Blame it on “Bridezillas” and “Say Yes to the Dress.”
“Finances, pressure and expectations” — that's what weddings are all about these days, says Heather Cunningham, the East Patchogue resident who owns the Wedding Warehouse consignment shop in Bohemia. So in 2016, shortly after getting engaged, Cunningham, 30, started a Facebook group to give brides who live on Long Island, are from Long Island, or who are getting married on Long Island, the gift of support.
“Brides of Long Island” is where brides can share their thoughts, ideas, questions, photos and inspiration with other local brides and “get the good, the bad and the ugly on local vendors and venues,” according to its Facebook page.
“There was no bridal community on Long Island,” says Suzanne Sommerhalter, 30, of Carle Place and a group administrator — but apparently, there needed to be. She says there are more than 8,200 members discussing everything involved in weddings — from flowers and music to navigating family dynamics and finding inner beauty and confidence.
Cunningham, who is now married, says brides in the group know it’s a safe place to seek advice. And besides connecting online, members can also meet face-to-face during the Brides of Long Island Summer Soiree — with the second annual event being held at The Mansion at Glen Cove Aug. 10 for brides only, and the grooms can join the festivities at an after party from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Tickets to the main event are $100 and $40 for the after party and they may be purchased through the group page.
The five-hour main event includes a cocktail hour, raffle auction, dinner, drinks, dancing and prizes ranging from wedding gowns to DJ packages. Last year the event was attended by 300 brides, Cunningham notes.
Cunningham says that some items from this year’s event will be donated to a local human services agency that gives aid to victims of domestic violence.
Brides of Long Island group member Janis Altenkirch, 32, of Yaphank, is a safety supervisor for a utility construction company. She plans to get married Oct. 19 at Cassidy Hill Farm in Manorville.
Altenkirch says she’s “obsessed” with “Say Yes to the Dress” (but is not a bridezilla, although her wedding is growing into a monster affair). She has invited 140 guests and the list keeps growing. She adds she has sought the group's advice for her decorations.
Ashley Candreva, 26, a librarian who lives in Freeport, plans to get married on Feb. 16 of next year and have her reception at Larkfield in East Northport. The guest list is about 230 and her main problems were choosing vendors to handle her photos and videos, music and transportation. After joining Brides of Long Island, she says, “My anxiety about planning and stress dissipated. Their collective reassurances gave me the confidence to be secure in my choices.”
Brides of Long Island Summer Soiree
WHEN|WHERE: 6-11 p.m. Aug. 10 (brides only) at The Mansion at Glen Cove (grooms can join the 11 p.m.-1 a.m. after-party)
COST $100 main event ($40 after-party) and they may be purchased through the Brides of Long Island Facebook group page.