A woman who ‘married’ herself in a ceremony followed by a lavish reception says she is still happily committed to herself 11 years later.
Karen Reed, 51, always dreamed of being a bride and decided to take matters into her own hands when she was aged 40 and still single in 2010. She spent around £800 on the solo wedding – splashing out on a dress, limo and a champagne brunch at the 5* Morgan Hotel, Swansea, for the reception.
Karen invited 16 guests – including her dad, Brian, 80, who walked her down the aisle – to her big day on May 1, 2010, where she read vows out to herself.
After the reception, the wedding party got free entry into a local club after Karen jokingly said the groom had ‘run off with a bridesmaid’ at the reception. The mum-of-two claimed the wedding was the ultimate act of ‘self-love’ and ‘female empowerment’.
Karen has had a couple of relationships since the big day but nothing serious enough to ‘divorce’ herself – and she remains married to herself to this day.
Karen, a business owner from Port Talbot, said: “I was nearing 40 and had been ready to settle down for a while. I thought ‘Why not marry the person I love most in the world?’ Not in a big-headed way, but I have learnt to love and put myself first. It felt like the ultimate act of female empowerment. I got dressed up and had the best day celebrating with the people I care most about.”
Karen had been single for a few years when she decided to get married to herself in 2010. She was in a really ‘happy place’ and wanted a wedding while she could. She admits that her family and friends were not on board at first, but they quickly came around to the idea.
Karen said: “Of course my family thought I was a bit crazy for doing it. I was getting older and wanted my dad to experience walking me down the aisle. Now my parents have the pictures from the day hung up in their house.”
Karen organised the wedding with the help of friends and spent around £800 on the gown, flowers, bridesmaids’ dresses, and a reception.
She invited 16 guests including six bridesmaids – one of which was her daughter Evie, 21 – and her friend, Dr Gareth Thomas, 48, was the best man. The commitment ceremony and reception took place at the Morgan Hotel, where Karen and the guest arrived in limos. The blushing bride walked down the aisle and was ‘given away’ by her dad, Brian, 80, before reading out vows to herself. It was followed by a lavish champagne brunch where guests toasted the newlywed and heard a speech from the best man.
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Karen said: “I got my hair done and wore a beautiful dress. We had photos outside of the hotel and we must have had 100 people watching us – it was amazing. The day was all about celebrating yourself and finding happiness within.”
At the end of the night, the wedding party went to a local nightclub to carry on the celebrations. Karen even got free entry and drinks after telling the doorman the groom had done a runner.
“I jokingly said my new husband had run off with a barmaid,” Karen explains.
“They felt so bad they let us in for free and played any songs we wanted.”
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After the wedding, Karen planned to go away with the family on a ‘honeymoon’ to Jersey. Unfortunately the flight was cancelled so they celebrated for the week at Bluestone Resort, Pembrokeshire, where they now go back every few years for her anniversary.
Since getting married to herself, Karen has had a couple of relationships, but nothing serious. A decade down the line and she’s still happily committed to herself.
Karen said: “I know some people will think it’s a bit crazy, but I promise I’m not. It’s so important to love yourself and not settle for anything less than you deserve. My dad can’t walk anymore so I’m pleased it happened when it did. I want to show people it’s OK to do something for yourself – to celebrate and love the person you are. It’s every girl’s dream to get married and have the perfect wedding day – which is exactly what I did.”