On a crisp autumn afternoon in Barnstead, New Hampshire, the Russell-Stovers said their I do's in an intimate ceremony among friends, family and ... lots and lots of chocolate.
Jessica Russell and Rich Stover have no relation to the chocolate company who shares their last names, aside from their love of its sweet treats. But when they tied the knot on Saturday, they officially became a match made in chocolate heaven.
After Stover proposed to Russell in fall 2019, the bride's sister, Cassandra Russell, knew there couldn't be Russell-Stover wedding without, well, Russell Stover. So, she reached out to the company to inform them that an actual Russell Stover couple was going to be wed the following year.
"Russell Stover couldn't pass up the once in a lifetime opportunity to celebrate the real Russell-Stovers," a brand spokesperson told TODAY Food.
Because of COVID-19, the chocolatier's team wasn't allowed on-site at the wedding, which the couple hosted at Russell's parents home: a historic, 1700s New England farmhouse. Still, the company provided plenty of gifts from afar. From socks and bow ties for the groomsmen to a silky robe for the bride, and decorations and dinnerware to a chocolate lover's dream of a cake, the wedding had no shortage of Russell Stover-themed items.
"I was completely overwhelmed with Russell Stover’s generosity towards my daughter and her husband. Everything really came out wonderful from the charms on the bouquets, to the socks on the groomsmen’s feet," mother of the bride Jean Russell told TODAY.
Over the years, folks have become pretty clever when it comes to incorporating their favorite food brand into their special occasions. One family photographed their baby smashing a Starbucks Frappuccino-themed cake for her first birthday. And another couple, Joel Burger and Ashley King, went all out with their whopper of a wedding.
For Russell Stover, it was easy to complement the rustic, ruby-hued fall wedding, considering the brand's color scheme is copper and brown. But perhaps the most seamless pairing was the wedding cake.
The couple had originally planned to skip the cake and just serve Russell Stover chocolates for dessert. Instead, the company worked with a local New Hampshire baker to create a cake made from their favorite flavor: milk chocolate Pecan Delight.
"It was so special having Russell Stover chocolates part of our wedding day because we've always called it 'our chocolate,'" the bride told TODAY. "It's crazy how fast the day goes by, but it will certainly be memorable for us and our guests. The Russell Stover cake was the topic of our wedding conversation."
According to Russell's mom, the wedding outdid the family's most memorable Russell Stover event. Every Christmas, her family buys a king-size Russell Stover box chocolate for their Yankee swap gift exchange (aka white elephant or Dirty Santa). It was something everyone looked forward to all year round — particularly Russell and Stover.
"I've always said we were the chocolate couple and thanks to [Russell Stover's] generosity, we definitely were on our wedding day," Stover told TODAY.