US state countenances unions in which neither party is actually there, explored in documentary Absent from Our Own Wedding
For some anxious betrothed couples a agent union might resound 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 custom-mades and rules to Britain.
The award-winning British documentary maker and former actor Debbie Howard recently released the first cinema about a US duo who moved a thriving proxy marriage business from their rural home in Flathead county, Montana.
Her film Absent from Our Own Wedding tells the striking floor of the retired husband and wife team Tom and Teresa Kennedy, who impart about 500 bridals a year for a cost of $750( PS530 ), without ever filling a redden bride or a chivalrous groom.
Montana is the only US state where double proxy marries are legal and the Kennedys belief their business, Armed Forces Proxy Marriages, offers a helpful assistance 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 operated 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 clarified, 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 return them to tough all-male mining local 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 proposed. Tom will often conduct the ceremony.
In the past double, proxy matrimony was possible in Montana for anyone who applied 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 tariff 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 happening is, in Montana you do not even need to be a magistrate or a reviewer to marry people. You precisely 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 one of the purposes of the Real Stories strand on YouTube.