A 42-year-old American woman named Beautiful Existence has revealed she spent up to $7,000 (£5,000) on a trip to Paris – so she could marry herself.
Beautiful Existence – who changed her name from Desiree Longabaugh – from Seattle, splashed the cash on a romantic ceremony under the Eiffel Tower, flights to France, accommodation for a week, and a birthday celebration while there.
The bride, who works in social media and marketing, wore a casual white dress and trainers and recited vows that she had written to herself as an officiant oversaw the ceremony via Skype – as she couldn’t find anyone in France to do so in person.
Now the mother-of-two is encouraging others to marry themselves ahead of her first anniversary in June 2016.
“IT WAS HUGELY EMOTIONAL,’ MS EXISTENCE SAID. ‘LOOKING AT MYSELF ON THAT SCREEN AS I SKYPED THE OFFICIANT, SAYING EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED TO SAY TO MYSELF WAS SOUL-SHIFTING.
‘I BELIEVE EVERYBODY SHOULD SELF-MARRY BEFORE THEY EVEN MARRY ANYONE ELSE. IT ALLOWS YOU TO DROP THAT PRESSURE OF HAVING TO HAVE SOMEBODY ELSE WITH YOU IN ORDER TO BE SUCCESSFUL.
‘I’D RECOMMEND IT AS MUCH AS I’D RECOMMEND BEING A PARENT, BECAUSE THE LEVEL OF LOVE YOU’LL FEEL IS SOMETHING YOU CAN’T DESCRIBE UNTIL YOU DO IT.”
Ms Existence was previously married for ten years and has two sons – Edge, 16 and Epic, six. During that time, friends would confide in her that they thought she had lost her spark.
They told her she ‘wasn’t herself’ when she was married, and questioned what had happened to the independent, optimistic woman they knew. A painful divorce then left her wondering if traditional marriage was for her.
She was further discouraged when she met a new partner and they decided to cohabit but not marry, only to find he wasn’t right for her either.
She discovered self-marriage on social media and spoke to other women who had done it.
“AFTER YEARS OF EXPLORING DIFFERENT THEORIES ON HOW TO UNDERSTAND MYSELF, SELF-MARRIAGE FELT RIGHT,’ SHE SAID. ‘WHY COULDN’T I HAVE A FUN, FANTASTIC CEREMONY THE WAY THAT I WANTED IT TO BE WITHOUT SOMEBODY ELSE’S APPROVAL?
THE CURRENT NORMS AROUND MARRIAGE AND LONG-TERM RELATIONSHIPS JUST DON’T FIT IN WITH AND HONOUR WHO I AM AS A PERSON. BEFORE I GET INTO ANY KIND OF RELATIONSHIP, I NEEDED TO COMMIT TO MYSELF FIRST.’
WITHIN A MONTH OF FINDING OUT THAT SELF-MARRIAGE WAS AN OPTION, MS EXISTENCE DECIDED TO HAVE A CEREMONY HERSELF.
HER HEART SET ON PARIS, SHE SET ABOUT FINDING A DRESS, PHOTOGRAPHER AND INVITING FRIENDS TO THE CEREMONY BEFORE JETTING OUT IN JUNE LAST YEAR. SHE PICKED HER WEDDING DATE TO COINCIDE WITH HER BIRTHDAY.
‘I WANTED IT TO ALL BE ONE BIG ADVENTURE,’ SHE EXPLAINED. ‘I FIGURED IF I WAS HONOURING MYSELF, THERE WAS NO POINT IN PICKING A DATE AT RANDOM.”
On 10th June 2015, under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower with a bouquet in hand, Ms Existence married herself, reciting vows similar to the ones she had said at her first wedding years previously.
She said the experience was life-changing and has completely freed her from the pressure of finding a partner. Currently, self-marriage is not legally recognised. However, Ms Existence believes that this won’t always be the case.
“IT’S NOT LIKE I’M GOING TO GET A MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE. NOBODY RECOGNISES IT RIGHT NOW, UNFORTUNATELY, BUT I DO THINK THAT’S SOMETHING THAT WILL BE ON THE HORIZON,’ SHE SAID.
‘THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE – WOMEN ESPECIALLY – WHO ARE NOT SUBSCRIBING TO THE REGULAR DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE ANYMORE.”
Her two sons have been especially supportive.