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‘I live and breathe all things wedding’ How one LI woman turned a bridal group into a career

You’re engaged! Now what? That’s the exact question that East Patchogue resident Heather Cunningham asked herself when she decided to start a private Facebook group called Brides of Long Island three years ago.

News 12 Staff

Aug 21, 2019, 3:33 PM

Updated 1,739 days ago

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By News 12 Digital Managing Editor Christine McGrath
Video by News 12 Digital Producer/Editor Greg Cannella
You’re engaged! Now what? That’s the exact question that East Patchogue resident Heather Cunningham asked herself when she decided to start a private Facebook group called Brides of Long Island three years ago. And what it’s turned into is something she could only dream of.
According to Cunningham, Brides of Long Island, or BOLI as many refer to it, is a safe space for Long Island brides to seek advice and opinions on their weddings. Brides can also share reviews for vendors and venues they’ve used to help out other brides. “Planning a wedding is very stressful and I think having like-minded women surrounding you that can share those feelings with you really helps with the wedding planning process,” says Cunningham.
As a way to allow members to escape from the stress of wedding planning, Cunningham, along with BOLI administrators, plan a yearly Summer Soiree. This year’s soiree was at the Mansion at Glen Cove. The soiree is a way for all to “come together, put our pens and planners down and just have a girls night out,” says Cunningham.
Each year, BOLI collects donations for a women’s organization on Long Island, as a way to give back to the community. This year, BOLI collected hundreds of items, from clothing to housewares, for Brighter Tomorrows, according to BOLI administrator Suzanne Sommerhalter. “Philanthropy is very important to us and we want to give back to where we’re from and help those in need,” says Sommerhalter.
But Cunningham didn’t just stop with BOLI. In December of 2017, after quitting her full time marketing job in Long Island City, she opened up the Wedding Warehouse in Bohemia. After she got married, Cunningham says she had a lot of wedding items she didn’t know what to do with. “I had this idea of what if we brought all of these things that we spend so much money on for our weddings in one place,” says Cunningham. “We can almost recycle them, and new brides can purchase them for their weddings.”
What can you find at Wedding Warehouse? Everything you could possibly need for your wedding – jewelry, belts, custom signs, card boxes, table numbers, lanterns and much, much more! And don’t forget the headpieces! Cunningham’s favorite – “Definitely our Cambridge hairpiece. It’s just a showstopper.”
And after your wedding – you can head back to the shop to sell some of your wedding items to other brides. Consignment is a big part of Wedding Warehouse. Cunningham says after setting up an appointment, she sits with each bride to go over their items and let them know which items she can sell in the warehouse. The profits from the items are split between the original bride and the warehouse. Consignment is by appointment only – to learn more click here
Cunningham says being the owner of Wedding Warehouse is something she could never have predicted, adding that it’s very humbling to see the amount of brides that come into her shop. She loves meeting the brides and their families and helping them plan their weddings. “I just love it! I live and breathe all things weddings,” she says. “I’m so happy to come to work every day.”
Meanwhile, BOLI has over 8,500 members on Facebook and is growing every day. If you want to become a member, search for Brides of Long Island on Facebook and ask to join. You will have to answer some questions about your engagement, which Cunningham says will be checked to ensure you are a bride-to-be.
Wedding Warehouse is located at 4107 Sunrise Highway, North Service Road in Bohemia. Click here for the Wedding Warehouse website or follow them on Instagram.
Check out the photos below of some of the great items at Wedding Warehouse.
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