Lee Loechler edited himself and his girlfriend, Dr. Sthuthi David, into her favorite movie, “Sleeping Beauty,” as part of an epic fairytale wedding proposal at a community theater in their native, Brookline, Massachusetts, with their friends and family watching on. A video of the heartwarming moment when Loechler proposed and David said yes has gone viral.
Loechler, a 29-year-old filmmaker, popped the question to David, a 28-year-old cardiologist, at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline on December 30, according to the movie theater’s website. Loechler posted the video of the proposal on YouTube and Instagram on January 9, and it quickly took off, with millions of people watching the special moment.
“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.”
Here’s what you need to know about Lee Loechler, Sthuthi David and the epic proposal:
1. Lee Loechler Worked With an Illustrator for 6 Months to Edit Himself & Sthuthi David Into the Classic Disney Movie & Then Used Random Reddit Strangers to Help Pull Off the Proposal
You can watch the video of the proposal above.
Lee Loechler wrote said on Instagram that he worked with an illustrator for six months to insert himself and his girlfriend into her favorite Disney film. Australian illustrator Kayla Coombs perfectly recreated the characters of “Sleeping Beauty,” portraying Sthuthi David as Princess Aurora, and Loechler as Prince Phillip. Loechler was quick to give all the credit to Coombs, saying she is the “real talent behind this whole thing,” in an Instagram post.
Loechler then used Reddit to help set up the actual proposal. In early December, he posted on the Boston subreddit, “Seeking random internet strangers to help fill a small theater, where I will surprise propose to my girlfriend.” He said, “On 12/30, I plan to propose to her during a screening of her favorite movie. Sprinkled into the audience, hidden, will be our friends and family – to surprise her and celebrate afterward. In an effort to prevent her from noticing these familiar faces, I’ve reserved 20 seats surrounding hers as buffer.”
Loechler said that in return, the random Reddit strangers would receive, “A free screening of most of Sleeping Beauty … Pizza and/or beer afterwards … A wholesome and memorable Monday night … A successful entry into the anals of ‘we did it, Reddit!’ … My eternal gratitude.”
On December 30, Loechler and David went to the Brookline theater, filled with their family and friends and a few people from Reddit. The video posted by Loechler shows them watching the screen as Princess Aurora and Prince Philip transform into the Massachusetts couple. As Loechler gives a knowing glance to the camera, David appears confused and slowly starts to realize what is happening.
On the screen, the animated Prince Lee pulls out a ringbox and shows it to Princess Sthuthi. He then tosses the ring box into the air as a similar ring box flies into Loechler’s waiting hands in real life. Loechler then gets down on one knee in front of David and the cheering crowd in the theater, and asks her to marry him. “I love you with my whole heart, including all of its ventricles, atriums, valves…she’s a cardiologist,” Loechler says, “Sthuthi David, MD, will you live happily ever after with me?” The crowd then cheers and the movie starts up again as she says yes.
After the big moment, an emotional David tells Loechler, “I thought there was something wrong with the movie.”
The proposal video ends with a joke clip of what would have been shown if David had said no. Loechler wrote on Reddit about some concerns about springing a proposal on his girlfriend in public, “she loves this sort of thing. She knows a proposal is coming, it’s the ‘how’ that’s the real surprise.”
Coombs wrote on Instagram, “SURPRISE!!! For the last 6 months I’ve been working with the incredible @yours_true_lee to execute the Sleeping Beauty proposal of his high school sweetheart’s dreams. After many late nights sketching and colouring I might be even more excited that @stutzd4 said yes than he is! Lee, thank you so much for trusting me with your vision. It’s truly been an honour to be a part of this. Wishing you both the happiest of Happy Ever Afters ???”
Loechler added on Instagram, “If you’re feeling the love, (Coombs) is donating all the proceeds from her book, ‘What Can We Be’ to help fight wildfires in Australia. She is an incredible talent and an incredible human.”
2. Loechler & David Were High School Sweethearts, but Split Up During College, Only to Rekindle Their Romance 10 Years Later
Lee Loechler and Sthuthi David are both natives of Brookline, Massachusetts, and they dated in high school. Loechler wrote on Reddit, “My girlfriend and I were high school sweethearts. We split up when we moved away for college, but, through freak happenstance, reconnected ten years later and got back together.”
Loechler and David graduated from Brookline High School.
After high school, Loechler attended New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, graduating in 2012 with a degree in fine arts, film and television. David attended the University of Rochester, graduating in 2013 with a degree in biochemistry. She then attended the University of Rochester Medical School, completing her studies there in 2017.
3. Dr. Sthuthi David Works at a Virginia Hospital, Where She Was Recently Named Chief Resident
Dr. Sthuthi David now works as a cardiologist at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.
Loechler wrote on Instagram in April 2019 with a photo of David, “Congratulations to this gal who was named Chief Resident! ?You’ve worked so hard for this, and seeing you recognized properly makes me proud beyond words.”
4. Lee Loechler Is the Director of Content for Friends at Work, Directing & Producing Videos for Clients Like John Legend, Lindsey Stirling, Alicia Keys & Ciara
Lee Loechler is, ” a filmmaker and dad joke enthusiast hailing from Boston,” according to his website. He is the director of content for Friends at Work, a “management, entertainment and social impact company,” that, “partners with the world’s greatest artists and thinkers to help their visions thrive and realize both their creative and social passions,” according to its website.
Loechler has worked on projects with clients like John Legend, Lindsey Stirling, Alicia Keys and Ciara, according to his Linkedin profile. He also worked with Legend on #Free America, where he, “Directed 20+ videos for John Legend’s #MyPotential digital storytelling campaign. Featured on Huffington Post, People, BET, E! News, Glamour.”
Previously, Loechler was head of digital content for SMASHD and Atom Factory Inc., and worked in digital media production at #waywire. Loechler briefly worked at The Walt Disney Studios from June 2011 to August 2011 as a production technology intern, according to his Linkedin.
5. Loechler & David Have Been Overwhelmed With How Far & Wide the Story Spread
Loechler and David have been overwhelmed by the viral nature of the video. He posted a video showing news stories about the video and wrote, “This is insane,” and thanked a friend for being his “crisis support hotline.”
Loechler also joked on Instagram that he can be contacted at, “PlzDontSueMeDisney@gmail.com.”
He told The Boston Globe that Kayla Coombs, ““did a pretty damn good job of drawing in that (Disney) style.”
Loechler told the Globe, “It’s important to know your partner. And to know what they like and what they dislike,” adding that they had discussions about their future together. He said of the reaction to the video from people around the world, “It’s been very surreal and very crazy. That’s the craziest part to me, everything went according to plan.”
Loechler told the newspaper they don’t have a wedding date yet.