In August of 2016, a newly-engaged Heather Cunningham needed help.
Having just answered her future husband’s marriage proposal with a resounding “yes”, Heather came to a stark realization – she had absolutely no clue how to actually plan a wedding. And since she was one of the first of her friends to tie the knot, she didn’t have a very long list of people she could ask for advice.
It was then that Heather was struck with an idea: create a space for local brides that could serve as a resource for information, inspiration, recommendations, and emotional support. A Facebook group named the Brides of Long Island (or “BOLI,” as the insiders call it) was born.
Word of the group’s incredible kindness, exchange of unique ideas, and dedication to inclusion quickly spread, and what began as a small but mighty sisterhood started to exponentially expand. It was clear – BOLI was a desperately needed safe haven for Long Island brides. After her wedding in 2017, Heather decided to leave the corporate sector and devote all of her professional energy towards the Brides of Long Island. She recruited the help of several members, which became the trusted and hard-working BOLI admin team.
Soon, BOLI began to rapidly evolve into a multi-faceted organization. Since the group’s founding, Heather has launched new initiatives that connect brides to the best vendors (BOLI’s Preferred Vendors), celebrate the group’s camaraderie and generosity (BOLI’s annual Summer Soirée), cover popular topics in an engaging and entertaining format (The Brides of Long Island Podcast), and provided a consignment space for gently-used wedding items (“Wedding Warehouse,” which operated from 2017 until 2020).
Today, the Brides of Long Island is over 18,000 strong and continuing to grow. While the community frequently focuses on bridesmaid dresses, seating chart woes, and why in the world some guests will mail blank RSVPs, at the core of it all is love, respect, and humanity. This is exemplified in the brightest of moments when we honor a member who has “graduated,” and in the darkest of moments when we uplift a member experiencing tragedy or loss. In fact, that is when the BOLI community is the strongest – to date, we have raised thousands of dollars and collected hundreds of items for our fellow brides in need.
We’ve only just begun. As the Brides of Long Island legacy continues, we look forward to constantly and consistently fulfilling our mission – ensuring that every Bride of Long Island gets the wedding of their dreams!