This past Saturday, Shirley Stewart and Rashid Smith exchanged vows in a very unconventional place: IKEA. Although not necessarily the destination spot for all engaged couples, this particular pair has a sweet history as the story unfolds.
The IKEA in Elizabeth, New Jersey, is where 46 year old Stewart and her then fourteen year old daughter Jashirele first laid eyes upon Smith, 46 in 2005. The two of them began following him around the store, trying to see if he wore a ring or was with another woman. Finally, Jashirelle got so fed up with the goose chase; she went up to him and asked for his number for her mother.
Moments later, Smith and Jashirelle came up to Stewart. He said he didn’t give out his phone number to little girls, but instead gave it to Stewart herself. Before he even left the store, he called her and asked her out on a date for Valentine’s Day. Two years later, they were engaged.
While they were planning the special day, Stewart and Smith wanted to incorporate IKEA somehow because it had been so instrumental in the foundation of their relationship. At first, they didn’t think the store would allow the couple to have the ceremony there, but when they called and asked the staff was more than thrilled. So, after a short ceremony at Rashid’s grandmother’s house, the couple and 20 of their closest friends, family members, and co-workers headed over to IKEA for the blessing.
The blessing took place in the frame department, where Rashid and Shirley first exchanged phone numbers. Shirley had on a beautiful and elegant wedding dress, and Rashid wore his tux. The two were blessed by a friend from their local church. They also jumped over the IKEA broom, and received a gift bag from the store containing bathrobes and slippers, sparkling cider, and an ice bucket. During the ceremony, the local news even showed up to film the special event. Afterwards, there was a masquerade reception at the local recreation center.
Shirley Steward and Rashid Smith are not the first people to be happily married in IKEA, however. Two other couples before them, one from Maryland and one in Sydney, had their ceremonies in the store that affected their relationship so greatly.
It seems that for these couples, IKEA makes sure that their customers’ needs are met- whether it’s finding the perfect couch or finding the perfect person to buy it with.
Here is the video