GRACE GELDER IS a 31-year-old woman living in London, who until this year had been single for six years.
So she decided to marry herself, in what she called “a statement of self-love”.
The wedding happened in March, but Gelder described it in a piece for the Guardian which was published on Saturday.
The article immediately went viral. So far it has been shared more than 15,000 times on Facebook alone, with coverage in other media all over the world.
So why did she do it? Gelder was a guest on Ryan Tubridy’s 2FM show this morning, and she explained:
Last October, I’d been doing a workshop that was teaching us about sexuality. And they had a lot of teachings around agreement with your partner, and that you need to have a lot of agreement with yourself. And the day after that I said, I think I need to marry myself.
She proposed to herself on a bench on top of a hill on Hampstead Heath in north London.
The wedding then happened this March, with 50 of her friends in attendance.
It was really lovely. It was a very private wedding. One of my best friends said ‘Can I be the man of honour?’ So he walked me into the room. Then I had some best women. And a friend of mine, Tia, was the celebrant.
She kissed the bride by kissing a mirror that her friends held up, she said.
The original article provoked a strong reaction online – much of it negative.
Gelder told Tubridy she was surprised by the intensity of some of the reaction against her.
“Obviously there is a funny side to this whole thing. I’m not taking myself 100 per cent seriously,” she said. “But there’s something that I’ve done that has upset some people, in a way that I hadn’t expected.”
She is rather philosophical about the abuse on social media:
There’s all sorts of really horrendous stuff going around the internet about me. Some of it is really funny, and some of it is like, are you really sitting down to write that?
She has also had actual marriage proposals. “Heaps” of them, apparently, in messages to her Facebook page.
Gelder – who said in her original article that she is “open to the idea of sharing a wedding with someone else one day” – has been repeatedly accused of narcissism. But speaking this morning, she said her decision was something different:
If you’re going to have a good relationship with someone else, it’s important to have a good understanding of who you are and to like yourself. It’s a statement of self love. And you immediately get accused of being a narcissist. There is a line where it tips over into narcissism, but I don’t think that’s me. It’s about standing up and saying, ‘I’m happy with myself.’