Agnes and Kurt

Image 1 of Agnes and Kurt

How We Met

Kurt and I met sophomore year in college at Georgia Tech in our quantitative analysis lab (very nerdy). We actually both majored in Biochemistry. We had mutual friends, but were simply classmates at the time. I’d see him in lab or in the halls and we’d politely wave or smile in passing. At first, we would never directly talk to each other, but would both show up to the same study sessions or sit near each other in class and join in on the conversations our friends were having.

There were only 6 students in that lab and 5 of them took the entire time to complete the experiments. The lone student who always finished early was a beautiful girl, with long black hair, who kept to herself. That was the first time I noticed Agnes. She was stunning, but in an effort to conceal my frequent gazes, I kept to a distance in the lab. It wasn’t until our Junior year that we began spending more time together. As the semester went on and homework assignments became longer and longer, our time spent together after studying also became longer and longer.

Our junior year, I was coming off of a pretty bad breakup and leaned on a girlfriend of mine, Kim, who was also one of Kurt’s close friends. She would group text us to study or grab a bite and the three of us would hang out constantly. I remember we would set up a time to review for a test and Kurt would delegate snacks for each of us to bring. So Kim and I would bake brownies or cookies and then Kurt would never bring the chips or candy he was in charge of. It never failed! We eventually caught on to his shenanigans, but through her, Kurt and I grew close. I think we were both interested in each other at that point, but didn’t want to quite admit it. I found out how kind and caring he is towards his family and friends, how brilliant and knowledgeable he is on every topic under the sun, how unyielding his patriotism is, and how ambitious and faithful he can be. The more I learned about him the more I fell for him. Eventually he started to walk me to class with his bike next to him, hold my hand under the desk during class (scandalous!) and leave silly notes in my dorm room.

Image 2 of Agnes and Kurt

One night, Kim invited us to a formal dance the student organization she was involved with was hosting. I remember hoping Kurt would ask me to be his date. But as boys most often do, he cluelessly replied “that’d be fun! We can all go as a group”. I was a bit crushed but kept cool. I didn’t want to give out the impression that I was invested in us. We had a blast that night!

From going to football games (to see GT lose more frequently than not), to getting Bubble Tea, we enjoyed each other’s company. I never gathered the courage to ask Agnes out until Kim invited the both of us and a few other friends to a formal party in Buckhead. For the record, we went as dates. Don’t listen to whatever Agnes has to say about the matter. Nonetheless, we had a great time dancing and enjoying the party.

The weekend after, we were driving back to campus when he got in the car with a rose. He sat down and finally asked if I’d like to be his girlfriend. I of course said yes and it took Kurt all of 3 days to say he loved me. We enjoyed my last semester at Georgia Tech together and tried to take advantage of everything Tech and Atlanta had to offer. We attended my sorority formals, enjoyed numerous festivals at Piedmont Park, and eventually persevered through our senior project. After I graduated we continued our relationship long distance seeing each other as much as time allowed and continued to fall in love.

Three years later, we have been through many ups and some downs, from living in two different cities, to traveling to Japan together. I cannot wait to spend forever with her.

Image 3 of Agnes and Kurt

how they asked

Have you even gotten the feeling when you meet someone that they just “fit” with your personality, beliefs, goals, and virtues? I found that person in Agnes when we met. After graduation and talks of careers and life-goals, I decided I wanted to marry her. The only complication was that Agnes was working in Savannah, GA, while I was pursuing a second degree at Kennesaw State University. This made a surprise proposal that much more difficult in trying to balance both of our schedules. I had made proposal plan after plan, 5 to be exact, switching between Savannah and Metro Atlanta-based locations. If all goes well, a man only-need to propose once to the woman of his dreams. However, 4 of my 5 plans were thwarted by scheduling conflicts. My fifth and last plan centered on a resort in rural Georgia by the name of Barnsley Gardens.

