After ten months of planning my dream wedding, the big day arrived with me standing at the altar, gloriously alone. You’re probably wondering what went wrong. Was I stood up at the altar? No. I was never engaged, never had a fiancé to begin with. At the age of 34, I decided it was my time to get married, husband or not.
In this modern era of gay marriage and the like, it’s no longer necessary to conform to societal norms of what a marriage or a wedding should be. So, in December I gathered 200 of my closest friends and family to witness me get married … to myself.
Like many women, I spent years wondering when I would find “the one.” I’ve had visions of what my wedding would look like since I was a little girl: the dress, the flowers, the bridesmaids. But one detail that never fell into place was who the groom would be. Looking back, I never had a clear idea of what my future husband would look like and who he would be. Slowly it dawned on me: I didn’t need to. I could be that beautiful bride all on my own.
As I was planning the wedding, those close to me had the obvious questions and concerns. “Are you sure you don’t want to wait for a man?” they asked. “Will you have children?” My answers were no, and maybe. Just like in any other so-called “normal” marriage, children will be a possible discussion in the future. I assured my family that I had my heart set on my very own wedding.
The wedding day was everything I’d ever dreamed of. The sun shone down on a chocolate fountain and beautiful 3-tier wedding cake. My nieces and nephews played in the grass. My shih tzu, Molly, carried the ring down the aisle. And I felt complete. I even wrote my own vows. Here’s an excerpt:
“I promise to be loyal to my own desires and to my truest self in sickness and in health. I will respect my own needs and emotions. I am the most beautiful, intelligent and loving woman I have ever met. I will honor and cherish every future moment of being me!”
I’d like to think the journey ahead would be smooth sailing. For people like me, that isn’t part of the deal. Marriages like mine still aren’t legally recognized in any states. I know in my heart that all love is equal, beautiful and deserves recognition, even self-love. Yet men who approach me at bars can’t respect or understand my marital status. In spite of these hurdles, I’m happy in knowing I achieved my childhood dream of getting married. I’ve honored myself and the institution of marriage in the process.