Bridal Bliss: After Proposing To Each Other A Week Apart, Ayanna & Sully Eloped In A Park In Brooklyn
Jocelyn Voo

When Ayanna and Sully first met at mutual friend’s birthday dinner, they didn’t know ahead of time that the birthday boy and Ayanna’s best friend were trying to set them up, sitting them next to each other. They didn’t care either, because despite such efforts, the two didn’t say more than a handful of words to each other during the night.

“I was more interested in being friends with her roommate at the time,” Ayanna admits. “We instantly hit it off as friends. At the end of the dinner I gave her roomie my card so we could stay in contact and my best friend told me I should give it to Sully, too.”

Though her eyes weren’t initially on Sully at the dinner, after getting into contact with one another following the passing along of her business card, the two went on to make a connection. It wasn’t a linear path to love, but when is it ever?

“One nervous yet engaging first date, a month of miscommunication and a second make-up date sealed the deal,” Ayanna says. “Nine years later here we are.”

Though they quickly came to the conclusion that they had found their person shortly after entering into a relationship, a proposal didn’t occur until 2020 — make that two proposals, actually. The couple didn’t realize that they both had been planning to pop the question around the same time and ended up proposing a week apart from each other with help from their circle.

“We both had no idea, and our family and friends did so well at keeping it all hush!” Sully says.

They also didn’t realize that the world was about to come to a halt. Both women, who live in NYC, proposed in March. Days afterward, the city went into lockdown due to COVID-19. Their attempts to plan their wedding were upended more than once due to restrictions in place.

“We changed the date about three times from October to March until we landed on June 13 [2021],” Sully says. “Similarly, the location of where we would get married changed and varied as well, based on costs, the vibe we were looking for, and number of guests allowed during a pandemic.”

After landing on a date, Ayanna and Sully ultimately decided to do something simple, sweet and safe — an elopement in the park. The couple said “I do” in Brooklyn Bridge Park, in Brooklyn of course, in front of 25 of their family and friends (and around 100 people on Zoom).

“We read our own vows and our officiant married us off through storytelling, words of wisdom and tying in our belief in God in such a fun, authentic and non-traditional way,” Ayanna says.

There were plenty more personal touches, from the Pride rainbow sneakers worn for their photo shoot, to the specialty cocktails offered at their post-wedding brunch (Ayanna’s New Fashion, a take on an old fashion and Sully’s Passion and Pride, a spin on a rum and passionfruit drink), and the locations, from where the ceremony was held to the post-wedding fun on a rooftop, all taking place at spots special to the couple.

While they had a completely different vision for their wedding day before COVID hit, what their special day ended up being was even better than what they could have imagined.

“Honestly, the whole day was just magical and special,” Sully says.

After a time of great uncertainty in the world, they were able to be surrounded by a lot of love, in person and virtually, as they welcomed in this next chapter of life together. What could be more perfect?

Check out photos from their big day in the park, and learn more about their love story below.

Vendors

Photographer: Everly Studios

Florist: Blossr

Dress: Pantora Bridal

Jumpsuit: ASOS Bridal

Shoes: Badgley Mischka Rider Embellished Ankle Strap Sandal @nordstorm/Sam Edelman Yaro Block Heel Sandal @sam_edelman

Loading the player...

Rings: Valerie Madison Jewelry

Hair: Moni B Hair Studio

Makeup: Memacreations

Officiant: Lauren Hill

Reception: Celestine

Want your wedding to be considered for feature in Bridal Bliss? Email us a few wedding photos and the story of your big day, with a few quotes, at bridalbliss@essence.com.

TOPICS: