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Boyfriend of the year sews iconic 'Beauty and the Beast' ball gown for fairy tale marriage proposal

Posted January 21

Boyfriend of the year sews iconic ‘Beauty and the Beast’ ball gown for fairy tale marriage proposal (Deseret Photo)

AMES, Iowa — Who needs a diamond when you have yards and yards of yellow satin?

An Iowa man crafted a proposal that would tug on the heartstrings of Walt Disney himself when he presented his would-be bride with a custom Belle ball gown before he got down on one knee. The truly magical part — he sewed the canary masterpiece himself.

Iowa State graduate student Joel Lynch, 23, first learned of his girlfriend Cara Szymanski’s “Beauty and the Beast” obsession at the beginning of their relationship, ABC News reported

“We had watched it at one point early on, and she mentioned she always wished she could have the dress,” he said. “And it was like, ‘Oh!’ A light bulb went on.”

Fast forward to last October, when Lynch knew he wanted to ask Szymanski to be his wife. That Belle-inspired light bulb began to burn a little brighter, and he set out to give his beloved the dress of her dreams, ABC reported.

Initially Lynch planned to just buy the gown, but then another idea popped into his head. One that would require a lot more blood, sweat and tears — but would ultimately be “a labor of love,” he told ABC News.

“Wanting to recreate the famous scene, I decided to make her the dress to coincide with my proposal,” Lynch wrote in an Imgur post on Sunday, which included photos of the process.

Having “never sewn anything before in (his) life,” Lynch told The Huffington Post, he learned some basic sewing tricks and picked out the right fabric before setting up shop in the basement “with a cheap sewing machine and a dream,” he wrote on Imgur. He worked tirelessly over Christmas break to ensure his princess would have her gown in time for the proposal.

In order to keep the endeavor a secret, he hid the dress in closets whenever Szymanski would come to his place, according to ABC News.

With the dress coming together, Lynch began to focus on composing the rest of the fairy tale. He contacted the librarians at Iowa State for a little fairy godmother backup — after all, Belle is known for having her head in a book. After reserving the giant periodicals room, Lynch had the stage set for his happy ending, according to Huffington Post.

Lynch finally finished the gown just 30 minutes before the proposal, he wrote on Imgur. Szymanski — who lives in Wisconsin — actually asked to visit the library that day, so off they went.

“When I opened the door to the side room, she saw the dress and, as you might expect, burst into tears,” Lynch told Huffington Post. “After I helped her get it on, I told her to wait for the music to start.”

Lynch popped the question, to which Szymanski gave an ecstatic, “Yes!” and the couple spent the rest of the evening dancing to “Tale as Old as Time.”

“It was a beautiful moment and a beautiful memory and I look forward to every moment I share with him,” Szymansi told ABC News. “One day, hopefully our daughter will be able to dance with Joel in the dress.”

Lynch may have a knack for this sewing thing — for his first project, the dress fit his fiancée almost perfectly — not unlike Cinderella and that infamous slipper?

A tale as old as time, indeed.

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for KSL.com and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.

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