Cross-Dressing Las Vegas Wedding with the Bride & Groom in the Same Dress!

It’s not often a wedding literally stops me in my tracks but as soon as Emma and Ian’s Las Vegas wedding landed in my inbox I was OBSESSED. Their email read, “Dear Kat, we got married at The Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas on September 21st. The bride is Emma, a funeral director, the groom is Ian, a musician and artist. We had planned a holiday visiting friends in Vegas and thought it was the perfect opportunity for a quiet, intimate ceremony… Oh and the groom is a crossdresser and insisted on having a dress too.”

My mind is blown! How incredible do they both look? How perfect is that location? More importantly how is it fair that Ian rocks those shoes better than most women I know!? I shared a sneak peek on Instagram and you guys clearly agreed with me (because of course you did, you’re all rad AF). I needed to know more about their love story and their wedding immediately.

“We met at the Larmer Tree Festival, a lovely festival on the Dorset/Wiltshire borders, England”, Emma explained, “Ian is one half of The Antipoet, a punk poetry/comedy act that are a regular fixture at the festival. I am part of the arts team for the festival and so was managing the Spoken Word Stage. The first couple of years that we met, Ian was not single and so we shared nothing more than a polite working relationship – in truth, I thought him very attractive and he failed to notice me! Then, in 2016, we were both single and we found that we had a fair bit in common and once Ian realised I was both a funeral director and trapeze artist, he became much more interested!”

As they were already going to Vegas to visit friends, they opted for a ceremony at the famous Neon Boneyard while they were out there. It suited them perfectly as they wanted something fuss-free where they could totally be themselves – and where better for that than Vegas!? “There was no theme for the wedding”, she continued. “Neither of us actually wanted a traditional ‘wedding’, we just wanted to be married and asked people to just be as comfortable as they wanted to be.”

“Our inspiration was keeping it simple. Quite frankly, the thought of picking out stationery and taste testing menus did not appeal. It is about being married to the person you love, not the party. We were planning to visit friends in Las Vegas and the inevitable ‘Ooh, shall we get married whilst we are there?’ question popped up. I asked Ian if it was worth me taking a nice frock and he rejoined with ‘But you haven’t asked me yet’. So I asked him if he would like to marry me, and he said yes. We planned to tell absolutely no-one and to simply have an on the spur of the moment wedding. But Ian wanted to tell his daughter, which meant that it was only right that my family should know and then suddenly people were wanting to come. The thought of organising it, and, on looking online at the various ‘ye olde wedding chapels’, made me feel quite ill and so I decided to concentrate on planning the rest of our holiday instead. I had heard of the Neon Museum and wanted to visit it and on trying to explain it to Ian, I Googled it and up popped a whole load of wedding photos. The rest, as they say, is history…”

But I know what you all want to hear about – their gorgeous matching dresses! They both came from Fairy Gothmother and they both accessorised with bright red killer heels! “Ian is a crossdresser and was initially more enthusiastic about having a wedding dress than me!” Emma laughed. “I was then convinced (read: Forced!) by my friend Amanda to go dress shopping and fell in love with the dress from Fairy Gothmother, an alternative boutique store in South East London, where we were assisted by the seriously cool, Emma (another Emma, clearly meant to be).”

“The next weekend, after ensuring Fairy Gothmother were comfortable with a man trying on dresses, we returned and once he had tried on virtually every dress in the shop (Ian does get a bit over enthusiastic!) We found that the best look and fit on him was the same dress I had already chosen for myself! Ian’s needed some additional padding, and mine needed to be taken in at the waist but we are essentially the same dress size. Trying on wedding dresses was so much fun! I was very ‘anti-wedding’ because of all the prevailing ‘nonsense’ that can go with it, and how so many brides seem to end up stressing about a particular shade of napkin, when, actually it should be a happy experience.”

The rings they chose also had some great significant meaning for them both. “My late mother was Danish, and this heritage is very important to me and her siblings. My mum never met Ian, but the family know that she would have adored him, so having her present was very important. The wedding rings were cast in Danish sand, using Danish gold and silver. My cousins, Claus and Hjørdis, sent over some sand from Hornbæk beach which was then sent to our Cornish jeweller, Justin Duance, to create the rough sand cast rings.”

The most important part of the wedding day itself was their ceremony, conduced by Elegant Vegas Weddings in the museum. They had a non-religious service, with no fixed structure. “The Neon Museum have an agreement of services with Elegant Vegas Weddings, so we didn’t have to trawl through the internet to find a minister. We knew we didn’t want a gimmick, so no Elvis was required (although Elegant Vegas Weddings do have a number of Elvis’ available should you want one). We wanted something simple and personal. We wrote out own vows and exchanged rings, but did not have any other rituals.”

“A nice moment was towards the end of the service, the wedding officiant focused on our mutual connection of top hats – I wear a top hat for work (as a funeral director) and Ian wears one as part of his Antipoet look. She urged us to use ‘top hat’ as a code word for our relationship, as a reference point for what we mean to one another, so on arriving at our suite in the early hours of the morning we were delighted to find the rooms decorated in a steam punk style, complete with images of cats and owls wearing top hats.”

There were a few really funny moments, one involving Emma wearing a moustache to match her groom! “I didn’t tell Ian that I was going to wear a moustache for the final photographs. I primed the photographer, so that he would give me the signal. As luck would have it, Ian choose that moment to go and speak to representatives of the Neon Museum, so he had no idea what was happening. Mu friend whipped the moustache out of her bag, applied the fixative and once the moustache was in place, Ian was called over for the final photos. I remained with my back to him until he was in place. Fortunately, everyone was there to capture the moment he realised what she was wearing. It was so funny!”

“The best thing about planning our wedding was that we were equally involved and genuinely had the same ideas about what we wanted. Ian also loved that we had a chalk board in the kitchen and counted down the days. There wasn’t really and ‘bad’ parts of the planning either. We kept it simple, we knew our own minds, made our decisions nice and early, listened to one another and included each other at every turn. Doing our wedding our way meant there was no stress.”

And, finally, do Emma and Ian have any advice for future brides and grooms? “Do it the way you want it to be”, they concluded. “Don’t feel obliged to follow someone’s else’s idea of what a wedding should be. Don’t get hung up on details that simply don’t matter. Make it personal and make it meaningful. If you wouldn’t invite someone to your house for a meal, why invite them to your wedding? And brides, it is also the groom’s big day too, so let him wear a dress if he wants to!”

Supporting Cast

4 comments

  1. ADELE M BISHOP

    I think it is wonderfull….that you love each other. I WISH YOU BOTH EVERY HAPPINESS AND JOY’S YOUR LIVES TOGETHER BRINGS.
    SOMEHOW I KNOW YOUR BOND TO EACH OTHER,DRESS OR NO DRESS
    THIS WILL BE THE
    Delight of your lives.
    I drink a toast to you both….Enjoy every moment now and forever. You are both
    Beautiful and so are
    your Dresses….Enjoy!

  2. Donna Arnold

    How lovely to see two people get married in the way they want to and simply because they love each other.
    I think you both look amazing, congratulations xx

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