Olde Mill Inn Donates to the American Military Dream Wedding
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Olde Mill Inn Donates to the American Military Dream Wedding

Not just one, but two military couples were the winners of expense-paid American Military Dream Weddings, announced during the Taste of Bernardsville held on Monday, October 6th, at the Olde Mill Inn in Basking Ridge.  The announcement of the winners was the highlight of an evening that included tastings from a wide variety of local restaurants as part of an annual fundraiser for the Bernardsville Fire Company, Rescue Squad and Senior Citizens.

Winners were selected from six finalists based upon a Scavenger Hunt in Bernardsville on October 2nd.   Two teams were virtually tied for first place, and the idea for a second wedding grew even stronger.

The American Military Dream Wedding winners received expense-paid weddings that combined donated  services from a large group of wedding vendors in the Bernardsville area and beyond.  Originally the concept of Diamond Dreams in Bernardsville, NJ, the idea of giving back to veterans quickly gained momentum in the Bernardsville area.  Local businesses, including the Olde Mill Inn, fully supported the idea as a way to give back to veterans who have defended the American ideals and way of life.  As the donations for the military wedding continued to stream into the Bernardsville Chamber, the hope that two weddings could be given started to take root, but was kept secret until the evening of the event, creating a wonderful surprise for the second couple.

The excitement grew throughout the evening at the Olde Mill Inn as the six finalists and their future spouses circulated throughout the event, where they were easily identified by their military uniforms.  Family members were also in attendance to cheer on the finalists.  The first prize wedding went to a couple from Lake Hopatcong, Nicole Russo, and her fiancé Sgt. John Ondish, who is currently deployed in Bahrain with the Army National Guard.  Because Sgt. Ondish was serving overseas, Nicole enlisted the help of a friend, Angelique Onorati of Mendham, to stand in during the scavenger hunt.

The second wedding went to Katie Stelnick and Raymond Royce, a veteran from Edison who was injured while serving in Afghanistan from 2012-13.

During the Taste of Bernardsville, the prize continued to grow in scope throughout the event as two additional vendors volunteered to donate their services for the second wedding,  They were D. Becker Photography of Newton, NJ and ITM Photography of Piscataway, who photographed the event and respectively donated the wedding photography and videography for the upcomi2ng nuptials.

Each of the military couples who came in for third through sixth places in the Scavenger Hunt received a check for $500 plus another prize from the Bernardsville Chamber.  Chamber President Caesar Mistretta added, “I only wish we could have given a wedding to each one of the couples.”

When the announcements of the winners were made, Sgt. Ondish was present on his fiancée’s cell phone via Skype and was able to personally hear the loud cheers and resounding applause from the crowd as the winners were announced.

The Olde Mill Inn in Basking Ridge, NJ is an elegant country inn on a scenic 10-acre estate.  The hotel has a warm historic ambiance, and offers 102 guest rooms and suites that include several “PURE” rooms.  The Grain House Restaurant on the same property is housed in a building originally constructed in the 1760’s as a barn that stored grain for the Continental Army, and the structure was remodeled as a restaurant in the 1930s.  The Grain House is known for exceptional American cuisine.

The Olde Mill Inn and the Grain House Restaurant provide charming settings for large and intimate weddings, as well as for social and corporate events.  The Olde Mill Inn also offers a Meeting Center with state-of-the-art amenities.  The Olde Mill Inn and Grain House Restaurant are conveniently located at 225 Route 202 (GPS:  225 Morristown Road) and directly adjacent to Exit 30B of I-287.  For more information, please call 908-696-2315.

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