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The childhood soundtrack of Emily Margaret Shakeshaft became a means of comfort and grounding as she got older. One of the songs on this soundtrack that her mother curated was “Babyfather” by Grammy-winning singer Sade. As fate would have it, Sade’s son Izaak Theo Adu-Watts sang on this track and on April 16 Mrs. Shakeshaft married Mr. Adu-Watts.
It’s no wonder that Ms. Shakeshaft feels like coming home with Mr. Adu-Watts.
The couple first met on Instagram in May 2019. Ms. Shakeshaft started following Mr. Adu-Watts on the app in 2014. “Just out of curiosity about his journey as a transgender man,” said Ms. Shakeshaft. In 2019 she wrote him a message.
“I didn’t know anyone transgender and I haven’t seen anyone go through that process,” Ms. Shakeshaft said. “I come from a very conservative area and have attended conservative schools and it has never really been spoken of positively.” When she saw him go through the process, she realized that people had no reason to judge it.
“I originally wrote to him to congratulate him,” she said. “I was so proud that he fought so hard to get where he is now. I consider myself a straight woman, so the heterosexual community also needs to understand that as a transsexual you are gender and not something special. “
Mr Adu-Watts replied to her message minutes later. “The back and forth between FaceTime and messaging lasted until November 13, 2019, when Mr. Adu-Watts finally flew from England to Fresno, California so the two could meet in person. “He moved in immediately and we’ve been together ever since,” said Ms. Shakeshaft.
Ms. Shakeshaft, 24, is a Fresno hairdresser and artist. Mr. Adu-Watts, 24, is a model and artist from London. You currently reside in Fresno. “But we travel overseas quite often to visit our extended families,” said Ms. Shakeshaft. “His parents and family, as well as my father and family, are all overseas.” (Her father, Eric Shakeshaft, lives in Lithuania. The groom’s mother and partner, Ian Watts, live in England. Mr Adu-Watts changed his last name to reflect the role that Mr Watts, who he believes is his father, was his Life.)
Your trajectory may sound impulsive. But when Ms. Shakeshaft met Mr. Adu-Watts online, she knew she wanted him to be in her life. “Still, I never thought we’d get married because it all seemed so far-fetched,” she said. “But when Izaak flew to the States to essentially acknowledge his commitment and love, I was thrilled.”
“I knew I wanted to marry this person when I saw how seamlessly he fits into my family and how easily he becomes part of my life,” she continued. “It was like he’d always been a part of my life, especially through his mother’s music. When he came into my life, it was like my heart was finally full and complete. Everything about him is familiar and easy to me. “
The couple got engaged in May 2020. Ms. Shakeshaft and Mr. Adu-Watts were listening to music and looking at some vintage books as they discussed a conversation Mr. Adu-Watts had had with his parents the day before.
“He had talked to them about being pretty sure he wanted to marry me and wanted their thoughts,” said Ms. Shakeshaft. “You have been very supportive of us.” After discussing the conversation, the two said they felt they were already engaged.
“So we threw out our Stick and Poke Tattoo Kit and I got her initials tattooed on my ring finger and unfortunately we were engaged,” he said.
Helen Folasade Adu, known to the world as Sade, saw in Emily a kindred spirit for her son. “She’s an independent thinker, she’s fun and beautiful,” said Sade. “Since I got to know her and a little bit of her story, I can see that she has had a great life until now, just like Izaak and not always easy. What I love most about her is her empathy. There is no formula when it comes to the heart. It is mostly impossible to explain. I think Izaak and Emily had to collide like two sea birds in the wind. “
The pandemic has broken the couple’s wedding plans. “It was all rainbows and unicorns and then hit Covid,” said Hannah Chapman-Serimian, Ms. Shakeshaft’s mother. They hoped to escape in New York on November 13, 2020, a year until the day they met in person. But Mr Adu-Watts was working in England at the time and was unable to travel to the US due to Covid’s travel ban.
“So I spent July through December 2020 going to England to be with Izaak,” said Ms. Shakeshaft. “At the end of January 2021, he was finally able to return to the country due to a medical waiver.” It was quite an experience his partner was stuck in another country in the middle of a pandemic, Ms. Shakeshaft said. “But we did it. And although Covid is annoying and really diverting our plans, I am grateful for the growing pain. “
The couple chose Hawaii for their wedding and what the couple called “the least traditional ceremony ever”.
