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First Dates: What viewers failed to understand about the woman who married herself

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Kayleigh Dray
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First Dates Melissa Denton who married herself

First Dates’ Melissa caused a stir on social media when she revealed that she was married to herself, but here’s what they all missed….

Channel 4’s First Dates used to be a bit of light-hearted fun of a weekday evening – but this new series has made a point of introducing us to incredible people with stories that truly make us think.

And, in last night’s episode (30 April), we were introduced to Melissa Denton, who sent shockwaves over Twitter when she revealed to her date that she was already married… to herself.

“It looks like you’re married,” said her date, gesturing at the diamond ring glistening on her hand.

“I am!” she replied proudly.

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Denton went on to explain that she had been married and divorced twice, but it was getting dumped by text on Christmas Eve that prompted her to propose to herself in January last year. She eventually got hitched in a £4,000 wedding in Osmington in June, with 130 guests watching her say “I do” to herself, and Chesney Hawkes’ The One And Only blasting out as she walked down the aisle.

Naturally, viewers had a lot to say about the revelation.

However, while many were quick to poke fun at Denton, her reasons for doing so were actually pretty empowering.

Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, she explained that she came up with the idea in 2015, after learning about Sophie Tanner, who similarly married herself in 2015.

“I thought it was wacky, but it also made a lot of sense,” said Denton. “I was so down, and knew that I needed to learn to love myself before I would be able to attract the right people into my life. For years, I had gone from relationship to relationship, losing myself in the process.

“It was time to put ‘me’ first in a way to affirm that I could be happy on my own and to move on from the [previous] relationship.”

She added: “The rest of my family got on board… though my brother didn’t bring his son as he thought he wouldn’t understand it and he didn’t want to confuse him. I’m hoping that his opinion has now changed. It was my 80-year-old mother who was the hardest to convince. Like everyone else, though, she soon came around.”

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“I got married to myself; I was ridiculously happy and the vibe was amazing”

“Two weeks after the wedding, I was ready for a new challenge – and to start cheating on myself – so I applied to go on First Dates,” added Denton, who plans to renew her vows every single year. 

“I didn’t consider that for some people it might be a bit too mad.”

Thankfully, Denton’s date didn’t think she was “too mad”, being a little more open-minded than many First Dates viewers.

Indeed, he soon got on board with her message of self-love and celebration, and even agreed to meet her (and her spouse – natch!) for a second date. Fingers crossed that they end up joining the ranks of all the First Dates couples who are still together – but, if not, we have a feeling Denton will be more than happy to embrace the single life and continue to prioritise her own happiness in a unique and empowering way.

First Dates airs on Channel 4 every Tuesday at 10pm, with the same episode repeating at 11pm on Channel 4+1.

For those who don’t have time to work around prescriptive TV schedules (and we hear you, guys), don’t despair: if you miss any of the new episodes, they can easily be found and watched on Channel 4 Catch Up.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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