Kristina Ruddick and Brandon Geller had a charming, movie-moment-inspired start to their romance. The two creatives met in 2014 in Toronto while both working at a start-up. As photographer Kristina shares, she was personally having a very rough year and decided to pack up and move back to her hometown of Vancouver. She had a week between moving out of her apartment and her flight, and she needed a place to crash. Brandon offered his apartment as he was going to be away on a business trip.
That trip ended up getting shelved, but Kristina still bunked at Brandon’s, where she slept on his sofa.
After spending a week as friends living together, Kristina said the dynamic between her and Brandon immediately felt natural and comfortable. When it was time for her trip home, Brandon drove her to the airport and they hugged goodbye, both knowing something special was percolating between them. On that plane ride to YVR, Kristina decided to watch The Notebookand the story of long lost lovers struck a chord.
“I cried my way through the entire movie,” says Kristina. “From the day I landed in Vancouver, Brandon and I talked on the phone every night. It was very clear that we were intensely into each other.”
Kristina says from the beginning she felt greater forces were pushing her and Brandon together. “I once had a dream about Brandon when we were just friends working together that we were lying on a couch looking out at the world from a tall apartment building with floor-to-ceiling windows. I woke up and wondered why I would be dreaming about this random guy I worked with. Ultimately, it ended up making me see him differently.”
Two months into their budding romance, Brandon flew out to see Kristina on New Year’s Eve—they had their first kiss at the Vancouver airport. The next day they visited Kristina’s parents and Brandon met her entire extended family. “Talk about getting in deep fast,” says Kristina with a laugh. “We’ve been together ever since.”
Brandon proposed in 2019 in Los Angeles, one of Kristina’s favorite places. He planned it for months in advance. “I was on a girls’ trip, and Brandon was at home working at a trade show,” says Kristina. “I was with my friends on a beach day in Malibu when someone suggested a group photo, so we all lined up for it. At that moment, I suddenly saw Brandon pop out from behind a rock and he went right into kneeling and proposing. He had been planning that moment for over two months! He even made sketches over Google Earth of how the proposal would go depending on if it was high tide or low tide.”
As is the case with so many pandemic weddings, Kristina and Brandon actually had two celebrations. They had an intimate event where they were legally married by their rabbi in 2021; and a proper big bash with 100 family and friends present in June of this year. For that celebration, the couple headed back to the west coast and stunning Galiano Island, which is located between Vancouver Island and the lower mainland of British Columbia.
The couple made their wedding an all-weekend affair starting with a welcome dinner the day before the wedding, and a wedding brunch to close out the festivities. All the events gave the couple and their guests quality time to spend with each other and to properly celebrate. “It was nice to have lots of time to spend with our guests and really have full conversations with everyone,” shares Kristina. “We did all the meet and greets on our first night, so on our day we could relax and enjoy it all.”
The wedding decor was inspired by the island’s environment. A palette of soft pink, orange and white flowers warmed up the surrounding natural landscapes. “Keeping the flowers minimal but adding color to our tables was my vision,” says Kristina. “After three-plus years of planning I had thought a lot about the way I wanted our tables to look! Minimal but elegant—we had family-style dining, so we needed to have room for the food.”
For this wedding, the couple asked their friend Ariel to officiate the ceremony. Kristina says he blew the couple away with his incredibly touching words. Ariel also invited his wife, Sarah, to be a part of things, joining him to sing the Sheva Brachot. The couple received praise all night for how intimate and inclusive the ceremony felt.
Another special moment of their day paid tribute to Brandon’s late mother, who passed away a few years ago. His siblings found the speech she wrote for his bar mitzvah. “They read it out loud at the wedding together during dinner,” says Kristina. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, it was such a beautiful tribute.”
Select standouts from Kristina and Brandon’s big day
Kristina went modern and vintage for her wedding day looks. Her ceremony and reception dress was a sleek fit-and-flare gown by Mikaella with delicate spaghetti straps, a draped bodice and a dramatic scoop neckline.
For the evening party, she switched into a mini that was actually fashioned from her mother’s 1993 wedding dress. “My mom gifted me her wedding dress, which she made herself using vintage lace from my great aunt,” says Kristina. “My talented friend Kyra redesigned it to be my dancing dress. When I showed my mom the dress for the first time on the morning of my wedding, it was a very special full-circle moment.”
“I’ve photographed my fair share of weddings, which means I’ve also eaten a lot of wedding food,” says Kristina with a laugh. “When I say the team at Bodega Ridge absolutely crushed it, I am not exaggerating! I knew the food would be amazing—it was one of the main reasons I booked the Bodega—but it was honestly some of the best food I’ve eaten in my entire life. Our guests are still messaging us about it months later.”
“Brandon surprised me with a Ketubah he made himself,” smiles Kristina. “We never really found a Ketubah that spoke to us and ultimately wanted something more sculptural and visually interesting. Being an industrial designer, he decided to create one, and I was so blown away when I saw it on our wedding day. In fact, since the wedding we’ve decided to go into the Ketubah business with our own company called Studio Tzuri and are going to be launching a series of designs.”
Kristina and Brandon’s Wedding Directory
Wedding dress: Mikaella from The Modern Bride
Groom’s suit: Surmesur
Hair and makeup: Judy Lim
Engagement ring: Vrai
Wedding rings: Attic
Flowers: Gossip Floral
Ketubah: Studio Tzuri
Stationery: Whitman Emerson
Photographer: Aileen Choi
Venue: Bodega Ridge
Wedding planner: Rock Paper Square