Money can buy you love, if you have a contract with this Harvard MBA

In their wedding photo, Elena Wechsler and John Simpson are the picture of matrimonial bliss. The image captures the modern-day Romeo and Juliet in medias res: Wechsler appears to have run, perhaps in slow motion, to her husband, who has gathered her into his tuxedoed arms, lifted her above an impossibly green field of grass, and proceeded to kiss her so thoroughly that Wechsler's bare left foot has kicked up behind her in response. The resulting visual falls somewhere between adorable and beautiful, cliché and earnest. In short, it is perfect.

Printed in the New York Times Vows section, the photo has a story behind it — and the real author of this love story is not a Times reporter, but a Harvard MBA who cashed in on her marketing expertise to create a romantic empire.


Rachel Greenwald's greatest success story might be her own. As she takes a window seat at Cucina Colore, a contemporary Italian restaurant in Cherry Creek, the woman who coached Wechsler in finding a mate is all concentrated grace. Her face framed by delicately curled hair and thin oval glasses, she smiles (elegantly), shakes hands (firmly) and then smoothes her shirt (carefully) as she sits.

"You will make a lot of dating mistakes, and you have to get those moving," Greenwald says before she even finishes looking at the menu. She is a firm realist, if an exceptionally polite one; she is not a feminist. "You're going to have lots of failed relationships. Have you thought about how many kids you want?"

Greenwald is originally from Denver, and she attended Graland Country Day and Kent Denver before moving on to Wellesley, Harvard and big marketing gigs on the East Coast for companies such as Evian and Carolee Jewelry. If this were a first date, she would not have to worry about snagging a second one.

Her clients, however, still do. Over the past twelve years, Greenwald has crafted a second career as one of the country's most well-respected and frequently requested matchmakers — a career that started as a calculated afterthought. When Greenwald was in her late twenties and living in Boston, still single, she knew that she wanted multiple children and began to feel constrained by time. But the first step was finding a husband, so she set out to find one, using everything she'd learned while getting her bachelor's in psychology and a Harvard MBA. Among other things, she threw a party — an event carefully constructed to draw men who had the potential to become a future husband, or could introduce her to a man who had that potential. Working on her invitation list, she was looking through a directory for an acquaintance with a big social circle and decided to invite a more distant acquaintance listed underneath him, a man she had spoken to on the phone a year earlier. He made the cut despite Greenwald's thinking that his directory photo was unattractive. In real life, though, he was anything but. Brad Greenwald asked her out the Saturday after the party. Three years later, they were married.

In 1999, with two children and two successful careers, the couple moved back to Denver. The next year, as they contemplated having a third child, then-34-year-old Rachel realized that she was unlikely to find a marketing position that would be flexible enough to let her focus on her home life. So she decided to find a job that fit better with the rest of her life. But what job? Months of brainstorming ended with a brazen concept: Greenwald, without ever composing anything outside of a term paper or a party invitation list, would become a writer. Writers have completely free schedules, right? Having determined this, she turned to the Internet to research her new career. She searched for "How to become a book author" on Amazon.com and unloaded a couple hundred dollars on the highest-ranked results.

But to be an author, you must have something to write about — and Greenwald's plan didn't yet extend that far. In order to identify her passion, Greenwald used her practical experience to record in a journal a week's worth of activities in hopes of finding meaning in one of them. While compiling her list, Greenwald ranked every activity on a scale of one to five, depending on how much she enjoyed it.

"How many things do you think you would rate a five by the end of your week?" she asks, and then shakes her head. "Somehow, I only had two: drinking my morning tea and talking to a single friend on the phone who had called to complain about her love life. I was so excited, pacing my kitchen while telling her all the things she had done wrong and how to fix them." One year later, her friend was married — and she credited Greenwald's advice with making the match possible.

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Kelsey Whipple
Contact: Kelsey Whipple

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