An American woman married an Ethiopian prince she met in a nightclub -- and the photos are magical

Prince Joel Makonnen and Ariana Austin. Photo: Instagram/dotunayodeji

The INSIDER Summary:

  • A woman named Ariana Austin began dating a man she met in a nightclub. 
  • He eventually told her he was actually Prince Joel Makonnen, an Ethiopian prince. 
  • They have been together 12 years and got married this September. 
  • The wedding was totally over-the-top, and featured 13 officiants. 

Ariana Austin, 33, wasn’t expecting to find her prince charming in a Washington D.C. nightclub, but as she told The New York Times, that’s exactly what happened. 

Austin met Joel Makonnen, 35, 12 years ago and they immediately hit it off, according to The Times.

“Not even five minutes later I said, ‘You’re going to be my girlfriend.’ ” he told the paper. 

Only after they got into a serious relationship did Makonnen letAustin know that he was actually a prince. Makonnen is the great-grandson of Haile Selassie I, Ethiopia’s last emperor. 

They had a long courtship because both focused on their impressive careers: Makonnen works in the legal department of Otsuka America Pharmaceutical, and Austin works in philanthropy at the Executives’ Alliance for Boys and Men of Colour, according to the Times. (Editor’s note: Click through the Instagram post below to see additional photos.)

But on September 9, 2017, the couple married in a ceremony fit for royalty. According to the Times, the wedding festivities, which took place in Maryland, involved a “marathon day of events that lasted from 11 a.m. until late in the evening, and took place within two states.”

The couple had at least 13 priests and clergymen to officiate the Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony, the Times reported. 

The couple rocked crowns and capes as they became man and wife. They planned the wedding close to the Ethiopian New Year and the wedding also featured beautiful, traditional Ethiopian Orthodox umbrellas. 

Though the wedding featured a marathon of events and flair, it was also, of course, a wedding, so they featured “a photo booth, a candy table and Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye and Bruno Mars songs,” the Times reported. 

That just goes to show, you may be royalty, but no one can resist getting down to some Bruno Mars on the dance floor. Congrats to the happy couple!

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