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Flushing couple shares love in televised wedding

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It was there that the Flushing couple, who met at a restaurant when he was her waiter two years ago, wed on the live TV show just weeks before the groom's scheduled departure for Iraq.Zuluaga and Corona first appeared on the show Friday as part of a five-day segment about couples and how they fell in love.The producer, Tom Ginocchio, had not originally booked the Queens pair for the show. But when two of his other couples fell through, he sent a companywide e-mail that prompted Fox 5 investigative reporter Mary Garofalo to get in touch with her hairdresser, Corona, who was planning to get married on Valentine's Day.Corona asked her fiance, Zuluaga, if he wanted to do a TV segment as part of the Fox series on couples and he agreed."During the interview we told our plans of getting married in the court," the groom recalled after the ceremony Monday. After learning that, Ginocchio suggested the pair wed on the live show."I really liked it. It was more for Yanin. She was all excited. She's happy, it makes me happy," Zuluaga said.Zuluaga, 20, saw Corona, 31, for the first time at the restaurant, Natives in Corona, where he used to work."I was taking care of a table and the next thing I know I saw Yanin - it was one of those scenes from a movie where everything just stops," he said. "I went ahead and sat her in my section. The whole time she was so shy, I was trying to make eye contact."Corona was dining with her friend and was later joined by several others."My best friend dragged me to (Natives)," she recalled. "I didn't really want to go."Corona, who is Dominican, ended up leaving early without saying goodbye to Zuluaga, who is Colombian."I was devastated," he said.Luckily, she left her number with a friend to pass on to Zuluaga."I would usually call a girl three days after, but that night I just couldn't wait," he said.They spoke for four hours on their first phone conversation, and four hours each night for the following week before going on their first date - which she asked him on - to the Comedy Cellar.He was already in the process of applying to join the Marine Corps when they met but put his plans on hold during the first year of their courtship.Five months ago, he officially joined his unit in North Carolina. Corona was disappointed when she learned he could not make it home to Flushing for Thanksgiving. So Zuluaga arranged for a surprise leave and snuck back at 2 a.m. the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to see his girlfriend.Over Thanksgiving dinner, he offered to say grace for her family even though he was made fun of the year before for only being thankful for his new girlfriend."I started to say the same thing as last year," Zuluaga recalled, "And she was telling me to stop. I got on one knee and asked everybody for her hand. You could just imagine the crying. Nobody was expecting it."The pair planned a Valentine's Day civil court ceremony just to signify their love before he left for war. Next year they hope to have a full reception with all of their families and friends.In attendance Monday were Corona's two closest girlfriends, Nancy and Elsa Villanueva, her 4-year-old son from a prior relationship, Julian, and Zuluaga's best man, Peter Broniewicz.The judge, Ellen Spodek of New York City Civil Court, gave the pair some worthy advice."Fight well, make up," she said during the live ceremony as Julian toyed with his mother's bouquet. "Play, share, hug, kiss and always hold hands and stick together."Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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