“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 twice-divorced woman disillusioned by past relationships with men finally found “the one” when she married herself in an “empowering” $5,000 ceremony in front of 130 friends and family in June.
42-year-old British resident Melissa Denton told The Telegraph for a piece published in late April that an ex-boyfriend’s brutal Christmas Eve breakup text sparked an epiphany within the mother of two. A “potted and relentless history with men” that started at age 16 led Denton to realize that bouncing “from one man to the next with little time in between to heal or become independent” was doing her no favors. A “pattern of idolising boyfriends” and two failed marriages led Denton to the realization that her soulmate might have been the person she was staring at in the mirror.
“My ex used to say to me: ‘You can get married, darling, but it won’t be to me.’ It suddenly struck me that he was right. I could get married – to myself,” she said in a piece titled, “I married myself and it was truly empowering.”
“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 added.
Denton described the process of wedding planning – picking out a ring (her fourth engagement ring) that cost less than $20 on Amazon, selecting a venue, hiring a DJ and catering a vegan menu. When it came time for the big day, the ceremony and reception went off without a hitch.
“My friends colluded to help write my vows and I had a photo shoot on the beach with my ring and flowers,” she said. “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.”
Joining Denton in celebrating her commitment to herself were some ex-boyfriends and 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,” she said.
According to Denton, it was the best day of her life.
But the Weymouth resident’s marital fidelity would be tested only two weeks later when she applied and was accepted to go on a dating show. “Two weeks after the wedding I was ready for a new challenge – and to start cheating on myself – so I applied to go on First Dates,” she said, referencing the British Channel 4 program.
During her date with masseuse and hypnotherapist Damian, Denton disclosed her marital status. “This is my third time married, but you could say I’m bored,” she said to a perplexed-looking Damian. “So with the permission of my other half I’ve been allowed to go on a date.”
“The other half is me. I got married to myself,” Denton finally revealed.
Denton told The Telegraph she plans to renew her vows “at a similar ceremony every year” even if she is in a relationship. She’s already purchased four wedding dresses for the occasions.
Some onlookers might tie Denton’s self-marriage in with the worst aspects of a particularly out of touch brand of modern feminism. Critics often accuse the present-day feminist movement of losing sight of what matters to the mainstream of society in favor of the outré and bizarre. In a scathing rebuke of the movement published in National Review in 2014, writer David French argued that modern feminism “actually strives to elevate the crazy, the stupid, and the just plain hysterical into the realm of actually relevant cultural and political commentary.”