We originally had this session scheduled for a Sunday afternoon in Ames, but the forecast was calling for 97% chance of rain all day along with thunderstorms. With some quick rescheduling, we chose to do an early morning session on Saturday instead and that turned out to be the most magical decision!!! It meant a 5:30 wake up call and 2 hours of driving, but when I got to Peterson Park right outside of Ames, the sun was just hitting the lake and the mist was rising off the water and I knew if we had been even 30 minutes later, we would’ve missed all of it. It. Was. Magic. Michelle and Harrison first met at Iowa State at an event called Mr. CALS (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences). “I went with my sister Emily. Harrison came in late with his fraternity brothers as they had had a chapter meeting. He sat many rows ahead of us and after the arrived, I was no longer watching the event. I was so excited to meet him.”
Their first date was at Hickory Park, an Ames staple. “Harry picked me up outside of Oak residence hall. At the time he drove his diesel truck and I would joke with him on future dates that I could hear when he turned it on at AGR to head my way, it was so loud. When we got to Hickory Park, the conversation was so engaging that I forgot to look at the menu. When the waitress came to take our orders, I panicked and ordered the first chicken dish I saw on the menu. That was a mistake, as when it arrived it seemed I had ordered a half a chicken on a plate! (When I told my mom and sisters about this, we laughed and laughed. Still to this day I laugh about just seeing that half a chicken be placed in front of me on our first date!!) But Harry didn’t seem to notice. Neither of us ate much of any of our food as it seemed we had been saving up conversation for years! We talked the whole dinner through, about all those typical first date things; details about where we were from, family, experiences, interests. It just felt so comfortable and exciting. When we left dinner he didn’t take me straight home. We got ice cream and drove around town for a bit, still talking. I remember when he did drop me off and I walked back in to talk to my roommate just how giddy I felt.”
“I don’t remember the exact moment where I knew he was the one,” Michelle said. “The first months of dating was like the happiest blur. Honestly, I think I knew right from the start after our first date, although that sounds so premature. Something about the way I felt as if I’d known him for so long mixed with the butterflies and giddiness of actually getting to know him made me feel so sure. He was unlike anyone I’d met and we complement each other so well.”
Harrison and Michelle had agreed that this past summer was a good time to get engaged. They had known for quite some time that this is what they wanted but they weren’t in a big rush. “I showed him some rings that stylistically I liked and gave him my ring size. I wanted the choosing of the ring to be totally up to him, and be surprised by what he chose. I thought it may be difficult for him to surprise me as I have pretty keen sense of that sort of thing from him, but I never caught on to when he went and picked out the ring or picked it up.
“Summer began to wind down, I started to wonder when he was going to propose! One day, he posed to me the idea of taking a little ATV trip up to Wisconsin with our good friends Seth and Michaela and our dogs. We love riding his General around here, and it did not seem strange to me that he wanted to take it elsewhere. I invited our friends and we begin to plan the trip. It all came together quickly, and for the week leading up to the trip I noticed that Harry was saying how excited he was for this trip more times than usual…and I begin to wonder if this would be the time he would propose!! How sweet is it that he could not contain his excitement for this trip knowing what he had planned!! As we ATVed around trails in the very beautiful forest of Wisconsin, it turns out Harry had the ring in his sock (so that I wouldn’t see the ring box anywhere) each day, looking for the backdrop of a lake to propose.
“As the last day of our trip arrived, I wondered if perhaps I had imagined that excitement and his seeming nervousness on this trip. We went for one last ride, this time taking the dogs as we had checked out of our rental cabin. As we were packing up, Harry said to me, ‘Let’s take a picture with Lucy somewhere!’ and that for me sealed the deal, the butterflies started whirling around and I knew that day was the day, but I did not say anything to him. As we drove around the trails, the iPad with our ride command mapping app on it ran out of battery despite being plugged in. This led Harry to taking a path that, at long last, led us to the most beautiful public access to a lake. Harry and Seth took the dogs out of the General and Michaela and I walked to the dock. Harry told me later that he told Seth, ‘I have something in my sock and I’m going to need you to video what happens next. Tell Michaela to take pictures!’ As Harry walked out on the dock to join me with Lucy for a photo, I saw him turn and give a thumbs up to Seth and Michaela back on the land. He knelt down and proposed, and we laughed that he slipped the ringer on my finger before even asking! (He then asked and of course I said YES!!)”