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A City Hall Ceremony Ends With a Wild Night in Brooklyn

By Alexandra Macon | Photography by 

Jacquelyne Pierson

Attorney Ian Sprague and Shea Fitzgerald, a client account manager at Brendan Ravenhill Studio, first met in what Rihanna might have called a “hopeless place:” onboard a party bus in Los Angeles on New Year’s Eve. “We sat next to each other and realized we had mutual friends and hit it off instantly,” remembers Shea. But once they arrived at the party, Ian decided he didn’t want to wait in line and disappeared off into the night, leaving a smitten Shea behind. Thankfully, the two reconnected, became friends, and started dating a few months later. After Ian was accepted to law school in New York, they continued a long distance relationship with frequent bicoastal trips back and forth.

The day of their fourth anniversary, Shea had made plans to have a Foodshop dinner at the Schindler Kings Road house. “Ian was planning to propose then and didn’t realize we would be at a long communal table full of strangers,” she says. “So I sort of thwarted his plans!” After enjoying a rather large meal and a lot of wine, the two were exhausted by the time they made it home. Right before going to bed, Ian asked Shea to marry him. “We kept the news to ourselves until Sunday, when we shared our excitement with friends and family.”

With a wedding date set for September 22nd, the fall equinox, Shea and her mother got to work on planning a wedding in her hometown of New York City. “I had always imagined getting married at City Hall,” she says. “I loved the idea of being surrounded by the city while making this commitment; in a sense you have millions of witnesses, while also keeping the moment super private.”

At first, Shea didn’t even know what she was wanted in a wedding dress, except that she most likely would not end up wearing a traditional bridal dress. In the end, it was her mother who found the dress the bride would ultimately wear . . . on Instagram, of all places. “Kisan has always been our favorite store in the city, and my mom found the dress on their Instagram feed,” Shea explains of the off-white Ryan Roche knit design. “I called the store immediately and spoke to [owner] Isabelle about sizing and all of the details and bought the dress sight unseen.”

She paired it with some retro Miu Miu slides. For the after-party in Brooklyn, Shea wanted something festive and comfortable that she could wear for years. “I went to Happy Isles and had millions of options,” she says. “I settled on a simple Everlane tank, vintage Ungaro pants, an Alfie and Tuesday tiara, and silver Chanel shoes from a Barneys sale.” An Edie Parker clutch with the couple’s wedding date engraved on it completed the look. Ian, meanwhile, kept things simple with a navy J. Crew suit for the day, and a white button down, navy slacks, and Nikes for the after-party.

The day of the ceremony, the bride and groom met at City Hall, where they were joined by their immediate family and their dog, Riri, the only official member of their wedding party. “The vows were short, classic, and sweet,” Shea recalls. “The officiant mispronounced our names throughout, which made our giddy smiles even bigger and helped cut the nerves!” Their rings were handed to them by Shea’s mother, who had needlepointed a ring pillow with a special illustration made by Shea’s brother Clark, who had recently passed away. “My bouquet also had an eagle feather in it, which was a tribute to him being there with us,” Shea adds.

After the service, extended family and close friends joined the group for a cruise around lower Manhattan on a 1920s yacht. Floral arrangements by Saipua decorated the boat and appetizers including bruschetta, dumplings, and Luckybird cakes were passed. “With just 60 people on the boat, we had plenty of time to spend with everyone and really get to sit down and chat, which is so rare at a wedding,” explains the bride.

After a long nap at the Bowery Hotel and an intimate dinner at Lovely Day, just the two of them, Ian and Shea headed out to Red Hook’s Bait & Tackle for the second part of their wedding. Hot Hand Band, a New Orleans style jazz trio, welcomed guests, and just when the bar got packed, Shea’s dad delivered his big toast.

“After that we had our first dance [to Gene Rafferty’s Right Down the Line], after which most of our family retired and our friends picked up the pace of the fiesta,” she says. A DJ played music up until 2:00 A.M., when thankfully a Calexico taco cart was set up to give everyone a second wind. “Bait & Tackle’s owner Barry and his team were beyond amazing,” Shea adds. “They kept everyone happy and the drinks flowing. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun crew!”