Rachele and Jonny's Love Story: A Fairy Tale Proposal

Rachele Palmieri never expected that an after work stop at a Philadelphia book store would rewrite her entire relationship with her boyfriend of seven years, but that's exactly what happened Friday evening, complete with a surprise ending that she never saw coming.

"I just got engaged in Barnes and Noble!" Palmieri said excitedly.

The fairy tale night began when Jon Wilen, a 24-year-old University of Pennsylvania medical student, met Rachele, a 22-year-old analyst at a Center City consulting company, to walk her home from work before heading out for a date.

"It's normal. He said he would walk me home, which always makes me so happy," said Rachele.

As the couple of seven years walked through the city holding hands, Jon asked to stop at the bookstore in Rittenhouse Square. He said he wanted to grab a book that his father had suggested. Again, totally normal, according to Rachele.

"He had just finished a book and I knew he was ready for another one."

When the couple was inside the store, Jonny asked his girlfriend to help him find the book and there, among hundreds of others, Rachele saw, "Our Love Story: Rachele and Jonny."

"I was shaking uncontrollably," Rachele said.

As the two of them, who've known one another since they were 4 and 6 years old, paged through their "Love Story," full of pictures and a poem written by Jon, he reached down and pulled a ring out of his sock. He dropped to one knee and asked Rachele, "Will you marry me?"

"I got the question out somehow and she said, 'Is this real?'" said Jon. "Then there was a lot of hugging and kissing and shaking and I made her say, 'Yes!'"

"Which was really an easy thing to do!" Rachele interjected.

But the fairy tale proposal didn't end there, Jon had another huge surprise up his sleeve.

"My dream proposal was to be surprised and have my entire family there and honestly, I was so happy with the proposal and didn't think he could surprise me anymore," said Rachele.

Walking up to their apartment, Rachele says she was still shaking -- and crying -- and when Jonny opened their door...

"I saw all of my family and Jonny's family and I dropped to my knees!"

The Palmieri and Wilen clans, who have been best friends since Jon and Rachele's brother Vinny met at the ripe age of 6, greeted the newly-engaged couple with hugs and lots of champagne.

"We've known each other our whole lives, Jon and Vinny are best friends, our moms are best friends and this was kind of the culmination of everything," said Rachele. "We've always been family, but now it's official."

Rachele, Jon and their families and friends celebrated through the weekend with lots of love, food and hockey -- making time Saturday to root on their hometown team, the Pittsburgh Penguins. (Jon, since you planned the most romantic proposal ever, we'll forgive you for being a Pens fan).

The couple says they're thinking of a spring 2016 wedding in Pittsburgh.

"With Philly being so special to us, we definitely plan on incorporating it into our wedding somehow," said the excited bride-to-be.

For now, however, they plan on just enjoying the romantic ride.

"Romance has always come pretty natural to me," said Jon. "Hopefully, the ideas keep flowing."

Contact Us