Brittany and Michael

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Maquoketa Caves State Park, IA

How We Met

Michael and I met in a very strange, yet miraculous way. At the end of April in 2016, I was going through a time in my life where I was questioning my decisions, my future goals, and pretty much everything I thought I had planned for myself. At the time when we met, I attended the University of Northern Iowa. I had actually followed a different boy there after attending Northern Arizona University my freshman year of college. My family is from Iowa and that’s where our family resides so I figured I would be fine even if the boy and I broke up. I thought that this boy was the one and I made a decision that upset my closest friends and my family. Once I transferred to the University of Northern Iowa, the relationship quickly came to an end. By the end of that year, I found myself longing to move back to Arizona where I had left so many dear friends and a wonderful life.

However, God had a plan for my love life and this was just the beginning. This is where the crazy starts. I was almost ready to commit to transferring back to Arizona and had my transcript all ready to go. Everything was set in place until one day I was sitting in my room on Instagram, like most girls, and I noticed this really cute guy named Michael Gabhart started following me. I didn’t think much of it because it was just Instagram and he was too good looking to be interested in me. Well, I was definitely wrong which boosted my confidence. That week, he direct messaged me on Instagram asking me if I knew someone who went to his school. I obviously responded because he’s super cute AND that girl was one of my best friends who I grew up with. He started asking me more about myself and somehow Arizona got brought up. I told him I am most likely transferring back there. He was thrown off guard because he claims he had fallen the second he saw my picture, but in my mind, no guy on Instagram could ever just find me and want to pursue something. So, being who I am, I stopped replying because I was so focused on Arizona and thought someone like him was way too good to be true. I remember showing my mom his picture that night and she couldn’t stop drooling over him. I remember her saying these exact words, “Brit, maybe you shouldn’t transfer back, he is perfect!” Not only are his looks perfect, but so is his heart and his love for Jesus.

A few days later, he messaged me again and I still didn’t respond (I know I’m stupid). So finally, my good friend who went to school with him came over to my house while being home for the summer and completely opened my eyes. She told me that Michael had mentioned me to her numerous times asking countless questions about me. He told her that he felt it in his heart that I was something special and that he would do anything to meet me. I immediately got goose bumps and that night, I responded to him. Boy am I glad I did! Just writing this story has me in tears. Everything about Michael is more perfect than I could have ever dreamed. He loves Jesus, he is incredibly smart, he has a heart of pure gold, and he is so kind to everyone he meets. He is also very motivated to be successful and to impact so many people’s lives. It is absolutely nuts how incredibly passionate this man is. We talked hours on end for a whole month and the first time we face timed, I couldn’t feel my face. I was so nervous, but he was so perfect. Michael lived in a small town in Iowa with his Grandma and had been for a few years ever since his parents decided to move to Haiti to run a missionary organization. Her house was five hours away from me but one night, he drove to finally meet me in person. Not only did he have to meet me, but also my entire family at the same time since he was staying at our house! Good thing it went the way that it did!

Michael pulled up to my driveway around 1 am and I couldn’t contain the butterflies. I was SO NERVOUS. I ran out to his car with a blanket around me and we just embraced in the biggest bear hug I have ever had. I looked up at him, and the first thing he did was kiss me. It was the greatest feeling I have ever felt. I knew right then that I was where God wanted me to be, and that this man was going to change my life. I know it’s a little crazy after just meeting him, but when you know you know. The next morning, Michael and I went on our first date. It was the most incredible day and I couldn’t have asked for anything more! We went to the Maquoketa Caves State park in Iowa and it felt like we escaped Iowa and ended up in a jungle. Being with him was so natural; it was like I had known him my whole life. Everything about us meshed perfectly and I could already see myself with him forever. In fact, at the end of the date, we already knew we loved each other.

Proposal Ideas Maquoketa Caves State Park, IA

That week, Michael met my entire family and even a lot of our friends. My parents loved him and trusted him so much already, that while I was in the bathroom at dinner they invited him to go to New York with them the next month to surprise me for my 21st birthday! I went to New York a couple weeks after this for a fashion internship and sure enough on July 2nd, he showed up with them for my birthday. It was the best birthday of my life! On the Fourth of July we went to the Macy’s Fireworks show and were even stopped by a photographer shooting for the Macy’s magazine. She said that our love was so beautiful and natural and she wanted to capture us having a blast together during the fireworks!

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Maquoketa Caves State Park, IA

Brittany and Michael's Engagement in Maquoketa Caves State Park, IA

Brittany's Proposal in Maquoketa Caves State Park, IA

The story doesn’t stop there. Our relationship grew and grew and sure enough, I didn’t go back to Arizona. I realized the true reason that God called me back to Iowa was for Michael and I to meet and fall in love. It also helped me strengthen my relationships back home in Iowa. We have already done so much together and our relationship has changed our lives and also the lives around us. This past Christmas Eve, Michael and I flew to Haiti with my family to stay with his parents for a week. We spent Christmas experiencing the love of Jesus through the Haitian people and seeing the work that his parents are doing through God in Haiti. I never thought I would ever get to go to Haiti, and now I am marrying a man who’s family’s passion is helping the people there and spreading the love of Christ.

How He Asked

Michael and I knew from the very beginning that we were made for each other. I knew we would get married eventually because of all the goals and plans we had made together. He was already a member of the family and soon we would be working at my parent’s company together. He was in it for the long run! However, I had NO IDEA that it was happening this fast! Whenever we talked about marriage, he always made it sound like we would wait a few years until we were both done with college and had a good start in our careers. That’s just what he wanted me to think!

On June 24, 2017 Michael surprised me in a way I never could have imagined. We were driving up to Chicago for the weekend with my sister and her boyfriend and planned to stop at the Maquoketa Caves on the way (the place we had our first date). We wanted to go there because my sister and her boyfriend had never been there and it was the perfect place to take cute couple photos together! When we got there, I was awing over how beautiful it was and reminiscing on our first date. Randomly, Michael asked my sister’s boyfriend if he wanted to go to the bathroom quick and I of course didn’t think anything of it. I just hung out with my sister and when they came back, we started walking around and eventually ended up in my favorite place. It was the place Michael and I found the first time we went and it was in the middle of a bunch of rocks right off of the trail. I made my sister take pictures of us because it’s where Michael and I took photos on our first date. While she was taking pictures, her boyfriend all of a sudden pulled out his phone and started taking a video (the reason Michael asked him to go to the bathroom with him). My sister started yelling at him asking him why he was video taping us when all of a sudden, Michael was on one knee. I thought I was going to faint. I didn’t know what was happening; in fact my heart is beating out of my chest as I write this. I froze for about five seconds and just looked at him and my sister and asked, “is this real?” and fell to the floor crying.

The best part was, my sister didn’t know either so in the video all you can hear is her freaking out and me crying! I stayed on the ground for while and Michael had to ask me again for me to finally say yes! I was so in shock and I couldn’t stop crying to save my life! I had never been so happy and so surprised. It was the best proposal I could have ever even thought of and the best part was, I had no idea it was coming.

I later found out that my parents had known for two months and they had accidentally given little hints along the way that I completely missed! Michael and I are so ready to start our lives together as a married couple and I am still overwhelmed with excitement from the proposal. We both want our wedding and our marriage to be centered around God. We want to make sure that us and everyone who attends our special celebration, knows that God is the one who brought us together and will hold us together. There is no greater love than his so through this journey, we know that he will be the most important thing.