'With this ring, I me wed'
(CNN) — Do you like you? Perhaps you ought to put a ring on your delightful self.
Mention "self-marriage" in any given group, and many people will likely chuckle over the notion of a sad, slump-shouldered bachelor who's given up on the idea of ever finding love, or a gift-grubbing girl just in it for the gravy boat and stand mixer.
Jewelry designer Jeffrey Levin and branding and consulting expert Bonnie Powers are hoping to march in and alter that perception with their new "I Married Me Self-Wedding In a Box." The husband and wife team raised $6,116 in a recent Indiegogo campaign to produce and market the kit, which contains a handmade ring, ceremony instructions, three "Promises To Me" and an affirmation card for each day of the week.
It's not about giving up, they say, but rather about lifting up and celebrating the singular awesomeness of yourself. CNN spoke with Howard about the importance of saying "I do!" to you and why the couple is so wedded to the notion of self-marriage. An edited transcript of the conversation is below.
CNN: If you make a public declaration that you're marrying yourself, does that mean you've resigned yourself to being alone forever?
Bonnie Powers: This isn't about waiting for the right one. "Well, I haven't met the right one, so I'm just going to marry myself." It's so not about that. We reframe it to say that when you love yourself, increase moments of positivity, and can amplify your own sense of awareness about your emotional state, it increases your health.
Happiness is contagious. Let's say you're an individual person who does this on your own and you tell your family, "Hey, I just married myself, you should do it!" People might say, "WHAAAT?" But when they understand that it's about affirming that you have all this love and importance, they get it.
And when you do this in front of or as part of a group, being socially connected and supporting each other and creating community around it definitely amplifies the experience.
At our own wedding, after we said our vows, we had our guests marry themselves. We had 120 people there and after each vow when we had people say that they promised to do it, and they together said, "I promise!" there was joy and elation on their faces. People had their fists in the air. The energy of that was pretty incredible.
CNN: What if someone feels shy about doing this in front of people?
Powers: It's not crucial, but it does enhance. For an individual person, this can be incredibly powerful. Some people might feel self-conscious in a group. And if doing this alone is a way they can reflect and come to the same place at the end, I support that. The kit is written for an individual but does have some alternate copy for a group.
CNN: Have people worried that this could be seen as a selfish act?
Powers: There have been questions around the idea that our society has become very "me, me, me" focused, and people wonder if this ritual is just about that. They're not necessarily seeing the deep meaning behind it.
Part of it is being able to relate to the notion that this ceremony is a very authentic and loving thing that is symbolic, and not meaning to replace the idea of marriage -- if that is your thing. Some people are in committed relationships and they're not actually married. It doesn't have to be about that.
CNN: What exactly is the goal of marrying yourself?
Powers: There's a lot about self-wedding that is symbolic. It's about acknowledging that you are a lovable, adorable, amazing person with all these fabulous qualities, and sometimes that's really hard to stick with.
When we have experienced the ritual with people, we see that it centers and focuses them on themselves and gives them some guidelines. Some of us have done a lot of work on ourselves. I studied yoga to deepen my understanding of various philosophies and take my yoga off the mat and into the world. Some people have done a lot of therapy or gone to a lot of groups. Not everybody has and some people don't know how to find that place within.
We wanted to give anybody the opportunity, whether they are totally evolved and have been on that path for a long time and know how to get there or if they haven't entered that path to self-actualization and awareness. This can offer a road map.
CNN: What happens in the ceremony?
Powers: What we created is reflective of what we went through, asking ourselves, "What are the things that you want to do? What is the place that brings you joy?" It may be a memory or something sensory. Maybe you just love the beach and want to do this there. If you want to bring food and drink and wine or do something celebratory with Champagne, think about that. You can bring music.
In the preparation, you get to think about the qualities you really admire about yourself, that build you up and make you feel lovable. We also ask people to think about the things that trip you up. Do you need to work on your self-esteem? Maybe you've made some mistakes and continue to judge yourself.
Part of the path to loving yourself is forgiveness. We wanted that to be a very strong part of that process, and the ceremony takes you through as a way to get started and ground yourself. It talks about the symbolism of the ring and takes you through each of the three different vows.
CNN: How important is the ring?
Powers: There's a notion about these micromoments of positivity and that those add up. You need reminders sometimes that you can have positive moments in your life. Some people might carry around a piece of beach glass that they found, and it gives them a feeling of being connected to nature. People might hold in their hand, or touch an object that has some kind of symbolism.
The idea of the ring is the same thing. You have something that you are wearing that reminds you to come back to yourself and focus on the present and what makes you loveable and brings you happiness and joy.
We have a lot of discussions about the ring. Jeffrey didn't want it to be a throwaway object, something people wouldn't think is important. We wanted it to be sterling silver, and we also know that some people really like to wear gold. We find that people are adding it to the engagement and wedding bands that they already wear.
CNN: Where do you see this going? Is it a movement?
Powers: Certainly we would love the idea of people looking within themselves and recognizing their awesomeness -- because we all have awesomeness inside us, and we get tripped up and forget. Part of what Jeffrey and I want is for more people to focus on that in the most selfless way, so happiness and joy can spread.