Ian Robinson, ’08, MBA’17, MS’17, had a plan for his first vacation with his then-girlfriend Anne Lieberman: a week with his family at Camp Michigania in the summer of 2022.
Lieberman was skeptical. Especially since the two had never taken a vacation together up to this point, an entire week in a cabin with Robinson’s parents, brothers, and other family didn’t sound like a relaxing getaway.
“I mean, I love his family, but I wasn’t thinking that would be my vacation,” Lieberman says, laughing.
For Robinson, Camp has always been a special place. His dad is an alum, and his parents have been going since before he was born. Robinson and his family would head to Camp during week two every summer.
“It was such a great formative experience where we got to spend the week with both my family doing all the awesome things you do at Camp, but also, we had a great group of friends who were there that it was like our Camp family and Camp friends,” Robinson says. “Camp Michigania is just a really special place.”
With a contingency plan or two in place in case things went sideways, Lieberman agreed to the trip.
“There was a lot of anxiety about this,” she says. “But I went, and I loved it.”
Lieberman, whose parents met while attending U-M, immediately became the biggest Camp proponent.
“I told my parents and sister that we all needed to do this,” she says.
When Robinson proposed later that year, Lieberman knew the wedding had to be at Camp Michigania. There was one tiny problem: Camp didn’t host weddings. Lieberman got on the phone and started trying to convince Camp staff to make it happen. They had considered hosting weddings, but it was not in the plans for 2023.
“I just want it to be noted that I was not the one who raised the idea of Camp, as the person who had decades of experience coming to Camp. It was Anne, who had gone there for one week,” Robinson says. “She saw the magic and was like, ‘This is where we have to get married.’ And pursued it relentlessly.”
Lieberman says the couple talked to other venues in case Camp Michigania fell through, but never signed with anyone else. Eventually, a deal was struck with Camp, and the wedding was set for the weekend of Sept. 8-10, 2023.
A Walk in the Park
Three years earlier, Lieberman was working at the Santa Monica office of Cooley, a law firm where she is now a partner, when she decided to visit her parents in metro Detroit in October 2020. Because her job had shifted to remote work, she booked a ticket, thinking she would stay for a few weeks.
While there, she popped open a dating app and saw Robinson. Robinson, who works as the president and chief operating officer of a software company that helps cities locate lead pipes in their drinking water systems, was also living in Detroit.
The two began to talk and arranged for a walking date in a local park. One walking date turned into another, which turned into another, which turned into another.
“It felt like something was there, so I kept extending my stay,” Lieberman says. “I had to borrow my mom’s winter coat and boots because I came from L.A. with a couple of shorts and some t-shirts.”
They both say they knew they had something special early in the relationship. And while Lieberman’s work brought her back to California, the couple split time between locations.
“We both felt that the relationship was more important and more meaningful and had more potential than others,” Lieberman says. “I think on so many levels we were such a good match that the issue of where to live was not as important.”
Lieberman says she was won over by the infamous “Michigania Magic” during that first trip to Camp.
“It has all of the benefits of going to camp in that it’s in the beautiful outdoors — you can do a bunch of different activities in nature — but then it also has all the benefits of being at a really comfortable retreat where you have your own bathroom and shower,” Robinson says. “I just thought it was really incredible.”
The couple ended up hosting about 175 guests for the weekend wedding, filling up South Camp and using several cabins in North Camp. The weekend was a mix of traditional Jewish ceremonies (Friday night Shabbat service on the benches in front of Walloon Lake) and camp activities (group workouts, archery, arts and crafts, kayaking, and others). The group had a bonfire and s’mores on Saturday night where friends gave toasts, and the wedding was on Sunday.
“We had the ceremony in front of the dining hall, overlooking the lake,” Robinson says.
“It was all really beautiful,” Lieberman says.
Both say relatives and friends of the family shared that it was the best wedding they had ever attended.
“We’ve all been to weddings before where the bride and groom are racing around to see everyone, just to say ‘hi,’ and if they get to see everyone, they are lucky,” Robinson says. “And we were so fortunate to have the weekend. No one had to leave if they didn’t want to, and we could do activities.
“It was just great,” he says.
Jeremy Carroll is the content strategist for the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan.