On May 25th, Danielle and Steven Miller had the wedding reception they dreamed about at the Molly Pitcher Inn in Red Bank, NJ. Wedding professionals from throughout New Jersey volunteered their time, expertise, products and services through Weddings For Heroes, a new charitable organization recently founded to assist Military couples with weddings
Below is the couple’s story, as written by the bride, Danielle, from Bellmawr, NJ:
My name is Danielle Miller and this is our story. My husband Steven Miller has been active in the Military with the Army Reserves since he was 17. He LOVES the Army and would be on active duty right now if he could. He loves what he does so much that eight days after he graduated high school he went to his first day of boot camp. He has had two tours over seas. His first tour was in Kuwait and his most recent tour was in Iraq. Steven and I have been together for over five years now. We have two beautiful children. Colin, our son, is 3 1/2 and Aubrey, our daughter, is 5 months old. In our relationship we have never done anything by the books. We never did anything traditionally. We moved into an apartment together then became pregnant with our son. Before Steven’s last tour in Iraq we finally moved out of our one bedroom apartment into our brand new house, which we bought and we were no longer “renters.” Steve was only able to stay in our first house for thirteen days until he was deployed. Our son was only a little over one when he left. It was one of the hardest things we have gone through. With Steve leaving, our new house, and our one year old energetic little boy, it was a lot of new responsibilities that I was not used to doing alone. Being away from your spouse for such a long period of time is very hard. Any kind of communication with Steve was difficult. I had to always wait for his calls and emails. I would have given anything to be able to pick up the phone and call him. One of the hardest things for both Steve and I was explaining to our son were daddy was. Even though he was little, he still knew that his daddy wasn’t home and he wasn’t where he was supposed to be, with Colin and I. We had to wait a little over seven months to see Steve for the first time since his deployment. SEVEN MONTHS!!! And that was just for his R&R. Having to let him go again was so hard. No family should ever have to go through that.
When Steve finally came home for good it was great having our little family back together. I’ll never forget the look on our son’s face when he finally saw his daddy! He spent only a few weeks home with us before taking a job three hours from home to provide for his family. Steve is gone Monday morning and returns home Saturday morning since his civilian job does not pay as much as the army paid – he is constantly working when and where he can. His work ethic is a quality I admire in him.
One month after he returned home, we became pregnant with our daughter. We couldn’t be happier about expanding our family and giving Colin a little sister. The day before Christmas Eve 2010 Steve asked me to marry him in front of my entire family. OH MY GOSH was I ever excited!! I was very impressed with him, his family, and my family for keeping it a secret for a month. Steve is not the best at keeping surprises and neither are our families.
Times were getting a little harder with our bills. All of the work Steve does is outside and his working is totally dependent on the weather. This does not make for good working conditions in the winter. Also with this economy, Steve’s work was very slow. At this point I’m about 4-5 months pregnant, paying $263 a month for my health insurance and now my insurance company is telling me after the new year I have to go on the “pregnancy plan” insurance, which is $500.00 a month!! That’s just for me!! With bills slowly getting tighter and now this, Steve and I decided that we would just get married by the Justice of Peace and then have a wedding in the future. So that’s what we did. On January 15th, 2011 we were officially husband and wife. Yay!! Now that we are married I can go on his Military insurance plan. That definitely helped us save money.
Unfortunately with his job being so slow, Steve didn’t have work for 5-6 weeks straight. But fortunately my parents put aside some money for me for when we would get married. As much as we didn’t want to, we had to use a lot of what they gave us to pay our bills. Now with two kids, I do the best I can to help bring in income. I’m by myself with our children every day. Besides being mommy I do hair at home and recently started teaching Zumba. I have been back and forth with working. I stopped a month before Colin was born and didn’t return until Steve was deployed in Iraq. Colin was born with a cleft lip and palate. He has already had four surgeries at his young age. His first surgery he was only 13 days old. Because of his disability it was better for me to stay home with him. With Steve’s job, he’s out of town all week and returns home every Saturday morning to be with us. Then heads back to Long Island Monday morning around 3 in the morning to be at work by 7. One weekend out of the month he has drill for the Army Reserves. So really we only see each other 4-6 days a month. He is working very hard to find a job that will bring him home every night. The Military can only help so much. He went to them for help and he did everything they told him, but still with this market and economy, finding a job is not easy for anyone. The bills need to be paid, so he does what makes the money.
I’m telling you our story because Steve is the love of my life. In just the five years we have been together we have experienced more than most couples experience in twenty years. Family is Steve’s life. Ever since I first met him he loves being around his family and always puts us first. Weddings are so much fun because everyone’s together and celebrating your love. This wedding would mean so much to us. We aren’t able to do much together for ourselves. I know with your help it could actually happen instead of hoping that one day we finally have our wedding. With everything we have been through together this wedding would be a day for us to just put all our energy and love into each other instead of focusing on all the distractions of everyday life. Thank you for your time and thank you for giving military families an amazing chance for a beautiful wedding. I hope that with your help Steven and I are able to experience our dream wedding.
~ Danielle Miller
Participating NJ wedding vendors assisting in Danielle and Steven’s wedding
Brides Personal Assistant – Dara Castiglione of Save The Date Now, Day of Coordinator Memorable Moments, DJ – Infinity Events, Photographers – KSS Photos and JamieLynn Photography, Videographer – Always in Motion/E Video Productions, Photo Favors – Your Memories LLC, Minister – Marc Manna, Hair & Make-up – Schwartz Salon, JPS – Jewel Party Solutions, The Busy Brides Helper, Florist- Flowers on Front, Harpist/Ceremony Music Rosemarie, Cardbox – CardboxDiva.com, Invitations – Yvette Sencion/SDezigns, Calligraphy – Art by Vieno
About Weddings For Heroes
Weddings for Heroes is a charitable wedding service program that assists military personnel, combat veterans, and active duty servicemen and women facing hardships at no cost to them. The nonprofit specializes in helping with wedding services, receptions, ceremonies and vow renewals. The organization was founded in May 2011 by Jewel Georgieff and Sandi Silva; two women whose family members served or are currently serving in the military. They both run successful wedding planning businesses in communities surrounding New Jersey’s Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The Weddings For Heroes had an official launch on February 28, 2012 with an event at the Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank, NJ. For more information and to find out how to donate, visit their web site at www.weddingsforheroes.org.
View My9 News Story below (coverage starts around the 5:00 mark, after the sports report):