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Lee DeWyze's Engagement Ring: Inspired by a 'Phantom'

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Courtesy Danny Liao Photography (2)

Their engagement was right out of a fairytale — he popped the question on a private yacht under a fireworks-filled sky at Disney World — and the engagement ring Lee DeWyze gave to girlfriend Jonna Walsh has its own whimsical story, too.

“I knew Jonna was a fan of Phantom of the Opera, and the ring in the play,” DeWyze tells PEOPLE of a circle-cut engagement ring seen in the musical. “I went looking for one that was similar and I found one — the Tiffany Embrace ring — that was perfect.”

Before purchasing the 1.5-carat bauble, he showed it to Jonna’s sister, who gave him the green light. “Everything was good,” he says. “I bought the ring two months ago and I was waiting for the right time to ask. I figured out how to do it, and once I knew the date, I decided this was going down.” The engagement, which took place on July 16, went off without any major hitches — except for the fact that it almost didn’t happen!

Jonna, who wasn’t feeling well, tried to beg off making the trip. Luckily, her now-fiancé convinced her otherwise. “I said, ‘No, no, we should go,'” he recalls, laughing. Getting down on his knee as their boat circled the resort’s lagoon, he spoke from the heart. “I had a speech prepared but it all went out the window so I just asked her,” he says. “She started crying and I said, ‘Is that a yes?'”

–Lorenzo Benet