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Photo via Erin Leeder

Meet the couple behind this amazing ‘Legend of Zelda’ scavenger-hunt proposal

Even the wedding might include a touch of ‘Zelda’ too!


Lisa Granshaw

Internet Culture

Posted on Apr 28, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 9:16 pm CDT

We’ve seen Takayas Custom Jewelry create some drool-worthy, geek-inspired engagement rings, but sometimes the stories behind the rings are even lovelier than the jewelry itself.  

That was certainly the case with Takayas’ latest Triforce engagement ring inspired by The Legend of Zelda.  John Hemmick and Erin Leeder are the Austin, Texas-based couple behind the ring. Leeder is a long-time fan of the Zelda franchise: It was her favorite game growing up. That made it the perfect theme for Hemmick’s proposal earlier this year, especially after he wasn’t able to keep the gorgeous 18-karat gold ring a surprise.

“I was trying to get it just right, and I wasn’t very good at jewelry, so I ended up designing a ring I didn’t think Erin would like,” Hemmick told the Daily Dot. “So it took me a really long time to sort of work this out and in the meantime I didn’t want her to know I was getting ready to propose, so I was trying to play it cool.”

Photo via John Hemmick

Playing it cool led Leeder to wonder if Hemmick wasn’t interested in her anymore, and when she asked about their relationship, he gave away that he was trying to secretly plan the ring. They began to work together on a design with Takayas, and the result was the Triforce ring.

Once that the surprise of the ring was gone, Hemmick wanted to come up with something else for Leeder. Hemmick decided to create a Zelda scavenger hunt including props and people dressed up as characters from the game. To pull off the proposal, he recruited the help of about 15 to 20 friends.

Photo via John Hemmick

Photo via John Hemmick

Photo via John Hemmick

Hemmick wanted to start off in a way that Leeder would think she knew what was going to happen, then surprise her with a full day of revisiting special spots in the city as she ran into friends dressed in costume. It all started at the lake and bridge where the couple went on one of their first dates. Leeder had a feeling something was going on when she was walking with a friend toward the lake and saw Hemmick’s dad on the trail. They went out to kayak on the water and when Leeder looked at the bridge, a sign was unfurling.

“I thought that was the proposal and so I was really happy and I started screaming and I was like ‘yea!’ Then I saw somebody push John out of the way and run away,” Leeder told the Daily Dot.

A friend dressed as Skull Kid “kidnapped” Hemmick, and Leeder started on an adventure to rescue him. Her guide through the scavenger hunt was a friend dressed as an interpretation of Navi. After the bridge, Leeder’s next stop was one of the couple’s favorite restaurants where she met friends acting as fairy arms dealers. To get a sword from them for her journey, the dealers ended up performing a “background check” by asking her a series of trivia questions about her relationship with Hemmick.

“If she got the questions wrong, she had to take a sake shot and because I knew she probably wouldn’t get many questions wrong, I rigged it so they would intentionally tell her that she was wrong when she got the questions right!” he said.

Photo via John Hemmick

Photo via John Hemmick

Photo via John Hemmick

From there she had to collect the rupee ransom for the kidnapper by going through an obstacle course near the apartment where Hemmick lived when he first moved to Austin and near the site of their first date at the Flying Saucer. She had to dodge flour bombs while breaking jars Hemmick created to find his fake rupees made of resin. Leeder then went to the Flying Saucer where she was made to buy new clothes due to the flour and ended up with a full Link costume before heading to another one of their favorite restaurants for a final battle to save Hemmick.

“At the end, it was really magical to walk around the corner and my whole family was standing there,” she said. “I had a final battle with my best friend who was dressed up like Skull Kid and then John popped out [of a treasure chest] and it was insane. I was so over the moon about everything.”

Hemmick said he had secretly contacted her family so they could come from out of town since he knew Leeder would want them there for that moment. He also built the treasure chest to look a little too small for him so that it would be very surprising when he jumped out to propose. Everything culminated in a fancy dinner to celebrate.

While the proposal was hectic for Hemmick as he made sure all the moving parts worked, to Leeder it seemed to go flawlessly. There was even a hashtag, #legendofleeder, they used on Instagram for the proposal which reveals more of the adventure.

Photo via John Hemmick

During the proposal Leeder said lots of people approached them, excited to see their costumes. As they traveled to each location, they even had fun conversations with the Uber drivers who drove them around.

The two will tie the knot in December, and while Leeder said she hasn’t had a chance to plan any Zelda-themed elements yet, she admitted that there will probably at least be a cake-topper.

H/T Takayas Custom Jewelry

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*First Published: Apr 28, 2016, 9:00 am CDT