Sean Joyce and Aynsley Connell first met at a friend's wedding in 2006, but it took four years before the pair officially became a couple. "We chatted and danced all evening long, but I was living in Boston and he was living in New York," Aynsley says. "In Spring of 2010, I finally moved back to New York and we reconnected under the guise of Sean helping me find an apartment." Just weeks after her return to the Big Apple, the bride says, she and Sean were dating. Four years after that, on June 15, 2014, Sean planned to pop the question by hiding a ring in a nested set of tote bags with Aynsley's future monogram. But the groom was unable to contain his excitement and got down on one knee (sans ring!) in the middle of Battery Park. "We caught a cab to his office where the ring was and he proposed a second time," Aynsley remembers. "In near disbelief the next day, I asked him to ask me one more, just so I could remember it that third time!"
They planned to tie the knot in front of 170 guests one year later on May 30, 2015 in Brooklyn, New York. But finding their dream venue was the most difficult task. "There are so many beautiful spots in Brooklyn that we have a connection to," Aynsley admits. The winners? Assumption Church served as their ceremony site before the entire party moved to Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims for an unfussy reception planned with help from Karen Brown New York. Keep reading to see the beautiful photos of their day, captured by Rebecca Yale Photography.
Once the pair decided on a largely navy color palette, they enlisted K. Batty Design & Stationery to create a formal invitation suite.
Aynsley got ready at her sister's apartment the morning of the wedding. Her Watters gown, which featured a high neckline, short sleeves, and delicate shell-patterned lace, was one she searched far and wide to find. "I loved that it was equal parts modern and old fashioned, and simple but unique," the bride remembers. "I saw so many beautiful lace gowns in my hunt, and this one stood apart as the only one that was not floral. The silhouette was reminiscent of my mother's — an amazing '70s Halston gown."
She completed her look with a flowing veil, a white-and-green bouquet comprised of peonies and greenery, and two thin gold rings. "My engagement ring was something Sean and I had chosen together — a little unorthodox, it is a tiny gold band punctuated with a diamond," Aynsley says. "We hit a snag with the wedding band. Making a platinum band to match his in a skinny width was a custom item that was unfortunately not going to be ready in time. My mother offered me her grandmother's wedding ring as a ceremony placeholder and it was the perfect complement to my engagement ring.
Sean wore a custom-made navy suit that was finished with fun and meaningful details. He had their wedding date embroidered on the inside of the collar and was lined with blue paisley fabric that matched their wedding invitations.
The couple decided to keep their wedding party small. Aynsley's sister wore a navy dress of her own choosing while Sean's brother donned a custom made suit that matched the groom's.
Aynsley and Sean also decided to have three younger attendants; their two flower girls in blue seersucker dresses wore flower crowns made from garden roses, blueberries, and rosemary and carried a Nantucket basket with a white peony; the ring bearer wore a navy blazer and penny loafers.
Since Assumption Church was such a naturally stunning venue, the couple chose to add only white-and-green floral accents to pew ends. In memory of her father, Aynsley walked herself down the aisle alone. During their traditional catholic mass, the couple's sister-in-law and the bride's godmother offered traditional readings.
After the ceremony, the party moved to the Plymouth Church of the Pilgims for a garden-inspired reception bursting with details inspired by the property's courtyard and the bride's childhood summers spent in Maine. Cocktail hour was held outside and guests were treated to a New Orleans-style jazz band, the couple's signature cocktails (his, a Dark and Stormy, hers, a Pimm's Cup), and small bites like mini BLTs, watercress soup, and lobster corn dogs.
Once the party moved indoors, guests found their seating assignments on elegant, printed escort cards. Aynsley and Sean worked with Amy Gardella of Seaport Flowers to bring the beauty of the outdoors in during dinner. She decorated tables topped with navy linens with mixes of spirea and privet that were accented with low bud vases filled with peonies and blueberries.
As a fun twist on the traditional guestbook, Aynsley and Sean worked with KBatty Design to create "Advice and Prediction" cards that were left on each place setting. They included questions like, "Will Sean have a beard in five years?" and "What is the worst marriage advice you've ever heard?"
After a seasonally inspired dinner, the couple cut their three-tiered wedding cake. Beneath the Swiss dot buttercream frosting, guests found layers of vanilla bean cake, lemon curd, and blackberry jam.
To keep the reception lively and fun, Aynsley and Sean brought in a 10-piece band that kept everyone dancing. "Weeks later we were still hearing about how great they were from our guests," the bride says.
"We capped off the evening with a sparkler send-off," Aynsley says of their grand exit. "Other than a festive way to conclude the evening, it was a joyous nod to my late father, who was very involved in a Fourth of July fireworks tradition. Fireworks have always been a happy memory associated with him."
The couple, who enjoyed a honeymoon in Round Hill, Jamaica, offer this piece of advice for other bride's and groom's: "Comb your friends for great vendor reference. Working with great people makes all the difference."
Ceremony Venue: Assumption Church
Reception Venue: Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims
Wedding Coordinator: Karen Brown New York
Bride's Wedding Dress: Watters
Makeup: Stacy Menzer
Groom's Attire: MySuit
Flower Girl Attire: Busy Bees
Ring Bearer Attire: Brooks Brothers
Engagement Ring: Satomi Kawakita Jewelry
Florist: Seaport Flowers
Invitations & Paper Products: K. Batty Design & Stationery
Music: Total Soul
Catering: Night Kitchen
Cake: One Girl Cookies
Rentals: Westside Party Rental
Favors: God's Love We Deliver
Photographer: Rebecca Yale Photography
Did you love this spring wedding in Brooklyn? Then check out another seasonal bash in the video below!