Suppose you are scripting a “millennial” character for a satirical novel or screenplay. You’d probably give them a name like Harper Stone Evans-Jubilee, and try to come up with a job description that would embody the navel-gazing decadence of her generation.
Maybe you’d come up with something like “self-wedding planner,” before quickly scrapping the idea. Surely an editor would dismiss it out of hand as a bit “on the nose.” Or you might Google “self-wedding planner” out of curiosity. Then you’d find out it’s a real job millennials have already invented, because millennials are actually starting to marry themselves. You can’t make it up.
Last month, Cosmopolitan magazine published an article on the “small but growing movement” of “self-marriage,” and the array of “consultants and self-wedding planners popping up across the world” to service this quintessentially millennial trend.
The story—“Why I Married Myself”—begins (predictably) “on the rooftop of [a] Brooklyn apartment building.” A self-bride named Ericka Anderson says her self-vows—“I choose you today”—before inviting the assembled guests to partake of the “rosé and fresh baguettes and fruit tarts from a French bakery.”
Anderson, who was previously married to another person, recalls wearing her old engagement ring out when she was at a bar and being asked, “Who’s the lucky guy?” She jokingly replied, “Myself!” And then she started to think about it, like, for real. Before she knew it, she was shopping for a dress, compiling a self-registry, and telling “society” to go to hell, or whatever.
“When you’re single, society tells you that you are a woman who has not been chosen by someone else,” Anderson told Cosmo. “I decided to choose myself. It was an act of defiance.”
Self-marriage is a “rebuke” of tradition, according to Rebecca Traister, a journalist and author of the book, All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation. “We’re set up as a culture to treat marriage as the most exciting thing you’ll ever do in your life,” Traister said. “But if you marry yourself, you can say: My life is just as meaningful as the life of the person who happens to be getting married.”
The trend is tailor-made for millennials, whose love of self is (almost) matched by their love for making pointless political statements, and using heaping quantities of gibberish to justify their actions. As Anderson put it: “I think freedom should mean freedom to choose our own path. And marrying yourself isn’t surrendering to the wedding-industrial complex. It’s saying yes to something new.”
A website called I Married Me offers a variety “self-wedding in a box” kits for the those eager to self-tie the knot. The boxes, which range from $50-$230 include a ring, ceremony instructions, vows, and 24 “daily affirmation cards” designed to inspire “micro-moments of positivity.”
Other companies offer an array of full-service options for the self-engaged. Marry Yourself Vancouver is a “wedding planning and consultation service for solo brides hoping to get hitched.” A travel agency in Japan offers a two-day “solo wedding” package in Kyoto, and is painfully honest in its advertising to potential customers who “would like to have some pictures of yourself in a wedding gown or in a gorgeous bridal kimono now, when you are young and beautiful.”
Marriage rates in the United States are at an all-time low, and there is no shortage of “woke” pundits declaring this a good thing. Millennials are constantly praised for their “individuality” and “refusal to conform.” Marrying another (actual) person is simply too “normal,” and monogamy, in case you haven’t heard, is little more than a vague spectrum, an oppressive social construct.
It seems inevitable that self-marriage will catch on as millennials run out of ways to “rebuke” tradition by spending money on themselves. The self-married will compete with that other growing millennial demographic—the “polyamorous,” and/or “open marriage” adherents.
If self-indulgence were a competition, both would score high. They’re not even mutually exclusive, if you think about it. Perhaps when the last of the millennials have “settled down,” we’ll all be living together and raising children in semi-monogamous group relationships, but we’ll all be married—to ourselves. Maybe that is (somehow, given the way things are trending) progress?