After nearly 22 years of marriage, my husband and I have decided to part ways. It’s amicable. It’s long overdue. It’s the right thing for both of us, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t scary and difficult. It is.
But if anyone is going to make a divorce at the age of 43 (and its subsequent midlife crisis) look chic and stylish, it’s going to be me. It has to be me. A woman in my situation needs a goal to keep her going.
So after getting my own place for the first time in 22 years, buying a gorgeous new bed, and losing 15 pounds without even trying (I like to call it the divorce diet, but I don’t recommend it), I leaped at the chance to marry myself when the opportunity presented itself. I knew this was the cathartic experience I needed to add to my journey.
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas P3Studio artist-in-residence Gabrielle St. Evensen challenges the traditional notion of a wedding by inviting guests to marry themselves in her performance art piece Marry Yourself, ending June 7. Conceived as a fantasy loft party in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, the piece has been experienced by over 1,000 participants through public and private incarnations in places like the New Orleans Biennial and Burning Man in Black Rock City, Nevada.
Upon your arrival, you will select your vows. You can even take advantage of divorcing yourself of something. I chose to divorce myself of fear and negative thinking. Next, you will choose a ring to marry yourself with, and even select props. I went with a traditional bouquet, but there are also peacock feathers and fun warrior-like props, too. Make your experience unique to match your personality.
You’ll enter a chapel designed by St. Evensen, which spirals to an inviting, cozy center. If divorcing yourself of something, St. Evensen will assist you with a visualization exercise. Once done, she’ll walk you through stating your vows, as you connect with yourself by looking into a mirror.
I took my experience seriously (as I do just about everything in my life), stating my vows to myself with great intention of keeping the commitment forever. While I refuse to look at the end of my marriage as a failure – 20+ years is a long run – I do intend on keeping my vows to myself for my lifetime. I need to know that something in my life can be everlasting. “You’ve lived with yourself for a long time,” St. Evensen gives as the reason behind her art piece. So if you think about it, who better to keep a lifetime commitment to than yourself?
Marry Yourself is a free art experience, and I recommend you make a night of it. Use these suggestions to to make the most of marrying yourself.
1. Dress cute. You’re marrying yourself after all! So dress in a way that makes you feel good about yourself. I wore a white dress decorated with a bright floral print, because that’s what made me happy. But if you find yourself sans something special, show up early enough to visit Rent the Runway beforehand, located on the second level of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
2. Grab a drink. It’s funny. Even though you’re marrying yourself, you might get cold feet. Weird, huh? So calm your nerves and take a sip at The Chandelier. It’s a gorgeous lounge and bar that will put you in the mood to marry yourself.
3. Keep an open mind. This is St. Evensen’s art installation, not yours. Let her guide you through it. She knows more than you about how to make the experience as beneficial and fulfilling as possible.
4. Share your experience. Once you’re done, you really will have a different mood than when you began. You’ll feel like celebrating. You’ll feel liberated. You’ll feel grateful. So scribble your emotions in St. Evensen’s journal and post your thoughts on social media. Use the hashtags #P3Studio and #tildeathLV.
5. Celebrate with more drinks and a delicious meal. Whether you experience Marry Yourself alone or with friends, find a place to grab a bite and a few more drinks. Think of it as your reception. Adjacent to P3Studio on the third level, you’ll find STK, Blue Ribbon Sushi, and Milos, just to name a few, but don’t forget to explore the restaurants of the second level, as well.
St. Evensen and her team let you keep your vows and take them with you. Make sure to place them somewhere at home where you can review them daily, like on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror. And if you have to, read them aloud every day. You might find that helpful.
You don’t have to be going through a divorce or a breakup to benefit from Marry Yourself. The whole point is to dedicate yourself to yourself. And that’s a healthy thing to do no matter what. So take some time between now and June 7, and head over to P3Studio on the third level in the East Tower at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 3708 South Las Vegas Boulevard. It will be a moment you’ll never forget and always appreciate.