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Engaged: Jill Carr and Albert H. Dudley IV

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Wedding Date: September 15, 2012

Her story: Jill Carr, 31, grew up in Oskaloosa, Iowa. Her family moved to Ellicott City in 1993. She is an independent financial planner and now lives in Ellicott City. Her father, William "Bill" D. Carr is a producer at CBIZ, Inc. Her mother, Cynthia J. Carr, is a recruiter for The Rogan Group.

His story: Albert "Bert" H. Dudley IV, 36, grew up in Towson. He is a sales representative for DeVere Insulation, an energy efficiency consultant and personal trainer and lives in Ellicott City. His father, Albert "Hank" Dudley III, is a retired orthopedic surgeon. His mother, Barbara Kirby, is a Baltimore County middle school math teacher. His former stepfather, Roy Kirby, Jr. is the former chairman of Roy Kirby and Sons.

Their story: It was June 13, 2010. Jill and Bert had each competed in the Ironman 70.3 EagleMan Triathlon in Cambridge, Md.

"It was my second time doing the race," Jill says. "It was brutally hot, 105 in the shade. So, I went to the massage tent. [During the massage,] I told the massage therapist I wasn't feeling so good. I was getting off the table and I just kind of crumpled. So, the massage therapist walked me over to the medical tent. Bert was the next person waiting for massage and watched the whole thing happen."

"She sat up and I thought, 'Oh, she's beautiful and has great legs,' " Bert says. "Then, I see [the massage therapist] walking her to medical tent. After my massage was over, [I looked up and] she was standing there to thank the massage therapist and that's how we met." .

The two chatted for about 20 minutes and then went their separate ways. However, Jill's mother had seen them talking, and saw something there. So, she kept urging Jill to contact him.

"I tried to look up his name in the race results," Jill says. "But, I was looking for 'Burt,' not Albert."

Eventually, Jill found Bert on Facebook. She shot him a message. He responded.

"He was trying to find me, too," she says.

The two wrote back and forth for a while, and set up their first date for July 18, when they decided to go to the Sublime concert at Pier Six.

"I met him at his house [in Fells Point]," she says. "We sat in his living room and talked for 2 to 3 hours. It felt like we were talking for 10 minutes. So, we just caught the tail end of the concert."

Bert says he knew there was something special there right off the bat. But, he didn't let her know immediately.

"I knew I was really interested," Jill says. "But, I wasn't sure if he was because he was playing it very cool. We were both playing very hard to get. We went out on training bike rides. We did a lot of yoga together, hot bikram. We love to cook. So, I cooked for him. And he cooked for me. We took my dogs hiking up the Gunpowder." (Her dogs are Abby, 12, a black Labrador, and Zoe, 4, a Labrador/Rottweiler mix.)

"We took it slow and in the first 4 to 6 weeks, we were both sold," says Jill. "We knew what we both wanted. We had already established how we felt about each other. By September, we were both saying this is true love, this isn't just a fling."

What really sealed the deal was when he offered to go with her that November to Arizona to cheer her on at her first full-length Ironman triathlon.

"I hadn't really thought about [the relationship] at that point in time," she says. "But, my response was, 'Of course I want you to go with me.' [That's when] we knew we wanted to be with each other forever."

The proposal, June 12, 2011: "Triathlon season had started again," Jill says. " We were talking about getting married and what our future goals looked like. The triathlon where we met was coming up. We went down to do the race again. We stayed at this cute bed and breakfast Marvels on the Creek.

"So, we do the race," she continues. "Generally, we don't see each other during the race very often...{But], we ran together during the race for a little while. Then, I told him, 'Go ahead. Run your race.' He said, 'I love you, see you at the end.' I could tell by his voice, he was choked up. I didn't know what was coming. But he knew.

"I get to the end, I cross the finish line, he was there and greets me with a big hug and kiss," she says.

After cleaning up, and getting a massage — from the same massage therapist they each went to the year before — Bert suggested they go for a walk along the Choptank River, and then they settled onto some rocks there.

"We talked about how much we love each other and [I said] how much I want to spend the rest of my life with Jill," Bert says. "We sitting there holding hands and I asked Jill if she would marry me."

