NJ Military Couple Weds With Help From Weddings For Heroes Nonprofit

May 25, 2012

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:

Steven and Danielle Miller at the Weddings For Heroes launch event in Red Bank

Steven and Danielle Miller at the Weddings For Heroes launch event in Red Bank

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.

The Millers, with son Colin at Halloween

The Millers, with son Colin at Halloween

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.

Steve and baby Aubrey, "Daddy's Little Girl"

Steve and baby Aubrey, “Daddy’s Little Girl”

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

Weddings For Heroes - http://www.weddingsforheroes.org

Weddings For Heroes – http://www.weddingsforheroes.org

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.

The first Weddings For Heroes wedding was covered on My9 News!

The first Weddings For Heroes wedding was covered on My9 10:00 News!

View My9 News Story below (coverage starts around the 5:00 mark, after the sports report):

Wedding For Hero: My9TV.com


Wish Upon A Wedding – NJ/NY Metro Chapter Grants New Jersey Couple’s Wish

September 20, 2011

Valerie and Larry plan to marry in New Jersey this November with the help of local wedding professionals. Blissful Wishes Ball / Gala Celebration fundraiser set for Wed., October 5th in Livingston to help raise money and awareness for WUW-NJ Nonprofit

Have you heard of Wish Upon A Wedding? Founded in 2010 by California wedding planner Liz Guthrie, WUW’s mission is to provide weddings or vow renewal ceremonies to couples facing terminal illness or other serious life-altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation. The New Jersey/New York Metro chapter was launched in the beginning of 2011 (view photos of launch event). The organization now has over 20 chapters across the country and has granted 30 wishes since its inception. WUW does not give a couple money. Instead, the chapter mobilizes participating vendors who donate services to make the wedding possible and to allow the couple an opportunity to enjoy the special day without the stress of planning. (Source: New Jersey Newsroom article by Rhonda Bassat-Rivera, March 2011).

Learn about the first couple, Larry and Valerie, that the WUW-NJ/NY Metro chapter will help below, followed by ways you can get involved or donate to this organization:

WUW-NJ/NY Metro's First Wedding Wish Recipients

WUW-NJ/NY Metro's First Wedding Wish Recipients

How They Met:

Larry and Valerie met in March 1999 while she was working at Headquarters Plaza Hotel (now the Morristown Hyatt). His best friend, who also worked there, introduced them.  Their first date was at his favorite mall and they ate dinner at the Sizzler, Valerie’s first time to either locations.

Their love story:

Valerie states, “I’ve always believed that people are brought into our lives for a purpose. Whether for a moment or an eternity, I believe that we learn from everyone that crosses paths with us. Every situation has an opportunity to grow us and show us who we are. Every person has a purpose in our lives. Meeting and falling in love with Larry, has taught me the true meaning of reconciliation, patience, forgiveness, hope and love.  It’s given me strength in my weakness and peace through my dreams with him. His strength is proven daily while going through his battle and I feel honored to love him despite the circumstance.”

Their love story truly could make a great novel!

Boy meets girl. They have a child together. Boy and girl break up. Boy and girl get back together after being apart for almost 5 years.

Obstacles:

Since April of 2009, Larry has been admitted to the hospital on 6 occasions resulting in 5 surgeries and with 19 days being the longest time spent in the hospital. At 38 years old, he is legally blind in one eye due to complications from Type 1 Diabetes. He has had open heart surgery to replace and infected aortic valve and he is undergoing weekly treatments of dialysis 4 hours/3 days a week.

What Makes Their Relationship Special?:

Valerie and Larry’s relationship is truly special because of its untraditional nature and is made up of many stories and circumstances. However, they finally feel they are all were where God has planned for them to be from the beginning, TOGETHER. Valerie and Larry live with their 10 year old son, 15 year old daughter, Larry’s younger sister who is 17 and also see Larry’s twins often who are 3 years old.  That is truly a full house!

What Does The Future Hold?:

Despite all of the hardships, Valerie and Larry still manage to laugh and love every day. They have learned not to take anything for granted. They hope to raise their children and encourage them to live life to the fullest extent. They are hopeful that a kidney and pancreas donor will become available for Larry in the near future.

