1000 helium balloons and a perfect 'Up' inspired proposal with a real-life Carl and Ellie

'I’m not very good at being romantic but if I only get this one chance [to propose] I might as well do it right.'

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  • First, Jon said, you need to know that "My first name is Carl, but I go by my middle name."

  • Secondly, "I'm not very good at being romantic," he said, "but if I only get this one chance I might as well do it right."

  • When Jon Cox decided he wanted to propose to his then-girlfriend Ellie, he wanted to show her how much she meant to him and how excited he was to spend his life with her.

  • And what could be more romantic than popping the question in front of a charming cottage with 1,000 colorful balloons floating overhead while giving her very own copy of "My Adventure Book" telling their story?

  • If all this sounds a lot like the Disney/Pixar movie, "Up," you'd be right. The movie centers around Carl, who after his wife Ellie dies, goes on the adventure they always planned but didn't go because life got in the way.

  • Back when they first started dating, Jon and Ellie made the connection of their names to the husband and wife characters in the movie "Up." They even dressed up on Halloween as Carl and Ellie.

  • The similarities between the couple don't end with the names, Jon said.

  • "Ellie encompasses the adventurous spirit. We both have the desire to explore, but she is definitely the driver."

  • When it came time to propose, Jon knew he wanted to make it memorable, but not cliche. He rented three helium tanks and got a few friends to help him spend all evening inflating 1,000 balloons.

  • "I don't like to do things halfway," he said.

  • The local bookstore created the perfect setting- with eaves and peaks that look a little like Carl and Ellie's home in "Up." Jon had a friend who worked at the shop and agreed to allow Jon to use it for his proposal. Plus, the bookstore was special to Jon and Ellie.

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  • "The bookstore was just a couple of blocks from my house in a neighborhood we both lived when we first met," he said. "We'd even been on a date there."

  • The next morning Jon invited Ellie to breakfast and as they walked toward the restaurant he casually directed them toward the bookstore. As soon as she saw the balloons, she made the connection to the movie right away.

  • "Although she was a little upset because she wasn't wearing anything special," Jon said.

  • But she still said yes.

  • Now, five years later, Jon and Ellie's kids love to hear the story of how their dad proposed. They've got three daughters: a 9-year old and a 7-year old sisters they adopted from Uganda and a 3-year old.

  • "It's fun to tell and re-tell the story to our kids," Jon said. "They are old enough to understand the romantic gesture that brought about our family."

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Emily Hellewell is the managing editor of FamilyShare. She previously worked for NPR, Brigham Young University and for the Alexandria, Virginia Visitor's Association. She is currently pursuing an MBA from BYU.

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