All eyes were understandably on the bride at Saturday’s royal wedding, but as the British royal family
uncomfortably shifted in their seats welcomed Meghan Markle into its fold, our gaze inevitably kept coming to rest on tennis phenom Serena Williams, who wowed royal-watchers by wearing blush-colored Versace to watch Markle become the duchess of Sussex.
But we daresay the GOAT (fight me) might’ve been the one who continually fueled our royal-watching fever, as she kept us updated throughout the day on Instagram, posting pics of not only her before-and-after glow up, but also her day-to-night transformation.
Rocking cornrows that cascaded into midthigh-length twists, Williams joined mother of the bride Doria Ragland in redefining elegantly appropriate wedding attire, accenting her look with the traditional matching fascinator. We even got an up-to-date peek at adorable little Olympia, who didn’t attend the service but accompanied her parents to the U.K. for the big day and saw them off before the ceremony.
But Williams proved she had a second slay under her belt when she donned a summery and graphic floor-length Valentino for the evening reception, blessing us with a few golden-hour IG shots before heading off to celebrate with the newlyweds.
Williams, who celebrated her own marriage a mere six months ago, looked stunning with husband Alexis Ohanian (who cleans up pretty nice—or maybe that’s the Serena effect). Williams may have also been an empathetic ear for the bride, since she recently revealed on her HBO series, Being Serena, that she experienced similar, little last-minute wedding drama when her father, Richard Williams, pulled out of walking her down the aisle just hours before the ceremony because of anxiety.
Williams also likely knows a bit about wedding-day comfort. It’s a long day, and the physical fatigue can seriously hinder the enjoyment of both the bride and guests. In addition to the convenient pockets sewn into her full skirt, Williams let us in on another secret: She wore sneakers—also Valentino—under her ball gown.
It’s exactly the kind of pro tip we’d expect from the greatest athlete of our era (again: Fight me), and we genuinely hope she had a phenomenal time celebrating her friend’s fairy-tale-worthy glow up.
There were a couple of other major fashion moments at the royal wedding. For instance, one of our favorite brown-skinned beauties, Quantico’s Priyanka Chopra, stunned during the day in Anglo-esque style, pairing a custom lilac Vivienne Westwood suit with a hat by famed milliner Philip Treacy and jeweled Jimmy Choo heels.
For evening, Chopra made a fairy-tale transformation of her own, dazzling in a glittering gown by Dior.
But perhaps one of our favorite style stories of the day came courtesy of Chopra and Markle’s friend actress Janina Gavankar, who also had perhaps our favorite look of the day, clad in a draped persimmon-colored day dress with deeply fringed capelet, paired with a matching velvet cloak and ridiculously chic black straw hat.
As it turns out, Gavankar’s style win started as a loss when her stylist, Niki Schwan, couldn’t find a major designer willing to dress her for the royal wedding (we have questions, but ... OK). The solution? Famed costume house Western Costume Co. opened the doors of its vintage archive, allowing Gavankar and her stylist to choose the 1930s-era dress and ’40s hat.
As Gavankar noted in her Instagram caption, it’s perhaps a little “strange to be talking fashion” in light of such a powerful history-making event. But like the marriage of the new Duke and Duchess of Sussex, hers is the type of glow up that perhaps most epitomizes the event itself: turning the unexpected into something incredible.