For once, IKEA is in the news for something other than a poop or horse meat scandal: Eight years ago, Shirley Stewart and Berkely “Rashid” Smith met in the framing department of a New Jersey IKEA. When Smith proposed earlier this year, the couple decided to tie the knot in the same store, in the same section.
Flashback to 2005: Stewart and her then 14-year-old daughter, Jashirele, were shopping at the Swedish megastore. As the mother and daughter were walking through the store's framing department, Stewart spotted Smith.
“I saw him right when he came in, and I checked his finger to make sure he wasn't married. I followed him for about an hour,” Stewart told ABC. Jashirele noticed her mom's interest —"I told my mom, ‘Oh, he’s cute,’” she said —and offered to talk to Smith for her. Stewart said she reluctantly agreed and Jashirele, who was only with her mother that day because she'd been suspended from school, approached Smith.
"He said to her, 'I don't give my number to little kids,' so she brought him over to me," Stewart said. "I was thinking, 'Oh, my God. I'm going to have a heart attack.' But we've been best friends ever since."
When, years later, Smith proposed, the couple immediately made plans to return to the store where they met.
"I called and explained we wanted it to be just him and I in that section, and just take a picture and that's it," said Shirley. "I didn't want to distract the customers or cause a big fuss, but they said they'll do it even better."
The store gave their approval and even gave the couple a suitcase – labeled “Just Married” – filled with gifts from IKEA. The ceremony, attended by the couple's friends and family, exceeded Stewart's expectation.
"It came out to be so beautiful," she said. "It was better than I ever hoped."
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