Robin Brown and Jenny Block met on New Year’s, and tied the knot on St. Patrick’s Day.
By Ryan M. Leach
For Robin Brown and Jenny Block, St. Patrick’s Day 2018 was particularly lucky. It was their wedding day.
But there was not a leprechaun or four-leaf clover to be found at the couple’s wedding venue, The Astorian. And their invitation website even discouraged “leprechaun wear.”
Guests were welcomed with glasses of champagne. The ceremony room was decorated with flowing cream-colored organza and beautifully fragrant roses cascading down the magnificent chuppa, which looked like it had been plucked out of a fairy tale. As the sun began to set, the early evening light filtered in, providing the perfect ambiance for a celebration of Brown and Block’s love. It was as if St. Patrick himself had blessed the brides with one of those gorgeous evenings that remind people why they live in Houston. Lucky indeed.
The two women met on New Year’s Day, another holiday known for celebration and good wishes for the future. They had both “swiped right” on the Tinder dating app to express their interest in each other.
“Robin was driving home from Dallas after going to the Cotton Bowl to see Michigan State lose, and checking the Tinder scene in Dallas on New Year’s Eve,” Block recalls. “I was at a party eating black-eyed peas the next day. I swiped right, and it was a match.”
Brown, 55, was born in Detroit and raised in Novi, Michigan. She studied hotel management at Michigan State University, and currently works as an alignment executive at Cerner Corporation. Little did Brown know that decades after graduating from Michigan State, her alma mater would play a part in finding her future wife. Brown moved to Houston in 1988, and then to Lake Livingston in 2015.
Block, 47, was born in Boston and raised in Bel Air, Maryland. After earning her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Virginia Commonwealth University, she became a writer and moved to Dallas in 2005. Block is currently a regular contributor to OutSmart.
Although the two women were both in Texas when they met, some 200 miles separate Lake Livingston and Dallas. But nothing, it seems, could get in the way of their destiny. “We texted like crazy for a week before Robin insisted that we talk on the phone, despite my strong distaste for talking on the phone,” Block says. “One week later, Robin took me on a Cinderella-style dream date in Dallas.”
Brown recalls being “intrigued” on that first date. “I think it was the fact that she made me nervous, and I don’t get nervous,” Brown admits. “When she talked to me, we never lost eye contact. When we first met, our eyes locked and never unlocked for the entire first date.”
Their second date was a country-western wedding, complete with line dancing. Their third date was a bit grander: a week-long Olivia cruise followed by five days in Isla Mujeres. “We figured if we still liked each after that much time together in close proximity, we just might be onto something—and we were,” Block says.
At first, the two tried to pace themselves. Their connection was so intense and so strong that they pledged to let at least four seasons pass before discussing marriage. Brown, known for her certainty, proposed after six months, and Block said yes.
The proposal came during Block’s surprise birthday trip to Mackinac Island, a place Brown loved and wanted to share with her soon-to-be fiancée. Brown got down on one knee on the porch of the Grand Hotel, during another perfect sunset, and asked for Block’s hand in marriage.
Robin, a consummate rule-follower, recalled that beautiful evening. “I was so happy she said yes,” Brown recalls. “I just remember looking into her eyes and saying, ‘There is no one else in the world with whom I would rather spend the rest of my life.’ I knew it was right because I was breaking all of my own rules.”
“Our engagement was pretty damn romantic,” Block says. “[Robin] does so many romantic things all the time. Little things. Sweet things. Like bringing me coffee in the morning and taking care of me when I get a migraine, and loving and taking care of my daughter, Hannah, and my dog, Walter.”
Fast-forward to the perfect sunset at the Astorian on St. Patrick’s Day. Block’s father, Rabbi Kenneth Block, served as officiant for a ceremony that had many traditional Jewish customs. Rabbi Block was charismatic as he performed the service, and guests could easily discern where Block inherited her keen sense of humor and candor.
The couple chose the dramatic Astorian as the venue because most of their guests were from the Houston area. However, they also had friends and family fly in from all over the world—a testament to how important they are to so many people. The brides recalled their favorite moment of the wedding.
“The first look,” Block says. “We got to see each other right before the ceremony with no one there. It was the most beautiful, intense, lovely, romantic, happy moment.”
“Hearing the music—the theme to Somewhere in Time, which was filmed at the Grand Hotel where we got engaged—that was what made me cry,” Brown says.
As the lovely evening transitioned into an equally lovely night, the brides and their guests danced to disco and country music. Everyone mingled and dined on an assortment of delicious foods, and drank well from the fully stocked open bar.
Brown and Block’s evening wedding celebration, which even had its own hashtag, #BSquared, did indeed benefit from a little bit of Irish good luck—but mostly from a great deal of love.
This article appears in the May 2018 edition of OutSmart magazine.