Featured Wedding: Alexis Ohanian & Serena Williams

Written by . Posted in Featured Weddings

About a month ago, we had the honor of meeting Alexis Ohanian, Sr. at a tech event in Los Angeles. We were thrilled when he agreed to share his and Serena Williams’ wedding with Harsanik and took the time to answer our questions!

In case you're not familiar with Alexis, he's one of the most famous Armenian technology executives. Having co-founded Reddit, he established himself as a serial entrepreneur and then went on to launch Initialized Capital, a venture capital firm based in San Francisco. You can find 16 Facts About Alexis Ohanian on our blog. The founders of Harsanik have been following Alexis' career for more than a decade, and we are thrilled to have such a successful Armenian in tech that serves as a role model. And of course, tennis queen Serena Williams needs no introduction.

On December 29, 2016 Alexis Ohanian, Sr. got engaged to Serena Williams. Alexis and Serena tied the knot on November 16, 2017 at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. We are elated to feature Alexis Ohanian, Sr. and Serena Williams' wedding on Harsanik!

Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian Wedding

Photo by Mel Barlow & Allan Zepeda

When we asked Alexis why the couple chose to get married in New Orleans, Alexis responded:

"I insisted. It's such a great place for a wedding -- a city full of cultures, creativity, life, fun, dancing, great food, and resilience -- all things we want for our marriage."

And of course, Alexis and Serena made sure to incorporate culture, creativity, fun, and great food into their wedding day.

The main question on our mind was whether Alexis and Serena chose to incorporate any Armenian culture into their wedding. Alexis Ohanian, Sr. is half Armenian (his father is Chris Ohanian) and he has publicly promoted his Armenian heritage, including his four month visit to Armenia and his strong support for open recognition of the Armenian Genocide . So you can imagine how excited we were when Alexis told us he had khorovats at his wedding!

"We love great food (typical Armenian) so we had various stations with chefs preparing food from our story together -- an Armenian table full of lamb chops, khorovats, boyrek, lavash and some mezze like hummus (I lived off hummus as a broke college grad)."

Photo Source: LA Times article "The story behind Raffi's Place..." 

We spoke with Alexis about his love of Armenian food, and when we suggested Raffi's Place as the best place in Los Angeles to get kabob, we were pleasantly surprised with Alexis' response:

"I love Raffi's! I know it well."

As for the creativity and fun elements of the wedding, Alexis "surprised" Serena with a beautiful white carousel that he'd kept hidden behind a curtain. They unveiled the carousel at 1:30am and all the guests got to enjoy a ride.

Photo by Mel Barlow & Allan Zepeda

Of course if you are an Alexis Ohanian, Sr. or Serena Williams fan, you probably have already seen many of the photos from their gorgeous Beauty and the Beast themed wedding. Like most weddings, everything looks flawless in the pictures. But we all know there's always one or two small things that go wrong at every wedding that no one notices except for the bride and groom. So we asked Alexis if anything went wrong last minute behind the scenes that he or his wedding planners had to resolve.

"All my wedding surprises for her got leaked to the press, even the carousel we snuck in against all odds, but thankfully she didn't see that and still was thoroughly surprised. Our team (JZ Events) did a really great job with handling it all."

Photo by Mel Barlow & Allan Zepeda

Here are a few fun facts about their big day!

Their Adorable Daughter

Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. was 2 months old at her parent's wedding and she wore a cute white dress paired with knit booties. Alexis, Jr. made her grand entrance in the arms of her grandmother.

Photo by Mel Barlow & Allan Zepeda

Wedding Dress

Serena looked incredible in her Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen ball gown. She used the same designer who created Kate Middleton's gown for the Royal Wedding.

Photo by Bob Metelus & Erica Rodriguez

Change of Outfit

Serena changed twice throughout the night, both times into a short Versace dress, paired perfectly with sparkly sneakers.

Star-Studded Event

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Beyoncé, Kelly Rowland from Destiny's Child, Ciara, and Eva Longoria helped celebrate the couple's big day.

Photo by Mel Barlow & Allan Zepeda

Photo by Mel Barlow & Allan Zepeda

Olympian Bridesmaid

Venus Williams, Serena Williams' older sister, was one of the bridesmaids.

Photo by Mel Barlow & Allan Zepeda

Wedding Date

Alexis and Serena chose to get married on Thursday, November 16 because the wedding date is meaningful for the couple. That date is Alexis' mother's birthday, who passed away in 2008.

Beauty and the Beast Theme

The couple incorporated chandeliers in gold birdcages and trophy style place cards to bring the theme to life.

Personalized Table Numbers

The table numbers were named after Serena's wins.

Photo by Mel Barlow & Allan Zepeda

First Dance

The couple danced to a mashup of "Tale as Old as Time" (track from Disney's Beauty and the Beast) and "If I Can't Have You".

Photo by Mel Barlow & Allan Zepeda

Personalized Vows

The couple wrote their own vows. Here is a portion of Alexis' vows to Serena:

"You are my Queen and we already have our Princess. You are the greatest of all time, not just in sport. I’m talking about as a mother, and as a wife. I am so excited to write so many more chapters of our fairy tale together. And my whole life I didn’t even realize it, but I was waiting for this moment. And everything that I have done, everything that I am so proud of in my career, and in my life, for the last 34 years, pales in comparison to what we’re doing today. And I am so grateful, and I am so in love.”

Photo by Mel Barlow & Allan Zepeda

As if intelligence, success, and humility aren't enough, Alexis is a hopeless romantic. Not only did he plan the proposal of a lifetime by having a carriage pick up Serena and take her to Rome, where the couple first met, he recently created 4 billboards for Greatest Mother of All Time (G.M.O.A.T) to welcome Serena Williams back to tennis!

 

Congratulations to Alexis Ohanian, Sr. and Serena Williams! We wish you a lifetime of love, laughter and happiness.

And Alexis, special thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to support an Armenian business and sharing your story with Harsanik users & followers!

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Tags: alexis ohanian , armenian , armenian food , bride , bridesmaid , catering , celebrity , destination , entertainment , kardashian , multicultural , surprise , theme , wedding day , wedding dress

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