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Whole Foods Market is great for many things — organic produce, essential oils, and healthy lunch breaks. But for one food-loving couple, the sprawling organic grocery store was also the perfect wedding venue.
Ross and Jacqueline Aronson (formerly Troutman) built their relationship walking to and from their Whole Foods store when they lived — and fell in love — in New York City. The couple told TODAY Food that they often sauntered through the market arm-in-arm, perusing ingredients for the gourmet fare Ross enjoys cooking — and they also loved taking in a free sample, or two.
Early in the relationship, Ross told Jacqueline he’d already dreamt up the ideal engagement scenario. But it wasn’t until the couple moved to the college town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, that Ross actually popped the question.
“It was more charming and heart-meltingly romantic than I ever could have imagined,” Jacqueline posted on Facebook in her wedding announcement.
In February 2017, after a special walk through the store in which Ross carefully orchestrated several sampling opportunities, he got down on one knee in the flower department and proposed. Jacqueline immediately said yes.
Initially, the bride-to-be joked that the couple should say "I do" in that very Whole Foods. But soon, what seemed like a "crazy idea" at first, didn't seem that crazy after they thought it through together.
Naturally (pun intended), the couple decided to make the store they’d grown to love the place where they would actually tie the knot, and made plans to host their ceremony and reception in the market’s flower department on the one year anniversary of their engagement this year.
“We loved the idea of having an important life milestone happen in a place we constantly go,” Jacqueline told TODAY Food. “We know we will be back time and time again, and regardless of the occasion that brings us there, it has no choice but to be special. It will always remind us of an incredible day and significant moment when we made our lifelong commitment to one another.”
The Aronsons recruited the help of Krista Deitsch, a Whole Foods associate who helped Ross execute his proposal plan in 2017. Deitsch secured site permissions and brought on Whitney Harlos from Whole Foods' marketing department for the wedding on Feb. 24 and, as Jacqueline put it, helped "bring everything to life." They even crafted signs throughout the store with more than 77 food/relationship puns, which Jacqueline, who works in marketing, had thought up. Among the catchiest: "dairy-tale wedding," "cantaloupe anymore," "rib-eye do," and "joined in holy mackerel-mony."
According to Chapel Hill Whole Foods manager Gonzalo Munoz, the Aronson-Troutman wedding was the store’s first.
“It was just one of those crazy things that just happened,” Munoz told TODAY Food. "We just ran with it."
As news of the wedding circulated social media, it appears the couple’s arrangement was spot-on with their new neighborhood, as one tweeter deemed it “the most Chapel Hill thing” ever.
On the day of the wedding, Munoz helped guide customers through the produce to the site of the wedding in the floral department. The wedding was officiated by the bride's second cousin, Bill Murdock, who not only works in dentistry with Ross, but doubles as the couple's landlord.
When the couple finally said "I do," surrounded by flowers, fruits, and vegetables, guests and excited store patrons erupted in applause and praise.
“It was really wonderful,” Munoz said.
After the ceremony, the couple and their guests gathered in the Whole Foods cafe area for the reception. Later that day, family gathered at the Aronson's home for an intimate meal. They enjoyed dishes such as lamb braised in wine and plum sauce and beet-cured salmon. With the exception of the store-made cake and Champagne, Ross did all the catering himself and sourced his ingredients from … you guessed it, Whole Foods!