This viral Disney-inspired proposal and its fairytale ending are capturing hearts across the internet.
Filmmaker Lee Loechler proposed to his high school sweetheart, Sthuthi David, by having the couple animated into one of the final scenes from “Sleeping Beauty,” David’s favorite movie.
The proposal — which took place on Dec. 30 at Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, Massachusetts — was six months in the making.
Loechler first enlisted the help of Melbourne, Australia-based illustrator Kayla Coombs, who drew the pair into the Disney classic. He then created a fake email advertising a showing of “Sleeping Beauty” at the local movie theater, which he sent to David’s mom with specific instructions. (If Loechler had sent it to David directly, she would have been suspicious, of course.) David’s mom forwarded it to her, telling her daughter that she got tickets for the family, including Loechler, “If he could make it.”
“Sthuthi knew a proposal was coming, so I had to be sneaky,” Loechler told HuffPost. “It was a proud moment when, a few days later, Sthuthi called and invited me to her own surprise proposal.”
Now Loechler had to figure out a way to get people to the theater. He wanted David’s friends and family to be present but knew if she walked in and saw all of her loved ones, she’d be tipped off.
So Loechler posted in the Boston subreddit to look for volunteer seat-fillers, thinking he’d maybe get a handful of replies. To his surprise, he ended up connecting with 200 people from around the city who were willing to help.
“We even found a few parents willing to bring their Disney-age kids along to help really sell it,” Loechler said.
On the night of the proposal, Loechler packed their friends and family into the back of the theater — so they could hide and then reveal themselves when the time was right — and filled the other seats with the Reddit volunteers.
Toward the end of the movie screening, the animation suddenly switched to feature a prince and princess who looked like Loechler and David. In footage of the audience, you can see David’s perplexed expression as she tries to make sense of the changes to the characters’ appearances.
“I want to back up and remind you that this is happening 70 minutes into the film. It’s basically over!” Loechler told HuffPost. “She has no reason to suspect foul play. And so, as you hear her exclaim in the video, her brain chalked it up to, ‘I thought there was something wrong with the movie!’”
With Coombs’ help, Loechler was even able to make it look like the prince version of himself was tossing the ring box to him as he sat in the audience (at the 41-second mark in the video above). With the ring in hand, Loechler got down on one knee to pop the question.
Loechler’s proposal speech is full of heart references in a nod to David’s profession (she’s a cardiologist).
“The only thing better than seeing the smartest person I know completely dumbfounded was knowing we’d get to live happily ever after together,” Loechler wrote on YouTube, where the video has now been viewed more than 6.7 million times.
“[Sthuthi] told me afterward that when I stood up and caught the ring, and she fully realized what was happening, she basically blacked out from shock!” he said.
Loechler said it was “thrilling” when she agreed to marry him.
“When she said ‘yes’ and the room erupted as ‘Once Upon A Dream’ roared to life amidst shots of celebrating fairies and fireworks, it was the biggest rush!” he said.
To top it all off, Loechler even threw in an alternate ending, titled “Sthuthi says no,” featuring a montage of crying dwarves that got David and the audience laughing.
Watch the magical proposal in its entirety above. To see more of Coombs’ work, you can follow her on Instagram or purchase her book “What Can We Be?” For the month of January, all proceeds will go to Australian wildfire relief efforts.