Just when you wonder if you're ever going to meet someone, you hear about another couple who met on Tinder and got married. That’s exactly what happened with Avery Armstrong and Ben McCleskey. This past Saturday, March 3, the two got married at Philips Arena, and the Atlanta Hawks hosted the “Swipe Right” wedding ceremony. Armstrong and McCleskey actually met through the Hawks, in a way, at the Hawks’ very first “Swipe Right Night” back in 2015, where fans could “swipe right” on other fans by using Tinder. Genius, right? And, from the start, you two already have something in common.
At that event, McCleskey and Armstrong both swiped right and started dating. According to the New York Daily News, a year later, at the second “Swipe Right Night,” Hawks CEO Steve Koonin offered to pay for their wedding if they were to get married. Cut to March 3, 2018, when that promise became reality. And now, Tinder is paying for the couple’s honeymoon. So, swiping right can definitely pay off, so to speak.
At the wedding reception, a video message from Rosette Pambakian, Tinder’s Head of Brand, was played for the new couple, Mr. and Mrs. McCleskey. “We want to congratulate Ben and Avery on their marriage,” said Pambakian in the video, according to a press release announcing the wedding. “We couldn’t be more thrilled that our ‘Swipe Right Night’ with the Hawks led to such an amazing story and a life-changing match — and we are excited to send them on their honeymoon.” Best gift ever!
As for the wedding ceremony itself, it took place in the nearly empty 16,000+ seat arena on a night the Hawks were not playing — they were between home games. Armstrong and McCleskey were surrounded by more than 250 guests, including Koonin, of course, and they were all seated around the team’s logo at half court. Can you imagine getting married there? A-maz-ing.
The bridal party consisted of 11 groomsmen and 11 bridesmaids. Armstrong’s dress was provided by David’s Bridal, as were the dresses of her attendants, flower girls, and mother, and they were chosen at a styling session back in January. As for the groom, McCleskey wore a navy suit and matte gold sneakers.
“From that much-talked about promotion, none of us would have imagined that it would lead to our first wedding on the Hawks’ court,” Koonin said. “We all know that sports can unite people like few things can, and we are happy to consider Avery and Ben Hawks fans and family for life.”
The couple had written their own vows, and, after the wedding ceremony, everyone headed to the Courtside Club for the reception. There, Koonin gave the first toast (pictured above), as well as marriage advice based on his 34-year marriage.
Personally, I would have loved to hear Koonin’s speech. After all, people who have been married for decades have the whole being-married thing down. While some believe eating dinner together as often as possible is key to staying connected, others advise couples to keep courting each other and to never go to bed angry. “Old-fashioned marriage advice is, at its core, advice for how to be with a person intimately for a long period of time,” clinical psychologist and The Web Radio Show host Dr. Joshua Klapow tells Bustle. “Time marches on, technology evolves, the science of relationships becomes refined, but at the center are practices that have worked literally forever.”
Overall, Armstrong and McCleskey seemed grateful.
“We are so thankful for all the Atlanta Hawks have done for us, especially Mr. Koonin, Janet Smith, and Catie Scott,” said the newlyweds in their first joint statement. “It’s been an amazing experience and we will cherish it forever. Our wedding was truly unforgettable.” I can imagine, and it serves as a good reminder to marriage-minded Tinder users to keep swiping right, because you never know when a right swipe can turn into meeting your future spouse. So, congratulations to Armstrong and McCleskey!