Image 4 of Agnes and Kurt

A few weeks before the proposal I may have mentioned that I felt like I was the one solely responsible for scheduling the dates in the relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I love planning and researching ideas for us to do together, but sometimes a girl just wants to be taken out. Kurt listened and said he’d plan a cute date next week when I was off. I was super excited! As we neared the day, he helped me pack my clothes to head back to Atlanta. Later on I realized he was actually helping me pick out my outfit, sneaky. He picked me up from my parents house looking very handsome, and at this point, he was still keeping the date a secret. I really tried to get it out of him, but he wouldn’t budge. We drove through the middle of nowhere and a part of me was a bit worried of where we were going. But eventually I saw a sign that read “Barnsley Resort”. I got super excited and asked if that’s where we were going. He confirmed and I felt like I had just solved the mystery.

Understandably, her expectations were low because of my lack in effort most recently. Once Agnes and I arrived at the property, you could see she was surprised by my efforts and was excited to see what was next. As we pulled up to the sweeping golf-course, I told the front-gate attendant that we had a reservation at the restaurant, but was a little early. We parked the car and I proposed (no pun intended) that we walk the property and see the ruins of the old plantation house within the resort. As we walked I became more and more anxious, consciously trying not to give anything way. This only made me more anxious and I worried even more that trying too hard would also give something away!

The property was gorgeous! Their manicured golf-course, quaint cottages, sweeping landscapes, and the ruins of the old plantation house just added to the scenery. The infrastructure of the house was still intact with antique brick and a box garden in front. I love anything old and antique and the ruins were just that, elegant and classic.

Image 5 of Agnes and Kurt

Meanwhile, I had scouted possible proposal sites on the property previously and decided on the ruins. I had devised a timed-planned with my sister and brother to capture the moment of the proposal. They would arrive at the property 15-20 minutes ahead of Agnes and I and hide until the agreed upon time. Agnes and I made it to the ruins without any given signs, but before the actual ruins is a box garden with a beautiful fountain and landscaping that you have to walk through. Per the timed-plan with my sister, it was important for us to reach the ruins at a certain time, but Agnes was more intent on observing the beautiful flowers and fountain; this caused even more anxiety. You might be asking yourself, where is the ring in all of this? In your pocket? On a necklace? As we walked up the steps to the ruins, there were pot-planters situated on either side of the stairs.

My sister had strategically placed the ring, in it’s box, inside the bottom left planter. However, I was unable to reach for it without Agnes seeing me, so we walked past it and into the ruins. I had gestured for her to look at a plaque hung on the wall which showed the original floor-plan of the plantation house. While she walked over, I QUICKLY ran outside and grabbed the box, holding it behind my back and out of sight. AsAgnes looked at the plaque, I glanced over at the box garden, hoping to see my sister ready to capture the moment; it was just about the agreed-upon time per our plan. I did not see her…. I then called Agnes over to admire a hanging chandelier in the front entryway, hoping it would buy some time for my sister to get into place. I again looked over to dismay. I asked Agnes how the electrical equipment could have been set up in such an old house, again hoping to buy time…. still no sister. I asked a third question…… still no sister. After three attempts I figured “what the heck, let’s just do it”, and got down on one knee.

Image 6 of Agnes and Kurt

Image 7 of Agnes and Kurt

Agnes turned around to see me kneeling and smiling, the box opened and the ring shining in the sunlight. She was so surprised that she couldn’t speak. I told her how she was my best-friend, and that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I asked, “Agnes Tristao, will you marry me?” She nodded and finally spoke a soft “yes”. Just as we kissed and hugged, my sister sent me a text which read, “tell me when you’re ready.” Clearly, communication was not the highlight of the plan and I replied that she had missed the moment. We laughed and re-created it for pictures. We then took some time to take pictures on the property, and met our families for a lovely dinner afterwards.

Image 8 of Agnes and Kurt

I did take my time walking through the box garden, sitting on benches and picking flowers, oblivious to the situation. How could you not! And when we got to the structure, I went in to explore, reading the plaques they had set up with information. When Kurt called me over to take notice of a chandelier, I agreed with him it was gorgeous. However when he continued to ask strange questions like “How do you think those wires go there?” I was so confused. But after the silly questions and lots of confusion on my part, when I saw him knelled down I was so ecstatic to say yes! Everything worked as it should even with the miscommunication. Kurt and I had our moment together and it was perfect! I was so surprised at how well everyone kept it from me and felt a little guilty for being a such a brat the week before. It’s still surreal that I get to spend the rest of my life with my best friend!

Image 9 of Agnes and Kurt

Special Thanks

Hannah Nemeck
 | Photographer