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Mileah Kromer and Michael Madden chose to get married at Fort McHenry because visiting there was the first Baltimore memory they had together.
Mileah Kromer and Michael Madden chose to get married at Fort McHenry because visiting there was the first Baltimore memory they had together. (Courtesy of Eric Stocklin Photography, Handout photo)

Date: Dec. 28

Her story: Mileah Kromer, 33, grew up in Homer City, Pa. She's an assistant professor of political science at Goucher College. She's also the director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center, which produces the Goucher Poll. Her mother, Bernadette Mutz, lives in Homer City, Pa.

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His story: Michael Madden, 35, grew up in Mountain Top, Pa. He works in finance as a senior manager at Merkle Inc. His parents, Robert and Catherine Madden, live in Mountain Top, Pa.

Their story: The couple dated briefly when they were both undergraduates at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. "Like most college relationships, it didn't last," Mileah said. "Years later, when I was finishing up graduate school at [Louisiana State University] and he was working at Morgan Stanley on Wall Street, we reconnected on Facebook."

After talking for a month, Mike suggested that Mileah visit him in New York City. "I took him up on his offer, which started a travel-filled, frequent-flier first six months of dating," said Mileah, who lived in Greensboro, N.C., at the time.

Mike eventually moved to Greensboro and the couple lived there for close to four years before Mileah received a job offer from Goucher College. By June 2012, they were settled in South Baltimore, where they have remained ever since.

The proposal: The couple planned a "post-Christmas detox" vacation in Mexico in January 2014, Mileah said.

"Unbeknownst to me, he had planned on proposing on the trip," she said, adding that the surprise was almost ruined when his bag containing the engagement ring was randomly selected for additional screening at the airport.

"The Mexican customs officer asked him if he had anything of value in the bag. He casually told me to 'go ahead and get in line' and tried to get me away from him as nonchalantly as possible. It worked — mostly because I was sick and tired of standing in line."

Weather also almost spoiled Mike's proposal. "It rained that week. A lot," Mileah said. "It was actually the worst vacation I have ever been on in terms of weather."

When the weather finally broke later in the week, Mike proposed to Mileah on the beach after dinner.

Venue: Initially, the couple planned on eloping. "Neither of us wanted a big, formal wedding," she said. "We came around to the idea of a small wedding because we knew it would make our respective mothers happy, but also because ... Baltimore meant a lot to us. Moving here was the best thing we have ever done for our relationship, so we really wanted to celebrate this new chapter in our lives in the city that we love."

The couple chose Fort McHenry because visiting there was the first Baltimore memory they had together. They included their Australian terrier, Porter, as the guest of honor because she was along for the walk during their initial trip to Fort McHenry. Only close family attended.

"The staff at Fort McHenry went above and beyond to make our day special," Mileah said. "A park ranger greeted us when we arrived, offered to unlock the gates so we could take pictures on the dock, and gave us 'Fort McHenry National Park Junior Ranger' badges as a keepsake. Our wedding took place in the Education Room, which is directly to the right of the main desk in the Visitor's Center. The room has as big, beautiful windows with a view of the park grounds and water."

Goucher College's chaplain, Cynthia Terry, officated at the ceremony. "I wanted Cynthia to marry us because I liked that she hosted a Blessing of the Animals event in honor of St. Francis at Goucher College," Mileah said. "She had blessed Porter the year prior."

Her dress: At the end of an unsuccessful dress-shopping day in July, Mileah and her mother headed to the sales rack at Macy's in Towson Town Center and found the one — a white dress with lace overlay and long sleeves. "It was exactly what I was looking for, in my size, with no alterations needed," she said.

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Mileah added in a pair of Michael Kors royal blue heels, a pearl necklace, bracelet and earnings. She got her Elie Tahari coat at Marshalls.

His attire: Mike wore a gray Ralph Lauren suit and a royal blue tie that he purchased at Macy's. His Steve Madden shoes were purchased at Marshalls.

Food and dessert: The couple opted to take their family members to Hersh's for a post-wedding brunch. The pizza restaurant is a favorite of the couple's and is within walking distance of their home.

"Brunch at Hersh's is awesome — both my uncle and my new husband had the crispy pork belly breakfast sandwich," Mileah said. She ate her "usual" — kale and pistachio pizza. Dessert was an assortment of cupcakes from Midnite Confections Cupcakery.

"My favorite meal of the day is lunch. Mike loves breakfast. Brunch at Hersh's offers us the best of both worlds," Mileah said.

Special touches: The couple rented a home in Key Largo, Fla., for their honeymoon "Mike and I latched onto the idea of getting married and then getting on a plane," she said. "We got married around 11 a.m., had brunch at 12:30 p.m., and were on a 4 p.m. flight to Florida."

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