Ariana Austin, 33, married 35-year-old lawyer Joel Makonnen, a great-grandson of Haile Selassie I, the last emperor of Ethiopia, on September 9 in Maryland.
Makonnen told the New York Times that he hit on his future bride and her friend using a cheesy pick-up line.
Makonnen says he immediately knew he wanted to date Austin.
While Makonnen didn’t immediately tell Austin about his family, the truth about his heritage came out as they started to seriously date and it’s something that fascinates Austin.
‘It’s unbeatable heritage and history,’ Austin said. ‘It combines sheer black power and ancient Christian tradition.’
The bride and groom both wore crowns and capes in the ceremony, making them look like the true royals they are. While Austin may not have royal blood in her background, she does come from an African American/Guyanese family with rich histories abroad. Her maternal grandfather was lord mayor of Georgetown, the capital of Guyana.
Hours before the ceremony, they hosted a formal reception at Foxchase Manor in Manassas, Virginia where their 307 guests dined on platters of Ethiopian food and pre-boxed slices of Guyanese black cake.
Makonnen, or Prince Yoel as he is officially known, is related to the last emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie I, through his second son, Prince Makonnen.
Makonnen’s father, Prince David, was studying abroad at the time, and was thus able to escape imprisonment.