It's no secret that Serena Williams' net worth is high. So it's hardly a surprise that her wedding to Alexis Ohanian was a luxurious, star-studded affair.
Williams and Ohanian tied the knot Thursday at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. They chose the date to honor the birthday of Ohanian’s late mother, who died nine years ago. Williams told Vogue, which posted exclusive photos of the ceremony, that her now-husband also picked the city for their big day.
“Alexis really wanted to do New Orleans,” she said. “It’s his favorite city besides Brooklyn. It’s got a heavy European influence; it’s fun and has amazing food. He just loves the vibe. The venue—the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans—was a decision we both made. Painting and art is something I’m really passionate about, so it just felt natural and different to do it at a contemporary art museum.”
The couple made the center look like a French ballroom with a golden flower arch and lamé fabric tables. The celebration had a Beauty and the Beast theme, with the stars choosing the movie’s title theme (along with “If I Can’t Have You”) for their first dance.
“The whole fairy-tale idea came to us early on,” wedding planner Jennifer Zabinski said. “Serena’s very girly. She was like, ‘I love Disney, how can we incorporate it in?’ Then Serena and Alexis said, ‘What do you think about a royal ball?’ Serena was like, ‘I just want it to be opulent. I want it to be like a fairy tale.’ ”
Of course, Williams’ dress was just as stunning. She got married in a strapless belted Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen gown with a sheer cape.
“I flew to London to meet with Sarah and ended up falling in love with the ball gown silhouette, which is completely the opposite of what I ever thought I would choose for myself,” Williams added. “I loved the idea of doing a really spectacular ball gown, and it has turned out to be such an incredibly special piece.”
But Williams didn’t stop at one dress. She then switched into a feathery, beaded Versace gown for the reception. Five different embroiders worked a total of 1,500 hours on the dress to make sure it was absolutely perfect.
Williams then changed into a different Versace dress as the evening went along. She also rocked $3.5 million worth of jewelry from XIV Karats.
Ohanian also looked amazing in his Armani suit. Even Williams’ adorable Yorkshire terrier Chip wore a tuxedo as her pal Val Vogt carried him down the aisle.
Her bridesmaids, meanwhile, wore various cream, white or off-white Galia Lahav gowns. And Williams gave her bridal party some freedom to design each of their custom dresses.
“She talked to all of us and just kind of let us have creative control as to what dress fit our personality,” Vogt told Vogue. “And then she approved it, of course.”
After the ceremony, which featured Williams and Ohanian’s personalized vows, the newlyweds took family photos at the center’s Black Box Theatre. From there, "Be Our Guest" played as everyone headed to the reception. The 200 guests each sat at four tables – one representing each of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments.
The guests, including Caroline Wozniacki, Ciara, Cynthia Ervio, Eva Longoria, Kelly Rowland, Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, and, of course, Venus Williams, also received trophy-themed placecards. And the room was lit by chandeliers in gold birdcages.
After a surprise performance from New Edition, the couple and the guests headed to an after-party complete with DJ Mike Wise playing some classic rap tracks. Then Ohanian gave his bride one final, expensive surprise – a lit-up white carousel.
"Anytime he had been told that something wasn't possible—whether it be in his personal life or business life—he tried to make it possible and so this was a surprise to Serena," Brides Executive Director Lisa Gooder told E! News.
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