Veronica Vizcaino and Gustavo Espinal will marry at the Empire State Building on Valentine's Day. Credit: Bess Adler/Metro
Their first date, Veronica Vizcaino and Gustavo Espinal met in Midtown, unsure what to do.
"We kind of just looked around and saw the Empire State Building and thought, 'Why not?'" said Espinal, 32.
The New York natives spent the night talking and laughing on the observatory, leaving just before closing time.
Less than five years later, the Queens couple will return to the iconic skyscraper on Valentine's Day for their wedding.
"We're very symbolic people and everything we do seems to have meaning," said Vizcaino, 29. "It's a full circle."
A public school teacher, Vizcaino originally hoped to afford a Long Island venue with a view of the building. But in November, she came across a video contest: the winners got a small ceremony at the Empire State Building and a private visit to the observatory.
Vizcaino showed her fiance the contest but they decided there wasn't enough time to enter. "I forgot about it," she said.
On Christmas Day, Espinal surprised Vizcaino. Wrapped with a new coat for their 8-month-old daughter Olivia was a small figurine of the Empire State Building and a note telling her they won.
Espinal, an art director at DirecTV, made the video in secret. His submission shows dozens of photos of the couple and their baby, ending with scenes from the Empire State Building where their "wonderfully unplanned journey" began.
"It will be something more for us," Vizcaino said of the wedding.
The couple, who live in Ridgewood, plan on having a "staycation" in the city in lieu of a honeymoon, which they hope to take in the next year.
Looking ahead, Espinal sees the perks of having their anniversary on Valentine's Day.
"It does help out a lot," he said. "For her it's nice cause she'll get one big gift."
For now, Vizcaino said she feels humbled by the upcoming nuptials.
"It gives us an opportunity to have a wedding that, financially, we would never be able to have," she said. "I can actually say I'm having a fairy tale wedding."