Bailey and Taylor

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How We Met

Taylor James and I met at a basketball game, I heard about this new guy in the friend group and some of my friends would talk about how cute we would be together but I shook it off. A couple months earlier I had just gotten out of a horrible relationship and I was still heeling, I didn’t plan on finding anyone for a couple years, maybe even more. I walked into the gym to get a ticket and take my seat, and to my bad luck (or so I thought so at the time) he was the one taking tickets. I didn’t know what was worse, the fact that I was going to have to talk to him in about a minute or the fact I recognized him from all the photos my friends had showed me and I felt like a total stalker! When it was my turn in line to purchase a ticket, I quickly realized talking to him was much worse. I barely could speak, I usually have a lot of confidence when it comes to guys, but with TJ I had none! I couldn’t think of anything to say, except laugh awkwardly, having my friends eyes glued to me as I tried to reach for my bag to get my money and soon found out my hand was shaking! I thought nothing could worse. I walked away from him, and his adorable smile thinking “well I have no chance now, even if I had wanted one”. Two games later, he made the first move and started conversation and made it a point to sit by me, and ask if I was going to be at group activities! We haven’t stopped laughing at each other and talking since!  (this was his last basketball game, and I standing in the same spot where it all started when we first met!)

How He Asked

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Although I knew there was something different about TJ the day I met him, I had no idea what to expect as far as when and how he’d pop the question or even what the future would hold with him. Well… let me tell you guys, it was magical and sweet.

TJ “convinced” (I put that in quotes because even though he thinks he convinced me, I went eagerly) me to go out for dinner to my favorite restaurant in DSM, Centro’s. Since Centro’s is pretty pricey, we usually make it a point to only go there for special occasions. Taylor James, I love you, but you are the worst at hiding secrets from me! I knew something was definitely up by the way he would stutter or his face was red! I let it go though and just enjoyed the nice night in Des Moines.

We then came across a place, very special to both TJ’s and I’s hearts, The World Food Prize Center/ The Hall of Laurettes. It was special to us because there was a balcony in that building where I think was the exact moment I felt like TJ and I really connected more than on just substance things, but it was like he could just got me! We told stories and that was the first night where the connection just felt right, and I thought “I am really falling in love with him.”. The balcony over looks the city lights and the Des Moines River. All lit up, it’s beautiful!

He then brought me to the place and just like that pushed open the door and the whole place was so bright and beautiful! He took me upstairs and at this point I was in tears, I knew what was happening for sure! We went to the balcony, OUR balcony, and he got on one knee!

This serene scene was about to become one of the most meaningful moments of our lives. In fact, I was so excited when TJ got down on one knee I almost blacked out! It was like a rush of heat and a wave of uncontrollable emotion swept right through my body. I didn’t have any words at first (me! no words!). All I could do was explode into his arms and experience pure joy from head to toe. I did hear what he had to say though, thankfully! I said “Of course!” and kissed my love, and I realized a beautiful photographer came out from somewhere to catch the moment! My heart was SO full!

TJ then looked at me and said “I have one more surprise for you,” I thought, what the heck!? It can’t get much better than this”! We walked down the elegant stairs and my whole family, some close relatives on my side, his family, and his close relatives were all there, with champagne glasses in hand, and up the the air toasting to the future Mr. and Mrs. Culp! He couldn’t have planned a better evening! This was everything I had hoped for and more!

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Family is everything

EW PDA ;)

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After I saw my family was there!

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.5 secs after he asked

Don't worry it's juice

Special Thanks

Sherry Peterson
Sherry Peterson Photography