Gina and Peter

How We Met

Peter and I knew about each other for months before we actually met. My cousin Jeanine and Peter’s friend Gianpaolo who are now married had been trying to set us up, but the timing was never right. It wasn’t until shortly after my 25th birthday in January 2015 that we would finally meet. I was so bummed because a blizzard prevented my friends and me from celebrating that weekend in Atlantic City. After being snowed in all weekend, my cousin asked if it was okay to give Peter my number. I was too nervous to answer the phone when it rang, but the minute I heard his voicemail, “Hi, this is Peter Ortega,” I felt a sense of excitement. That night we spoke for what seemed like hours. It’s like we knew each other forever.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in In front of our first date spot, Alta

The next weekend I invited him to my belated birthday celebration. Being that I never got to celebrate in AC, my sister thought it would be fun to go to our favorite place in Little Italy, Puglia’s. Among bottomless bottles of wine, endless servings of Italian food, and flying napkins, there was Peter in his chinos and navy sweater. He was so different than any guy I’ve ever met. He was a gentleman. At a very long table in the back, I had my friends to my left and my family to my right. Who would have thought I would be seated right across from my future husband that night. The next weekend Peter took me on an actual date to a little Spanish tapas place in the West Village called Alta, where 3 years later we would be engaged.

Over the course of our relationship, Peter became a firefighter for the FDNY. Being a nurse, I always had a thing for firemen, so it was pretty ironic that Peter happened to be on the path to becoming one shortly after we met. We eventually moved into our apartment on Roosevelt Island together and are the proud parents of an adorable Jack Russell named Hank.

Proposal Ideas In front of our first date spot, Alta

Gina and Peter's Engagement in In front of our first date spot, Alta

Wedding Proposal Ideas in In front of our first date spot, Alta

Gina's Proposal in In front of our first date spot, Alta

Marriage Proposal Ideas in In front of our first date spot, Alta

How They Asked

It all started almost 4 years ago when my cousin and her now husband set Peter and me up. It was love at first sight and we’ve been inseparable ever since. We are best friends, soulmates, and of course dog parents to our fur baby Hank. Peter is an FDNY firefighter and I am a nurse at a cancer hospital in NYC. Two weeks leading up to the proposal, Peter told me that his firehouse was having their Christmas party at an Irish pub in the West Village the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The morning of the “party,” I decided to get my nails and hair done to treat myself for just working the holiday at my hospital. Peter met me at the salon and we took a cab down to the West Village. When we got downtown, the cab dropped us off at the corner of the street. As we continued to walk down the block, Peter stopped in front of this handmade Marry Me? sign with rose petals and candles in front of the restaurant we had our first date.

It took me a few seconds to realize where we were and that this was actually for me. When I saw a photographer out of the corner of my eye I knew this was it! Cue the waterworks! I think I thought to myself already?? Even though I’ve been waiting so long for this moment. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him with the most gorgeous emerald cut diamond ring! We had dinner at the restaurant and promised each other we would enjoy the moment and wait to call our family and friends when we got home.

When we got to our apartment, our puppy Hank was dressed in a red bow tie and our place was all decorated with balloons. The next thing I knew both of our families yelled surprise! Cue the waterworks again! This was the icing on the cake. I was so surprised and excited that the most important people in our lives were there to celebrate us. The amount of time and effort he put into creating these perfect moments were priceless. I am so lucky to marry this man.

Special Thanks

Alexandra Wren
 | Photographer