In 2005, American woman Ariana Austin went to a nightclub in Washington D.C. with one of her friends. Little did she know that she would meet the love of her life that night. Moreover, little did she know that the love of her life would have a royal secret.
That night, Ariana Austin and her friend were approached by a handsome man, his Imperial Highness Prince Joel Dawit Makonnen Haile Selassie, the great-grandson of Ethiopia's last emperor. He introduced himself as "Joel."
Joel, an Ethiopian prince, said that he felt an instant connection with Ariana. He said, "Not even five minutes later, I said, 'You're going to be my girlfriend.'” That became true.
Ariana did not find out about Joel's royal identity until they were more serious about their relationship. Now, 12 years later, the couple has said "I do," and Ariana has been crowned a princess.
According to Business Insider, the couple had such a long courtship because of their prioritized careers. Makonnen works at Otsuka America Pharmaceutical in the legal department, while Austin does philanthropy at the Executives' Alliance for Boys and Men of Color.
The couple's wedding took place in September and included a "marathon day of events that lasted from 11 a.m. until late in the evening, and took place within two states." That week included five full days of wedding festivities, planned by Yodit Gebreyes Endale.
The wedding included at least 13 priests and clergymen and was a traditional Ethiopian Orthodox ceremony. They chose the date specifically to be near the Ethiopian New Year.
While the wedding was traditional in some sense, it also included some modern aspects. The couple said that they featured "a photo booth, a candy table and Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye and Bruno Mars songs."
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