Arts & Entertainment

Fairytale Marriage Proposal Takes Center Stage at St. Patrick’s Day Parade

b0e9ee87a6f17eea59d1_engagement__3.jpg
Steven Verardi proposed to his girlfriend Elise Latona on a float during the March 11 Somerville St. Patrick's Day Parade. Credits: Photos by The Werks Photography
ea85ff4982a6d94f9b72_engagement_2.jpg
Steven Verardi proposed to his girlfriend Elise Latona on a float during the March 11 Somerville St. Patrick's Day Parade. Credits: Photos by the Werks Photography
689f0eb9045ea60b84f7_engagement__1.jpg
Steven Verardi proposed to his girlfriend Elise Latona on a float during the March 11 Somerville St. Patrick's Day Parade. Credits: Photos by The Werks Photography
cbe12b6899c9ccbefd08_engagement_4.jpg
Credits: Photos by The Werks Photography
d3e8d2965a9aa465165a_dc26ad01223af0b8e86c_IMG_1505.JPG
Steven Verardi and Elise Latona.
5a3fca71aec588c5fa07_parage_program.jpg
A tribute to the newly engaged couple was included in the event program.
b0e9ee87a6f17eea59d1_engagement__3.jpg

SOMERVILLE, NJ – A surprise engagement took center stage at last weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Somerville. In the midst of the March 11 festivities, Piscataway resident Steven Verardi boarded a float and popped the question to his girlfriend Elise Latona, marking the first known engagement to take place at the parade in 27 years.

Since opening The Beauty Bar three years ago, Latona and business partner Kelly Knecht have hosted a small parade day party for family, friends, and clients at their West Main Street salon. So, when it came time to propose and Knecht suggested doing it during the parade, everything, said Verardi, began to fall into place.

“Doing it during the parade was actually Kelly’s idea. I think she initially suggested it as a joke – she told me to do it on a float dressed as a leprechaun,” said Verardi, adding, “I thought it was a great idea and went with it – minus the leprechaun, of course.”

Sign Up for E-News

With Knecht’s help, Verardi said he reached out to the committee in charge of the Somerville St. Patrick’s Day Parade in early February and, within a week, was given the green light. “They thought it was a great idea and told me that, over the past 27 years, no engagement has taken place, that they know of, at the parade,” Verardi said, adding that special thanks go out to Neil Mahoney and the other members of the parade committee for their support.

Over the weeks that followed, Verardi and Knecht also worked closely to iron out the details of the proposal and, on parade day 2018, a larger than usual crowd gathered at The Beauty Bar.

In the midst of the festivities, Latona and Knecht were asked to come outside under the pretense that they were being honored as business owners in the community.

“They called us outside and said something about wanting to honor us. Then they led us onto the float. I had no idea what was going on,” said Latona.

“They called Elise and I up on the float and introduced us and then basically kicked me off,” laughed Knecht, adding, “As I turned to step down, Steven was standing there waiting to go up.”

Once on the float, Verardi proclaimed his love for his best friend and soul mate before going down on one knee and proposing to Latona in front of friends, family members and total strangers. Latona, of course, said yes, and kissed her fiancé as confetti shot into the air, fire sirens sounded and the crowd cheered.

“It really was a fairytale,” said Knecht, a former resident of South Plainfield

While she was honored to play a role in making the engagement memorable and determined to keep it a surprise, Knecht said not letting on that she was talking to her best friend’s boyfriend on a daily basis was hard. “We work together every day so I had to make sure to keep my phone on me at all times with the screen down so that she wouldn't catch on,” she said.

Latona and Verardi, who both currently reside in Piscataway, met through an online dating site and will celebrate their three-year anniversary next month. Although she knew she wanted to marry Verardi and had discussed doing so ‘at some point,’ Latona said she never expected the proposal to occur when it did. “I didn't see it coming,” she said.

“Kelly and Steven had obviously been planning this whole thing and all of our friends and family were there and all these people knew and no one slipped,” said Latona, adding, “I had no idea and I am still in shock. I really wasn't expecting it.”

Although no date has been set, just yet, Verardi said wedding bells will be ringing ‘by the end of the year.’

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at www.TAPinto.net/enews and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthPlainfieldTAP/ and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Plainfield

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_051fbfdc6005fbc26458_072118silentparty

Sat, July 21, 10:00 AM

Plainfield Public Library, Plainfield

Silent Party

Wed, July 25, 7:00 PM

Washington Park, Dunellen

Free Music in the Park | Princesa - Pop / Latin

Arts & Entertainment

Our Children, Our City, Our Future.

