Writing in The Telegraph, a 42-year-old British woman chortled that the best day of her life came last June — the day she married herself.
Melissa Denton, a two-time divorcee with two children, writes, “The idea to marry myself came to me in January last year, when I was at work one day. Three weeks before, on Christmas Eve, I had received a text message from my boyfriend of five and a half years: ‘I can’t do this any more, it’s over,’ it said … It was devastating and left me in a funk, unable to eat, sleep or smile.”
Seizing upon the idea of marrying herself, Denton recalls a TV interview with Sophie Tanner, who had married herself in May 2015. Denton writes, “I was so down, and knew that I needed to learn to love myself before I would be able to attract the right people into my life. For years, I had poured myself into relationship after relationship, losing myself in the process. It was time to put ‘me’ first - a way to affirm that I can be happy on my own and to move on from the relationship.”
Denton bought a ring and set the wedding date. She admits her colleagues thought she was crazy, but she had previously shaved her head to raise money for a cancer charity and later dyed her hair pink and wore a nose ring.
Denton writes that her children, Ruby, 15, and Jasper, 11, were initially skeptical but came around, as did her family, but her brother did not bring his son to the wedding because he thought it would confuse him. She writes, “I’m hoping his opinion has now changed.”
Denton’s mother was initially against the idea, but Denton notes, “She soon came around. At the end of the day, she told me she was really proud.”
The wedding featured “a DJ, live band, karaoke and a huge vegan feast.”
Denton writes, “For the first time in my adult life, I was single and happy - the experience was empowering. Rather than wasting my time, energy and love on someone else, I was putting myself first."
Denton explains, “My potted and relentless history with men started at 16, when my father died in a car accident.” She segues to her two failed marriages, then adds, “Relationships only got more difficult from there, as I bounced from one man to the next with little time in between to heal or become independent. I often transferred emotions from my last relationship into the next, all the way until that awful Christmas Eve text. “
She describes the wedding: “The atmosphere at the wedding was amazing, and everyone was celebrating, including a couple of ex-boyfriends and some former in-laws. It was just like any other wedding - just without a groom. I walked down the aisle, in a pink dress, with a big smile - towards no-one. A friend gave me away and another officiated. I repeated the vows and put the ring on myself, and we passed a paper plate around the 130-person congregation for everyone to sign in lieu of a register, as it’s not a legal procedure. It was the best day of my life.”
Denton concludes that now that she is fulfilled, she is “ready for a new challenge – and to start cheating on myself – so I applied to go on First Dates. I didn’t consider that for some people it might be a bit too mad. Instead, I planned to joke that I was married, but a bit bored.”
She’s committed to the idea of marrying herself, though: “Some people don’t understand it – but to me, it made absolute sense and that’s why I’m going to renew my vows at a similar ceremony every year, even if I am in a relationship. I have even bought four wedding dresses that can be used in the future. It is a way to centre and value myself, as well as remember that I can receive love that is equal, not one-sided. “
And there’s this: “Being Mrs Denton has taught me to be happy in my own company and skin, to not put pressure on myself to look or act in a certain way. Confidence is the most attractive thing a person can have and the marriage has given me that. My marriage to myself might not have come with a wedding night or honeymoon, but the plans for the future are far more exciting.”