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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Status update: Married! Mark Zuckerberg ties the knot in secret ceremony a day after $104billion IPO (and they announced it on Facebook)

Guests were told party was meant to celebrate Chan's graduation
Comes just one day after Facebook went public in mammoth IPO

By Hugo Gye

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg updated his status to 'married' on Saturday afternoon.

Mr Zuckerberg and 27-year-old Priscilla Chan tied the knot at a small ceremony at his home in Palo Alto, California, capping a busy week for the couple.

And the pair announced their marriage in an unsurprising way - by posting a message on Facebook.

Wed: Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan have married in a surprise ceremony in Palo Alto

The tech mogul took his company public in one of the most anticipated stock offerings in Wall Street history on Friday, which saw the social network valued at $104billion.

And Ms Chan graduated from medical school at the University of California, San Francisco, on Monday, the same day Mr Zuckerberg turned 28.

The couple met at Harvard and have been together for more than nine years.

A source at the wedding said Mr Zuckerberg designed the ring featuring 'a very simple ruby'.

Status update: Mr Zuckerberg announced the news on his own personal Facebook page

Married: The couple have been together for nine years, but did not reveal their engagement

The ceremony took place in Mr Zuckerberg's backyard before fewer than 100 guests, including Facebook's chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

The guests all thought they were coming to celebrate Ms Chan's graduation but were told after they arrived that the event was in fact a wedding.

'Everybody was shocked,' the source said.

Rather than his trademark hoodie, Mr Zuckerberg wore a suit for the ceremony, while his bride wore a traditional wedding dress.

Food was served family-style and included dishes from the couple's favorite Palo Alto sushi restaurant.

Couple: Ms Chan and Mr Zuckerberg met when they studied at Harvard and have been together ever since

Guests: Those invited thought they were attending a party to celebrate Ms Chan's graduation

Arrival: Guests were pictured turning up at the Palo Alto home on Saturday afternoon

The two had been planning the marriage for months but were waiting until Ms Chan had graduated to hold the wedding, according to the source.

The timing was not tied to the IPO, he added, since the date the company planned to go public was a 'moving target'.

Despite his strong advocacy of online openness and sharing, and scant regard for web users' desire for privacy, Mr Zuckerberg has long been secretive about his own personal life.

It was not even widely known that the Facebook founder was engaged to Ms Chan, despite the length of their relationship.

Even after Friday's IPO, Mr Zuckerberg remains Facebook's single largest shareholder, with 503.6million shares.

And he controls the company with 56 per cent of its voting stock.

Private: Mr Zuckerberg is known to be secretive about his personal life despite running a social network

Drinks: The Facebook founder ordered large amounts of alcohol in anticipation of the party

The site, which was born in a dorm room eight years ago, has grown into a worldwide network of almost a billion people.

Mr Zuckerberg founded Facebook at Harvard in 2004, in a saga which would later become the basis for Oscar-winning film The Social Network.

He was named as Time's Person of the Year in 2010, aged just 26.

Mr Zuckerberg grew up in Dobbs Ferry, New York.

Flotation: Mr Zuckerberg opened trading on the Nasdaq on Friday, the day of Facebook's IPO

Despite the hype over Friday's initial public offering, the share price fell flat by closing bell, finishing at only 23 cents more than its expected opening price.

Millions of new investors will be wary come next week amid fears as the IPO failed to match expectations.

However, the slightly underwhelming impact of the big day will do little to dent Mr Zuckerberg's mood, considering that he is believed to have landed nearly $20billion from the deal.

He is not alone in striking it rich from the IPO - other Facebook investors to profit include co-founder Eduardo Saverin and U2 frontman Bono.



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