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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Man Animates Himself and High School Sweetheart Into 'Sleeping Beauty' To Propose at Movie Theater

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Two high school sweethearts are engaged after an unforgettable marriage proposal during an altered screening of “Sleeping Beauty.”

For the better part of 2019, filmmaker Lee Loechler quietly orchestrated a complicated and incredible marriage proposal to his girlfriend, Sthuthi David.

Loechler went all-out for his proposal by hiring a talented illustrator to draw him and his girlfriend so he could animate them into the end of “Sleeping Beauty,” David’s favorite movie, and then renting a theater in the couple’s hometown of Brookline, Massachusetts, for the screening.

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WOW what a wild 48 hours ?? Thank you all for your messages – I’m so glad that my scribbles have spread some smiles, and I’m sorry if they made you cry!! @yours_true_lee and I spent countless hours working on this for one special person alone, @stutzd4. I NEVER saw this reaction coming. I live in Melbourne so part of the reason Lee recorded it was just so I could see the big moment we’d been working towards that was happening 17,000 km away. We’ve never met but I can tell you you couldn’t find a sweeter guy than Lee, and although I don’t know Sthuthi quite as well I’ve spent many, many hours staring at photos of her face so I feel like we have our own special (creepy?) bond. I’m so ridiculously happy for these two. Wish I could give you both a big ol’ bear hug and say congratulations in person ❤️ ˙plɹoʍ ǝɥʇ ɟo ǝpᴉs ɹǝɥʇo ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ uᴉɐƃɐ sʇɐɹƃuoƆ

A post shared by KAYLA COOMBS (@kaylacoombs) on

“It’s not every day you get to propose to your High School sweetheart,” Loechler wrote on Instagram. “The only thing better than seeing the smartest person I know completely dumbfounded was knowing we’d get to live happily ever after together.”

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The proposal, which took place on Dec. 30, came after months of hard work, dating back to April 2019 when Loechler connected with Kayla Coombs, a character designer and illustrator living in Australia.

Coombs worked her magic to illustrate David and Loechler as a princess and prince and then, Loechler spent six months editing his own animated scene into the Disney classic, WSBK-TV reported.

Once the film was ready, Loechler worked with Coolidge Corner Theatre to rent a space to screen his fake film, even coming up with an advertisement for the screening that matched the theater’s marketing materials.

David’s family was in on the secret, including her mother, who told her daughter she had purchased tickets for the whole family to see “Sleeping Beauty” while everyone was home for the holidays, including Loechler, if he was interested.

“It was a proud moment when she called me a few days later and invited me to her own surprise proposal … She didn’t suspect a thing!” Loechler told People.

Loechler invited family and friends to the screening, but was also clever enough to fill the theatre with total strangers and their “Disney-age children” so that David would not be suspicious.

While family and friends were tucked away in the back of the dark theater, volunteers from the online community also showed up to fill in empty seats, joining the family afterward for a celebration.

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After what Loechler described as “75 excruciating minutes,” David watched in confusion as the characters from her favorite movie began to morph into characters that resembled herself and her boyfriend.

Prince Phillip, now Prince Lee, was suddenly holding a ring box on-screen while Princess Aurora, now Princess Sthuthi, stared at the diamond ring inside the box.

Before David knew it, Loechler had caught the ring box that the animated Lee threw his way and she was staring at a real ring from her real-life boyfriend.

“I love you with my whole heart, including all of its ventricles, atriums, valves,” Loechler told David, before clarifying, “she’s a cardiologist,” to those who might not know.

The audience cheered as David accepted her boyfriend’s proposal, surely one of the most thoughtful and well-executed proposals in recent history.

“I will never forget the way she looked at me,” Loechler said to People. “You could tell it had meant the world to her. It was the greatest feeling in the world, and I will remember it till the day I die.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
Page, Arizona
Bachelor of Science in Music Education
Phoenix, Arizona
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Lifestyle & Human Interest