The phrase “opposites attract” has never rung truer than when Marlene Goldenberg met Robert Patrick VI. Marlene, a Jewish liberal, and Bobby, a Christian republican, were an unlikely match. But despite their differing voting ballots, Marlene and Bobby quickly discovered their shared passion for public servitude.
The couple first met while working on student government at Syracuse University. Bobby had just finished helping a friend win his presidential campaign, when he called in a favor to ensure that the cute redheaded girl from Minnesota would fill the empty Chair of Elections and Membership position.
Five years and hundreds of dates later, Marlene awoke on her 25th birthday expecting the holiday to pass as it always had: a nice dinner followed by an embarrassingly out-of-tune public serenade. Little did she know there would be no cake. There would be no singing. There would only be a ring.
It began when two of her old high school friends kidnapped her for a day of girly activities. “We see each other maybe once a year, if we’re lucky,” Marlene says. “I’m not much for sentimentality, but I cried right when I saw them standing outside the nail salon.”
The tears kept streaming as they drove through the Nisswa Dairy Queen—a routine stop on their way to camp as teenagers—where Marlene was surprised yet again by two more of her childhood friends. “I think I was so happy, I forgot to be suspicious of why they were all there,” she recalls.
After pizza at Rafferty’s (their favorite local hangout) the girls decided to make an “impromptu stop” at Camp Lake Hubert to see their old stomping grounds. When Marlene reached the waterfront, she was shocked to see Bobby waiting on one knee, ready to ask if she wanted to spend the rest of their lives together.
Once wedding planning began, it became clear that a traditional wedding wasn’t for Marlene and Bobby. “We originally planned on having both a rabbi and a pastor at the ceremony, but quickly realized that wouldn’t work,” Marlene says. Instead, she worked closely with Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman from Temple Israel to create a personalized ceremony tailored to her and Bobby’s relationship.
“We asked two of our friends (one Christian and one Jewish) to become ordained and perform the ceremony,” Marlene says. “It made the ceremony much more personal and intimate.” Marlene and Bobby also created a program to accompany the ceremony that explained the significance of both the Christian and Jewish components to their guests.
The personalization didn’t stop there; Marlene and Bobby fully embraced their differing political opinions by using old presidential campaign pins as seating cards, a suggestion made by their wedding planner Amy Zaroff. “Everyone kept making the James Carville and Mary Matalin reference, so we tried to play that up,” Marlene says. “I tried to make it so my family had most of the liberal tickets and Bobby’s had the republican ones.”
Whether it was rabbis dancing with republicans or Lutherans sharing cake with liberals, Marlene and Bobby took pride in adapting their wedding to make all their guests comfortable and, more importantly, have a great time. “It was the best party I have ever been to,” Marlene says. “We wanted everyone to have a great time and I think the fact that we had to kick people out at the end of the evening proves we were successful.”
Wedding Date: September 8, 2012
Ceremony & Reception: Graves 601 Hotel
Dress: Monique Lhuillier
Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale
Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Rings: Bergstrom Jewelers
Photographer: Erin Johnson Photography
Caterer: Graves 601 Hotel
Flowers: Martha’s Gardens
Makeup: Sherry Fredkove
Hair: Tori from Rocco Altobelli in the IDS Center (bride), Sa Bel Salon (bridesmaids)
Music: Lake String Quartet (ceremony), Casablanca Orchestra (reception)
First Dance Song: “The Way You Look Tonight”