By Nelson Groom
A former $5,000-a-week escort turned love coach who married herself earlier this year has now helped 275 men and women tie the knot to themselves in a mass US ‘solygamy’ ceremony.
New Zealander Emmajane Love, 33, wed herself in February before growing inspired to help other people follow in her footsteps and become their own soulmate.
Now the ex-call girl, known as EJ, has taken self-love to the world stage by acting as a celebrant in a union ceremony for people that travelled from far and wide to commit to themselves.
A sea of brides and grooms travelled from the world over and paid $2,000 AUD (£1,185) each to attend the very special occasion, held at a mansion in Phoenix, Arizona on Sunday (October 15).
EJ, who tied the knot to herself in a romantic beach ceremony in Australia’s Gold Coast this February to heal from a string of bad relationships, said: “It’s an honour to help so many on their healing journey.
“There was lots of tears and laughter when I said: ‘I now pronounce you married to yourself.’ Everyone jumped and down and threw rose petals in the air.
“There were lots of people coming up and kissing me, telling me how much they got out of it. It’s a real honour that people are now coming to me to facilitate self-marriage.
“I was very nervous before – it’s like any other wedding, you want it all to go right. But the meaning of marriage is evolving and that’s what this is about.”
EJ, who is originally from Christchurch but now lives on the Gold Coast, said most people who tied the knot to themselves over the four-day event were women aged 20 to 50.
They came from as far afield as South African, Sweden, Germany and Korea and there were also a number of grooms in attendance – including a gay married couple who committed to themselves to deepen their own relationship.
The service involved partnering up to recite vows of self-love before attendees declared commitment to themselves and then celebrated with music and dancing.
Many donned special dresses and glittering headpieces for the occasion and some even bought wedding rings for themselves as a symbol of their commitment.
Earlier this month EJ revealed how she married herself to celebrate her own healing process after a series of unhappy relationships – and said most people came to her for the same reason.
The former sex worker became a self-described ‘love-priestess’ after running a brothel in Perth, Western Australia for several years and earning up to $5,000 (£3,000) a week.
But she ended up in codependent relationships and partying to numb her emotions and realised people often sought escort services because they needed emotional guidance, not sex.
EJ said: “During the ceremony everyone partnered up and looked into each other’s eyes. They had to open up and say; ‘this is why I love myself, this is the commitments I’m going to make’.
“I gave a speech about my own healing and read the poem out. Everyone closed their eyes and put their hands on their heart. You could feel how powerful it was.
“Some of them had bought rings, most deliberately bought dresses or headpieces for the occasion.
“Most people have been through something in a relationship and they haven’t been honouring themselves.”
In total approximately 200 people took part in the self-marriage event over four days, with 60 men and women attending the biggest ceremony on Sunday.
EJ has previously organised 41 self-nuptial ceremonies in retreats across Australia costing up to $2,600 AUD, but said her American group ceremony had the strongest sense of community yet.
But she believes the sologamy movement is just getting started, as traditional ideas of marriage shift in modern directions.
The 33-year-old added: “There was more of a communal feeling. There was a multi-cultural connection of people from all over the world.”
“I think this is transcending a new movement, people are becoming more and open to this and realising how much they can benefit from honouring themselves.”
One of the participants was Krystal Patience, from Vancouver, Canada, who said she felt as if she had ‘grown into herself’ after the ceremony.
She said: “I’m not afraid to love myself and have a ceremony to proclaim it. It was so sweet.
“I have like I have relaxed into myself. It’s a vibrational frequency. It’s subtle.”
PR worker and mum-of-one Linda Sherran also took part in the ceremony – despite being already married.
She said: “I as a person am a giver and I give to my community, my daughter, my husband, my work and there’s so little time left for me.
“I was not giving myself the self-love I needed. To come here and meet EJ and marry myself was really transformative and something that was a good wakeup call that I really needed.
“I’m going to get married to myself every day, because I really had forgotten and lost myself, especially being a mum. I was putting my daughter first 100 per cent and I had forgotten to love myself.”