Hoda Kotb and Joel Schiffman got engaged over the weekend

By Charlotte Triggs Eric Todisco
November 25, 2019 05:40 PM

Hoda Kotb already has wedding planning on her mind!

The Today show co-host, who got engaged to her financier beau Joel Schiffman over the weekend, opened up to PEOPLE on Monday about ideas for her big day and revealed that the couple hopes to tie the knot “sooner than later.”

“I sort of think we probably want to do it sooner than later, because what are we waiting for? And I kind of think we might do a destination wedding,” said Kotb, 55. “We may go back to the place we were engaged. We haven’t thought about it too much, but we might do something like that. The place is special to us.”

“Nothing we do is about bells and whistles in that way,” she continued. “So it always sort of meant something. Something special to our relationship, in Mexico.”

“All I want it to be is fun and happy and I just want everybody to feel easy breezy. No coordinated bridesmaids,” said Kotb. “Come as you are. That’s the theme of the rest of my life.”

Schiffman, 61, popped the question to Kotb while the two were enjoying an intimate dinner by the beach. In a photo from the engagement, Kotb is seen smiling and showing off her new ring as she sits next to her husband-to-be at dinner.

Hoda and Joel
Hoda Kotb/ Instagram
Hoda and Joel

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The couple then headed down to the beach, where they wrote “Hoda and Joel” in the sand with rose petals scattered around the sweet message.

Kotb told her Today co-hosts on Monday that Schiffman “said some beautiful things” when he asked her to marry him.

“My heart has literally been pounding,” she said. “I was totally shocked. He had a good poker face.”

Kotb noted the pair — who have been together for six years — haven’t yet told their daughters, Haley Joy, 2, and Hope Catherine, who she adopted in April.

“We’re still trying to figure out that part,” she shared.

“I think they would just think it’s a party that shows mom and dad how much they love each other,” Kotb told PEOPLE. “We haven’t told them yet. I don’t know how you do it. We are just going to say we’re having a party to show how much we love each other.”

The NBC co-host, who was previously married to Burzis Kanga for two years from 2005 to 2007, gushed about her relationship with Schiffman in 2015. “He’s the guy that gives me butterflies at 50 years old,” she said.

“It’s one of the most natural relationships I’ve ever been in,” she previously told PEOPLE of her romance, and added, “I’m so happy, I really am. But you know sometimes you hate to jinx something. I’m like, ‘don’t jinx it!’ ”

Joel and Hoda
Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

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Although Schiffman was left off of the domestic adoption application documents to simplify the entire process when she adopted Haley in 2017, Kotb told PEOPLE that “Haley will call him Dad.”

“I was afraid to even say it out loud because then it felt so real,” she told PEOPLE. “I said, ‘Think about it for a day or a week or whatever.’ And he said, ‘I don’t need a day. Let’s get this journey going.’ At that point I blubbered like a baby. It was like the dam burst.”

“[He] has been so great,” Kotb gushed about Schiffman, who has an adult daughter, Kyle, from his previous marriage. “He’s such a great dad and a great influence.”

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