‘My husband and I both wore dresses for our wedding – and I’m so glad we did’
Bride Emma Sparre-Newman walked up the aisle in a dazzling white strapless wedding gown to meet her groom – and saw he was wearing an identical outfit.
But Emma, 51, didn’t bat an eyelid.
Partner Ian Newman, 52, had chosen the dress from the same shop – and even tried it on for her to get the thumbs-up.
Both wore high heels too. The only difference was that Emma’s waist was taken in while Ian’s dress had extra padding.
And his ensemble was set off by a handlebar moustache.
“He looked amazing,” Emma says. “Over the last two years, Ian has dressed almost exclusively in women’s clothing.
“It would actually be odd to see him in jeans and a T-shirt. It’s just not him.
“So when we discussed marriage I expected we’d both wear a dress.
“I hadn’t imagined we’d ever wear the same outfit because we have very different ideas about style.
“But actually I’m really glad we did – otherwise you might end up comparing who wore the nicest one. I think it worked well.”
Punk musician Ian, 52, met Emma at a festival in 2014 but they only got together in 2016. On their first date – afternoon tea – he wore a black leather kilt and fetish boots.
Before their next date at his house Emma says: “He warned me before I arrived that he liked being dressed more fabulously at home.
“I’d already seen him in a lot of velvet and lace jackets so I wasn’t sure what he meant.
“But when he opened the door he was dressed as a woman and introduced himself as Diane. So I shook his hand, gave him a hug and told Diane that he did look fabulous.”
Ian – who is heterosexual – had an inkling of his interest as a child but didn’t crossdress until 2011.
He chose the name Diane as it contains his name Ian so includes both sides of him.
Emma, whose dad was a vicar, was so relaxed that Ian knew she was the one.
She said: “From being young we were used to meeting people from all walks of life who were welcomed in our home regardless of their circumstances.
“It taught me everyone has their own story and you can’t judge a book by its cover. What’s inside counts.
“Clothing is not that important. Ian is a lovely, intelligent and warm person. It just wouldn’t matter to me what he wears.”
The couple, from East Dulwich, South London, hadn’t planned to marry – until they booked a holiday to Las Vegas this year.
Emma said: “I was on the phone to Ian and I asked him if it was worth bringing a nice frock with me.
“He said, ‘Well you haven’t asked me to marry you.’ So I asked him and he said yes.” Emma’s family were thrilled. She said: “They always spoke of my latest dating disasters as I lurched from one unsuitable to another.
“But when they met him everybody knew Ian was right for me. He has very much been welcomed into the family. No one cared how he dressed.”
Emma – a communications manager for an aerial circus skills company – found the perfect dress at alternative boutique Fairy GothMother in Deptford, South London.
But Ian was keen to wear something special too. So a few weeks later they went to the shop together. Emma said: “We had a great time trying on dresses.
“It was actually the manager who suggested Ian try on the dress I’d already chosen.
“She pointed out we were the exact same size and Ian asked if I’d be happy with that. It didn’t bother me at all.
“As soon as he tried it on I knew it was the dress for him.
“I’m not precious – it’s a dress and actually it’s our wedding, not just mine.”
The couple tried to keep the wedding quiet but when family and friends found out they booked flights too. Ian’s daughter Kate, 27, even helped do her dad’s make-up before the ceremony at Las Vegas’s Neon Graveyard – a museum of remarkable historic lights.
After the wedding, a pool party and a barbecue, they spent the night at a boutique hotel. Emma said: “It was a superb day.”
Ian said: “My wedding day was fantastic. I felt utterly wonderful – I imagine as wonderful as any bride does when they get dressed up. You just feel a million dollars.”
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