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

Upscale Bridal Showcase to Benefit NJ Brides and “Wish Upon a Wedding” Nonprofit

February 22, 2012
"Say Yes To The Best!" Bridal Showcase Experience

"Say Yes To The Best!" Bridal Showcase Experience is on Wed., March 7th in Livingston, NJ

LIVINGSTON, NJ – On March 7, 2012, the New Jersey branch of the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) and the International Special Events Society (ISES) New Jersey North Chapter are coming together for the third annual “Say Yes to the Best” Bridal Showcase Experience, which will take place at Cedar Hill Golf & Country Club in Livingston, NJ from 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm.

All ticket proceeds will be donated to “Wish Upon a Wedding,” a non-profit organization providing weddings and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation. Candice Benson, President of the New Jersey Chapter of Wish Upon a Wedding explains, “We are so honored to be the charity of choice for a second year in a row for this great event.  It is just one of the many ways we have seen those in the industry come out with great support for our organization, and we look forward to our continued collaboration.”

Christine Brower, ISES New Jersey North Chapter President states, “The International Special Events Society, New Jersey North Chapter is delighted to collaborate with the New Jersey Association of Bridal Consultants for the third annual ‘Say Yes to the Best’ Bridal Showcase. We are thrilled to support Wish Upon a Wedding by donating 100% of our ticket sale proceeds to the foundation. These proceeds will be used to grant a couple facing terminal illness the wedding of their dreams.”

Brides, Bridal Parties & Members of the Wedding Community are cordially invited to the 3rd Annual "Say Yes To The Best!" Bridal Showcase Experience at the Cedar Hill Golf & Country Club

Brides, Bridal Parties & Members of the Wedding Community are cordially invited to the 3rd Annual "Say Yes To The Best!" Bridal Showcase Experience at the Cedar Hill Golf & Country Club

Expertly produced and beautifully designed, this event features vendors which are hand selected by an appointed ISES and ABC committee. Guests will gain access to some of the event industry’s premier vendors. Other treats include a fashion show, a table design competition, a groom’s lounge, fabulous door prizes, hors d’oeuvres, a cocktail, and a carefully designed gift bag. Also included this year is a tabletop design competition!  Party Rental LTD is sponsoring this and designers will use linens, chairs and tabletop items from their inventory.  There will be two awards for the table designers: a “Bride’s Choice Designer” (voted by brides and their guests)  and the other is “Wedding Professionals Choice” so everyone who attends can vote for their favorite design.  Attendees will have the opportunity to get inspired by designs at 8 designer showcase tables, each with a different theme.  Here are the companies submitting tables: The Finishing Touch, Rohslers Florist, Party Rental (2 tables), Aventina Events, Christine Hyder Events, FINA Worldwide and Cedar Hill Golf & Country Club.

"Say Yes To The Best!" Sponsors and Host Location

Event Sponsored By NJWedding.com, New Jersey Bride magazine, ABC-NJ and ISES-NJ North, and hosted by Cedar Hill Golf & Country Club

The Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) and the International Special Events Society (ISES) are organizations dedicated to constant education of wedding and event professionals. Both entities strive to create educated and informed individuals who can better assist clients on their special event.

Brides and guests can register for the “Say Yes To The Best” Bridal Showcase Experience on the official web site: http://www.sayyestothebestnj.com. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. Attendees will have the ability to explore many different resources for their special day. Some of the many different types of exhibitors include: Hair/Makeup, Entertainment, Bridal Gowns, Tuxedos, Car Services, Florals, Style Services and Event Planning.

Participating vendors are: The Finishing Touch, Maritime Parc, Eloquent Studios, Platinum Entertainment, Rohslers Florist, Jorg Windau Photography, Skyland World Travel, Troy Curtis Inc, Marie Papp Photography, Inc., Confectionary Designs, Party Rental Ltd., DFX : Sound Vision, Cupa Cabana Cappuccino, Espresso & Coffee Catering, LLC, New York’s Best Musicians, Photo & Video, Bridal by Michele, Vesa Dresses, Aventina Events, Excellent Limo, Lounge It up, Food Company Catering & Special Events, Frungillo Caterers, Najua, FINA Worldwide, Cedar Hill Country Club & Crest Florist, Christine Hyder Events, CAKE! Dessert Design Studio and Stella & Dot Jewelry.

Media sponsors: NJWedding.com and New Jersey Bride magazine.

