Nothing ‘Rocky’ about Montclair State marriage proposal
MONTCLAIR — As he walked through the student center at Montclair State University last Monday, the small box in Andrew Fagioli's hand made him forget that the people cheering for school mascot were actually cheering for him.
Wearing the Rocky the Red Hawk costume for the first time, the web and media developer had bigger things on his mind as he planned to propose to his longtime girlfriend. When he got to the desk of fellow Montclair alum and employee Stacy Albanese, the big moment she had been anxiously anticipating caught her completely off guard.
One of their colleagues caught the proposal on video.
Having dated for six years and living together for almost five, Albanese said she was on on the lookout for a coming proposal.
"I knew that the proposal was coming in the near future," she said. "I was on high alert anytime we went to dinner, anytime we basically went anywhere. Even if it was just at home, I was on high alert. But I was not at all on high alert in the middle of a work day on a Monday, especially when the mascot was around."
For Fagioli's part, the birdbrained idea had been percolating for a year, narrowly beating out an idea to get their cat involved.
"The cat could eat the ring," he worried.
When she saw Rocky's head come off, revealing Fagioli's with ring in hand, Albanese can be seen in the video reacting in stunned silence before giving him the long-awaited yes.
"It just took me a moment to be like, whoa, that's you in the Rocky suit and this is really happening right now," she said.
Fagioli admitted that at first he had "no concern" what the answer would be, but as he knelt in front of her it was a different story. He said he could feel it getting hotter in the Rocky costume and he started getting nervous. Despite the delay, Albanese said "there should have been no doubt in his mind."
While their love of the school runs deep and is an important place for both families, the couple said they will not be getting married on campus. But that doesn't mean the campus won't be part of their big day.
"As much as it's a huge part of our lives, we have to draw the line somewhere," Albanese said. "I have a sneaking suspicion that Rocky the mascot will make an appearance at our wedding."
As the story has carried beyond the school's walls the couple said they are moved by the mostly positive reaction they have gotten to their engagement.
"I think Andy felt like we finally made it when we had internet haters," Albanese said with a laugh.