This year we have seen an increase in stories about individuals who have chosen to marry themselves. But what is sologamy and why do people choose to marry themselves? As it’s not a legal ceremony, there is no accurate data to show on sologamy.
Over the past 30 years, weddings in the UK have evolved from Church or Registry Office weddings to Civil Ceremonies, then Civil Partnerships and now outdoor ceremonies. We spoke to Alison Hargreaves, editor of Guides for Brides, who has witnessed that evolution and been involved in the Law Commission consultations on marriage law, to find out more.
What is sologamy?
Sologamy is a wedding ceremony where people marry themselves. It is also referred to as self-marriage or autogamy, and it is gaining popularity. It means a person choosing to have a wedding ceremony and make vows of commitment to themselves, without a partner. It’s a symbolic gesture of self-love, self-acceptance, and self-commitment.
It’s important to know that sologamy isn’t legally recognised in the UK, meaning it doesn’t give you the legal rights that come with a traditional wedding. It’s considered a personal and symbolic gesture, rather than a legal marriage. As such, it’s an option for anyone, but it’s notable that it tends to be primarily women that take part in this practice.
Why do people choose to be sologamists?
Individuals may choose sologamy for many reasons, some do it to show love and respect for themselves, like a special promise to take care of their own happiness. It can also be a way of saying, “I’m strong and can lead my own life.”
For some, it’s a special ceremony to mark an important time in their life, such as getting through a challenging period or starting something new. Others might choose sologamy to make a statement against societal views that we need a partner to be happy. For many it’s a creative and personal way to express themselves and their happiness in making the positive choice not to have a lifetime partner. For others, it’s simply that they’ve always pictured themselves getting married, and perhaps have saved for years for the wedding of their dreams, yet have never found the person they’d like to marry.
However, sologamy doesn’t exclude the presence of future romantic relationships or marriage. There are documented cases of women who have had a self-wedding to make a commitment to themselves and when the time was right, tied the knot with a partner.
Editor of Guides for Brides, Alison Hargreaves commented “This could be seen as the natural progression away from the patriarchal attitude that women are reliant on a partner to make them happy. While we don’t expect this to become a mainstream trend, we can predict more instances of brides making the choice of a self-wedding as a commitment to and celebration of their own self-worth.”
How to plan a self-wedding
For those choosing to self-marry, having a self-wedding is not far different from having a wedding celebrating two partners, so could involve every element you’d associate with a more conventional wedding.
Some sologamists choose to keep their celebrations intimate, hosting the ceremony in the privacy of their homes and keeping the guest list small. Others opt for a larger wedding celebration in a wedding venue, inviting friends and family to join them for the day, and involving wedding traditions such as blessing a ring, reading vows, wearing a wedding dress and cutting a wedding cake. As there aren’t any legal elements to the wedding ceremony, the day can be exactly as you choose.
Of course, a huge advantage of planning a sologamist wedding is the freedom to make every wedding planning decision yourself.
Who performs a self-marriage ceremony?
As sologamy is not legally recognised anywhere in the world, the wedding ceremony will be symbolic, and most likely carried out by an experienced professional wedding celebrant who can put together a symbolic and meaningful ceremony that celebrates the commitment you are making to yourself.