In Brides of Long Island’s Monthly “Mrs.” series, we profile some of our members’ unforgettable weddings. This month, we spoke with BOLI Brooke Brush about how she planned her wedding to her high school sweetheart two years out – which helped her when postponing due to COVID.
For all of the brides out there who have been together with your high school sweethearts forever, you know exactly how our April BOLI of the month felt when her now-husband proposed to her! Brooke Brush couldn’t wait to marry Michael, but they knew in 2016 – with him still in the Marines and her still in school – they would be having a long engagement. They just weren’t expecting a pandemic to extend their engagement another year! However, Brooke says with her excellent early planning, she was able to navigate her wedding postponement pretty well.
Family Friends Turn Into Family
Brooke says growing up, her father’s best friend was Michael’s uncle, so the two have known each other forever. But it wasn’t until high school that they started to notice each other. “The rest is history,” says Brooke. She adds that even though they were young, they never had any breaks or thought about splitting up. They always sort of knew they’d end up together.
It was pretty natural then, when in January of 2016, Michael proposed to Brooke while she visited him in North Carolina. “We thought we weren’t going to see each other for an entire year, potentially. I was studying abroad in Australia that spring, and he was set to get deployed in June.”
Once Michael got out of the Marines, they had a big engagement party in 2018 to celebrate. Brooke says they started planning shortly after that, and in February of 2019 they booked Giorgio’s, a BOLI Preferred Vendor, for a November 2020 wedding. Brooke says she didn’t want to start planning until Michael got out, as she knew his schedule would be unpredictable and “I couldn’t handle the stress. Meanwhile, COVID happened.”
Blessing in Disguise
Brooke says all of her vendors were booked by the time the pandemic hit. “I did my vendors pretty early on,” she says. “I didn’t want to wait until the last minute for anything.” Keeping all her vendors was Brooke’s priority, so when she decided to postpone during the summer of 2020, she ended up with a Thursday wedding – Nov. 4, 2021. However, even though most vendors were available for the new date, the two most important ones were not – the makeup artist and the photographer. This may have been a blessing in disguise though for Brooke, as she says she really wanted Heather from Never There Yet Photography, a BOLI Preferred Vendor. And Heather was available for the new date! Brooke adds that choosing Makeup by Vic as her second makeup artist was also a great decision “because she was my favorite vendor.”
With all of the calls and the long engagement, Brooke says it was stressful but she was grateful everything was booked early, as she saw what other brides were going through during the pandemic. She also says, “I feel like I’m a pro at planning weddings at this point because we had the extra year.”
MORE: How to Reschedule Your Wedding – Step by Step
Brides of Long Island To the Rescue
Brooke says she turned to BOLI throughout her whole planning process. Once she booked Giorgio’s, she says she took their preferred vendor list and put them all into the search bar of BOLI to get all of the reviews. “I totally used it for everything.”
She says she also turned to her videographer, John Bilski of Bilski Productions, for help. “He suggested our officiant to us, who was amazing.”
All of the amazing vendor suggestions paid off, as Brooke says their wedding was a huge success. She loved Giorgio’s – mainly because of their one-wedding-at-a-time policy and their beautiful grounds. “I loved the different sceneries that you could have for photos – the windmill, a beach and a little vineyard!” She adds that throughout the entire pandemic, Giorgio’s was amazing to work with.
Brooke is grateful that her entire guest list was able to come. She was a little worried because it was a Thursday night, but there were no issues and “a lot of people stayed over” at the hotel.
MORE: How BOLI Changed My Life
Personal Touches and a Beautiful Sunset
Since these two families that have known each other for so long were finally becoming one large family, Brooke and Michael wanted to honor that. They decorated the large piano in the lobby of Giorgio’s with a “Generations of Love” theme. “We put out pictures of our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles – people that are close to us who are still married.” Brooke says she wanted to acknowledge that because of their families’ love, they were able to come together.
During their ceremony, Brooke says there was a beautiful sunset.
“It was like a gift sent down for being part of this whole COVID thing. Everyone was in awe over this sunset.”
And the sunset was the perfect setting for their ceremony, which was personalized by their officiant Danielle Giannone, of Your Story Ceremonies. Brooke explains that she and Michael are not really religious, so they wanted their ceremony to be about their love story. “We wanted our ceremony to be about us and how we’ve grown and went through all of these big things together in life.” And she says Danielle brought that to life. “It was just perfect.”
A few days after their wedding, they went to Hawaii on their honeymoon. Brooke says it was an amazing time despite the strict COVID restrictions and regulations. She says there were so many things to do, so it was a good vacation to just relax and have adventure.
Book Early and Don’t Settle
Since Brooke is a pro now at wedding planning, she urges all brides to “book people out as early as you can. It’s your wedding day and you don’t want to settle” if your favorite vendors aren’t available. She adds that especially now, everyone seems to be booking earlier and earlier, so you want to make sure you get all of the amazing vendors that you want.
And Brooke says that brides should think outside the box and get crafty if they can. While vendors and professionals are great, Brooke says if you’re on a budget, you should try to create and make things on your own. For example, those menus you need printed – you can do it yourself! Plus, she says that by “learning how to do things on your own, you make it more personal and special on your wedding day.”
Take a break from your own wedding planning and treat yourself to something from the BOLI store.
Venue: Giorgio’s Baiting Hollow – a BOLI Preferred Vendor
Photographer: Never There Yet Photography – Heather – a BOLI Preferred Vendor
Videography: Bilski Productions
DJ: Barattini Productions
Florist: Flowers By Burton
Hair: Updos by Lisa & Deanna Beydoun at D’Salon
Makeup: Makeup by Vic
Officiant: Danielle Giannone of Your Story Ceremonies
Invitations: Joan Greenlaw
Dress: Lotus Bridal & RK Bridal
Bridesmaid Dresses: Bill Levkoff
Cake: Le Bon Boulongerie now Dortoni’s in Port Jeff
Tuxedos: Sals Fashion in Massapequa