The Daniela Raciti and Billy Lacerenza Engagement

Daniela had just moved back from Paris after finishing her master’s degree in global communications, when at a girls night out at a friend’s house her friends talked her into letting them create a profile for her on the dating website “It was such a culture shock to me to be back in the United States,” she says, “that dating and finding my husband was not part of the plan.”

But plans have a way of changing for the best, and after only being on the site for two weeks she met Billy. “We both knew right away there was a strong connection there,” Daniela gushes. “I can’t explain it, but somehow I just knew it was going to turn into something great.”

While over the summer they had casually talked about getting married, Daniela was not expecting a proposal anytime in the near future. She had mentioned that she liked a halo setting for an engagement ring, but that was the extent of the conversation about it.

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In early October, Daniela was in the hospital for minor surgery and, while her family was sitting in the waiting room, Billy asked her parents for their permission to marry their daughter. “Billy is an old soul and very religious and traditional, which I love about him,” she says. “I of course had no idea what was happening.”

Billy was hosting a pumpkin-carving party at his house with a number of family and friends a few weeks later, which he thought would be the perfect setting for the proposal.

“I was sitting on the patio area in his backyard when I saw Billy talking to his mom and they were both staring at me,” she says. “This was when I realized something was a little fishy.” Billy’s mom then came over and asked Daniela to join them where they were sitting and help them settle a debate.

Billy had his hands behind his back but, by the time Daniela reached him, he was down on one knee with a miniature pumpkin in his hand—with the ring box carefully placed inside. “I just kept saying, ‘stop it, stop it,’ and stood there with my mouth open, because I couldn’t believe it was all really happening. I swear I felt every single emotion in that moment,” Daniela shares.

After a few more minutes of taking it all in, Daniela happily agreed and the two are considering a wedding either autumn of 2014 or spring of 2015.

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“We know we want to get married in Westchester, as both our families are here. We’ve already picked the church in New Rochelle for our ceremony, but want to wait and enjoy our engagement before we start any further planning,” says the bride-to-be wisely.

One thing they know for sure is that her dad plans on making wine as part of the wedding favors, as well as the Italian tradition of giving “bombonieres,” which are decorated almonds that signify five wishes for the bride and groom: happiness, fertility, longevity, wealth, and health.

Engagement photos by Emily Main Photography

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