• Heather Graham

Who needs a groom?

Updated: Nov 23, 2020

Laura Mesi was not your average bride. Why? Because she was also the groom. I caught up with Italy’s first 'solo-bride' to see what life is like after her lavish wedding.

relationships
Photo: Micaela Martini

It’s a trope in many high school films, two young people agree to marry each other by a certain age if they are not already, but what happens when you make that pact with yourself? As Laura’s 40th birthday came around the corner, she knew wedding bells were ringing.

Laura, 43, is based in Milan and has a busy life with her friends, family and her job as a choreographer/fitness instructor. She had no idea her wedding story would travel around the world, but she is still glad she did it. She said:


“The reaction from the web was very mixed. Some thought I was joking and others, especially

women, supported my choice.”


Laura's not anti-relationship, she just realised infinite happiness would come from loving herself first. After a 12-year relationship ended and the subsequent dating pool was anything but desirable, she decided to make a statement with a solo-wedding instead of getting married to someone mediocre because of her age.


“In my opinion, most men today are very focused on themselves and don't have the desire and dedication to engage seriously with a woman; either they are married or have complicated baggage, or at the age of 40 they just want to have fun."

Laura didn't mind being 'single' but she felt she had to show others that it was possible to be single and happy at her age and it wasn't an unfortunate situation she ended up in.


However, the wedding was no small shindig, it was a full-on, no expenses spared, 70 people on the guestlist type of wedding.


relationships
Photo: Micaela Martini

“I didn’t think I would spend that much money but as I was continuing to organise and plan everything day after day, I knew I wanted this wedding to be special."


The wedding was packed with people and despite the lack of a partner, it was very emotional, especially when Laura was explaining her choices to her guests.


“Everything was perfect, only the groom was missing! During the ceremony, I read out four pages that explained the true meaning of my wedding, and the hall fell silent in the emotion of it all.”

Laura’s own parents were happily married for over 30 years until her father sadly passed away and both her brother and sister have been married to their partners since they were teenagers.

“My whole family still hopes that I can soon meet my ideal man. When they heard the news that I would marry alone they reacted with amazement, disbelief and, like all the people around me, no-one believed that I would really do it until I did.”


Instead of putting all of her energy into one person, Laura has had a lot more time to cultivate her relationships with her friends and family. The only thing she is a little worried about is having kids, she does want them but finding the time and partner has been difficult.


“I’ve always imagined that the perfect family consists of two parents and three children… today I am 43 years old and I don’t exclude the idea of having a child, but I know that I can't wait long.”

relationships
Photo: Micaela Martini

Even though she wants children, Laura refuses to have them with someone who will just fill that role for her. If she meets someone in the future she would be delighted, but she (and now the world) knows that a man is not essential for her happiness.

“Unfortunately, I no longer believe in fairy tales, the ideal partner just does not exist. I would be happy to meet someone and share my life but until then, I will continue to be happy and shout to the world that ‘to love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance'.”


Three years on and Laura still believes the solo-wedding was the right thing to do, especially as she continues to receive messages of encouragement and thanks for sharing it to this day. Italy is a society that still largely focuses on finding love and raising a large family, so a stunt like Laura's has helped a lot of people get more comfortable with themselves.


“In Italy, and the rest of the world, the main goal of life is that everyone must find the person to share their life with, otherwise their life has little value.”

Although Laura does not have a partner, she has not become immune to the woes of relationships. Her job can be quite psychological and sometimes it requires her to have a lot of empathy for her clients. Sometimes she has found that she is actually living a more fulfilling life than a person who has been married for decades.

“As people slowly open up and tell me all about their lives, I can assure you that only one in ten people are really happy with their life in a romantic relationship.”


For anyone struggling, Laura has some advice.

relationships
Photo: Micaela Martini

“Everyone must do everything they always want to do, without harming anyone. Love yourself intensely and do nothing just to please a man. If love comes, very well, but you can still be happy on your own."


Laura even has a tattoo of the word ‘happiness’, which she got after her dad died and it is something she lives by.

“I immediately had to find a reason to live, and not to die with the disappearance of a wonderful man that I loved with all my heart. I didn’t have to be sad because he was gone but I had to be happy and proud to be lucky enough to have been his daughter.”


There is no doubt that there are pros and cons to being single, but being a 'sposa single' was the right choice for Laura. She had her wedding on her own terms with all her nearest and dearest around her, and that was all that was necessary for her special day.

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