July 21, 2018

They say that charity begins at home and with almost 1000 book bags given to deserving Plainfield students at last year's National Night Out. We demonstrated unequivocally that we understand how important it is to help our children learn, and that we are a caring community.

Our ultimate goal is always to build paths to self-sufficiency, but we know and understand that there are times when ...

Plainfield BOE Member on Naming of the New School

July 12, 2018

On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 – I, Carmencita Pile, an elected Plainfield School Board member presented this during the Plainfield School Board monthly business meeting to the public and to the board after being recognized by Plainfield School Board President Mr. Richard Wyatt.

On Tuesday, August 8, 2017 at 12:10PM an email was sent from the Plainfield School District's Postmaster that ...

Video Emerges of Parents Arguing at Junior Baseball State Sectional Championships

July 21, 2018

FORT LEE, NJ -  Nutley made it to Junior League Baseball Section 2 Championship before falling to Saddle Brook last night. 

The game was marred by an incident that began in the bleachers during the third inning as parents representing both teams began shouting at each other.  The expletive-filled argument, behind the Nutley dugout and near child spectators, ...

Nuestros Hijos, Nuestra Ciudad, Nuestro Futuro

July 21, 2018

Dicen que la caridad comienza en la casa, y con casi un mil de mochilas donadas a los estudiantes de Plainfield en el "National Night Out" del año pasado, demostramos que entendemos lo importante que es ayudar a nuestros hijos en el aprendizaje, y que esto es importante para nuestra comunidad. 

Nuestro gol es construir los caminos a la autosuficiencia, pero sabemos y ...

La Guerra contra los Inmigrantes- Cuando es Demasiado?

"Primero, vinieron por los comunistas, y yo no hable- por que no era comunista.

Después, vinieron por los sindicalistas, y yo no hable- por que no era sindicalista.

Después, vinieron por los judíos, y yo no hable- por que no era judío. 

Después, vinieron por mí- y no hubo nadie para hablar por mí."

Este dicho por el ...

Mayor Mapp:  El Programa de Verano de los Jóvenes

El lunes, 9 de julio, nuevas caras alumbraran las oficinas de la Alcaldía. Nuestro Programa de Verano de los Jóvenes por fin comienza, y otra vez los empleados tendrán la oportunidad de ser mentores de un nuevo grupo de jóvenes.

El Programa de Verano de los Jóvenes corre por seis semanas todos los años y les da la oportunidad de empleo y experiencia a ...

Featured Business: Studio 15 Young Plainfield Entrepreneurs Expand Business Once More

“What you see behind me is a life-changing project for myself that I have been working on since January 2017, nearly two years, discreetly; not sharing much about it with anybody. I've had plenty of reasons to give up on this truck; I purchased it pretty much from the ground up from Rashine Mobile, another local city entrepreneur. The truck had no steering column, no computer; it ...

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little (Dog Ear Publishing, 2015)

 

Rich Little is a national treasure; a living encyclopedia of movie stars, comedians, and former presidents all wrapped into one dynamic package. Recently, my husband and I had the good fortune to see Little perform at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, where he has been doing his uncanny ...

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

The Anatomy of Escape by Mike Blue

The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure by Mike Blue (Available on Amazon)

 

Imagine that you could just say, “Chuck it,” and walk away from the bonds that keep you tied to what Mike Blue, author of The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure, defines as the restrictive Work-Consume-Die cycle. To most of us, becoming what Blue terms “a ...

The Death of Koko the Gorilla

Koko's Kitten, Koko's Story, The Eduction of Koko all by Dr. Francine Patterson

 

Last night when I heard about the death of Koko, the lowland gorilla who was educated to communicate through American Sign Language by Dr. Francine Patterson, I went numb with grief. I have followed the life of Koko, her two gorilla companions, Michael and Ndume, as well as Dr. Patterson for forty ...

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn (William Morrow, 2018)

 

A friend, whose opinion on literature I respect greatly, reported to me recently that she had just finished reading A.J. Finn's debut novel, The Woman in the Window. Of it she said, “I wish I hadn't finished it,” which I interpreted to mean, “It was so good I'm sorry that I finished it.” ...

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly

When the Men Go Off to War by Victoria Kelly (Naval Institute Press, 2015)

Victoria Kelly's first published volume of poetry, When the Men Go Off to War, is a wonder in that poems can be written so beautifully about the subject of war. Each poem is a jewel, polished and colorful, glittering with elegant imagery, and rich in emotional wallop. The book, divided into three sections, ...