Second best day of his life? Mark Zuckerberg surprises friends with secret wedding

Fresh from making $20bn in US flotation, Facebook founder marries his long-term girlfriend

They will surely rank among Facebook's most envy-inducing updates, and they came from the website's founder himself. On Friday, Mark Zuckerberg, also the social network's chief executive, posted "Mark listed FB on Nasdaq".

The public offering of the company started in his Harvard University dormitory eight years ago, netted him $20bn (£12.5bn) personally – making him about the 23rd richest man and valuing the company at $104bn.

Barely a day later, to the surprise of his 14 million Facebook followers and elevating the term "status update" even further, Mr Zuckerberg added another life event: "Married Priscilla Chan."

The couple, who met at Harvard, tied the knot in their backyard in Palo Alto, California, in front of fewer than 100 guests, who thought they were there to celebrate Ms Chan's graduation. The pair had in fact planned the wedding for four months. The 28-year-old – who somewhat ironically guards his privacy closely – naturally chose to announce the nuptials through a status update, which, to the groom's delight, immediately got people talking on Facebook.

Mr Zuckerberg's sister, Arielle Zuckerberg, posted: "Balls. Now I'm the only unmarried Zuckerberg..." and last night close to 800,000 people had "liked" Mr Zuckerberg's status change, which was accompanied by a photo in which the famously casual Mr Zuckerberg ditched his hoodie for a navy suit and tie.

The menu included sushi from the couple's favourite restaurant and mouse-shaped chocolates – a nod to a snack the pair ate on their first date nine years ago. A Facebook spokeswoman said Mr Zuckerberg designed Ms Chan's ring, featuring a simple ruby. The marriage crowned a monumental week for Ivy League school dropout Mr Zuckerberg, and Ms Chan, who last Monday graduated from medical school at the University of California, San Francisco.

Mr Zuckerberg, whose shares are worth nearly $20bn and who retains voting control of Facebook, marked the debut of his company's stock at Facebook's Silicon Valley campus on Friday, symbolically ringing the opening bell for stock trading.

The Nasdaq listing did not go as well as the company hoped, with shares closing marginally above the offering price of $38 a share after trading glitches. Despite that, more than 576m shares changed hands, setting a trading volume record for US market debuts. Facebook, which has more than 900 million users worldwide, posted $3.7bn in revenue in 2011 and $1bn in profit.

Today promises to be a quieter day for Mr Zuckerberg, who, as a married man, begins the first week of having his authority challenged – outside the boardroom at least. As one well-wisher pointed out: "Now meet the real boss."

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