Ugandan oxford student marries herself

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(Picture by Michael O’hagan)

By Metro UK

A single Oxford University student who was sick of being asked when she was going to get married, decided to just marry herself.

Lulu Jemimah, 32, was fed up of her family lecturing her on the importance of settling down with the right man – especially as marriage was the last thing on her mind as she was busy studying.

And so, to get her parents off her back, she decided to stage a full mock wedding, and sent out formal invites to her friends.

She hired a dress, and walked through the venue and even gave a speech to her guests explaining her lack of a husband on August 27 – her 32nd birthday.

Lulu said her parents were obviously confused, but feels it was the ‘perfect commitment’ to herself and her studies.

Especially as the day only cost £2 for her taxi to Quepasa Bar in the Ugandan capital Kampala, where she is from.

She manged to get the rest of the ‘big day’ for free or as gifts from friends.

Lulu said: ‘I have a strong passion in life and I am committed to achieving my goals at becoming an academic. But all my family wanted to ask me was when I planned to get married – which is very important back in Uganda – followed by when I would be having children and starting a family.”

“My father wrote my wedding speech when I turned 16. ‘Every birthday my mother prayed for me and in recent years this has included a plea for a good husband. ‘But I just didn’t want to think about walking up the aisle. It’s not the thing which keeps me up at night.”

The ceremony took place on 27 August, on her 32nd birthday, after her parents had been repeatedly on at her to get a boyfriend and tie the knot.

A friend who works as a web designer made and printed her invites, and her another friend paid to hire her dress, while her brother baked her cake.

Lulu added: ‘[As soon as] I sent these out I immediately received phone calls asking who the groom was. I told people it was a surprise. It’s shocking the price of wedding gowns in Uganda but when I told them I was marrying myself they offered to find me their cheapest dress.”

‘I did feel a bit crazy trying on the dress and explaining that I was marrying myself.”

There was a kind of dismissive tolerance from the girls in the bridal shop.

‘I had to leave an ID card behind and when they saw my Oxford university card they screamed and were so impressed.

‘I tried a few on and I almost cried. ‘It really is a special moment and I understood more than I had the excitement around weddings.’

A friend did her makeup in the loos at the venue, and the bar owner – also a friend – played the wedding march as she exited the toilets and walked into the venue.

‘I then spent a few minutes talking to friends and awkwardly explaining that there was no groom – most of them knew by this point,’ she said.

Another friend played the role of the vicar as Lulu staged a mock exchanging of vows with herself in front of around 30 guests. ‘I was extremely happy,’ she said.

‘So many friends showed up, as well as international and local journalists, film directors and feminist entrepreneurs.

‘Marriage is an expression of love and commitment, however for many people back home, it is still considered the only way to guarantee a woman’s financial security. I had worried about coming off as stupid but to have such a strong intellectual group of friends behind the idea, that was all the validation I needed for the choices I have made.”

Her parents didn’t attend the big day but she did go and see her mother to explain her choice.

“When we talked the next day she was a bit confused and slightly hurt, but explained that by even wearing a wedding dress it proved I was ready for marriage,’ she said.

“My father still maintains that he doesn’t know what to say.”

The wedding wasn’t legally binding – as you can’t legally marry yourself.

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