Saturday, July 13

Despite Frigid Temperatures, 100 Couples Said ‘I Do’ at the Empire State Building on Valentine’s Day

The bitter cold in New York City this Valentine’s Day didn’t stop 100 couples from tying the knot or renewing their vows at one of the most iconic locations in the city.

Officials at the Empire State Building often limit the number of couples who can marry on the 86th-floor observation deck. But this year, the owners increased the number to allow 100 couples to affirm (or re-affirm) their commitments to one another.

This is the 21st year that the Empire State Building has held its Valentine’s Day event.

The weather was especially frigid that Saturday, with high winds and low temperatures. One couple filmed by ABC News is seen standing in the howling wind while tourists mill around the deck behind them.

But none of the happy couples seemed to mind the weather one bit.

One eager bride was even seen wearing a strapless gown and said she had too much adrenaline to feel the cold.

Floyd Deas, of Rockaway Beach, married his bride Ellen on the observation deck. Despite the cold, he called the event a “once in a lifetime opportunity” and “beautiful.”

“You can’t beat this,” Deas said. He and his new wife were more bundled up in coats and hats.

The couple were joined by a small group of family members and their two-year-old daughter.

Cold weather typically pushes these celebrations to indoor wedding venues, but that doesn’t mean not having a dream wedding.

“Weddings in the winter can certainly be tricky, particularly when one entertains the thought of outdoors,” says Michael Cash, Managing Director/GM, CityView Racquet Club. “CityView Racquet Club in Long Island City does sit atop the Stapler Building, yet the roof area is very windy and cold with no takers thus far in the winter. We always have the indoor Players Lounge with its panoramic view of the Manhattan skyline. There are destinations where weddings can be done with a contingency plan and then there is the “thrill” of all or none that day!”

Phillip Huynh and Braden Istas of Crown Heights had been planning for a destination wedding in Panama but decided they couldn’t resist a ceremony atop the Empire State Building.

Some couples traveled from out of state to say “I do” again. Stephen and Kristin Kuprel of Yardley, PA, renewed their vows after 42 years of marriage. The couple had previously lived in Union City, NJ, and would see the Empire State Building in the distance.

Jean-Yves Ghazi, the director of the observatory and the officiant for the weddings, said the building owners wanted to do something special this year. And he was supportive.

“Despite the cold weather, I can honestly say it makes me warm and fuzzy to be marrying these couples on top of the Empire State Building,” Ghazi said.

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