US state permits wedlocks in which neither party is actually there, explored in documentary Absent from Our Own Wedding
For some apprehensive betrothed duets a proxy matrimony might sound very 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 customs and constitutions to Britain.
The award-winning British documentary maker and former performer Debbie Howard recently released the first film about a US duo who flowed a thriving proxy marriage business from their rural home in Flathead county, Montana.
Her film Absent from Our Own Wedding tells the striking storey of the retired husband and wife team Tom and Teresa Kennedy, who impart about 500 weds a year for a fee of $750( PS530 ), without ever matching a flush bride or a chivalrous groom.
Montana is the only US state where double agent bridals are legal and the Kennedys belief their business, Armed Forces Proxy Marriages, offers a helpful assistance to duets who cannot arrange to be together on their large-hearted day.
Tom Kennedy said:” I stumbled on the said 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 worked in public service for around 25 years, including a long time in the fire department .”
The obscure Montana law dates back to the 1860 s, Tom excused, and was initially a behavior to help out male miners.” All the women were on the east coast and it was not seen as proper to raise them to tough all-male mining communities to get married ,” he said.
Teresa, 56, regularly stands in for either the bride or the bridegroom, who can be same-sex, while a peer steps up to play their proposed. Tom will often conduct the ceremony.
In the past double, proxy matrimony was possible in Montana for anyone who exerted from in all regions of the world, but 10 year ago the law was changed. Now one of the two getting married must be a resident of Montana- or on active role 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 point is, in Montana you do not even need to be a magistrate or a evaluate to marry parties. You exactly 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.