Iowa State Park Engagement by Catherine Furlin Photography

Bellevue Iowa State Park Engagement Session

June 26, 2021

Bailey + Michele

“Well, our love story started out where a lot of love stories start out. Prison! …Luckily, we just work there.”😂 When I read this in Bailey’s initial email to me I had to laugh.

Bailey & Michele realized later that they had crossed paths years before, probably more than once. I’m picturing the universe like, “C’MONNNN YOU TWO!” Thankfully fate finally won out, and once these two were together, neither of them wanted to be apart again.

The Proposal

During a vacation to Minnesota, Michele & Bailey went for a hike in Goose Berry Falls. During what felt like “a REALLY long hike”, according to Bailey, they saw another couple. One of them had their left hand outstretched in front of the waterfall, taking a photo of their engagement ring.

“Must be nice to be engaged,” Bailey said.

Michele chuckled, “I’m going to show her,” she thought.

When they reached a map, Michele asked Bailey to take a look & figure out which way they should take to get back to the top.

“I should have known something was up at this point, because I am the MOST directionally challenged person, and I can’t read a map to save my life. Michele knows this.” – Bailey

“Knowing Bailey is horrible at reading maps, I asked her to figure out where we had to go…giving me time to get the ring out and be ready.” – Michele

When Bailey turned around Michele was on one knee with the ring out, and tears in her eyes.

“I honestly don’t remember if she actually even said the words ‘Will you marry me?’ or not, but I got the hint and of course I said yes!” – Bailey

The walk back up to the top felt strangely easy, with all of the adrenaline from the proposal. When they reached the top, Bailey realized she didn’t get any pictures of the map or location of the proposal site. So she headed all the way back down to snap some. This may be the most relatable thing I’ve ever read in a proposal story. 🙋‍♀️

Bailey + Michelle’s engagement session at The State Park in Bellevue, Iowa.

We met up in October, to include some pretty Fall colors in their engagement photos. We ended up also having snow… because… Iowa. Who even knows what season it ever is here.

They cuddled and were adorable (obviously– I have photographic proof). 😍

I had a dramatic fall off of an 8-inch ledge. Two fun facts about me: (1) I am NOT graceful. (2) I cuss like a sailor. Take me as I am, people. 🤷‍♀️ 😂

Keep scrolling to read about their love story & see these engagement photos I keep talking about. 😉

couple cuddles at sunset during iowa engagement session

3 words to describe Michele, by Bailey | selfless, adventurous, feisty

engaged couple walking together at the bellevue state parkcouple cuddling during engagement photos in bellevue iowa

3 words to describe Bailey, by Michele | smart, loving, caring

I knew I wanted to spend forever with my love when…

Bailey: “I’m not sure if there was a specific moment or time that I just knew, but in the beginning of our relationship there were times where I would just think, “What would my life be like without her?” and I just couldn’t even fathom that. She was the one that I needed by my side for the rest of my life. There is just something about her that makes me feel so loved and protected.”

Michele: “From the first time we hung out I thought she was a nice person, fun, and I really enjoyed spending time with her. I knew she was my soul mate. we complement each other. I couldn’t imagine my life without her.”

What is something you both have in common?

Bailey: “We both love dogs.”

Michele: “Work, love dogs, and love eating…”

engaged couple hugging at bellevue state park butterfly garden

What is something that’s totally different about the two of you?

Bailey: “I grew up with 4 siblings, she is an only child.”

Michele: “I am loud and outgoing and she is quiet and reserved.”

couple laughing during their dubuque engagement session at the bellevue state park couple stands amid colorful fall leaves during their iowa engagement session couple cuddles at sunset during their iowa engagement session couple cuddling in a blanket during their fall engagement session in iowa couple kissing during iowa engagement session at the bellevue state park

What is a fun fact/something people might not guess about your fiancé?

Bailey: “She can memorize the words to songs pretty quickly. This kind of makes me jealous because I can listen to a song 20 times and I am still making up words as I sing it.”

Michele: “She is not athletic…at all…”

engaged couple having a quiet moment at the butterfly garden at the bellevue state park

After waiting an extra year for their wedding day (2020, we all know), I know their wedding day at Ashton Hill Farms is going to be even more special. Congratulations you two! Cheers to forever! 🥂


Are you a kick-ass human, planning your Midwest wedding to another kick-ass human? If so, click over to my contact form & drop me a line. I’d love to get to know you!

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Located in Bellevue, Iowa
Serving Eastern Iowa +
Madison, WI + Galena, IL

Modern wedding photography & family documentary sessions in Dubuque Iowa, the Quad Cities, and beyond. Located in Bellevue. Documenting love stories in the everyday moments & the life changing ones. Focused on creating honest images.