US state lets marriages in which neither party is actually there, explored in documentary Absent from Our Own Wedding
For some apprehensive betrothed duets a agent union might reverberate too good to be true: if there really were such an easy way to avoid the stress and fuss of a wedding ceremony, surely everyone would do it?
But marriages in which neither the bride nor groom are present happen all the time, and not only in countries with very different habits and statutes to Britain.
The award-winning British documentary maker and former performer Debbie Howard recently released the first film about a US duo who guided a thriving proxy marriage business from their urban home in Flathead county, Montana.
Her film Absent from Our Own Wedding tells the remarkable tale of the retired husband and wife team Tom and Teresa Kennedy, who conduct about 500 weddings a year for a fee of $750( PS530 ), without ever meeting a blushing bride or a gallant groom.
Montana is the only US state where double agent weds are legal and the Kennedys speculate their business, Armed Forces Proxy Marriages, offers a helpful busines to duos who cannot arrange to be together on their large-hearted day.
Tom Kennedy said:” I stumbled on this law and now we just love doing it and we want to carry on. We are not doing it for the money. We are fine, because Teresa was a stockbroker and I labor in public service for around 25 times, including a long time in the fire department .”
The obscure Montana law dates back to the 1860 s, Tom interpreted, and was initially a road to help out male miners.” All the women were on the east coast and it was not seen as proper to create them to tough all-male mining communities to get married ,” he said.
Teresa, 56, regularly is currently in for either the bride or the bridegroom, who can be same-sex, while a colleague steps up to play their purposed. Tom will often conduct the ceremony.
In the past doubled, agent union was possible in Montana for anyone who exerted from anywhere in the world, but 10 years ago the law was changed. Now one of the two getting married must be a resident of Montana- or on active office in the armed services.
” Outside of Montana very few people have heard of this ,” said Tom, 66.” It is very obscure and even federal officials know nothing about it. The fact is, in Montana you do not even need to be a magistrate or a adjudicator to marry people. You just have to appear to be of sound mind to those who are present at the time. You could even marry yourselves .”
Howard’s documentary, made by Big Buddha Films, was shot in Montana last year and is now showing as part of the Real Stories strand on YouTube.