NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – What better place for a romantic wedding than the iconic Empire State Building. And what better time for fourteen couples from eight different states than today – Valentine’s Day.

WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs with couples at the Empire State Building

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The weddings got started early Monday morning. The couples, who hail from eight different states, were set to be married at 30 minute intervals.

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It’s a dream come true for the couples, who had to compete for their spots. They won a nationwide contest sponsored by They had to write their love stories for the competition.

One couple tells 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney that the wedding was “magical”

Stephanie Hull and Air Force Capt. Jon Wu of Louisville, Kentucky won the grand prize: a sunrise wedding at the 86th-floor observatory and a honeymoon in the Bahamas. The ceremonies for the other winners were held on the 61st floor in a room decked out with floral arrangements and white chairs and with full views of the Big Apple.

“We can only go up from here,” Wu exclaimed after exchanging vows.  Hull said she was “on cloud nine.” Wu proposed to Hull by spelling out “will you marry me” in Christmas lights on a lawn in front of their apartment building.

The second couple to walk down the aisle were Sarah Marie Carpino and George Callahan, two firefighters from Lindenhurst, N.Y., who met on the job. Among those attending their ceremony was their ‘miracle baby,” 17-month-old son, Jack, dressed in a little dark suit similar to his father’s. Callahan held his son during the ceremony.

Doctors had told the couple that because Callahan had been diagnosed with testicular cancer they had one in a million chance of having children, said Carpino, wearing a white strapless gown.

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They said they planned to pose for pictures outside their Long Island firehouse.

Another couple told 1010 WINS’ Kathleen Maloney that getting married at the Empire State Building was magical. “It was very intimate and I can’t imagine anything better,” Samantha said. Her husband, Brett, is a Private First Class and is being deployed to Afghanistan this Spring. “It’s going to be tough but I know we’ll get through it,” he said.

Would you like to get married or renew your vows on the Empire State Building? What other New York City landmark would make for a great wedding spot? Sound off in our comments section.

Several couples said they had wanted to marry at the Empire State Building because it had played a role in their romance.

Patrick Davenport, a pharmacy student in Nashville, Tenn., chose the building as the setting for his proposal to Jennifer Herring. She said getting married there was “an amazing experience.”

Cinda Hilms choked up during her vows as she wed Frank Stygar of Elmwood Park, N.J.

“I will love you,” she said, then paused. “And support you in all that you do.” She dabbed her eyes and her gruff-voiced groom promised to honor and respect her.

The emotion was partly owing to the death of her mother in 2009, shortly after the couple became engaged, the bride said afterward.

“It’s my first marriage and my mom’s not here,” she said. “It’s very overwhelming.”

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