On a steamy Sunday this summer, Terri Hitzig and Bruce Bogartz said their “I dos” on the patio and later indoors at the Bogartz Food Artz restaurant in Sandy Springs. In case two chefs having their wedding at the groom’s restaurant wasn’t unique enough, guests were asked to wear floral prints and Bermuda shorts.
Even the groom was in a sky-blue blazer over his shorts for the July 21 wedding. No one knew exactly what to expect facing the parking lot, but darn if it wasn’t one of the grooviest weddings South of the Great Smoky Mountains!
The band was playing “When the Saints Go Marching In” as guests found seats and mingled to see “who was who” in the crowd.
Dentist Warren Berne said, “We were invited because we are one of the most loyal and original customers here at Bogartz. You could call us ‘on the frequent diner plan.’ We like the food here that much.”
Guests came from Tennessee, where the groom was reared. Nancy Becker said, “We drove from Knoxville because we have known Bruce since he was a child and have eaten at all his restaurants.”
Local restaurant celeb of Brickery fame, Bruce Alterman, works with SCORE and the Small Business Association as mentor to Bogartz Food Artz. He said, “They’re doing all the hard work. I think they are doing just great!”
The two machatunim, Terri’s mom, Karen Dribben from Ohio, chatted with Bruce’s mom, (now local) Barb Bogartz. Dribben said, “I’ve been waiting for this all my life. This is the best wedding ever. Both of them are wonderful!” Bruce’s father, Dr. Leon Bogartz, said, “Even as a child Bruce was hiding Gourmet and Food & Wine magazines under his bed. Well, Playboy too.”
When it was time for the ceremony to begin, Terri cascaded down the steps of the top floor of the shopping center right into the aisle where the guests were seated on the sides. Her sole word out loud was “Oy.” She was dressed in a flowing hot pink tulle long skirt and ivory top with a sunny yellow bouquet. The two joined under the chuppah, which was a flurry of butterflies handmade by Terri. The two were wrapped in father of the groom’s tallit for the rabbi’s blessings.
Rabbi Brian Glusman began the ceremony by formalizing the engagement with two blessings. He wished for them a future enriched by Judaism. The ring, representing the circle of love and infinity, was handed over by Bruce’s teenage daughter Sara Beth.
As he read the ketubah, Glusman noted that it was not an affirmation of love, but rather an Aramaic technical declaration of responsibly, which outweighs romance. He performed the sheva brachot, seven blessings, and emphasized the couple’s real mazal for meeting on Jdate and the astrological aligning of the planets and constellations as “meant to be.”
The AJT was recognized for covering the couple’s success individually as chefs and then as an engaged pair. Glusman challenged Terri and Bruce to relish the moment and spoke of a conversation he had with each of them detailing what they valued in the other. For Bruce, it was Terri’s chopped liver and ability to show emotions, and that she loves him unconditionally “despite me being a slob.” Terri’s recalled how Bruce nurtured her with homemade soup when she was ill and that he has a good heart in making food for the homeless, not to mention tipping a musician $20 to play their Hall & Oates song.
Party time! The 118 guests reveled in a spirited Dixieland band (a wedding gift from one of the guests) and food, glorious food. Bruce and brother Scott know how to jazz up a colorful and eclectic spread. My favorite was the salmon planks, fresh peach blue cheese salad, and marinated cucumbers. Plenty of gourmet food filled the buffet tables. The groom was not above working, and hustled to arrange and bolster the platters.
When asked what they would have done differently, Terri said, “We would have had guests come later and leave later, [start time was 6 p.m.]. We would have paid a bit more attention to organizational planning and had a couple more folks in that department. All in all, we had friends and family tell us it was the best and most memorable, fun wedding they have been to ever!
“We want to say a big ‘thank you’ to Rabbi Brian. He was phenomenal. And to all the incredible guests who made us feel so special. Off to Savannah for the honeymoon!”