"I married myself"

Published Saturday, May 28 2016, 10:00 BST  |  By  |  Add comment
It can take years to meet the right person, but it turned out Sophie Tanner, 37, had known her perfect partner all her life...

'Like many women, I was keen to find my Prince Charming. But as I went through the pain of yet another break-up, I realised I was probably going to end up kissing a few frogs along the way.

I'd had three serious relationships during my 20s and early 30s, but they'd all ended after my boyfriends had cheated. Fed up and disillusioned with dating, I threw myself into writing a book about love.

I could really relate to the main character, Chloe, who was so frustrated with everyone asking her when she was getting married that she decided to marry herself.

As part of the research for my book, I wrote to Brighton & Hove Register Office and asked about the possibility of marrying yourself.

Sophie Tanner married herself

© Andrew Hasson

Sophie's wedding cake, minus the groom!



They replied a few weeks later with a resounding 'no', saying that marriage was between a man and a woman to the exclusion of everyone else. (This was years before same sex marriage was legalised in England, Scotland and Wales in 2014.)

Over the next five years, I continued to write my book and also looked further into the concept of self-marriage. I loved the idea of it addressing the notion that being single and really enjoying it is
a viable lifestyle choice.

By January 2015, I'd made the decision to tie the knot... with myself.

It wouldn't be legally binding, and people would probably think I was crazy, but I wanted to make a commitment to myself. Why shouldn't I have this particular rite of passage? Why should I miss out on the best party of my life?

As part of the research for my book, I wrote to Brighton & Hove Register Office and asked about the possibility of marrying yourself.

They replied a few weeks later with a resounding 'no', saying that marriage was between a man and a woman to the exclusion of everyone else.

When I told my family and friends what I planned to do, I just explained I loved and respected myself enough to make a commitment. Fortunately, my family took it very well, and my dad said he'd love to walk me down the aisle.

Of course, some people were very confused. "Will you have to divorce yourself if you meet someone you like?" asked a bemused friend. I kept joking that it didn't mean I'd signed up to be a nun.

Before long, I'd sent out a Facebook invite and thrown myself into plans for my big day. It was pretty easy, as I was the only one making all the decisions!

I asked my 15 closest friends if they'd be my bridesmaids and requested that they wear their brightest dress for my wedding.

I also wanted them to learn a few dance moves, so we could perform a little routine as we made our way to the church – fortunately everyone was up for a giggle!

Weeks later, I bought a faded ivory vintage gown from a shop called Beyond Retro, in London. It cost £40 and was perfect. I also bought a pretty ring to slip on to my finger on the big day.

On the night before my wedding, inMay 2015, I felt quite nervous – but when I woke up the following morning, the sun was shining and I had a good feeling about the day ahead.

I met my bridesmaids in town, then we cracked open the Prosecco and started getting ready.

Sophie Tanner walked herself down the aisle

© Andrew Hasson

The perfect vintage gown for her big day



Once I'd handed everyone a sunflower to carry to the church, we quickly practised our dance moves and then set off.

Before I knew it, we were all dancing our way from Brighton Pier to the Unitarian Church, to the sound of Kendrick Lamar's song i, which was blasting from a big speaker.

As we shimmied along, around 200 friends, family and complete strangers cheered us on.

When I walked up the church steps, I couldn't stop beaming at everyone who'd come to see me wed. My dad gave me away in traditional style, and then my friend James delivered the ceremony, dressed
in an archbishop's costume.

It was very tongue-in-cheek but there was also a real sense of ceremony, as I'd adopted the traditional Christian vows.

When James said, 'I now pronounce you wife,' I felt on top of the world.

Afterwards, my 60 guests and I walked to a bar on the beach, where we spent the rest of the day drinking Pimm's.

I was really chuffed that so many of my mates had thrown themselves wholeheartedly into the day.

As I partied with friends, I realised how strong and happy I felt in my own company. And, like most people, my wedding was one of the best days of my life. For months afterwards, everyone kept
saying I had a real glow about me.

'I'm in the honeymoon period!' I'd say. As my marriage to myself isn't legally binding, I'll be allowed to marry someone else without committing bigamy.

I haven't given up on finding love, either. I've dated a few men since, and they've all found my self-marriage pretty funny.

When I look back at my wedding photos it brings a tear to my eye and makes me want to relive it all over again. After all, I've promised to be my own best friend, and what could be better than that?

By Laura Hinton

Happily, by Sophie Tanner, is available to buy on Amazon.
0 comments

Loading...