A Taiwanese woman plans to marry herself in a ceremony next month, then go on a honeymoon. Explaining her decision, she says, "I was just hoping that more people would love themselves."
According to Reuters, Chen Wei-yih's wedding will include a white dress, wedding planner, and a reception in a banquet hall for 30 guests. Afterwards, she'll go on a honeymoon to Australia. Says Chen, "Age thirty is a prime period for me. My work and experience are in good shape, but I haven't found a partner, so what can I do?" She adds, "It's not that I'm anti-marriage. I just hope that I can express a different idea within the bounds of a tradition."
Chen isn't the first woman to marry herself — Jennifer Hoes did so in the Netherlands in 2003. Hoes, who was also thirty at her wedding, said,
I married myself at the moment I was prepared to embrace my own life and agree on the responsibilities that come with that. I married myself at the age my father died, I decided not to stay in the shade of his death at thirty.
Both women's stories speak to a desire to celebrate a certain level of self-actualization and maturity. But beyond bar and bat mitzvahs and other religious observances that usually happen at a younger age, one of the only ceremonies we have to mark someone's transition to adulthood is the wedding. There are a lot of problems with this — not everybody who gets married is mature, not everyone who's mature wants to get married, and lots of people are still barred from legal marriage by their sexual orientation. Granting everyone the right to marry would fix the last problem, but what about those who want some celebratory occasions that aren't tied to relationship status? Since the old "move out, get married, have kids" paradigm for growing up is notoriously less applicable now (and Reuters notes that women are marrying later in Taiwan as well as in the US), maybe it's time to come up with some new reasons to party. And encouraging more people to love themselves seems like a pretty good one.