Love in Times Square: Couples marry, get engaged, renew vows at annual Valentine’s Day celebration

Love radiated from the heart of Times Square for Valentine’s Day as four couples made promises to spend their lives with one another.

Every year on Feb. 14, the Times Square Alliance invites couples to propose to each other beneath Times Square’s American Eagle billboard screen, exchange marriage vows, and even for those already hitched to renew their promises to each other on the Red Steps of Father Duffy Square. The all-day event is called Love in Times Square. 

For Brooklynites and proud Puerto Ricans Kristen LaBoy and Jesus Torres, Times Square was the perfect location for them to solidify their undying love for one another. Three years ago, the couple met during the pandemic through online dating, which they consider to be a testament to the strength of their bond.

LaBoy decided that she wanted to marry the love of her life in one of the most iconic and special locations — Times Square. As a self-proclaimed theater geek, LayBoy desired to combine her passion for the Great White Way and her fiancé, so much so that her wedding bouquet was made from Broadway playbills.

Kristen LaBoy’s Playbill bouquet.

The blushing bride held her groom’s hand, smiling from ear to ear they exchanged vows in front of a heart shaped hedge designed by Almost Studio.

“It’s very exciting, it’s so surreal,” LayBoy said, giving her husband a kiss. “The love of Broadway is really my thing. I actually did a playbill bouquet just to show my support for the theater. I absolutely love the theater. “

“I am more than happy, more than anything in the world,” Torres added tearfully.

After the couple posed in front of a vintage New York City Taxicab adorned with flowers, the Times Square Alliance staff prepared for their next event, a surprise engagement.

Staten Island couple David Machado and Sarah Persaud have been together almost two years after meeting online. In eight months, they are expecting the birth of their first child. Machado shared that he wanted to show Persaud that she is the center of his universe and that he appreciates her more than words could say, which is why he chose to take the next step in their relationship by proposing in Times Square.

David Machado gets down on one knee for now-fiancé Sarah Persaud.

Machado knelt down with a rose in one hand in front of the gigantic American Eagle screen as the words “Will you marry me” appeared and he revealed a diamond ring to Persaud. To his excitement, she nodded her head and said “Yes,” kissing him passionately.

“[I decided to propose] in Times Square because it is the crossroads of the world,” Machado told the press after his proposal.

Wedding bells rang once more as the second ceremony began with Rachel Federman and Alexandre Perez. They met 21 years ago when Perez auditioned for Federman’s band, and since then they have raised two children in New York City, Petra, 9, and Walley, 15. Marriage was never at the forefront of their mind, but Federman shared that her two children kept imploring them to tie the knot.

“I do remember thinking, ‘I’m going to marry this man,’” Federman said, recalling how she met Perez. “It’s very us to do something wild, bizarre and spontaneous.”

Rachel Federman and Alexandre Perez got married in the middle of Times Square on Feb. 14, surrounded by their two children.Photo by Amanda Moses

“They [our children] really wanted us to get married. They were pushing and pushing, and I thought what a better reason would be than your kids want you to,” Federman said.

The final surprise proposal occurred just after 12:30 p.m. with Michigan natives Gary Puhl and his partner Zaid Kamousi. They met before the COVID-19, shortly after Puhl divorced, leaving him with twin daughters.

Gary Puhl and his partner Zaid Kamousi embrace after their Times Square engagement on Valentine’s Day.Photo by Amanda Moses

Puhl and Kamousi began dating during the lockdown, and then they quickly moved in together and made a home for themselves. Their first vacation was to New York City in October 2021, and they fell in love all over again during their visit — which is why Puhl decided to propose to Kamousi in the heart of Times Square.  

The 15th annual Love in Times Square event was sponsored by Minted Weddings.