A women who “married” herself in a ceremony with a swanky reception at a five-star hotel has no regrets about the big day 11 years later.
Karen Reed, now 51, called the 2010 wedding “the ultimate act of female empowerment” and remains fully committed to herself.
The bride 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.
Karen 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.”
Reed, a businesswoman in Port Talbot, Wales, who was walked down the aisle by her father, Brian, was joined by six bridesmaids, including her daughter Evie, then 21.
Guests arrived in a limo for the ceremony at the five-star Morgan Hotel in Swansea, Wales.
It was followed by a reception with a champagne brunch and a toast by Reed’s best man, Gareth Thomas.
Reed 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.”
After the reception the guests went to a nightclub to continue celebrating.
“I jokingly said my new husband had run off with a barmaid”, she said.
“I know some people will think it’s a bit crazy, but I promise I’m not”, she added. “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.”
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.”
Reed has since been in serious relationships but was never tempted to “divorce” herself and remarry.
“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.”