New York City will be filled with magic this weekend, as nine lucky couples celebrate the happiest day of their lives — all while enjoying an amazing view in the heart of the Big Apple.
The Empire State Building will hold its 22nd Annual Valentine’s Day Weddings celebration — the only day where couples can marry at the iconic site — starting early Sunday morning.
Last November, the Empire State Building launched its contest asking engaged couples and also those looking to renew their vows to submit their love stories to win a chance to say “I do” on the 86th floor Observatory.
The winning couples will begin to be wed at 8 a.m. on Sunday with all ceremonies officiated by Jean-Yves Ghazi, the director of the Empire State Building's Observatory. One couple, who was married at the Empire State Building 10 years ago will also be returning, but this time to renew their vows.
“Being part of anybody’s special day where they declare and vow eternal, true love is magical for me,” Ghazi said.
This will be Ghazi’s second year officiating the weddings, and he said seeing the couples get married last year was a day filled with magic and amazement — especially when the couples didn’t seem to mind the winter weather.
“It was terrific to watch the excitement and enthusiasm and their ability to embrace [the moment] despite the weather elements,” Ghazi said. “They were glowing.”
The couples will also be provided with a VIP exclusive meal from STATE Grill and Bar, located in the building’s lobby, and each newlywed pair gets the chance to enjoy the 360-degree views and take photos to remember their big day.
One of the newlyweds will also be selected to win a honeymoon at the Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort in Aruba.
Ghazi added that the building also serves as a way for these couples to connect with the settings of iconic romantic films such as “Sleepless in Seattle” and “An Affair to Remember.”
“Romance has always been at the heart of the Empire State Building and for these couples they get to really associate their events at the same level as these celebrities,” Ghazi said.
And although, the weddings only occur once a year Ghazi said the building is one that is always filled with love, with couples getting engaged or just taking a trip to the very top to end a romantic night.
“It’s all about making a difference in somebody’s experience and making sure this is truly a memorable moment,” Ghazi said.
For soon-to-be newlywed Stacey Price, who traveled from Arlington, Virginia with her fiancée Andrew Frye for their big day on top of the “World’s Most Famous Building,” finding out that they had been selected as a winning couple was a big surprise — and still hasn’t kicked in.
She said she fell in love with the Empire State Building when she was 22 years old and traveled to New York City with her family. Although it was a forced trip, Price said the moment she arrived at the top of the building she was amazed with what she saw.
“One of the stops we made was the Empire State Building and when we made it to the top, I was overwhelmed,” Price said. “It was one of the coolest things I experienced in my whole life at that point.”
Price added that she is grateful they were chosen because they initially had no clue what they were going to do for their wedding.
The couple is set to be married at 11:30 a.m. on Valentine’s Day and will be joined by their families — with Price’s grandparents traveling from Alabama.
“We could see the Empire State Building from our taxi and that’s when it hit us,” Price said. “Your wedding day is special anyway but just to have it there is so surreal.”