“We decided to get married as soon as possible for so many reasons, but mostly because we are so ready for this step and also for travel and documentation purposes so that he or I will never be stuck in another country and each other separate against our will, “said Dr. Shakeshaft said.
They chose the Fairmont Orchid in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii because, as Ms. Shakeshaft said, she has many wonderful memories of being in Kona with her family. “We have never been to the hotel but have been to the condos nearby and I wanted to create memories and share magic with Izaak as the new family unit there,” Ms. Shakeshaft said.
Neither family had problems with their choice. Sade said, “I think it’s nice that it turned out that only the two were chaired by Hannah, Emily’s mother, and made their promises to each other. They plan to bring us all together in the future if they are brave enough. “
The couple say their wedding day in Hawaii felt like it was beyond the world. “The whole day felt like a dream,” said the groom. “Sincerely, it was like making a movie.”
The couple flew to Hawaii a few days before their wedding and stayed there for two weeks. There was little planned advance – not even the exact location or clothing of the couple was determined. “I’m a last-minute person,” said Adu-Watts, “I trust things will work out.” In the end everything worked out.
Ms. Shakeshaft couldn’t change the dress she wanted to wear. Instead, she wore a blue vintage dress that she picked from her mother’s closet the day before leaving for Hawaii. She put flowers in her hair that came from around the resort. Mr Adu-Watts found a shirt the day before their trip that he could wear in a thrift store that happened to match Ms. Shakeshaft’s dress.
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The couple met their photographers on the afternoon of their wedding in the Fairmont lobby and wandered the area. They ended up in a small bay near the resort that was rarely visited by other guests. “It was beautiful. Magical,” said Ms. Shakeshaft. “We stood in the water and it took us a minute to orient ourselves.” They decided to do the ceremony in the water.
“We literally stood in the sand and the ocean in the room on earth Emily lived all of her life,” said Ms. Chapman-Serimian, the founder of Boxy Girl, which sells acrylic organizers and skin care products. She was wearing a second-hand dress that was found the same day Mr. Adu-Watts found his wedding clothes.
Before the wedding, Ms. Chapman-Serimian reached out to family members and collected congratulations that she read at the ceremony. “I knew I was going to feel somehow,” said Ms. Shakeshaft, “but I didn’t expect to be this emotional.”
Ms. Chapman-Serimian, who was ordained for the event by American Marriage Ministries, said she was both honored and surprised that the couple asked her to perform the ceremony. “Izaak came up to me and said, ‘We want you to officiate,” she said. “It took my breath away. I’m not usually someone who is lacking in words. ”
Although they missed their families, the couple said they felt their presence the same way as they communicated via FaceTime and over the phone throughout the day. “Wherever I am, I always have the feeling that my mother is with me,” said Adu-Watts. “The day before our wedding we drove into town and there was a license plate HFS444 right in front of us. My mother’s initials, Helen Folasade Sade. “Throughout his life his mother had told him,” I am always with you, “said Adu-Watts.
After the ceremony, the couple took their own photos in different locations. Mr Adu-Watts said he intended to print out many of these photos. “I’ve always wanted to have my own house with photos of myself and my wife,” he said.
When April 16, 2021
Where Kona, Hawaii
Finely feathered visitor The couple kept the doors of their hotel suite open to listen to the waves crashing against the bank. The morning before the wedding, a cardinal flew in with a yellow bill, “and said hello and left,” said Ms. Shakeshaft. “On the day of the wedding he came back in and hung out and we fed him crumbs. It was the cutest thing. Cardinals with yellow bills are said to represent domestic harmony and loyalty. “
Concierge to the rescue The couple had no plans or reservations about celebrating after the ceremony. But the hotel concierge arranged a small table that jutted out into the sea right in front of the hotel. Leis for the group and a haku lei or a flower crown for the bride awaited them there. “You have put so much intent into this job,” said Ms. Shakeshaft. “They leveled it and deleted flowers. We shared a wonderful dinner and talked about the day. The restaurant was closed so it was just us. “
Misty moments On the day of the wedding, the sky was capricious and full of clouds. “It started to fog slightly, which is lucky if you tie the knot because it tightens the knot when it gets wet,” Ms. Shakeshaft said.