Woman marries herself to celebrate her 'self-discovery' as a single woman

Grace Gelder proposed to herself and sealed the marriage by kissing her own mirror image

Love doesn't always take two: Grace Gelder (not pictured) married herself
Love doesn't always take two: Grace Gelder (not pictured) married herself

If you’re keen to get married but just can’t find the right person, one young woman could have provided the solution.

Having been single for almost six years, Grace Gelder decided to marry herself.

The photographer and filmmaker told The Guardian that the ceremony was a way of recognising and cementing the powerful relationship she had established with herself while not involved in a relationship.

“I’d been essentially single for almost six years and built up this brilliant relationship with myself. Nevertheless, I was aware of getting into a rut, where a relationship with someone else seemed like too much hard work,” Gelder said.

“So I really wanted to pay tribute to this adventurous period of self-discovery but, at the same time, look forward to a new phase.”

Gelder said she had been inspired by a Björk song called “Isobel”: “[I] have a strong recollection of when I was 18 at university and studying performance art, hearing that line in a Björk song called Isobel: “My name’s Isobel, married to myself,” and thinking, crazy as that sounds, I totally get that.

“It’s about making this pact or promise to yourself and then somehow enacting that in how you live your life from that day on.”

Gelder decided to propose to herself in a park bench situated in Parliament Hill in November and the ceremony took place at a Devonshire farmhouse in March. Around 50 people attended, including her sister.

Despite having some doubts in February - “I found myself asking, why was I really doing this? Was it just some vainglorious stunt?” - Gelder maintained that she was happy with her decision.

Her friend Tiu, who trained as a celebrant, oversaw the marriage, helping and encouraging her as she planned the unusual wedding.

However, Gelder stuck to tradition when it came to the ring and the vows - although the ceremony was sealed by kissing her mirror image rather than another person.

Gelder said: “I really don’t see it as any kind of feminist statement, but creating a wedding of this kind on my own terms felt incredibly empowering.

“My self-married status – meaningless though it may remain in the eyes of the law – has also given me this great sense of clarity. I seem to sense much more clearly than before if something is worth pursuing or best left alone.”

She added: “And just because I married myself, it doesn’t mean that I’m not open to the idea of sharing a wedding with someone else one day.”

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