Kurt and Shannon

Proposal Ideas Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC

How we met

Kurt: Shannon and I met at a football game way back when we were in high school. I was doing a school project where I was selling cookies and she came up during the lull of the 3rd quarter to buy cookies for friends. We had never met prior to this but there was a connection we had when we first met that I think both of us felt. We eventually started talking on Facebook which lead to us hanging out often over the coarse of a few months. I eventually asked her to be my girlfriend when we hung out on Christmas Eve/her birthday.” “I think what makes our love unique is that since we have been together for so long (8 years) we learned to love each other as we grew and changed into who we are today. We have seen one another at our highest and lowest points, through loss of family members and doing a long distance relationship more than once. We have watched one another accomplish so much from the love and support we each provide one another.

Where to Propose in Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC

Shannon: I was 15 and in my sophomore year of high school and had a crush on his best friend. Both of them were seniors and were part of a cookie company for an economics class that was selling cookies at the home football games. On October 25, 2008 there was a game- I think it was the only game I went to that season. It had rained so the bleachers were pretty wet and I had accidentally sat down, effectively soaking my pants. Because of this, whenever someone I was with wanted cookies I would offer to go get them so that I didn’t have to sit. Although I definitely had an ulterior motive. If I was the one buying the cookies, I could try and bump into this guy I had a crush on. I think I went up three or four times and Kurt was there each time. I don’t remember anything we talked about other than he had suggested I try the peanut butter bars. I don’t even remember if he made them…but his suggestion was strong enough to make me laugh. I can still see the hat and gloves he was wearing. I think it was likely in that moment that I forgot all about my crush on his friend.

We became Facebook friends less than 24 hours later and started messaging each other. This was before everyone had smartphones so you could only respond to messages if you actually on a computer and I found myself sitting by my computer all day waiting for him to respond. Before the day was out he had asked for my number so we didn’t have to stop talking. We played 20 questions a lot at the beginning and the only question I remember asking was “Are you romantic?” (what a question for a 15 year old to ask!) and he responded almost immediately with “Yes”.

Our first date was to Walmart. Really romantic, right? There isn’t a lot to do in our hometown so in order for us to spend time alone together we would often run errands into the neighboring town that had all the shops. It became something we did all through high school.

Kurt came over to my house around 11pm or so the night before my birthday, battling what apparently was quite the snowstorm to do so. My parents were asleep and I snuck him in the back door. We started watching a black and white Christmas movie on AMC. Around 12:15am (which is now officially December 24, aka my birthday), he pulls out this huge bag that I hadn’t noticed before that was full of presents for me. In addition to a dozen roses, he gave me about five other gifts that he had selected based on the conversations we’d had over the previous two months: A fleece blanket because I was always cold, a candle because I loved how candles smelled…and he asked me to be his girlfriend (to which I responded “Sure!” I was clearly such an awkward high schooler).

I remember waking up the next morning, realizing that I had to tell my mom I had started dating this boy she’d heard about but had not met! I don’t remember her response but clearly she was alright with the outcome…once you meet Kurt it’s impossible not to like him. Once we started dating and our parents met each other, we realized that our moms had once worked together about two decades before we were born!

Shannon's Proposal in Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Washington, DC

How he asked

Shannon: Every time I think about how it happened, I am continually blown away at how much I didn’t see it coming. Kurt and I had made plans to Christmas shopping after I had brunch with some friends. Brunch was a last minute decision but I had a friend who lives in France back in town who I really wanted to see…so I couldn’t say no. It was right around the block from our apartment so I told him I would be ready by 2 to go shopping. Even though we had a reservation, we still waited about an hour to be seated. 2 o’clock rolls around so I texted Kurt letting him know we were just waiting for our check (which was true!) and that I’d be ready no later than 2:30. At 2:30 he tells me he is “just going to get an Uber” because he “doesn’t feel like driving or dealing with the metro wait” and he “just got his paycheck anyway”. Looking back this totally should have been a red flag because Kurt doesn’t Uber anywhere. Less than 5 minutes later, I was running out of the restaurant to get into the car. I offhandedly asked him where he wanted to go first (the mall or Target) and after grabbing my hand he says “the Jefferson Memorial”. I didn’t even skip a beat before I laughed and immediately didn’t believe him. He said something to the effect of “this is about as much of a surprise as I could make it be for you” and then didn’t say ANYTHING ELSE.

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I didn’t believe him-there was no way it was happening. The way to the memorial is the same way we’d go if we were actually going to the mall so I kept looking at the GPS, trying to convince myself he was kidding. Even after we got out of the car and started walking around the side of the memorial, I didn’t believe it was real. I thought he was messing with me. Probably about three fourths of the way down the sidewalk I started to think “oh no I hope that there isn’t like a huge group of my family waiting around the corner”. Can you tell I didn’t want to share the moment with anyone else? I think I was walking pretty blindly at that point.

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I was walking where Kurt was leading me. I don’t remember much after he turned me around to face him and grabbed my hands. At some point I remember thinking “wow I wish I had showered!” but I definitely don’t remember what he said.

I had to ask him afterward if he remembered (he says he doesn’t either!) and if he asked me “will you marry me?”. I had a moment of clarity where I remember saying “of course!” instead of “yes!” (which suits me perfectly since I said “sure!” when we first started dating).

I love the views the Jefferson Memorial gives you of the rest of the city and for the longest time have dreamed of having my proposal take place there. I even told Kurt I wanted the sun to be on it’s way down (because of the lighting). Kurt absolutely knocked it out of the park. It was a million times better than what I had imagined in my head and I will never forget how amazing I felt.” “Kurt and I are made from the same thread. I think it’s because we both have old souls. You know the type of old soul that likes to stay in, goes to bed at 9, and most importantly fixes something when it’s broken instead of running in search of something new. It feels like everyone in our generation overshares, especially when it comes to relationships. Kurt and I have never done that and it’s really made a difference when it comes to making our relationship stronger. We’re both incredibly different people than we were when we met 8 years ago. Our ability to change and grow together instead of apart is partially because we both have always put each other first. Admittedly Kurt is better at this than I am. He never stands in the way of something I am passionate about and he has been my biggest cheerleader since day one. His heart is so big and he has made my life so full.

As you might have realized at our proposal, our relationship is built on laughter. I have never met anyone who can make me laugh the way Kurt can make me laugh. He makes the stupidest jokes… you know the kind that nobody should laugh at… and yet I laugh every. single. time.

Special Thanks

Lindsay King Photography
photographer