A wedding is all very exciting, you pick the perfect venue, dress and food, but it was all completely different for Amanda Canty.
She only went and tied the knot to herself.
Yep, you read that right!
During the emotional mountain-top ceremony she married herself, and vowed to “make love to myself often”.
The 29-year-old then took herself on a £540 ($700) honeymoon to Big Sur, California, where, like any other newlywed, she celebrated her wedding night by consummating her marriage… with herself.
“It was a wonderful experience,” she said of her April 26 2016 wedding and subsequent honeymoon.
“It was truly spiritual and sensual.”
Amanda, a volunteer co-ordinator, of Ojai, California, started considering self-marriage as her 30th birthday approached in December 2015.
A number of friends and family members had divorced and she was feeling disillusioned by love and relationships.
She had been single for a year and a half, having broken up with her previous partner at the end of 2014.
“I would go to weddings and hear vows being said and would wonder how you make promises to another person before you’ve even made them to yourself?” she said. “It seemed silly to me.”
She learnt about self-marriage online and decided to plan a wedding looking out over the valley of Ojai.
“Friends were excited for me but I think they were disappointed not to be at the party,” she told.
She continued: “I’d worked as an actress in Los Angeles and had burnt out.
“I moved to be close to the mountains and marrying myself was a chance to reflect and celebrate my relationship with myself.”
She wrote the vows over the course of a week in a quiet mountainous spot in Ojai.
She also spent a few weeks planning the location, time and type of the ceremony, and she spent £50 ($65) on a white silk gown.
Her hair was tied up with a few loose curls framing her face.
She did not have any bridesmaids, a best man, or any witnesses, and she did not think to take photographs as she was too focused on the spiritual side of the day.
Amanda also bought a £68 ($89) pearl ring from a shop in Ojai, which she will wear for life, as a constant reminder of her big day.
“I made a bouquet out of sage and rosemary, lit candles and had the ceremony at sunset looking out over the valley of Ojai,” she told. “Classical music was playing in the background.
“I felt really nervous and took a moment to take the beautiful orange and pink sky in.”
Then she read the vows out loud in front of a mirror.
The vows read: “I Amanda Canty take myself in marriage today.
“I vow to put myself love and care first every day, to be my own best friend especially during hard times, to keep creating art, to make love to myself often, to hold myself when I’m feeling sad or scared and to listen to my body’s wants and needs.
“I vow to be patient and kind to my heart and mind, to take time to be quiet and in solitude often, to have boundaries so I may love more generously.”
She also vowed to eat healthy foods, but indulge when she wanted to without judgement; to laugh at her own silliness; to get up with a smile if she fell down; to ask for help when she needed it and to “check in with her heart.”
“Then I vowed, ‘I take myself to be my own, for better or worse, in sickness and in health, for richer and poorer,’” Amanda said.
To finish, she promised: “I now pronounce myself committed to myself.”
At the end of the ceremony she danced to the sound of the earth, wind, and fire – music downloaded onto her iPad.
Afterwards, Amanda closed her eyes and meditated, before going on a silent walk.
She then enjoyed a 10-day honeymoon, camping, walking and meeting lots of people.
She has had positive feedback from friends, who have expressed an interest in self marrying, too.
Amanda hasn’t ruled out marrying another human being, adding: “If the right woman comes along that’s amazing, but I feel whole in myself.”
Each to their own!