NEW YORK, Feb. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On Valentine's Day, 14 lucky couples from around the country will say "I do" at the 17th Annual Empire State Building & TheKnot.com Valentine's Day Weddings Event in New York City. The winning couples, selected in a nationwide contest hosted on TheKnot.com, the #1 online wedding planning resource, will exchange vows in individual ceremonies on February 14, 2011, the only day the iconic Empire State Building (ESB) hosts weddings. One Grand Prize winning couple, U.S. Air Force Captain John Wu and Stephanie Hull of Louisville, KY, will receive a special sunrise ceremony at the 86th floor Observatory, and a Luxury Included® Honeymoon at Sandals Emerald Bay, Great Exuma, Bahamas, with airfare provided by The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism.
"Our Valentine's Day Weddings event at the Empire State Building has become a popular tradition over the past 17 years," said Melanie Maasch, Director of Brand Development and Public Relations at ESB. "People regularly ask to marry at the Empire State Building, which is immortalized in romantic movies such as An Affair to Remember and Sleepless in Seattle. With our partner TheKnot.com, we are once again making dreams come true by creating memorable weddings for our winning couples."
TheKnot.com editors will utilize their wedding expertise to create individual romantic wedding ceremonies for the 14 couples, two of which got engaged during visits to the building. After each personalized wedding, officiated by Jessica Ben Ami of New York-based CelebratedCeremonies.com, the newlyweds will have a champagne toast before posing for photos at the famous 86th floor Observatory. As part of their prize package, each couple will receive tickets to see the hit Broadway musical MAMMA MIA!, about a young bride on the eve of her wedding.
"Brides are constantly looking to TheKnot.com for creative places to get married," said Carley Roney, cofounder and Editor in Chief of TheKnot.com. "By working with the Empire State Building, we're thrilled to provide 14 deserving couples a special wedding ceremony atop one of the world's most romantic and iconic buildings – and what's more romantic than getting married overlooking New York City on Valentine's Day!"
To view stories and photos of the winning couples, visit www.theknot.com/empirestatebuilding. The couples will have their individual ceremonies at the iconic landmark throughout the day on Valentine's Day as follows:
- 7 a.m. - GRAND PRIZE WINNERS – Stephanie Hull and U.S. Air Force Captain John Wu (Louisville, KY) Stephanie and Jon got engaged the night of his birthday. He took her on a romantic walk and strung Christmas lights to read, "Will you marry me?" Getting married at ESB represents the pinnacle of their relationship.
- 9 a.m. - Sarah-Marie Carpino and George "Pie" Callahan (Lindenhurst, NY) – They met on the job as FDNY firefighters. George, a former ballet dancer, felt unworthy of marrying Sarah-Marie since he thought testicular cancer had taken away his ability to start a family, but she reassured him that he was all she needed. Little did they know that when he proposed, Sarah-Marie was carrying their miracle baby.
- 9:30 a.m. - Samantha K. Belfon and U.S. Army Private First Class Brett D. Bearden (Brooklyn, NY) – Samantha and Brett were matched on eHarmony and had their first real date at ESB. The couple is looking forward to marrying at the landmark before Brett deploys to Afghanistan in the spring of 2011.
- 10 a.m. - Jennifer L. Herring and Patrick R. Davenport (Nashville, TN) – Jennifer and Patrick met through a mutual friend and instantly fell in love. During a trip to New York City, Patrick took Jennifer to the top of ESB. While enjoying the breathtaking view, Patrick recited a poem to Jennifer asking her to marry him. They are excited to return to ESB to marry with their families and friends in attendance.
- 11 a.m. - Cinda Hilms and Frank Stygar (Elmwood Park, NJ) – Cinda had a good feeling about Frank after meeting him at her sister's wedding, and their long-distance New Jersey/Florida courtship culminated in a Disney World proposal. Her mother's death put wedding plans on hold a few years ago, but now the couple looks forward to getting married at "one of the most extraordinary places in the world."
- 11:30 a.m. - Jennifer Cunningham and Michael Grzeskowiak (Buffalo, NY) – When Jennifer and Michael met, it was love at first sight and they knew they wanted to spend their lives together. However, a devastating car accident on the day he was set to propose put their plans on hold. Now fully recovered, Michael cannot wait to stand atop ESB and let the world know that Jennifer is finally his wife.
