Photo Gallery | IKEA Wedding In College Park, Md.
Willie Pittman and Julie Rodgers grew up in the same neighborhood and attended the same high school in Washington, D.C. They never dated, but stayed close friends. Pittman always joked he was in the “big brother” zone and never had a chance with Julie. Little did he know that years later she would be the reason they reconnected.
The two parted ways after graduating from H.D. Woodson High School in 1981. Julie stayed in town, but Willie traveled the world as a U.S. Marine. One day online, Julie saw her old friend Willie in a picture, though he was much older with salt and pepper hair, she recognized his smile, and wrote him a message. They exchanged numbers and texts for weeks before finally meeting face to face for the first time in 30 years on April 17, 2010.
It was a Tuesday and the two were looking for a place to eat lunch. They both worked near IKEA and Julie mentioned the great meatballs and mashed potatoes on special that day. They agreed to go. At lunch they laughed and talked and strolled around the different showrooms bouncing on sofas and pretending they lived in the different model rooms. (Not a bad first date if you ask me.)
Two years later they decided to get married, and determined that IKEA at College Park would be the best place to do so. After all, it was where they rekindled their friendship and started what became their forever journey together.
“We could think of no better place to get married than in the place of our first best time,” explained Julie Rodgers.
The two exchanged vows on Tuesday, April 17, 2012, just two years after their first date at IKEA.
“I was quite surprised when I received the phone call requesting the use of the store for a wedding. We get many requests, but never a wedding,” explained IKEA’s Sharon Black. She went on to say, “Once we met the bride and heard her "IKEA" love story, we had to make their dream come true. The couple is beautiful and inspiring and we are elated that they chose IKEA in College Park for their special day."