"And I said, 'What took you so long?' " says Jill, with a laugh.

Bert had carried the ring in his triathlon backpack all day in anticipation.

"We had looked for it together. Jill knew exactly what she was going to get. It's a nice solitaire — nothing too flashy," he says about his Radcliffe Jewelers purchase.

The wedding: About 200 guests will first come to the ceremony at McDonogh Schools' Tagart Memorial Chapel.

"It's really meaningful to Bert because he and all the men in his family went to McDonogh," says Jill. "His grandfather was on the board of trustees and he's buried there."

It's a black and ivory wedding. The four bridesmaids and one junior bridesmaid will be wearing black silk taffeta strapless dresses from Ann Taylor. Jill doesn't want to reveal too much about the color scheme. The only thing she'll say about the bouquets her party will be carrying is that they're "small and whimsical." All the bouquets and boutonnieres are by Fleur de Lis Florist.

She's also not saying much about what she's wearing and carrying. Here's what we do know: Her ivory dress is by designer Anne Barge from Betsy Robinson Bridal. She will also be wearing jewelry by Thomas Knoell, from a trunk show at Betsy Robinson's.

Jill's brother, Jeff Carr, is her man-of-honor.

"He's my best friend," she says. Jeff will be wearing the same thing as Bert's two best men and two groomsmen — tuxedos from The Tuxedo House with black vests and black long ties.

The two flower girls will wear long ivory ballgown-style frocks, while the ring bearer will be dressed like Bert — in a tux with ivory vest and long tie.

"He's Bert's Mini-Me," says Jill.

A good friend, Virginia "Ginny" Carson will be the officiant.

"My brother and Jessica Cummings — a friend of ours — will be singing a song at the wedding," says Jill. "We're trying to convince a couple of his guy friends to play the guitar, but we're not there yet."

The reception will be held at the Elkridge Furnace Inn. The cocktail hour will be in the garden and manor house, with the seated served dinner in the tented patio area.

The couple is keeping decor close-to-the-vest and is working with Christine Rubin of Fleur de Lis on some of their ideas there.

"Elizabeth Bailey is our wedding planner," says Jill. "We just brought her on a month ago to help with last minute details and [managing] the day of."

They're still finalizing the menu, with healthy ingredients a top priority for these fitness fans.

"We're making sure we have a vegetarian option, a nice lean meat and a good fish," says Bert. "It will be gluten free. We are intolerant to gluten, so we've been going back and forth with the chef a lot."

That extends to the wedding cake.

"Just Desserts by Linda is doing a gluten-free wedding cake," says Jill. "Her specialty is gluten-free cakes...We'll have three different flavors. [The cake itself will be] this amazing soft chocolate flavor with raspberry and ganache filling. And this yummy whipped frosting that's not too sugary, but really delightful. There will also be a yellow cake with an assortment of fillings."

However, the night before, at the rehearsal dinner at McCormick & Schmick, Bert and Jill will offer a groom's cake with a triathlon theme — not gluten free — from SugarBakers Cakes.

Ken Rochon of Absolute Entertainment will be the deejay. Jennifer McMenamin is their photographer. Matt Buerhaus of Buerhaus Design is the videographer. Jill and Bert will also have another video camera available for people to record wedding day congratulations and good wishes to the couple.

Jill and Bert are excited about the welcome bags they created for out-of-towners with the help of The Pleasure of Your Company, where they also had their invitations made.

"The invitations are custom designed by Jill," says Bert with pride.

The honeymoon: "We're going to the island Moorea [near Tahiti]. It's actually a heart-shaped island, but we didn't know that until after we booked it," says Jill.

They're renting a villa on the water for a week and a half. But, don't expect to hear about them spending that time lying on the beach. Bert and Jill plan to snorkel, kayak, bike, kite surf, and paddle board — just for starters.

"We're both certified scuba divers," says Jill. "There's a black pearl farm where we can go diving...There are some great hikes on a place called Mount Belvedere. There's a pineapple plantation. Our goal is to catch our own fish and enjoy life as islanders."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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