Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan: How they pulled off their surprise wedding

Breaking news: Mark Zuckerberg wore a suit!

Oh, and he got married.


View Photo Gallery: Mark Zuckerberg, the latest celebrity to successfully marry his bride in a surprise ceremony, is one of many big names who have used elaborate deceptions or last-minute elopements to make sure their weddings avoid attention from paparazzi.

The Facebook billionaire, 28, topped off a remarkable week with a surprise wedding Saturday to college sweetheart Priscilla Chan, 27. A hoodie was good enough for his pre-IPO meeting with Wall Street investors, but Zuckerberg — either by his own choice or at the insistence of his fiancee — donned a big-boy suit, white shirt and tie to mark the occasion. Yes, some things are sacred.

The wedding announcement was classic Facebook: Zuckerberg simply updated his profile to: “Married Priscilla Chan.” The news had almost 850,000 “likes” Sunday evening.

The couple pulled off the stealth nuptials by inviting 100 guests to what they thought was a surprise party for Chan, who graduated from medical school at the University of California at San Francisco last Monday — which also happened to be Zuckerberg’s birthday. “I’m so proud of you, Dr. Chan :).” he posted during the commencement ceremony.


A hoodie was good enough for meeting s with investors when Zuckerberg hit Wall Street earlier this month. (Scott Eells/Bloomberg )

Details quickly leaked out, although none of the guests were willing to be quoted on the record. The ceremony took place in the backyard of the newlyweds’ Palo Alto, Calif., home. The bride wore a white dress with a lace overlay and received a simple ruby wedding ring designed by Zuckerberg. Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong sang, according to the Mercury News, and dinner came from the couple’s two favorite restaurants, Palo Alto Sol and Fuki Sushi. For dessert, there were Burdick Chocolate “mice” (tiny chocolate truffles in the shape of mice), which they ate during their first date. (Awww.)

What’s most impressive (aside from Zuck’s suit) was that they managed to keep it under wraps. Celebrity weddings usually leak out from a guest or vendor, which makes a secret A-list ceremony like John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette’s so rare. Chan and Zuckerberg used the classic bait-and-switch tactic employed by Julia Roberts for her Fourth of July marriage to Danny Moder in 2004: Invite all your friends for a party, then spring the wedding on them. All your loved ones in attendance, but no advance gossip.

The Chinese-American bride grew up in the Boston suburbs and began dating Zuckerberg when they were students at Harvard. Zuckerberg, scheduled to graduate in 2006, dropped out to run his company; Chan received her undergraduate degree in 2007. She spent a couple years teaching science before entering medical school, where she specialized in pediatrics — and inspired Zuckerberg to promote organ donation on Facebook. (Read more about Priscilla Chan, tech’s newest first lady.)

Although the two have been dating for nine years, Chan was famously not depicted in the 2010 film “The Social Network,” the cinematic account of Facebook’s creation. The movie opens with Zuckerberg’s getting dumped by a girlfriend, which allegedly sparked what would become his social media explosion. The movie included a few random groupies, but no serious love interest — a better dramatic narrative than the real story: Zuckerberg and Chan have been in a serious relationship throughout his spectacular rise to worldwide fame and fortune. (Another reason, ladies, to give those college geeks a shot.)


Zuckerberg rings the opening bell of the Nasdaq stock market on Friday from Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. (Zef Nikolla/AP)

“Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg weds on day after IPO #aweektoremember,” tweeted Steve Case. Daily Show head writer Tim Carvel tweeted: “Congratulations, Mark Zuckerberg! As a gift, I got you the names of all my friends, a list of my favorite movies, and some photos of me!”

And there were plenty of folks who wondered whether the newlyweds had a prenuptial agreement. Reps for Zuckerberg didn’t respond to requests for comment, but anyone worth $19 billion who gets married in a community property state would be an idiot not to have a prenup. Zuckerberg, love him or hate him, is no idiot.

Donald Trump, unaware of the impending wedding, speculated about Zuckerberg’s future on CNBC on Tuesday: “They get married, and then for some reason over the next couple of years they get divorced and then she sues him for $10 billion and she hits the jackpot.” Trump thinks the new Mrs. Zuckerberg should get much less: “I’m notoriously cheap with these things, I think if she made $1 million, that would be very good.”

But it was old-fashioned love, not money, that Zuckerberg’s sisters cared about: Arielle wrote, “Now I’m the only unmarried Zuckerberg. . .”; Randi posted, “This week = :) :) :) :)”


View Photo Gallery: In seven years, the social networking site has grown from a project hatched in a college dorm to the largest social networking site in the world, well on its way to hitting its goal of having 1 billion users.

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