Couples marry on Valentine's Day atop a New York City landmark

NEW YORK, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Love was in the air atop the Empire State Building on Tuesday as two couples got married and one couple renewed their vows on Valentine's Day, the only day of the year when marriages are permitted at the iconic New York City skyscraper.

In back-to-back ceremonies, the couples wed outside on a cold winter day on the 86th floor observation deck, with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.

The couples entered an essay contest on why they wanted to be married at the 102-story landmark.

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Valentine's Day at the Empire State Building
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Valentine's Day at the Empire State Building

Krista Owens (L) and Danielle Reno smile after exchanging their vows at their Valentine's Day wedding ceremony on top of the Empire State Building in New York U.S., February 14, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Krista Owens (L) and Danielle Reno smiles after exchanging their vows at their Valentine's Day wedding ceremony on top of the Empire State Building in New York U.S., February 14, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Grace Vanderwaal and the winning couples pose in honor of the 23rd Annual Valentine's Day Wedding Contest at The Empire State Building on February 13, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

Krista Owens (L) and Danielle Reno kiss after exchanging their vows at their Valentine's Day wedding ceremony on top of the Empire State Building in New York U.S., February 14, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Women smile and take photos during the Valentine's Day wedding ceremony of Roetta Collins and Patrick Smith on top of the Empire State Building in New York U.S., February 14, 2017.

(REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Grace Vanderwaal appears to light the Empire State Building Red in honor of the 23rd Annual Valentine's Day Wedding Contest at The Empire State Building on February 13, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

Grace Vanderwaal appears with winning grooms to light the Empire State Building Red in honor of the 23rd Annual Valentine's Day Wedding Contest at The Empire State Building on February 13, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

Grace Vanderwaal appears with winning brides to light the Empire State Building Red in honor of the 23rd Annual Valentine's Day Wedding Contest at The Empire State Building on February 13, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

Grace Vanderwaal performs after lighting the Empire State Building Red in honor of the 23rd Annual Valentine's Day Wedding Contest at The Empire State Building on February 13, 2017 in New York City.

(Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

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The ceremonies were small, with family and a small group of friends in attendance.

Krista Owens and Danielle Reno thought it made perfect sense to get married at the iconic spot.

"I'm an NYPD officer and I protect the city of New York," Owens said with confidence.

Owens and Reno began as friends nearly a decade ago and years later fell in love at the entertainment and restaurant chain Dave and Buster's.

"We just connected; it wasn't really a conversation," Owens said about the moment she and Reno, now dressed in a floor-length wedding gown, realized that they were meant to be.

Roetta Collins and Patrick Smith met on a dating website and have been together for three years. Collins said Smith first caught her eye because his profile picture was of him standing in front of a store window display with a big red heart.

For Laura and David DeMusz, their ceremony at the Empire State Building was a chance to renew vows they took 19 years ago. They fell in love when they were 15 years old.

What is the secret to their long and happy marriage?

"A lot of patience, being kind, listening and having confidence in your partner," Laura DeMusz said.

A total of 14 lucky couples were chosen for their big day at the Empire State Building, the city's third-tallest building after One World Trade Center and 432 Park Avenue.

Lights atop the Empire State Building will sparkle red and pink at night to mark the Valentine's Day occasion.

(Reporting by Roselle Chen in New York; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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