Sweet proposal

By on February 13, 2014

Troy Miller asks his girlfriend Andrea McMillan to marry him during a Saturday visit to the Wilbur Chocolate store. Photo by Laurie Knowles Callanan

Troy Miller asks his girlfriend Andrea McMillan to marry him during a Saturday visit to the Wilbur Chocolate store. Photo by Laurie Knowles Callanan

Wilbur Chocolate has a nice ring to it

Andrea McMillan had a feeling something might be up.

Her boyfriend of 14 months, Troy Miller, had sweetly slipped her a card, telling her they were heading off for a romantic pre-Valentine’s Day weekend getaway on Feb. 8. He even included a list of what she might want to pack – sweaters, down vest, good walking shoes.

“He’s very romantic that way,” said McMillan. “He does things like this all the time.”

So, the Baltimore-area couple headed north toward Lancaster, and ultimately to Lititz, where they checked into the Alden House for a warm, wintry weekend in the Coolest Small Town in America.

It wasn’t the first time, McMillan and Miller had visited Lititz, or stayed at the downtown bed & breakfast. Last year, around the same time in February, they had enjoyed a weekend exploring the town and checking out the Wolf Sanctuary in the Speedwell area. They were so busy they didn’t even have a chance to visit the Wilbur Chocolate store.

A chocolate-lover who is especially fond of dark chocolate, McMillan hoped she might get to try Wilbur Buds and all the other chocolate treats at Wilbur one day. Miller took note of that, and decided to give his sweetheart a moment to remember.

“When I was a kid, I loved Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” said Miller, 43. “I especially liked the part when Charlie unwraps the golden ticket.”

That gave him an idea. He decided to call Wilbur Chocolate and arrange his own winning chocolate factory experience, this time with a sweet proposal. Yes, after 14 months of dating, Miller was ready to propose to McMillan, and ask her to be his wife.

When Miller contacted Wilbur, they put him in touch with Kathy Blankenbiller, promotions and special events coordinator. This was certainly a special event!

Blankenbiller is a chocolate artist who crafts amazing creations from chocolate, like elf villages for Chocolate Walk, magnolia chocolate cakes for benefit events and all sorts of magnificent chocolate sculptures. She is also a romantic.

In touch with Miller via email, the two cooked up a plan to melt McMillan’s heart with a chocolate proposal. The key component was a chocolate “note” that Blankenbiller created in dark, milk and white chocolate. Since McMillan had lived in Germany for a year and a half, and was a German student in high school, Miller decided to put a German twist on his proposal.

He had Blankenbiller write the words “ANDREA Willst du mich heiraten?” on the chocolate creation.

Translation: “Will you marry me?”

The plan was put into play. On Saturday, Miller drove McMillan to Lancaster County, where they went for a chilly hike in Lancaster Park, then checked into the Alden House in Lititz. They walked over to Wilbur Chocolate, where Blankenbiller was awaiting their arrival.

“I had a picture of Troy and Andrea, but Troy fooled me a bit because he was wearing a knit hat. I was looking for a man with a shaven head,” laughed Blankenbiller.

McMillan wondered for a bit why they didn’t browse around the front of the shop. Instead, they headed directly to the back, near the chocolate pots display. Blankenbiller was wearing a name tag that said “Kathy” so Miller would know who she was. He casually asked her about the projects she was working on. She showed him a few of them. Then she offered to show them both her latest project.

All wrapped up in a golden box, with a golden ribbon, Blankenbiller handed it to them. By now a few folks were gathering around. McMillan opened the box, saw the message, and Miller dropped to one knee with a diamond band ring in hand.

“I just burst into tears,” said McMillan, 31.

And of course, she said yes.

The couple haven’t set a wedding date, but Miller is leaning toward November 2014. He says that he knew he wanted to marry McMillan a year ago. They met back in July of 2012 at a barbecue held by mutual friends. They didn’t date right away, it took a few months before their first date. They have been together since December 2012.

“I am so lucky to have met this wonderful woman,” said Miller.

McMillan works for the University of Maryland Baltimore County, while Miller is an analyst for a government contractor. They will likely have a quiet wedding with a honeymoon in a natural spot, since both enjoy the outdoors and hiking.

As the two headed off to dinner in downtown Lititz, they were beaming with joy. They hope to be back (maybe in the spring) to enjoy more Wilbur chocolate treats and sweet memories of the place where their very special marriage proposal took place.

“Oh, yes, and thank you so much to Kathy for everything,” said Miller. “She did a wonderful job.”

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