How We Met
Billy and I met on December 30th of 2016. My girlfriends and I were looking for a healthy fix to erase the unhealthy food decisions we made the night before. I walked into Baya Bar, excited that a new concept like Acai Bowls had come to the neighborhood. Billy was behind the counter and greeted me with a sweet smile and some brief conversation. At the time, I only thought I had made a new friend. Time passed and I quickly became obsessed with Baya, making frequent trips there throughout the week. There was even a time that I sent my sister in because I was afraid they’d think I was weird for going in so often, but each time I saw Billy he was sweeter and sweeter. One day he told me that his music producer friends were looking for a singer/songwriter, so I gave him my number to pass along and from that day on we spoke often.
I was out in Los Angeles in February for a Pre Grammy party I was performing at and when I came home my grandfather’s health had taken a very quick decline. With a condition that was hard to diagnose I was constantly stressed, as my family is everything to me. Billy had asked to take me to see his new location in Staten Island and then to brunch after. Unsure as to whether this would be a date or just a friendly brunch, I went with no expectations. Being together was so easy and we laughed the entire time. After he dropped me off, I took my grandmother to see my grandfather in the hospital and spent the day there.
The day was filled with confusion and I came home drained and upset. Billy was checking in with me the rest of the day, making sure I was okay and had asked if I needed anything. Without hesitation, I invited him to hang out for a night of fresh pasta and the movie Trolls because I needed something extra to lift my spirits. Billy showed up with two bottles of amazing wine and a box of cupcakes from Little Cupcake. We spent the entire night laughing and talking and at the end of Trolls we kissed. I knew from that moment that he was going to hold a very special place in my life. Within two weeks, Billy asked me officially to be his girlfriend and “Yes” just rolled right off my tongue. My mother worried we were moving too fast but something in me just knew to take this leap of faith. From that day forward we’ve been inseparable.
how they asked
With a new puppy and almost a year and a half under our belts, Billy was invited to my family’s two-week vacation in Greece and coincidentally his best friend James (who happens to be a wedding photographer) & wife Tara would be there the same time. Billy and I had always discussed getting married and having children, so I was sure we were on the same page. My father owns and operates our family jewelry store which has been in business since my grandfather opened it in 1965. In addition to my music career, I run their Instagram account, so he even knew the ring style I liked. Billy had been prepping me for about two months before with award-winning acting performances of being “financially not ready for marriage” and all of a sudden being “not ready for kids”. Naturally, from having heard the exact opposite for so long, I became super worried and was accusing him of hiding something… I had a hunch, but I was just a bit off.
Greece was absolutely amazing. We were having the time of our lives with my family and I was on cloud nine. After a gorgeous boat tour, James and Tara met us in Santorini. We had drinks by the pool and James offered to take some photos before dinner, so we went back to wash up. Dinner was scheduled at the hotel which would have been a more relaxed night, so my original intention was to dress down. My sister Caterina kept throwing me little comments as to not wear my hair in a bun and to change my dress. I thought nothing of it and took her suggestions, as James would be taking photos and I should dress up.
Before heading up, Billy gave me his last performance, saying he was feeling a little off from swimming in the hot springs and that he’d meet me up on the balcony. He dry heaved…. I ran. Tara and I took some photos and Billy finally emerged from the room. He started to say “you’re my best friend” over and over and kept kissing me… Naturally, my response was “Billy you can tell me later, you’re going to be wearing my lip gloss if you keep kissing me”. Seconds later he reached into his pocket and starts yanking… (I still have no idea at this point). When I ask what he’s doing he says that his wallet was stabbing him.
I step back and burst into hysterical laughter (which happens every single time I’m nervous) and think to myself “Is something happening right now?!”. James tells me to turn and take some silhouette photos and In my head, I’m thinking “Okay just be cool because if it’s not actually happening, you’ll look like an idiot”. Billy makes his way over again and this time after telling me that I’m his best friend, he’s able to get the ring box out of his pocket and get on one knee. He says “But I don’t like calling you my best friend anymore, I think I’d rather call you my Fiancé for a little while”.
Hysterical laughter turned into hysterical crying and I couldn’t quite contain myself knowing that every prayer I had said had been answered. The absolute love of my life was asking me to spend forever with him and it was one of the best moments I have ever experienced. Here’s the kicker: when he opened my fathers “Raineri Blue” box, not only was the ring of my dreams inside, but it had been a design from a line of engagement rings I had created for my father.
Lo and Behold, when Billy had asked my dad for my hand in marriage and they started the creation process, my dad had suggested he use the design that I had drafted.
Once I had calmed down from the initial proposal, Billy had told me to look up on the roof and when I did, My brothers head peeked out from where he’d been hiding, documenting the entire thing. In addition to all of this, Billy had told me my family would be a 2-minute walk away, waiting at the restaurant for our private engagement dinner. So there we were, on a roof in Santorini Greece, surrounded by my family and our close friends, on one of the most important days of our lives.