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How do you propose? Larger than life, of course

  • Frank Tierney spelled out his proposal on the side of a dorm in lights
  • Tierney: 'She deserves the best I have to give'
How do you propose? Larger than life, of course

I do! Cool proposals will melt your heart

I do! Cool proposals will melt your heart

Most women dream of a memorable proposal, but what about one on the side of a 10-story dorm in lights?

Frank Tierney, 28, told HLN he had been dating his girlfriend Katelyn Illingworth for two and a half years. Nearly a year into their relationship, the residence director at the University at Buffalo said he started thinking about what he wanted to do to propose to her. He got the ring in May 2013, but it took him a while to come up with the plan.

"I wanted to take her to the site of our first date, but that didn't quite work out," Tierney said. "So I had to come up with another plan."

Tierney explained to HLN that his main focus was to find a way to take things Illingworth didn't like and give her a reason to like them.

"She dislikes winter, and it's cramped living in the residence hall," Tierney said. "So I thought of the idea of proposing when it was cold, and using the building in some way, so she would have a different memory of it from now on."

Frank called on 13 co-workers and friends to help him pull off the elaborate plan. He made the letters using strings of Christmas lights and a roll of butcher block paper. After cutting the letters out, he put the white paper behind it in order to achieve the effect he wanted. He then created a creative ruse so she would see them at the right time -- a plan which Katelyn, unknowingly, thwarted at every turn.

"I was going to drive her to work and then take her to dinner that night and to a concert while friends set up the letters," Tierney told HLN. "But that morning, she drove herself to work. Then she canceled dinner. it was like all sorts of wrenches in the plan."

Despite unexpected changes, Tierney still managed to pull off the moment on December 30 just the way he wanted. She happily accepted, through a flood of tears. He had several people on hand to film it, too.

When asked if this proposal was going to be the pinnacle of their relationship, Tierney said it was up to him to find a way to outdo it in their future.

"You have to keep working towards something more," he said.

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