Swipe Right Couple Gets Married On Hawks' Court

Ben McCleskey and Avery Armstrong tied the knot at center court and received a surprise gift from Tinder
Donna Purmell

ATLANTA -- This past Saturday the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena hosted the wedding ceremony of ‘Swipe Right Night’ couple Ben McCleskey and Avery Armstrong, after three years of dating that started at the Hawks’ Tinder Night promotion. A vintage bohemian theme was reflected in the décor and the ivory, lace, long-sleeve gown worn by the bride. The dress provided by David’s Bridal, along with all of the dresses of her attendants, flower girls and the mother of the bride were chosen at a styling session in January.  McCleskey, the general manager of a restaurant, wore a classic navy suit and matte gold sneakers. He and Armstrong, a lacrosse coach, were flanked by 11 groomsmen in matte gold ties with navy slacks and 11 bridesmaids wearing varied hues of gold, mauve, pink and ivory. The more than 250 guests, including Hawks CEO Steve Koonin were seated around the team’s iconic logo at half court.

“We are so thankful for all the Atlanta Hawks have done for us, especially Mr. Koonin, Janet Smith and Catie Scott,” said Mr. & Mrs. McCleskey in their first joint statement. “It’s been an amazing experience and we will cherish it forever.  Our wedding was truly unforgettable.”

The 30-minute ceremony felt very intimate despite taking place in the nearly empty 16,000+ seat arena on a night between two home games.  Members of both the McCleskey and Armstrong parties encircled the bride and groom for a family prayer, that was followed by the couple taking the sacrament of holy communion and exchanging personally written vows, before the guests retreated to the Courtside Club for the reception. 

“From that much-talked about promotion, none of us would have imagined that it would lead to our first wedding on the Hawks’ court,” said Koonin. “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.”

Koonin, who gave the first toast of the reception, offered the couple sage advice based on his own 34-year marriage, then directed guests’ attention to a video message from Rosette Pambakian, Tinder’s Head of Brand, who surprised the couple with an all-inclusive honeymoon getaway.

"We want to congratulate Ben and Avery on their marriage," said Pambakian. "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.” 

GO HERE to view the full gallery of wedding photos.