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about people pushing their spiritual agenda on me. But after hearing several ringing endorsements from friends about Buckhead Church, a nondenominational congregation that is part of North Point Ministries, I decided to take a closer look at the programming for singles. “In the past, our singles environments more similar to Bible studies,” says Michael Kanner, Singles Gatherings director. “But now they are focused on creating social connections, regardless of whether someone attends our church.” There are three types of Gatherings: Serve (activities focus on serving the community), Experience (various social outings) and Explore (opportunities for roundtable talks on subjects such as why we love or what makes a good life). Each Gathering consists of about 40 to 60 people, lasts six weeks and is held weekly, typically on Saturday or Sunday. “These events are easy-going and composed of like-minded individuals who seek great friends,” Kanner says. “If there are any opportunities to meet a potential partner, we believe that starts with friendship.” For example, there are get-togethers for people who like to eat brunch or, if you’d prefer to be part of the Service Gatherings, you can join one that works with an area nonprofit. Last but not least, the Explore group focus on activities such as watching Ted Talk videos and roundtable discussions—these are the only Gatherings held on Wednesdays and at the church. To register for a six-week Gathering, head to Buckheadsingles.org, search through the options, and find the type of event that best suits your age, interest and availability. Some cost a small fee (think the cost of a meal), but most are free. I experienced two: a sampler where participants get to try activities from a variety of Gathering options and one for those who like friendly sports competition. Participants are limited to joining one Gathering per each six-week cycle. The sampler was geared toward people ages 25 to 45, and the afternoon’s activities were focused around a recorded Ted Talk about happiness followed by roundtable discussions about the talk, which were held at the church. The other Gathering was at Midtown’s Top Golf and was for folks in their 20s. Prior to my outings, Kanner told me that the goal of these events is first and foremost to bring together like-minded individuals, regardless of religion. But I really had to see it with my own eyes. I left the Gatherings feeling like I’d made a few new friends, without anyone trying to get me to church—and telling my mother that I finally might consider learning more about joining a church. n 3336 Peachtree Road N.E. Atlanta 30326 404.814.7000 buckheadsingles.org

Single in the City Finding lo ve in Buckhea d

ONE ON ONE MATCHMAKING

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consider myself a pretty confident woman, but as I sat at The Mercury in Ponce City Market, waiting on my first date courtesy of One on One Matchmaking, I was nervous— but in a good way. For the last two years, I’ve met men in bars. I’ve met them through online dating apps such as Tinder and Bumble. But this time it was different. After an hour of learning all about me, a matchmaker had thought that this man might be a fit for me. And I couldn’t wait to find out whether she was right… This is the beauty behind Buckhead’s One on One Matchmaking, created by Sarah Kathryn Walmsley (who also owns Eight at Eight Dinner Club) in 2008. “I decided to launch One on One because several Eight at Eight clients shared that they’d like individual attention,” she adds. “And since then, we’ve worked with about 2,640 clients.” According to Jennifer Miotke, president of One on One (and my matchmaker), this option for meeting people works best for those who are

looking for a personal assistant when it comes to dating. “We are local, involved and our services are geared toward individuals who are looking to be in a committed relationship,” says Miotke, who has worked with the company since 2010. “Our average client is college-educated, and more than half have an advanced degree. They are fit, social and have a job that they love.” That was one of the things I liked best about this option for meeting people—someone else was doing the heavy lifting of getting to that first date. First, I had an initial phone call with Miotke, so she could get a sense of whether she had any clients who might be a good match for me. During this phase, Miotke asked about my partner preferences: age, professional level and factors I find attractive. Next, I came in to the office for an hour-long meeting where we chatted about my upbringing, past relationships and what I’m looking for in my next relationship. By the end of the conversation, she read me bios for four men and had me choose two to go on dates with.

The best part? I gave my availability for dates over the next week, and they did all of the organizing. Within a few days, I’d received an email sharing when and where I would be meeting my dates. The day of the date, I received an email to remind me of my date’s bio. And the day after, I received an email and phone call to get feedback on how things went. “Feedback is a valuable part of the process,” Miotke says. “We gather the feedback and use it to help clients tweak their game and improve their odds of finding love.” The thing to keep in mind is that hiring a matchmaker is like spending money on a fitness studio membership or a life coach: It’s an investment in your wellbeing and future, which means you will need to spend money. “The going rate for matchmakers in Atlanta, which includes our company, starts at $3,500 and goes up,” Miotke explains. “If you have the resources, I can’t for the life of me figure out why people buy designer handbags and expensive cars, but won’t invest in finding the love of their life. It’s probably the best investment in your future you can make.” As for my first date with One on One, Miotke did a strong job of matching me with someone I had a ton in common with, was attracted to and enjoyed an evening of good food and conversation with. And best of all, it led to a second date that was just as enjoyable. n 3102 Roswell Road N.E. Atlanta 30305 404.355.7828 1on1matchmaking.com

January/February 2017 | Simply Buckhead 

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Simply Buckhead January/February 2017