Starr’s Cave Sunset and Water Engagement: Lydia + Michael: Burlington, Iowa

Michael and Lydia met me this summer at Starr’s Cave, a favorite Burlington location full of long trails through the woods and a shallow running creek. I love to go here right before sunset to get that magic hour when the setting sun hits the water just right.

Michael was friend’s with Lydia’s older brother for years, but her brother never mentioned he had a little sister until the night before Thanksgiving 2015. On a night out with friends, Michael noticed Lydia from across the room and they ended up talking for the rest of the evening. That led to their first date the next day that wasn’t exactly planned out but ended up being an all night long drive around Southeast Iowa deep in conversation until the sun came up. They officially became a couple on Christmas Eve 2015.

When Michael proposed, he replayed the night of them driving around aimlessly without a care in the world. Lydia didn’t think a thing of it because it had since become one of their favorite things to do. Michael decided they should get out and enjoy the view, so they did. Michael got out and asked Lydia to come around to the side of the truck because he thought there might be a nail in the tire. As she is looking for the nail, Michael says, “I don’t know where the road of life will take us, but I know I want you by my side through it all.” Lydia thought he was just his usual sweet self and said: “Awe, that is sweet, but we need to get this nail situation taken care of.” He then asked Lydia to turn around, and Michael was on one knee with the most beautiful ring in hand and said “Lydia Denise Hanks, will you marry me?” He then surprised her by taking her to dinner where their families were there to celebrate the engagement.

For their engagement session, they wanted something outdoors that captured their love for one another. They will be married at a winery, keeping the overall theme classy and elegant and writing their vows to each other.

Location: Starr’s Cave, Burlington, Iowa

Hair: Jan Parris, Headquarters Salong, Burlington, Iowa


To stay update with more engagements and weddings, Follow Brandy Swartz Photography on Facebook and Instagram today! Contact for your own wedding package information //


Leave a Reply