Kristen and Andrew

Image 1 of Kristen and Andrew

How We Met

Andrew and I met my Freshman year at Kennesaw State University. I was three short months into college when Andrew’s fraternity held their annual “Christmas in November” party. In Greek life, we loved any excuse to dress up in crazy costumes. So, I called my Mama and asked to kindly borrow one of her “tacky” Christmas sweaters for the event; quickly regretting the word tacky, and trying to cover up with “festive”. All dressed up in my itchy sweater covered in jingle bells and plush Christmas trees topped with a glittery bow in my hair, I met Andrew for the first time. Somehow he found something about that attractive enough to ask for my number.

The next day Andrew texted me to see if I wanted to go to the commons (KSU dining hall) with him. I was beyond nervous to meet a Sophomore PIKE for lunch (yes, my eighteen year old self thought he was the coolest thing since sliced bread). So how do I combat my awkwardness? I invite my friend Morgan Gillespie to blindly third wheel on my very first date with Andrew. I’m still not quite sure what was going through my head. Whatever the case, it ended up being the best commons date ever.

That same night I was trying hard to redeem myself, so I texted Andrew and pretended that my WiFi was out and I had a huge paper due. It was all a ploy, and turns out I wasn’t as stealthy as I thought. Although, he still went along with it offering me to come work on my paper at his apartment and cook dinner. Now almost six years later, after our college years and starting our careers I still get the first date excitement with Andrew. He is the best part of my day, he makes me laugh harder than you would think possible and loves me unconditionally. I am extremely blessed to have him in my court, always. With the recent passing of my grandfather he has shown me that no matter what life throws our way, we will work together as a team to pull through anything. I truly can’t wait to be his wife.

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how they asked

If you know Kristen, you know she will find any excuse to celebrate the people in her life. Birthdays, anniversaries, or even just cheering you up after a bad day are when Kristen shines by celebrating those she loves. So, I wanted to make my proposal as thoughtful as I could since she always goes above and beyond for others. I knew the stakes were pretty high for me.

I’ve known I wanted to marry Kristen for a long time, but I started putting some serious thought into the logistics of the big day last year. Back in January, I first told her Maid of Honor Katie Kavadellas that I was going to pop the question in March. Even through text, her emotions were palpable, and in that moment I thought she was more excited than Kristen would be.

We planned a day to go down to the Mart to pick out Kristen’s ring, and I didn’t realize how much of a process it was going to be just keeping this a secret from Kristen. For those who don’t know, Kristen has just about everyone she has ever met saved on Find My Friends on her iPhone, so naturally she would be able to track mine and Katie’s every move. We knew we couldn’t both be seen in Downtown Atlanta in the middle of the day, so we had to research how to stop sharing your location without notifying her. After digging through a few iPhone threads, we figured it out, and we were ghosts.

When we got to the Mart, we quickly received an overwhelming amount of information about rings that I didn’t even take into consideration before I arrived there. Fortunately, Kristen had put some serious thought into this as well, and saved a litany of ring styles to her Pinterest that Katie was able to reference while we picked out the perfect ring. After much consternation, I finally found the ring that hit every box on her check list. I thought now the hard part was over, but we were just getting started…

Shortly after, I told Kate Ahrens and all of her bridesmaids my plans and they too were extremely excited. Kate, Katie and I all had to brainstorm how to put together the perfect proposal day. We bounced several ideas around, and we decided that the big day would be at Wolf Mountain Winery in Dahlonega with her family and friends. In order to get her to agree to go, one of the girls threw out the idea to head to the winery to celebrate her friend Morgan Gillespie’s birthday a month early (somehow this didn’t raise any suspicions).

Not long after hammering out the details of the big day, I asked Kristen’s parents to lunch at Ippolitos in Woodstock to ask their permission to marry her. I was a wreck the whole way up there. After sharing a bottle of wine, somehow I convinced Kim and Nick to agree to let me propose to Kristen-still not sure how I pulled off that one.

With the big day rapidly approaching, the nerves were starting to set in. Kristen and I knew marriage was in our future but we intentionally never discussed engagement in depth, because she wanted to have no clue when a proposal was coming. So I wasn’t worried Kristen would say no, but I was starting to get anxious that she would somehow figure out my plan. I knew more than anything that Kristen wanted her proposal to be a surprise, so I had to make sure everyone was deleting texts and hiding their location so she wouldn’t uncover our plot.

Image 2 of Kristen and Andrew

The night before the big day, Kristen and I had dinner at Henry’s in Acworth. I was just about as anxious as you could imagine. I thought at any point during the night I was going to blurt out “Hey good luck at your engagement tomorrow!” and have to propose to her on the spot. Fortunately, I made it through the evening and confirmed Kristen’s plans with her friends without giving up my plot.

The next morning, I headed to Katie’s house and she was running around trying to put last minute touches on everything for the engagement party. Keep in mind, Katie and I have never actually talked in person about this plan because we’re only together when Kristen is around. This was the first time I really got to see how much work she put into the biggest day of Kristen’s life. She must really love Kristen, because she put so much thought into making sure every single detail was perfect. After that, I knew everything was going to run smoothly and Kristen would be blown away.

We got to Wolf Mountain about an hour before Kristen and the girls arrived. Everyone helped set up, and we figured out the best places for the cameraman and friends to hide. When we saw the girls pull into the winery, we all got into position. I could hear the girls talking and walking towards the gazebo I was in. It probably took no more than 15 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. I was just waiting for Kristen to shout from the road below “I see you Andrew! Surprise ruined!” Fortunately, we had the perfect spot and I was hidden until the last second. One by one, all of her friends walked up to the gazebo ahead of Kristen. I thought for a brief second Kristen would be concerned why her friends were all teary eyed looking up at a random gazebo. Lucky for me, she didn’t notice. Also lucky for me, our photographer Joe captured the look on her face when she saw me. I was so excited as soon as I saw her. I knew we had pulled off the best kept secret, and even better, I was about to spend the rest of my life with this gorgeous girl. After a little convincing, and a lot of crying, Kristen agreed to marry me.

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Image 8 of Kristen and Andrew

The proposal and the party after were perfect. I wish I could sit here and take all the credit, but absolutely none of this would have happened without the support of our friends and family. I know they’re willing to go to unbelievable lengths to make sure Kristen is happy- so it is my promise to do the same for her.

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Our Video

Special Thanks

Joe Yates
 | Photographer
Joe Yates
 | Videographer
Ashlee Kappel
 | Engagement Shoot Photographer