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With her 40th birthday approaching and no potential husband in sight, Yasmin Eleby chose to gift herself with the elaborate wedding she’d always dreamed of. However, instead of vowing to love, forgive and honor a significant other, the Houston resident made the lifelong promises to herself.

The ceremony was held at the Houston Museum of African American Culture on Saturday, January 3 and included 10 bridesmaids and three ministers, who assisted with the spiritual ceremony. She was walked down the aisle and given away (or as Black Art in America put it, given back to herself) by her mother. Entertainment for the evening included live music provided by guitarist Ben Black, poet Deidra Smith and singer Rennette E. Lucien. The ceremony was coordinated by event planner Darrell Colone.

“I really don’t have the words to adequately describe the plethora of emotions that I’ve felt over the past few weeks, particularly on Saturday, January 3rd,” the bride gushed on Facebook. “I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support that was shown to me during my celebration of love and life. Shana, Sandra, James, Deidra, Rennette, Brandy, Ben, and Darrell: every word that was said and sung was absolutely perfect for the occasion.

I couldn’t imagine the ceremony being any more poignant and meaningful. You really gave me, as well as everyone in that room, some valuable advice and things to think about. When I was singing ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ and got to the second verse I was instantly struck with the realization that I am indeed ‘flying!’ I’m doing so many things that I only dreamed about and never thought would be possible. I want to encourage each of you to spread your wings and fly! You are not too old and it’s not too late to try something different, learn a new skill, travel to exciting places, etc….

Don’t be afraid to take risks. I’ve learned that family and friends are always willing to welcome you back home if/when you decide to return. Thank you once again to each and every person that took the time out of their busy schedule to help me celebrate turning 40! A special thanks to all of my beautiful sisters, sorority sisters, and friends that stood up with me. I truly appreciate your sacrifice to be with me that day. It was great seeing so many friends (old and new) and family there.”

Interestingly, Eleby first announced that she would be marrying herself back in May of 2013 on Facebook.

“Did you guys really think I would get married without letting anybody know????? I want all y’all to dance at my wedding so I wouldn’t do it without you! So be ready by 2015!!!!!!” she announced to friends.

Honeymoon plans are unclear, but according to BAIA, Eleby enjoys traveling and intends to visit Cambodia, Laos, and the jazz festival taking place in Dubai this year.

While some have applauded the bride, expressing that her ceremony demonstrated the ultimate act of self-love, others have criticized her for being “desperate” and making a mockery of marriage.

What are your thoughts on Yasmin’s decision to marry herself? Check out more photos from the ceremony on the following pages.

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