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17.08.2018

We got married on top of the Empire State Building — twice.

They’re still on top of the world. Twenty years ago on Valentine’s Day, Patricia and Kevin Byrnes were married on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building, surrounded by about a dozen family members and friends. Kevin donned a classic tux and Patricia wore a beaded, off-white halter gown from David’s Bridal. After the...
Time: 19:33     Date: 13.02.2018
US Living News: We got married on top of the Empire State Building — twice. NY Post 24 - US News

Twenty years ago on Valentine’s Day, Patricia and Kevin Byrnes were married on the 80th floor of the Empire State Building, surrounded by about a dozen family members and friends. Kevin donned a classic tux and Patricia wore a beaded, off-white halter gown from David’s Bridal.

After the ceremony, photographers — including one from The Post — snapped pictures, and the couple shared a Champagne toast in the 86th-floor observatory.

“It was like paparazzi, cameras flashing everywhere,” Kevin, 52, says.

On Wednesday, after two decades of marriage, three children and one battle with cancer, they’ll return to the landmark building to say “I do” again.

New York Post captured their first wedding on February 15, 1998.Brian Zak

“It’s like we have lived through all the vows,” says Kevin. “Sickness, health, good times, bad times. It’s hard work.”

The couple met in the mid-’90s, when they were both working as transit cops in Queens and ended up at the same karaoke night for the Emerald Society, an organization of Irish-American police officers and firefighters.

“I turned around and was like, ‘Wow, that’s a great voice. Wow, she’s really pretty,’ ” Kevin says.

He can sing, too, and their friends suggested they perform a duet of Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable.” They did, and he asked her out right after.

“He pursued me,” says Patricia, also 52, who outranked Kevin when they first met. “God bless him.”

For two busy cops with opposite schedules, dating meant Kevin had to join Patricia’s bagpipe band in order to spend Friday nights with her when she wasn’t in school studying management or working the midnight shift.

“It was just a real natural fit,” says Patricia. “Whatever movie Tom Cruise said, ‘You complete me,’ that was it. It seems kind of corny, but it’s true.”

Weddings are only held on Valentine’s Day, and lucky couples must enter a contest for the privilege

After three years together, Kevin proposed on Christmas morning in 1997. Patricia immediately thought about getting hitched at the Empire State Building, where they’d gone on an early date.

“I remember thinking in the back of my mind, ‘It would be awesome to get married there,’ ” she says.

But, not just anyone can have their nuptials at the landmark. Weddings are only held on Valentine’s Day, and lucky couples must enter a contest for the privilege of saying “I do” at the skyscraper. In 1998, they were one of seven couples to win the honor. This year, they once again entered the contest and were chosen, along with nine other couples. They’re the only ones who have been married there before, and they say their union is stronger than ever.

In 2013, Patricia was diagnosed with breast cancer. After chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, she was declared cancer-free later that year, but she says it forever changed her perspective.

“You realize you have to start putting [each other] before all these other people, and enjoy life,” she says. “And because of that I’ve embraced [the philosophy]: ‘Let’s take that family vacation — the kitchen doesn’t need to be redone yet,’ and [don’t] sweat the little things.”

The Byrnes return to the landmark building to say “I do” again.Brian Zak

They both retired from the NYPD a few years ago, with Patricia once again outranking Kevin, who still plays the bagpipes.

“I caught up to her, then she passed me again,” he says.

Their three children — sons Brendan, 18, and Kevin, 17, and daughter Kaitlin, 15 — plus Kevin’s daughter from a previous marriage, Elizabeth, 26, and various other family members will attend the Wednesday wedding.

Patricia will wear a traditional white gown with a shimmery belt and train, supplied by the famed Kleinfeld Bridal store. Afterward, everyone will go out to eat at Frankie & Johnnie’s in The Bronx.

Kevin says: “We are looking forward to the next 20 years.”

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