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Engagement Extraordinaire! | Great Performances


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Engagement Extraordinaire!
CPS Events at The Plaza
by Emily Reifel

Every weekend, I am lucky enough to get to witness two people start the rest of their lives together.  I love meeting couples for the first time, recently engaged and finding out how they met and fell in love.  But never on a Saturday night have I seen a couple meet for the first time and fall in love inside The Grand Ballroom at The Plaza Hotel.  Not until October 6, 2012! I was here in the middle of running around for Kate & Brian’s wedding celebration that day but this day is where Joanna & Frank’s love story began!

Joanna was my assistant during the time (she has since left her Plaza Hotel days behind) and we were in the middle of a crazy busy fall wedding season.  Frank is one of my closest friends and being the man of character that he is, he stopped by The Grand Ballroom to bring me a latte to help get me through the day because that’s what your good friends do for you when you are always the girl working the weekends!  I was so thrilled that Frank had brought me a treat.  I then introduced Joanna to him and he felt so badly that he didn't bring her a latte as well!  Joanna smiled at him and we all struck up conversation and soon had to go our separate ways… we were busy!  Joanna quickly pulled me into the office and said “Emily Reifel, why don’t you tell me when your handsome Italian friends are coming over! I would have put on some lip gloss!”  I chuckled and told Joanna she was fine without her lip gloss and that I would make sure we met Frank at another time and place.  Little did I know what I was starting!  It was a miracle that somehow I managed to get both Joanna  and Frank downtown a month later to hotspot Bagatelle where they were able to reconnect - my job was now done!  These two ended up falling in love and I was able to watch it all unfold.  Fast forward to November of 2015 and Frank paid me a visit to spill the beans - he was going to propose to Joanna!  We laughed, reminisced and plotted how this would all play out! 

Frank picked the perfect ring and soon I called Joanna to tell her that she should definitely save the date of December 22nd to come to The Plaza for a cocktail party where there would be a New York Jets football team appearance. Frank is a HUGE Jets fan so this would be a perfect way to get Joanna to bring Frank over to The Grand Ballroom where they first laid eyes on each other. Little did Joanna know that the surprise was really on her! I stood in the ballroom alone before they came up and couldn't help but burst into tears. This room holds so many memories and love stories - I felt overwhelmed by emotion that its next love story happened to be so close and personal to me. After standing in that same room for 8 years, I truly felt as if this may have taken the cake as my favorite moment! I scurried away and it was their time...... 

Joanna and Frank walked into an empty ballroom, except for one single table set for two glistening in a perfectly lit Ballroom with champagne and flowers.  Billy Joel's "Just the Way You Are" is playing in the background which for these two Brooklyn born-and-bred's was their perfect song! Joanna was overjoyed and burst into tears immediately as Frank got down on his knee and popped that magic question!  Frank had arranged for a photographer to be there as well so each moment was captured! These two love birds reveled in the moment and soon Frank came to get me so that I could also surprise Joanna and be the first to give my congratulations! She hugged me so tight and said she couldn't have imagined a more perfect moment! To be engaged to her perfect man, in the most gorgeous room, where they met was her perfect fairy tale!  I have to admit it was a fairy tale to me too! Congratulations to Frank and Joanna! I know we will all be forever friends and certainly have many more memories at The Plaza where our hearts are filled with love every day! 

If I may interject here, Emily this is the finest Blog post you have EVER written.  Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to not only help Frankie plan this but write about it.  We love you and all of your hard work!  Thank you!

By Joanna Mancuso on 2016 01 20

My dear squirrel once again you have outdone yourself. A thousand thank you’s.

By Frank A. Zimbaro on 2016 01 20

So beautiful. A magical night for an amazing couple

By Renee Appelle on 2016 01 20

LOVE this story!!!! You made a fairy tale proposal come true!!!  You are a great writer!!

By MOM on 2016 01 20

This is so beautiful!! You are such a wonderful writer it really sums up everything about there perfect love story.

I cant wait to meet you Emily you seem so nice from what i have heard!!

Frankie you are the best godfather!! Jo Jo you are so lucky!!!

By Grace Desiderio on 2016 01 20

We could almost see it happening before our eyes, Emily! Your words express your genuine joy for Frankie & Joanna, and they’re indeed lucky to have your friendship.  Thanks for sharing from your heart.

By Louise & Tony Mancuso on 2016 01 21

.......And finally I know how the Fairy Tale story began! Thank you Emily for you contribution to this successful story.

By Louis Zimbaro on 2016 01 23

Congrats to the beautiful couple!!  This is an amazing story starring two of the most amazing people I know!

By Lindsay Sargent on 2016 01 25

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