1. Justin Lebon and his fiancé, Michal Ott, are self-described homebodies who love a good game of Monopoly.
Since their usual board was one Lebon made in high school, and a few cards were missing, he wanted to create a new board as a Christmas gift to Ott that would celebrate their relationship. And then he decided to pop the question with the new board.
2. Lebon called on his friend, woodworker Mark Becker, to pitch his idea, and got to work on naming the custom properties.
Lebon worked mostly in Excel to create all of the properties and other cards. “The first thing I knew was that I could do something with the engagement ring and the luxury tax spot,” he told BuzzFeed Life. “I wanted to figure out how to make some kind of trap door underneath it, and it all came together while I was walking around work one day last November.”
4. Naturally, the property names correspond to important places and events to Lebon and Ott.
The place names include the streets where they grew up, their favorite vacation spots (Maui and Napa got notable placements), and for the ultra-valuable Park Place and Boardwalk, their current apartment number and “Home Sweet Home,” respectively.
5. Lebon thrifted for the money and the special gold pieces and houses.
He lucked out by finding an unopened Monopoly game from the ’70s for the money, he told BuzzFeed Life. The gold pawns came from a vintage anniversary version of the game.
6. Using the full game for the proposal, though, required an extra step of planning.
Lebon planted a special proposal card on Chance, seven spots into the game. From there, he planned to get down on one knee and show off the game board’s trap door.
7. He used loaded dice, so that Ott would roll a seven and get to Chance on her first try.
8. When the big moment came, Ott fell right into Lebon’s perfectly-laid trap.
“She knew Mark was helping me, so she figured her gift was going to be really cool, but she thought it was going to be a world travel-themed board,” Lebon told BuzzFeed Life. “When she opened it up and saw that it was about us, she was like, ‘No fucking way.’ I gave her the whole tour of the board and by the end, we were both crying.”
When Lebon lifted off the lid of the game to show her the money and playing pieces, Ott assumed a ring might be in there. Instead, Lebon nerded out and gleefully told her about how he made or found every part. “By the end, she didn’t think a proposal was coming. She had the dice in her hand the whole time, and when I finally suggested that we play, she rolled a seven.” Ott was excited to have landed on Chance — and still didn’t suspect anything until she read the specially made card. From there, Lebon got down on one knee and pulled out a long wire key, with which he popped open the trap door.
9. You can be damn sure Ott said yes to Lebon’s proposal.
The two are planning a destination wedding in Maui in 2017, one that Lebon said will “absolutely not” have a Monopoly theme.
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