Real-life reads

Bride’s tiny groom: He stood on a steplad­der for the vows; Olympic star’s love test – can his girl­friend keep up?; “We’ll never for­get our lost twin”; Cross­dress­ing pro­fes­sor’s closet se­crets

Woman’s Day (NZ) - - Woman's Day This Week -

The bride closed her eyes and waited for the mo­ment she had dreamed of for months, her first kiss with her new hus­band. But this was no or­di­nary lock­ing of lips – the groom was stand­ing on a cus­tom-made lad­der so that the pair could stand eyeto-eye as they ex­changed vows.

James Lusted, 29, has a rare ge­netic dwarfism con­di­tion and is just 1.09m tall, while his bride Chloe stands at 1.7m. “I had the steps es­pe­cially made,” says James. “They made me a cou­ple of inches taller than her! It meant we could have a proper kiss just like any other cou­ple on their wed­ding day.”

Chloe, 23, adds, “We wanted to have eye con­tact dur­ing our vows and to kiss with­out me hav­ing to crouch down in my dress. There may be a height dif­fer­ence, but when you are in love, lit­tle things like that don’t mat­ter. As I said ‘I do’, I’ve never been hap­pier.”

Lo­cal coun­cil­lor James and trainee teacher Chloe tied the knot in a tra­di­tional church cer­e­mony in Bodel­wyd­dan, North Wales. The groom says, “It re­ally couldn’t have been any bet­ter. We had 80 peo­ple there for the day and then 150 more in the evening. It was amaz­ing.”

The cou­ple first met in 2012, when James car­ried the Olympic torch through his home­town of Rhos-on-Sea. Chloe re­calls, “It wasn’t love at first sight, but a friend­ship de­vel­oped and soon I re­alised I was fall­ing for Jay. It was im­pres­sive to me that his dis­abil­ity hadn’t held him back – and he was so kind and funny too. I’d never met any­one so proud to be who they are.”

The pair got en­gaged in 2014. The bride tells, “Jay took me back to the beau­ti­ful coun­try park where

‘ When you are in love, lit­tle things like height don’t mat­ter’

we had our first date. He was act­ing ner­vously and I couldn’t work out why, but as I sat down by the lake, I felt his hand on my shoul­der. He was us­ing me to steady him­self as he got down on one knee and said, ‘Chloe, I love you with all my heart. Will you marry me?’ I burst into tears of shock. I was so happy and so sur­prised.”

James’ friends dressed him up as Snow White for his stag do. He laughs, “I’m al­ways the dwarf, so it was a great change.”

While there’s a high chance any chil­dren they have will be born with dwarfism, the cou­ple are plan­ning to start a fam­ily at some stage.

Chloe says, “It doesn’t faze me one bit. I would wel­come the chance for our child to use Jay as an in­cred­i­ble role model. We’d love it the same as any other baby. When we are ready to have chil­dren, it will be such a pre­cious time for us, but at the mo­ment, we are fo­cus­ing on our jobs and en­joy­ing the hon­ey­moon pe­riod. I love Jay so much. His dwarfism doesn’t de­fine who he is. To me, he is just my hus­band. He might be small, but my love for him is huge.”

The height of ro­mance: Jay had a steplad­der de­signed es­pe­cially for the big day so he could look Chloe in the eyes when they said their vows.

“I’ve never met any­one who is so proud of who they are,” Chloe says of her hus­band James.

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