Till Death Do Us Part: Women Who Married Themselves
160 guests, 10 bridesmaids and months of preparation — everything was earnest at Yasmin Eleby’s wedding, except it was lacking a groom. On the day of her 40th birthday, a Houston citizen married herself. Yasmin said she had no serious relationship in 6 years, but she didn’t do it out of desperation, but on the contrary, out of self-respect.
Yasmin was not the first woman to practice self-marriage. In 2015, Sophie Tanner, a young English writer, took her relationship with herself to the next level. It started as the idea for the book, and ended with a loud party with 20 bridesmaids. A year earlier 36-year-old American Nadine Schweigert exchanged rings with her ‘inner groom’ in front of 50 guests. Grace Gelder from Britain also vowed to be faithful to herself — at the end of the ceremony a young woman kissed her reflection in the mirror. Grace said that the importance of the ceremony for her was in the promise she’d given herself to love herself and in staying true to that promise.
Sasha Cagen, the author of Quirkyalone manifesto, preaches enjoying singledom while waiting to meet the right person instead of throwing yourself at the first chance for a relationship that comes your way. She works as a coach to help young women embrace a solo style of life, and she says that five of them have already married themselves. Sasha has had her own wedding in 2014. She is convinced that this step helps you maintain a certain standard for relationships, which helps when looking for more pleasant encounters.
Desiree Moody planned to marry a guy she loved in early autumn 2010. When the couple broke up one day before the ceremony, she decided to stick with her plans: “I didn’t want to focus on what I had lost but rather what I still had and even what I had gained. At the end of a relationship, it is common to feel drained and out of sorts. I wanted to make spending time with myself and nurturing myself a priority rather than attempting to jump into another relationship right away as a way of self-medicating.”
In 2010, experiencing societal pressure to get married, 30-year-old Chen Wei-yih from Taiwan organized a photo shoot in a white wedding dress, rented a reception hall and invited her 30 friends to come.
Research by the Ministry of Education of Taiwan done shortly before Chen’s wedding ceremony showed that a mere 40% percent of women on the island think they will become happier after they get married. This opinion is reflected in the global statistics of the UN: since 1985, the number of married women between 30 and 40 has been steadily going down in most countries except India and China.
Jennifer Hoes from the Netherlands is considered the first woman to marry herself. In 2003, on her 30th birthday, she decided she was ‘prepared to embrace her own life’.
None of the young women have broken the promise that they gave themselves yet, but every one of them says they are ready for a relationship if they meet a special person. No country in the world officially recognizes sologamy, so they won’t have to get divorced if they ever need to.
“From the few comments that I’ve read, they’re trying to paint me as crazy or bitter about not having a husband, and that is so not the case. I’m not bitter, I‘m not crazy. I’m just a fun-loving unique individual, and I just wanted to do something special and different, — Yasmin Eleby told the interviewer after her wedding.