Weddings for Heroes launches organization to help Military couples with NJ wedding services

February 5, 2012

Special launch event and fundraiser to take place on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at The Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank. Military brides, grooms and all members of the NJ weddings community invited to attend and learn about this new organization

Weddings For Heroes supporting NJ Military brides and grooms

Support "Weddings For Heroes" on Feb. 28th at a launch event and fundraiser in Red Bank, NJ

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.

Weddings For Heroes Corp. Board of Directors (NJ Chapter)

Volunteer Board, Trustees & Officers of NJ Chapter of Weddings For Heroes: Michele Kubis, Donna Aristone, Jewel Georgieff, Sandi Silva, Shannon Clapp and Dara Castiglione

“We saw a need and wanted to use our professional skills to do something for the military in our communities and Weddings for Heroes was born,” Georgieff said. “Couples can be combat veterans, combat wounded or active duty facing hardships. Many of our brave men and women are separated for months on end […]. Some of our applicants marry by proxy or have a quick service at the chapel before being deployed. Renewals are our most popular request.”

Many vendors have donated their services for Weddings for Heroes, including photography, greetings, limo transportation, and reception locations.

Weddings for Heroes is hosting a wedding networking event launch and fundraiser on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m and is open to the public. The location for the event, Oyster Point Hotel in Red Bank, NJ was also a donated space. Come and meet the founders and board members of the Weddings For Heroes organization, along with special guest Miss New Jersey 2012 Katharyn Nicolle plus enjoy champagne and hors d’ouevres, a red carpet style photo shoot, special prizes from Carlo’s Bakery and others, drawings, an award ceremony, networking with others in the wedding community and much more!

Information on how to register for the launch or be a part of the event can be found at the event page. Tickets are a $10 donation here, or $15 at the door. If you wear your military uniform, admission is free. More information on Weddings for Heroes can be found on their official website.

View a commercial below:

NJWedding.com is proud to be a sponsor of this nonprofit organization and help promote their efforts to reach and help the Military weddings community in New Jersey.

Weddings For Heroes was recently featured on New Jersey 101.5 FM, PhillyBurbs.com and more! Additional media sponsors include News 12 New Jersey, WFAN Sports Radio and 92.7 WOBM of Ocean County.

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.


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

Cocktail party to celebrate official launch of Wish Upon A Wedding NJ

December 18, 2010

The New Jersey Chapter of Wish Upon A Wedding will celebrate its official launch with a swanky cocktail party on January 18, 2011 at The Estate at Florentine Gardens in River Vale from 6:30 to 9:30pm.

The lavish and newly renovated Estate at Florentine Gardens, located at 97 Rivervale Road in River Vale, NJ, will host the organization’s posh event featuring cocktails, music, entertainment and even a few fun surprises. To help make this a truly spectacular event, New Jersey wedding and event professionals & vendors will be donating their time, products & services. Guests who wish to make a donation to the organization will receive swag bags filled with incredible discounts, samples & goodies.

Mingle with NJ and NY’s top wedding and event industry professionals, engaged couples, and philanthropists from the area. Learn about this wonderful non-profit organization while enjoying a fabulous night out!

Wish Upon A Wedding - New Jersey Chapter

The newly formed Wish Upon A Wedding - NJ chapter will hold a cocktail party to celebrate its launch on Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Wish Upon a Wedding is the world’s first nonprofit wish granting organization providing weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation. Officially launched in January of 2010, Wish Upon a Wedding currently has over 16 active chapters to serve Wish Applicants and will have granted 12 wishes by the end of 2010. In addition to celebrating the inauguration of the local chapter, the WUW-NJ board members hope to raise awareness and invite those within and outside of the wedding industry to get involved.


Wish Upon A Wedding – New Jersey founding board members include Candice Benson (President), Jenny Orsini (Vice President), Lori Battista (Event Planning Chair), Andrea Caesar (Fundraising Chair), Marni Gold (Marketing Chair), Lisa Marie Blinn (Public Relations Chair), Christine Hyder (Co-Volunteer Director), Scott Present (Co-Volunteer), Sue Smith (Treasurer) and Molly Tully (Secretary)

The chapter is asking for a suggested donation of $20 per person at the party. Donations will go directly towards helping to grant wishes to deserving couples. To RSVP please visit http://www.tinyurl.com/njwuwlaunch and follow chapter updates on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/WUWNewJersey and Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/WUW_New_Jersey. If you are a vendor and would like to contribute to the swag bag, please contact the chapter’s Marketing Chair, Marni Gold at info@customcreativecardboxes.com. For more information on the Wish Upon A Wedding organization, please visit http://www.wishuponawedding.org.

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