Ten years ago, I married myself at a frothy white, beachside ceremony with six other fabulous women. We laughed, cried, paraded through Vancouver in the back of a Cadillac convertible and spilled champagne all over our gowns. The unconventional ceremony became the talk of the town.
The concept, which evolved from a series of “goddess” dinner parties and was partly a performance-art piece, confused many people. But it also tapped into something deeper. After our unconventional nuptials, we began hearing stories about single women all over the world who were also marrying themselves. Self-marriage has become a Thing.
“There is a need for more ritual in our lives,” explains Tallulah, one of my fellow brides. "In this part of the world, there's really an absence of ceremony, and if you don't get married or have children, you really miss out."
The wedding had a different meaning for each of the brides. “The ceremony was a symbolic affirmation of self,” says Cathee Nordlund.
“To me, it clarified what marriage is about,” adds Vicky Ainley. “Marriage to another is sharing, marriage to oneself is about respect.”
To mark our 10th anniversary, we will be renewing our vows in Stanley Park on Thursday. We’ve rented a horse-drawn carriage, which will take us to a secluded spot in the woods, where we will again promise to love, obey and honour ourselves.
The silver-themed anniversary also coincides with the launch of Marry Yourself Vancouver, a self-marriage consultation service. We had so much fun planning our special day, we’d like to help other solo brides do it too.
Why should Vancouverites marry themselves? Here are the Top 5 reasons:
1. Single Women Have a Right To Shoes
Carrie Bradshaw said it best in a memorable episode of Sex and the City. Fed up after spending thousands of dollars on bridal and baby shower gifts – and then being shamed for her extravagant lifestyle choices, to boot – she throws a shower for herself and registers with Manolo Blahnik. “Hallmark doesn’t make a congratulations-for-not marrying-the-wrong-guy card,” she quipped.
2. You Can Skip the Groom
These days, a groom is merely an accessory to the fact. Big, fat, white weddings are all about the bride being a princess for a day. By marrying yourself, you forego all the headaches and tears of an actual relationship. Essentially, you get to have your wedding cake and eat it too.
3. There is No Right or Wrong Way To Do It
Don’t desire a white dress? Wear red, or gold. You can make it an intimate ceremony for one or a lavish reception with dinner, dancing and a live band. Marrying yourself is a fabulous excuse for throwing the party of your dreams. And it’s a lot more than fun than reciting daily affirmations or setting a New Year’s goal.
4. Hassle-Free Divorce
Being a symbolic ceremony, self-marriage is not legally binding. (Although it is fun to have an officiant preside over the vows.) Solo weddings do not preclude a future marriage. You can do it any age or stage of life. Divorced women can do it too.
5. The Freedom to Choose
On a more serious note, it’s important to remember that our mothers and grandmothers didn’t have the choice to remain single. Until very recently, women who didn’t marry were considered oddballs, and were usually very poor. Self-marriage is an opportunity to celebrate our personal independence, self-reliance and freedom from the chains of convention.