Strictly Come Dancing star Ian Waite has married his boyfriend Drew Merriman in a beautiful ceremony featured exclusively in HELLO! magazine. The professional dancer and pilot Drew tied the knot inside the 18th-century Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey in a day which was witnessed by their many celebrity friends. "It was the best day of my life," said Ian. "It's been absolutely brilliant. It was so emotional to walk into the ceremony and see friends and family looking towards us." Added Drew: "Someone came up to me at the end of the night and said, 'You haven't stopped smiling all day.'"
Invited guests included Ian's former Strictly partners Zoe Ball and Denise Lewis – who Zoe calls his 'Strictly wives' - the show's judge Craig Revel Horwood and dancers Natalie Lowe, Anton Du Beke, Erin Boag, Vincent Simone, Camilla Sacre-Dallerup, Matthew Cutler, Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova. Former contestants BBC weather presenter Carol Kirkwood and retired swimmer Mark Foster also attended.
Ian and Drew married in a romantic ceremony
"We all cried," Zoe told HELLO!. "I'm so happy to see him so happy. Drew had a lot to live up to really, all us 'wives' had to approve and we wholeheartedly do. Ian is the best. I'm obviously completely in love with him – I was tempted to say, 'It should have been me!'" Craig continued: "Ian is one of my favourite Strictly professionals and has been for years. I'm so pleased he's finally found true love and happiness." And Erin added: "It's a privilege to be here. And it feels like we're back with the old crowd, like the good old days, it's really nice."
The couple's pet dog Oliver played a starring role on the big day, walking up the aisle to greet guests at the start of the ceremony. "Oliver was so well behaved," said Ian. "It was almost as if he knew the occasion was quite important. But he did have lots of snacks to help him focus." Ian and Drew are now known as Mr and Mr Waite and Ian told HELLO!: "The ceremony was wonderful, and then walking back past our friends was my highlight actually. I keep saying 'my husband' and it's a really nice feeling. Our wedding was unbelievable."
For the full interview and more wedding photos, pick up this week's issue of HELLO! out on Monday.