ET Online

June 2, 2022

-Economic Times


24-year-old Kshama Bindu, a Gujarat resident and a private firm employee is gearing up for her wedding which will happen on June 11. Bindu, like many Indian brides, has opted for a traditional ceremony with pheras and other religious rituals attached to it. She also wants to wear her bridal attire on her big day, and wants to don vermilion (sindoor) after the ceremony. However, there’s one thing missing from her wedding. The groom.

According to a Times of India report, Bindu is marrying herself and committing to herself instead of a man (or a woman).

“Self-marriage is a commitment to be there for yourself and love yourself unconditionally. It’s also an act of self-acceptance. People marry someone they love. I love myself and hence this wedding,” Bindu told Times of India. The Gujarat resident plans to tie the knot with herself at a temple in Gotri. That isn’t all, Bindu has also planned for a two-week honeymoon in Goa after the ceremony.

What Is Sologamy ?
For the uninitiated, the act of marrying oneself is often referred to as sologamy, autogamy or self-marriage, and has seen a rise in recent years especially among affluent women. It is neither recognised by law of any country nor a social norm so far. But still, over the years we have seen several women and a few men go down this path.

No Needs For A Prince Charming

Bindu is hardly the first individual to opt for a self-marriage. Previously an Italian woman, named Laura Mesi had donned a white wedding dress and walked down the aisle in a lavish wedding ceremony with over 70 guests in attendance. This wedding had created quite a buzz in the media.

Celebrities too have embraced sologamy. In 2017, the Victoria’s Secret model Adriana Lima took to Instagram wearing a diamond ring on her ring finger and proclaimed, “I am committed to myself and my own happiness … I am married with me.” Lima, however, later had a child with her partner. In fact, like Lima, other celebrities too have elevated the notions of self-love and self-commitment to sologamy.

Fantasia Barrino, a popular singer, married herself before tying the knot with her husband, and Emma Watson too had announced in her Vogue interview that she is ‘self-partnered.’

Sasha Cagen, a life coach who not only popularised self-marriage through her book ‘Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics’, but also had a self-marriage lists the reasons why women opt for self-marriage in her book. She defines those who go into sologamy as ‘individuals who enjoy being single (but are not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefer to be alone rather than date for the sake of being in a couple.’

Self-Marriage And The Pandemic
While the movement of self-marriage is gathering momentum especially in countries like Japan and the United States where issues of loneliness are rampant, the reasons why a single individual might feel the need to marry oneself varies greatly, and is deeply personal in most cases.

Sologamy saw a considerable spike during the Covid-19 pandemic too. As one spent more time with himself/herself, self-marriage was seen as a way to develop a deeper connection with oneself, and have greater self-compassion.

For some however self marriage is more about celebrating oneself much like Carrie Bradshaw in the famous TV show ‘Sex And The City’. In the show, Sarah Jessica Parker’s on screen avatar Bradshaw makes a strong case for self-marriage as a celebration of singlehood, as she tells her friend, “Think about it: If you are single, after graduation, there isn’t one occasion where people celebrate you…. I am talking about the single gal. Hallmark doesn’t make a ‘Congratulations you didn’t marry the wrong guy’ card. Where’s the flatware for going on vacation alone?”

Self-Marriage Kits & Packages
This concept of self-marriage has been progressing over the past few decades and with time businesses have also tapped into this unique celebration. While Hallmark has clearly taken Bradshaw’s feedback seriously and come up with ‘Love Yourself’ and ‘Be Kind To Yourself’ cards, business catering to those opting for self- marriage is also growing over the years.

Marry Yourself Vancouver (Canada) offers consulting services and wedding photography for sologamists. In Kyoto, Cerca Travel (a travel company) offers a two-day self-wedding package.The package includes everything from wedding gowns to bouquets to portraits. A website called ‘I Married Me’ also offers self-marriage kits.

Self-Love & Divorce
However, how self-marriage works is still a concept that needs fine tuning. Apart from Mesi and Cagen, another self-marriage story that became viral is that of a 33-year-old Brazilian woman, Cris Galera, who married herself in 2021. However, her story gained even more popularity when she divorced herself in 90 days because she fell in love with someone else.

“I was happy while it lasted,” Galera had told Daily Star post the divorce. “I started to believe in love the moment I met someone else special,” she added.