Julie Rodgers and Willie ‘Bear’ Pittman got married in an Ikea store last Tuesday to pay homage to their first date, which took place at the same outlet in Maryland exactly two years earlier.
“It’s really, really fun that they wanted to do it,” Ikea Sweden spokesperson Sara Carlsson told The Local.
The wedding, complete with meatballs on the menu, raised eyebrows of nearby shoppers but was the perfect day for the newlywed couple, according to the US radio station WTOP.
Rodgers and Pittman met in high-school, but lost contact for the next 30 years.
When a social networking site brought them back into contact in 2010, they decided to take a casual stroll through the local Ikea in Maryland.
“As we’re leaving, we got yoghurt cones and were on the way to the parking lot when it hit me,” Rodgers said to the radio station.
“I turned to him and said, ‘This is one of the best dates I’ve ever had,’ to which he said, ‘This is a date?'”
The couple shelved plans for a traditional wedding, and assembled friends and family at the College Park store.
The couple, who confessed to being vegetarians, even broke their own rules to taste a “commemorative” Swedish meatball at the ceremony.
However, Ikea weddings are nothing new in Sweden, as one was also held in an Ikea store two years ago.
“A couple got married after winning a Facebook competition we held,” said Ikea’sCarlsson to The Local.
“And we’re really glad to hear it’s happened now in the US as well. It’s really, really fun that they wanted to do it,” she said.
“For us, it’s a natural connection. We work with life at home, and what’s more homely than living with the person you love? It’s all naturally connected.”
While Carlsson admits that more weddings in Sweden’s Ikeas are not on the cards for now, she doesn’t rule it out completely for other Swedish flat-pack love birds.
“It’s not something we’re planning at all, but we’d never say never,” she told The Local.