NYPD Officer Joseph Ranola and his wife Dominique, a substitute school teacher, see themselves as “your typical New York City couple” -- except for the fact that their dream wedding will be broadcast on television Monday night.
Staten Island’s Joe and Dominique, who wed at Disney World on Nov. 11, will get to see their wedding from the perspective of their nearly 200 guests when it airs on Freeform’s “Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings: Holiday Magic.”
“It’s so surreal. First of all, I couldn’t even believe we were in any type of article or show and it was just so humbling to see us [in teaser clips],” Dominique, 24, said.
The couple, who met in 2012 while restaurant-hopping through midtown on Cinco de Mayo, applied for the chance to have their wedding potentially seen by millions only three months before their big day.
While vacationing in Aruba with her family, Dominique happened upon a Facebook advertisement seeking couples tying the knot at the Florida resort between September and November this year.
“We watched the first season [of ‘Fairy Tale Weddings’] together as a family, so when I saw that I was like, ‘Oh my God,’” she recalled. “I texted Joe from Aruba and told him I was going to apply ... By the time I got back from my vacation, I got a phone call from ABC.”
In her application letter, Dominique divulged a story that ABC -- the owner of the Freeform network -- felt deemed them the “quintessential New York couple.” After exchanging numbers on Cinco de Mayo five years ago, they found out they both had big Italian families, and lived just blocks from each other on Staten Island.
“It was crazy,” Joe, 26, said. “We kept seeing all these similarities. We found out my sister was friends with her cousin, but we’d never met each other.”
Turns out, they had one other thing in common: a love for Disney World. They traveled to the resort three and a half years ago -- their first trip as a couple -- and it was there that Joe got the call that he had been accepted into the NYPD. Now, he works as a neighborhood coordination officer with the 122 Precinct. The trip only solidified Dominique’s lifelong dream to say “I do” at Disney.
"With every great love, comes an even greater love story and Joe and Dominique are the defining example of that,” Kary McHoul, the senior vice president of programming and development at Freeform, said, adding that “their loving, compassionate family and personal life stories” helped them stand out to the network.
As far as having any reservations to the added stress of getting married on television, Dominique said her big New Jersey-based family -- her mother the wedding planner, specifically -- helped the entire day go by without a hitch.
“No one was really shocked. We’ve always said somehow this family’s gonna end up on TV. But it was a little stressful,” Dominique said. “What really made us want to do this and kept us going -- because with a mic on and a camera in your face, it’s a lot to take in -- is that we’re just so excited we get to share this with our families, not just here, but in Italy. We think about the future and how our kids will be able to watch this.”
“That’s really why we wanted to do this, to preserve the memories,” Joe said.
The Ranolas and their extended family members have a watch party planned, to relive the “Frozen”-themed ceremony. And Joe’s NYPD colleagues are also gearing up to catch the couple’s big day on TV, when it airs Monday at 8 p.m.
“Nobody can believe it. They’re like, ‘I’ll be home. I’m watching it,” Joe said. “The 122 Christmas party is a few days after it airs, so it’ll be interesting once everyone will have seen the show.”