A record 659 couples married in New York City on Sunday, as New York became the sixth – and most populous – state to legalize gay marriage.

The Sunday nuptials shattered the city's old record set in 2003 of 621 marriages in a single day on Valentine's Day.

Celebrations began at midnight in several cities with mayors officiating over weddings at the earliest possible moment.

With a rainbow-lit Niagara Falls as a backdrop, gay activists Kitty Lambert, 54, and Cheryle Rudd, 53, married surrounded by roughly 100 close friends and family. The women, who together have 5 children and 12 grandchildren, have been together for more than a decade.

Other cities, including Albany and Long Island, also hosted midnight weddings.

In New York City, marriage bureaus in all five boroughs were open for a full day, from 8:30AM to 4:30PM.

“Today was a historic day in our city, and we couldn't be prouder that on the first day that everyone in New York City could have their love affirmed in the eyes of the law, we were able to serve everyone,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “I want to thank all of the city workers and volunteers who made this success possible.”

Bloomberg, a long-time supporter of marriage equality, also presided over the wedding of two City Hall staffers – Jonathan Mintz, the commissioner of the Department of Consumer Affairs and John Feinblatt, the mayor's top policy adviser – at a ceremony on the footsteps of Gracie Mansion. The couple is raising two daughters.

“Two people who loved each other dearly came together and pledged their lives to each other,” he said. “I'm glad I asked to be a part of it.”

Lines began to form outside marriage bureaus at dawn, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“I got a text about 6:45 saying there was about two-dozen couples already in line,” said 39-year-old Greg Schooler, who married his partner of 11 years on Sunday. “We knew to get here early. Especially with the sun, you don't want to be standing outside all day.”

Happy couples held up blue marriage certificates and waved to the crowd of supporters – and in some cases protesters – and soon-to-be brides and grooms as they emerged from marriage bureaus.

City clerk's offices will remain open until 6:30PM – two additional hours – for the remainder of the week.