Couple Marries in IKEA Where They Met

Shirley Stewart and Rashid Smith exchanged vows in the frame department at IKEA on Saturday. Eight years earlier, the couple had met in the exact same spot inside the Elizabeth, New Jersey store.

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In 2005, Newark, New Jersey native Shirley, 46, a reciprocal clerk at AAA, was shopping for apartment wares with her then-14-year-old daughter, Jashirele Stewart, when she spotted Smith, 46, walking around the store. “I couldn’t tell if he was wearing a wedding ring or was with a woman so I followed him around the store for an entire hour, trying to find a reason to talk to him,” Shirley told Yahoo! Shine. “Eventually, my daughter got impatient so she offered to get his phone number for me.”

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Moments later, Jashirele returned with Smith in tow. “He said, ‘I wanted to make sure this is your daughter because I don’t give my phone number to little girls.’ I was so embarrassed and asked, ‘Are you single?’ We swapped numbers on the spot and while he was leaving the store, he called and asked me out for Valentine’s Day.”

Fast-forward two years later—the couple became engaged. “We always figured that when we got married, we’d have some sort of ceremony at IKEA but I didn’t think the store would allow it," said Shirley.  "So I called them and asked if we could just take our photos there. But they loved the idea and said we should have the whole ceremony there. We already had a ceremony scheduled at Rashid’s grandmother’s house so we decided to get blessed at IKEA by a friend from the Church.”

Shirley and Smith invited 20 of their closest friends, family, and coworkers to witness the blessing which took place in the frame department where they first exchanged phone numbers. Shirley wore a white wedding dress and Smith wore a tux. When they arrived, to their surprise, a local news team was setting up to film the event. “We weren’t expecting that! Shoppers were also walking around, but we didn’t mind," said Shirley.

After the blessing, the couple jumped over an IKEA broom and received a suitcase from the store that contained bathrobes, slippers, an ice bucket, and a bottle of sparkling cider. Then, everyone headed to Smith’s grandmother’s house in Newark for their official ceremony. The reception was a black and white masquerade ball held at a local recreation center.

Shirley and Smith aren’t the first to say “I do” at IKEA. This past February, an Australian couple who claimed that the store “brought them closer together” wed inside the Sydney location. And in 2012, couple Julie Rodgers and Willie Pittman were pronounced husband and wife at the Maryland store which also hosted the reception (naturally, Swedish meatballs were served).

Other outside-the-box weddings: Last week, a North Carolina man named Wayne Brandenburg married his wife Susan in the layaway section of Walmart, where they met when she was a store cashier. In 2011, Oklahoma-based couple Eva McCarthy Capparello and Carmine Capparello invited 50 of their loved ones to a local Starbucks to watch them exchange vows at the location of their first coffee date.

Photo by Shirley Stewart
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Shine | Photo By Shirley Stewart / Shirley Stewart
Tue, Jun 11, 2013 2:00 PM EDT

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