think that’s an obvious sign towards a proposal!”
MOM: *Screams like a giddy, little girl* “Yay!! Please call me when it happens!”
ME: *Jumps up and down in the bathroom, squealing… thus scaring the poor stranger in the stall who I didn’t know was there* “Okay! I will!” *Calmly nods to the surprised woman leaving the stall and walks back to table*
And yes, he did propose that night. He took me to the trail we walked on during our first date as an official couple. At the end of the trail, there is a deck overlooking a waterfall. We reached that deck and Christmas lights, purple ribbon (my favorite color), and white roses (my favorite flower) were placed EVERYWHERE! He then pulled out his phone, started playing music and asked me to dance. I could barely hold in the excitement as I laid my head on my shoulder while we swayed to the music. Now here comes the best part! The song “Marry Me” by Train started playing, and that is when he knelt down on one knee and popped the question. I was SO happy that I forgot most of what he said, but I know it was good because he made me cry- in a good way. And then……………. I said no. JUST KIDDING!!! I said yes and threw my arms around him. I gave him a pretty darn good kiss.
We got married exactly three months later on January 4th, 2017 in the St. Louis, Missouri temple. It was one of the best days of my life, probably tied with the day I gave birth to our sweet baby girl. My husband is everything to me. He’s funny, he’s attractive, he’s intelligent, he has a wonderful testimony of the Gospel, and he treats me like an angel. I love you, baby! ❤ ❤ ❤
I will now bombard all of you with some of our engagement and wedding pictures:
I hope this story was an enjoyable read for all of you! Please feel free to share your sweet, romantic stories with me in the comments!