Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian’s wedding was nothing short of a fairy tale. The décor was inspired by the quite befittingly classic Beauty and the Beast. Both hail from very contrasting backgrounds; Serena, in case you live under a rock, is an ace tennis player who has single handedly broken all records. She defeated her elder sister at the 7th Australian Open, while being eight weeks pregnant. On the other hand, Alexis is the founder of Reddit, our daily source of stimulating and thought provoking content – memes.
Photo Source: Vogue
They met in the most classic settings of all times; it was just like the movie Casablanca – “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.” Except it was Alexis who walked into Serena’s breakfast buffet. They met at Cavalieri Hotel during breakfast, where she was staying for her Italian Open and he was speaking at a conference. A small prank by a friend and a little joke by Alexis soon had Serena cracking up and inviting him to sit with her group. At that point, both were oblivious to each other’s careers – Alexis was not a big tennis fan and wasn’t aware of who had just invited him to join their breakfast table. As the conversation flowed, he got himself invited to one of her matches, where he had a notorious moment when he captured her making a tennis faux pas.
Photo Source: Instagram
One thing led to another and Alexis was invited to the French Open in June 2015, where they went on their first official date, which was nothing fancy – just a stroll around the most romantic city.
Almost a year and a half after this incident, Serena found herself back at the very same table in Rome where she first met Alexis. He had arranged the very same table where they met, decorated it with flowers and even placed a small rat for his proposal.
Photo Source: Instagram
They announced their engagement on Reddit where Serena wrote a poem and Alexis made a sketch.
“I came home/A little late/Someone had a bag packed for me/And a carriage awaited/Destination: Rome/To escort me to my very own “charming”/Back to where our stars first collided/And now it was full circle/At the same table we first met by chance/This time he made it not by chance/But by choice/Down on one knee/He said 4 words/And/r/isaidyes.”
Photo Source: Reddit
In January 2017, Serena had an unexpected pregnancy but that did not hold her from winning the Australian Open, thus inspiring women around the world. In September 2017, she delivered a beautiful baby girl Alexis Olympia Ohanian.
Serena’s friends threw her a ‘50s inspired baby shower.
Photo Source: Instagram
The Wedding Planning
Serena and Alexis were quite clear about what they wanted to do for their wedding. Finalizing the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans was an easy decision as Alexis loved the vibe of New Orleans and art and paintings is something Serena was passionate about.
The next step was to narrow down the date, which was an easy choice as well. November 16th was Alexis’s late mother’s birthday and in a gesture to remember her, they decided it would be the perfect date.
The next order of affairs was to pick an event coordinator. Jennifer Zabinski of JZ Events was an easy choice to make because of her fresh and new approach. Instead of discussing the wedding details right away, they spent time bonding over their mutual love for dogs and getting to know each other.
The crucial part of any wedding planning for the bride is the wedding dress. Serena flew down to London to meet designer Sarah Burton of the label Alexander McQueen. She also had a pair of bejeweled after-party Nikes ready.
The groom chose a sober attire – a black Armani suit.
The Wedding Day
Finally the Big Day was here. The venue was gleaming with Beauty and the Beast inspired décor. Yellow gold floral arch adorned the altar, long tables covered in lamé fabric set the exuberant ballroom tone, and the guests were seated on sofas facing the aisle to give the whole setting a non-traditional touch.
The wedding party saw Venus Williams walk down the aisle in a custom Galia Lahav dress.
Following her, was the happy couple’s daughter Baby Olympia in her Godmother Oracene Price’s arm. Oracene wore a custom Galia Lahav and Baby Olympia wore a custom Jesus & Antonio Estrada.
They were followed by Serena’s best friend, Val Vogt, also in her custom-made Galia Lahav dress holding Serena’s dog, Chip, who was dressed to the occasion.
All heads turned as Serena walked in a scintillating strapless ball gown with a cape, with a belted waistline customized by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen . She completed her look with opulent jewelry by XIV Karats, worth $3.5 million in total and carried a bouquet of fresh white roses.
After the couple exchanged their vows, they shared their first kiss as man and wife. They moved onto the Arts Center’s Black Box Theatre for family photos, while guests enjoyed their cocktails.
The party continued as the guests were escorted in to enjoy an around-the-world-themed dinner catered by Creative Edge Parties, while the band played in the background. The dinner had everything from steak to Italian, befitting the theme. The seating arrangement was around four long tables covered in black, named after Serena’s Grand Slam wins. The guests found their way using small trophy place cards, while the newly weds sat on gold thrones. The entire look was conceptualized and executed by Preston Bailey.
The newly weds Mrs. and Mr. Ohanian entered the party with Serena wearing her second outfit of the night – a feathered Versace dress with intricate bead work that took a total of 1,500 man-hours.
She changed into another Versace short dress for her first dance. The couple danced to “Tale as Old as Time” from Beauty and the Beast that transitioned into “If I can’t have you.”
The frolic continued well into the night as Preston’s team converted one of the halls of the museum into a chic lounge for the after party. DJ Mike Wise played old school 90’s rap to set the mood.
And then a dramatic curtain drop revealed the biggest surprise for the night. A carousel. That’s right. A glittering bright carousel. Alexis, personally and professionally, is very determined and cannot take no for an answer. He made this close to impossible surprise come true like it was no big deal.
The couple danced the night away and the guests couldn’t help but be in awe of this beautiful union.
Photographer: Bob Metelus Studio, Mel Barlow and Co, Allan Zepeda Photography
Make-up Artist: Natasha Gross
Hair Stylist: Angela Meadows Salon
Wedding Planner: Jennifer Zabinski Events
Wedding Designer: Preston Bailey Entertainment & Set Design, Inc.
Artists: Elan Artists, DJ Trauma, DJ Mike Wise
Caterer: Creative Edge Parties
Wedding cake: Lulu Cake Boutique
Wedding Invitations Designer: Alpine Creative Group
Submitted by: Vandna Lilaramani