- 12 noon - Karin Kirch and Stephen Garguilo (Holbrook, NY) – The couple met online and knew immediately that they wanted to be together forever. When Stephen suggested getting married at the top of ESB, Karin's eyes lit up. It all made sense for them to get married on top of the world, since that is how they make each other feel.
- 1:30 p.m. - Sara Bondrowski and Charles Mullenix Jr. (Darby, PA) – Sara and Charles (Chuck) always wanted to follow in the footsteps of Sara's parents, who were one of the first couples married on television on Valentine's Day. After getting engaged in 2009, Sara read about the ESB contest on TheKnot.com and thought this was her chance to have a special experience like her parents had.
- 2 p.m. - Taryn Shauna Tasco and Charlie A. Carrano (Shelton, CT) – Taryn and Charlie became friends at the age of 13 and reconnected years later on Facebook. In December 2009, Charlie took Taryn to ESB for her very first time. It was on the 86th floor Observatory during a blizzard that he proposed. Having another reason to celebrate at ESB will be a special, meaningful experience for both of them.
- 2:30 p.m. - Eleonor Gongora and Vahagn Kirakosian (Glendale, CA) – Eleonor and Vahagn met as sixth graders and reconnected years later. They feel that fate brought them back together. They want to experience new and amazing things together, and starting their married lives at ESB on Valentine's Day will be incredible.
- 3:30 p.m. - Frances Healy and Jared Kilkenny (Dunnellon, FL) – Frances and Jared met in high school but did not fall in love until Jared felt inspired enough to sing karaoke to her on her birthday. After two wonderful years together, Frances took a leap of faith and proposed to Jared and suggested they move to New York City. They are excited to wed at ESB, as the couple now consider themselves true New Yorkers.
- 4 p.m. - Carolynn Cohan and Richard Bank (Manorville, NY) – Before Carolynn's brother George passed away, he encouraged his best friend Richard to take her out on a date. His fondest wish brought the perfect couple together, and they feel ESB is the ideal place to renew their vows since it's the heart of the city where her beloved brother lived.
- 4:30 p.m. - Dana Acevedo and William Kepezensky (Staten Island, NY) – Dana and William met through a mutual friend and began their relationship laughing together. In August 2009, William got down on one knee, held out his grandmother's engagement ring and asked Dana to spend the rest of her life with him.
- 5 p.m. - Cara Alwill and Ryan Leyba (Brooklyn, NY) – Cara and Ryan met through an online dating website and knew instantly they wanted to marry each other. Two weeks after the couple's first date they professed their love, and a year later they are now planning their wedding. They feel that everything about their love is as timeless and classic as New York City and that there is nothing more representative of the city than the Empire State Building.
About the Empire State Building
Soaring 1,454 feet above Midtown Manhattan, the Empire State Building is the "World's Most Famous Office Building." With new investments in infrastructure, public areas and amenities, the Empire State Building has attracted first-rate tenants in a diverse array of industries from around the world. The skyscraper's robust broadcasting technology supports all major television and FM radio stations in the New York metropolitan market. The Empire State Building was named America's favorite building in a poll conducted by the American Institute of Architects. The Empire State Building Observatory is one of the world's most beloved attractions and is the region's #1 tourist destination. For more information on the Empire State Building, please visit www.esbnyc.com, www.facebook.com/EmpireStateBuilding or @ESBObservatory.
The Knot is the nation's leading wedding resource, reaching over a million engaged couples each year through the #1 wedding website, TheKnot.com; The Knot national and local wedding magazines; on Twitter and The Knot books (published by Random House and Chronicle). The Knot is the flagship brand of The Knot Inc. (Nasdaq: KNOT; http://www.theknot.com), the premier media company devoted to weddings, pregnancy and everything in between, providing young women with the trusted information, products and advice they need to guide them through the most transformative events of their lives.
Contacts: Empire State Building: Blair Garson, 917.309.2464, firstname.lastname@example.org
TheKnot.com: Nicole Dombrowski, 201.615.5167, email@example.com
SOURCE Empire State Building