The Times photo by Betsy ReasonZach Buzan proposed to Katie Gipson where they met at The Belfry Theatre.
The Times photo by Betsy Reason

Zach Buzan proposed to Katie Gipson where they met at The Belfry Theatre.

When Noblesville's Zach Buzan was trying to figure out the perfect way to propose to his girlfriend, Katie Gipson, the pieces slowly started falling into place.

What if Zach were cast as the bridegroom in The Belfry's "Perfect Wedding" comedy?

How perfect would that be?

What if he would propose to Katie right after the bows on opening night of the play?

How perfect would that be?

What if he would call her out of the front row and have her stand up while he got down on one knee, on the stage, in front of the sold-out audience?

How perfect would that be?

Apparently, pretty perfect. She said "Yes." And the audience applauded.

A nearly two-minute video of the proposal hit Facebook even before Katie got to share the news with most of her family, although his parents and her parents luckily were in the audience.

Zach's mom, who wore the same ring size as Katie, was in on the secret. She tagged along with her son when he shopped for the engagement ring in February. Then she hid the ring in a safe place at her house.

On opening night, Zach didn't want to make Katie suspicious when he had to go get the ring, so he attributed his delay on traffic. He hid the ring in his computer bag until he could bring it inside the theater to hide it again on the back of the stage set. During the second act, he moved the ring closer to the stage door, then at the end of curtain call, he put the ring in his pocket.

He wanted to propose at The Belfry since it was where they met.

"This place is special to us," Katie said.

She watched him onstage in "Noises Off" in April 2015 and thought he was cute. Then mutual theater friends kept introducing them to each other. Even his grandma theater volunteer Sharon Pence told Katie about a grandson who Katie might like, not knowing that he was the same guy.

Katie agreed to run lights for "The Butler Did It," in September 2015, knowing that Zach was in the show and she might get to talk to him. So, one night, she brought in coffee. "I was really intrigued," Zach said. He asked her to go out for coffee sometime.

They had a first date at Starbucks and then went to see "Mission Impossible." They had a second date and a third. They became quickly inseparable.

They were both cast in "A Christmas Carol, The Musical" in December 2015. And all along, they were falling in love.

"We clicked really well," said Katie, 30, a 2005 Mt. Vernon High School graduate. "We talked a lot."

Zach, 27, a 2007 Noblesville High School grad, believed, "This is the one," on their first date. "Before Katie, I didn't date a lot of girls. She was the one who caught my heart."

Fast forward until November 2016 when play director Elaine Wagner called Zach to encourage him to audition for "Perfect Wedding."

"Oh perfect," he thought. "'Perfect Wedding'... proposal... It would be great."

He bought the ring in February then auditioned in March, not for the role of the groom, but for the role of Tom, the best man, "just to get out of the (groom's) kissing scenes," Zach said. But he did not get the part or any part. So he tried to think of another way to propose. Then lo and behold, the day before rehearsals began, the show's director called Zach and asked him to fill in for the lead actor who dropped out. The role: Bill, the bridegroom. "Absolutely," he replied. And his game was back on.

In "Perfect Wedding," which has three more shows, tonight, Saturday and Sunday, Zach appears shirtless and in his boxer shorts at the beginning of the first scene of the play, during which he wakes up in the bridal suite on his wedding day to find an attractive girl in his room.

Katie wasn't thrilled about Zach's role, but she trusted him.

Zach said, "It was hard for her to see me kiss two girls in the show."

The couple sat on the show's set, talking about his scheme, giggling like school children.

Zach said, "I just kept on thinking about the end game. I'm proposing to Katie, I'm proposing to Katie. I'll do anything to be in the show to propose to Katie."

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