Finding your soulmate takes patience, faith and, of course, love — all traits around which Abby and Brad Ruffkess built their intimate wedding. On April 3, 2016, they enjoyed a magical affair that not only lauded the connection they share, but also the city that helped bring these two special people together, along with friends and family always by their sides.
The two, who met through a shared friend, fondly recall their courtship throughout Atlanta — first date at KR SteakBar, subsequent meet-ups at Antico Pizza and the Atlanta Botanical Garden. In fact, Abby and Brad lived less than a quarter-mile away from each other for the previous five years they’d lived in Atlanta, off Peachtree Road. Call it fate, kismet or just plain luck, but it seems this young couple was destined to be together. The blossoming romance between Abby, born and raised in Marietta, and Brad, who has lived throughout the Southeast and settled in Atlanta 11 years ago, reached a crescendo when he proposed during a getaway weekend in Charleston, South Carolina. The couple, who so clearly value their intimate connection, decided to keep their proposal a secret from everyone for 24 hours.
“We went through our day in Charleston and took in the exciting memory for ourselves, prior to letting our parents and friends know the following day,” says Abby.
The cozy vibe of their engagement continued through their wedding itself, all while paying homage to the city that brought them together. Their 125-person wedding took place at JCT Kitchen in West Midtown, an easy venue to choose, they both agree.
“We both love great food, knew we wanted a place that supports our local community, had an outdoor space and, overall, felt more like a great dinner party than an event,'” says Abby. “The space itself is so beautiful and inviting, we didn’t have to do much to make it perfect for the wedding.”
The “dinner-party feel” continued throughout the event — a small wedding party that just included siblings and lifelong best friends, the rejection of a large band or DJ for rare dueling pianos, and cool details using local flowers grown right here in Dahlonega. The floral design came from the talented Heirloom Gardens, after the couple discovered them during one of their many weekly trips to Peachtree Road Farmers Market.
There were other lovely ways Abby and Brad created an event that focused on celebrating their relationship with each other, their friends and family, and their culture. “One of the best details that meant a great deal to me was the fact that I was able to wear my mother’s veil — almost a year to the day she got married — 43 years later. I hope that one day — many, many years from now — my daughter can do the same.”
The couple, both Jewish, followed traditions like signing their ketubah (Jewish marriage contract) before their ceremony began. In fact, the two say their favorite part of the entire evening was their yichud (seclusion), where the bride and groom go immediately after the ceremony to spend some alone time together, grab a snack and drink, and exchange gifts. While their guests moved on to the cocktail hour, Abby and Brad were able to take time for themselves and reflect on their new status as one family.
Besides the connection with their religion and each other, Brad and Abby continued to pay homage to Atlanta, itself. Their guests, who stayed at the Loews Atlanta Hotel, received gift bags specific to the A-T-L — the bags, from the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, included Coca-Cola bottles (a nod to where Brad works), Little Tart Bakeshop chocolate chip cookies, a list of Atlanta sites to see and much more. And in lieu of party favors, the couple made a donation to Atlanta’s The Farmer Fund, which exists to support farmers and help them keep working in the face of natural disasters.
Though the event has come and gone, the love between Abby and Brad continues to grow and evolve. The two describe each other with heartfelt descriptions — Abby says Brad’s intellect, thoughtfulness and unwavering dedication are just a few things she loves about him; Brad goes on and on about Abby’s integrity, youthful attitude, passion for all-things-local and beauty.
“We continue to have fun together every day, no matter what we are doing,” says Brad. “We’re appreciating that we both finally found our forever.”
A huge thank you to Anne Simone for sharing the wonderful photos she took of Brad and Abby’s stunning wedding!
Photographer: Anne Simone
Videographer: Rusticus Films
Venue/caterer/cake: JCT Kitchen
Florist: Heirloom Gardens
Bridal gown: Wedding Angels Bridal Boutique
Band/DJ: The Andrews Brothers Dueling Pianos
Invitations: simply put. PAPER and GIFT
Event planner: Britain Lamon
Party favors: Donation to The Farmer Fund
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