NERVELESS as she powered her way to seven Wimbledon singles titles, Serena Williams could be forgiven for feeling a little excitable.
For I can reveal that the 36-year-old champion is to marry Alexis Ohanian, 34, multi-millionaire co-founder of social news website Reddit, on Thursday— just 11 weeks after giving birth to their daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
The wedding is being held amid such secrecy that the guests have been informed only of the city where it will be held but not yet the venue.
However an insider tells me the couple, who met in 2015, will tie the knot in front of some of America’s biggest names at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, including Beyoncé, Jay Z and Kris Jenner.
Guests will not learn the details until Thursday morning.
Serena Williams and her Reddit co-founder fiance Alexis Ohanian will be married on Thursday in New Orleans in front of an A-lister crowd. They are seen here in the Louisiana city last month
The new parents, who welcomed daughter Alexis Olympia Jr on September 1, will tie the knot in front of their 250 guests at the Contemporary Arts Center (pictured)
Attendees will be banned from using their cell phones because Williams signed an exclusive deal with Vogue editor Anna Wintour to run the photos
An insider told DailyMail.com: ‘Serena and Alexis have spared no expense on their dream wedding.’
The event is said to be costing more than $1 million to stage and is being organized by celebrity wedding planner Preston Bailey.
Among the guests could be Prince Harry’s girlfriend, Meghan Markle. The American actress, who finishes shooting legal drama Suits this week for the final time, has been a friend of Serena’s since 2014 and gushed earlier this year: ‘We are both the same age, have a penchant for hot sauces, and adore fashion, but what connects us more than those things is perhaps our belief in exceeding expectations – our endless ambition.’
The star-studded wedding guest list includes Desperate Housewives actress Eva Longoria and the pop singers Kelly Rowland and Ciara.
The source says: ‘They have hired the best of the best and can’t wait to get married in The Big Easy. It’s a special city for Serena and somewhere she has always loved.
‘Serena and Alexis chose the Contemporary Arts Center because of its incredible architecture and history. They have instructed Preston to fill the hall with thousands of dollars worth of crystals and flowers. The hall will be totally transformed.’
The couple are said to be bringing a nanny along to the wedding to take care of their baby. ‘Alexis will have a babysitter on hand just for her the entire night,’ the source says. ‘Both parents wouldn’t dream of not having her there. She will be a part of the wedding as much as possible for an 11-week-old. They are totally and utterly besotted with her’
Serena looked flawless and wedding dress ready on Monday night in New York, above, at her first red carpet since giving birth
Williams and Ohanian planned their $1m celebration with such secrecy that even their A-lister guests won’t know the exact location until Thursday morning
Guests will be banned from taking mobile telephones or other electronic devices to the ceremony because Serena has signed an exclusive deal with her British friend Dame Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, for the glossy magazine to run photographs.
The couple are said to be bringing a nanny along to the wedding to take care of their baby.
‘Alexis will have a babysitter on hand just for her the entire night,’ the source says. ‘Both parents wouldn’t dream of not having her there. She will be a part of the wedding as much as possible for an 11-week-old. They are totally and utterly besotted with her.’
Approximately 250 people are expected to watch the couple get married and extra security has been brought in to keep any nosey onlookers out.
Last month it was announced that Serena, who has won 23 Grand Slam events in her illustrious career, would make her competitive comeback in January to defend her title at the Australian Open, the same tournament in which she beat sister, Venus, in the final while pregnant.
A source said: ‘Serena and Alexis chose the Contemporary Arts Center because of its incredible architecture and history. They have instructed Preston to fill the hall with thousands of dollars worth of crystals and flowers. The hall will be totally transformed’
DailyMail.com broke the story that the couple was in New Orleans in mid-October searching for a wedding venue with their planner – seen here boarding their private jet afterwards
She said: ‘I used to think I’d want to retire when I have kids, but no. I’m definitely coming back. If anything, this pregnancy has given me a new power.’
Ohanian proposed to the Olympic gold medalist, whose fortune is valued at £122 million, last December on a surprise trip to Rome. She announced their engagement with a poem on his website.
It read: ‘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 four words, And I said yes.’ She had previously never commented publicly on their relationship.
Serena had been linked to Bulgarian tennis player Grigor Dimitrov, but the couple split up after a brief relationship. Dimitrov, who is 25, went on to date Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova, 30.
Ohanian proposed to the Olympic gold medalist last December on a surprise trip to Rome. She announced their engagement with a poem on his website
By Sebastian Shakespeare for the Daily Mail