For Erica Hagan and John Kraljic, both of Rockville Centre, Valentine’s Day meant a surprise wedding at Stew Leonard’s in East Meadow. The two had registered to wed with the Town of Hempstead and had their names drawn from a lottery to have their ceremony free-of-charge and take place at the superstore on Feb. 13.
“It was a bit overwhelming,” Hagan said. “We didn’t know what we were walking into.”
Stew Leonard’s mascot Wow the Cow acted as the “flower girl” of the wedding and threw rose petals along a path leading to an alter. To the sound of Bruno Mars’s “Marry You,” the couple walked down the aisle in front of a group of family and friends and said their vows before cutting into a multi-tiered wedding cake.
“You’re not gonna see this anywhere else,” said Nat Zappia, Stew Leonard’s director of support.
“It’s a kick-off to a day of Valentine’s festivities,” said Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen, adding that roughly 30 couples were wed with the town on Valentine’s Day.
“This is one of the best parts of the job,” said Town Clerk Sylvia Cabana, who also officiated a similar wedding at Stew Leonard’s last year on Valentine’s Day. “It’s becoming a tradition here.”
Hagan and Krajlic have been dating for four years after meeting at a gym in Rockville Centre. While they were wed in the U.S., they plan on having a symbolic wedding ceremony in May in Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.