Wish Upon A Wedding New Jersey is pleased to be able to grant this couple’s Wedding Wish in November this year. Some of the very generous Wish Granters who are helping with Valerie and Larry’s wedding are listed below:

Minister/Celebrant- April Beer
Florist – Massiels Wonders
On-Site Hair and Makeup – The Powder Bar
Custom Wedding Stationery and Favors – Creatively Engaged LLC
Videography – Majestic Cinema Productions
Photography – Rita Rojas-Sullivan Photography
Event Planning – A Divine Affair
Catering – Park Avenue Club
DJ – Instinctive DJ’s
Personalized Handkerchief - Lil-Inspirations
Photobooth – Jersey Photobooth
Formalwear – Top Hat & Tails Tuxedo
Bridal Gown – Maplewood Bridal Image / The Bridal Nook

Register for the Blissful Wishes Ball, a Gala Fundraiser for WUW-NJ/NY Metro Chapter at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston, NJ on October 5th

Register for the Blissful Wishes Ball, a Gala Fundraiser for WUW-NJ/NY Metro Chapter at the Crystal Plaza in Livingston, NJ on October 5th

About the Blissful Wishes Ball on Wednesday, October 5th

This Blissful Wishes Ball is a gala celebration benefiting Wish Upon a Wedding, New Jersey/New York Metro, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide weddings & vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and other serious life-altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation.  By giving the gifts of dream weddings & vow renewals, Wish Upon a Wedding is able to grant some of the most intimate and heartfelt wishes of these people’s lives, and help them share this important day with close family members.  A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales from the Blissful Wishes Ball will benefit Wish Upon a Wedding, New Jersey/New York Metro, and its mission.

The “Shining Star Award” will be presented this year to our honoree Alan Janoff.  Wish Upon a Wedding’s Shining Star Award recognizes and honors the most inspirational, motivational and giving professionals in the New Jersey/Metro New York Area. This is our way to thank and pay tribute to those professionals who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. A Shining Star Award recipient  will have demonstrated an ongoing and substantial commitment to the community and have consistently demonstrated honesty, integrity and the highest ethical standards in his or her profession.

Please join the celebration by purchasing $150.00 tickets or a $1000.00 table for ten guests.  Each option includes a Cocktail Hour, full sit-down dinner, open bar, and an amazing dessert display in the tradition of Marie Antoinette!  Valet parking will also be provided. Entertainment provided by Silver Pro Entertainment- The Rhythm Shop Band! Guests will also have a chance to experience a photo booth, have their photos taken by CLB Photography, as well as view the extravagant decor provided by A Touch Of Elegance. Donations will also be accepted at the door. For more information and a listing of Participating Vendors and Partners, including donations for a Silent Auction, visit the official invitation page for the Blissful Wishes Ball.

If you, or someone you know, could benefit from this organization or you would like to help as a wish granter or make a donation, please go to www.wishuponawedding.org. Also visit the WUW-NJ/NY Metro Chapter on facebook and twitter.

Source for Valerie and Larry’s story: Wish Upon A Wedding – NJ/NY Metro Blog


Destination Wedding Showcase: Princeton, NJ

March 29, 2011

Well-known Princeton estate Jasna Polana open its doors for weddings and launches a luxury bridal event on Sunday, April 3rd through Deborah Lynch’s MattisonNetwork, featuring top wedding trendsetters, high fashion and many local wedding services

Princeton's newest wedding venue, Jasna Polana, hosts a luxury wedding showcase on Sunday, April 3rd

Princeton's newest wedding venue, Jasna Polana, hosts a luxury wedding showcase on Sunday, April 3rd

PRINCETON, NJ – Engaged couples are invited to the Country Club Bride and Groom Wedding Showcase in Princeton at one of New Jersey’s finest and most elegant estates, Jasna Polana, a mansion owne d by John Seward Johnson of the Johnson & Johnson family.

This is the first time Jasna Polana has opened its doors for weddings and special events to non-members through the MattisonNetwork, founded by Deborah Lynch.

This special bridal event and trunk show will take place on Sunday, April 3, 2011 from 11:00 am – 4:00 pm. Each of the exquisitely appointed rooms in the mansion of Jasna Polana have been designed and decorated in colors and themes to inspire all the elements of your wedding planning.

View top NJ and NY fashion designers and wedding trendsetters! Explore bridal fashions and talk with designer Jean-Ralph Thurin of Thurin Atelier!

Mens Fashions of Malan Bret on HOMME will speak to the sophisticated taste of the modern groom with his exciting mens collection.

Enjoy the luxury of Ferrari, Maserati and Rolls Royce in the courtyard of this elegant Princeton estate, and view the finest brands in bridal jewelry, wedding gifts and registry items from Hamilton Jewelers. Check out the exquisite designs of well-known wedding cake designer Silvia Weinstock. Also, brides will receive a fabulous gift bag included in the registration!

Visit www.mattisonnetwork.com for complete details and to register today!

Participating Media Sponsor

Participating Media Sponsor

NJWedding.com is proud to be a participating Media Sponsor at this special wedding showcase, and will be giving away two door prizes at the event: a $100 dining gift card to the Terra Momo Restaurant Group (Mediterra & Teresa Caffe in Princeton, Eno Terra in Kingston), and an autographed copy of “One Dress, One Woman, One World,” a coffee-table style book of photos by Jeff and Jennifer Salvage.

Thanks to NJMyWay.com for publishing this article in their popular newsletter and web site! Also thanks to CentralJersey.com, MyCentralJersey.com and NJHappenings.com for helping to spread the word online, too.


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