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No bride, no groom, I do: Montana’s proxy weddings on film

23rd April 2018

Read about our new documentary, Absent From Our Own Wedding in The Guardian

US state allows marriages in which neither party is actually there, explored in documentary Absent from Our Own Wedding.


For some nervous betrothed couples a proxy marriage might sound too good to be true: if there really were such an easy way to avoid the stress and fuss of a wedding ceremony, surely everyone would do it?

But marriages in which neither the bride nor groom are present happen all the time, and not only in countries with very different customs and laws to Britain.

The award-winning British documentary maker and former actor Debbie Howard recently released the first film about a US duo who run a thriving proxy marriage business from their rural home in Flathead county, Montana.

Her film Absent from Our Own Wedding tells the remarkable story of the retired husband and wife team Tom and Teresa Kennedy, who conduct about 500 weddings a year for a fee of $750 (£530), without ever meeting a blushing bride or a gallant groom.

Montana is the only US state where double proxy weddings are legal and the Kennedys believe their business, Armed Forces Proxy Marriages, offers a useful service to couples who cannot arrange to be together on their big day.

Tom Kennedy said: “I stumbled on this law and now we just love doing it and we want to carry on. We are not doing it for the money. We are fine, because Teresa was a stockbroker and I worked in public service for around 25 years, including a long time in the fire department.”

The obscure Montana law dates back to the 1860s, Tom explained, and was initially a way to help out male miners. “All the women were on the east coast and it was not seen as proper to bring them to tough all-male mining communities to get married,” he said.

Teresa, 56, regularly stands in for either the bride or the groom, who can be same-sex, while a colleague steps up to play their intended. Tom will often conduct the ceremony.

In the past double, proxy marriage was possible in Montana for anyone who applied from anywhere in the world, but 10 years ago the law was changed. Now one of the two getting married must be a resident of Montana – or on active duty in the armed services.

“Outside of Montana very few people have heard of this,” said Tom, 66. “It is very obscure and even federal officials know nothing about it. The fact is, in Montana you do not even need to be a magistrate or a judge to marry people. You just have to appear to be of sound mind to those who are present at the time. You could even marry yourselves.”

Howard’s documentary, made by Big Buddha Films, was shot in Montana last year and is now showing as part of the Real Stories strand on YouTube.



Dogwoof Pop Up Cinema – book a screening of Still Loved

11th July 2017

We’re delighted that Dogwoof, one of the premiere documentary Distributors is now hosting Still Loved on their pop-up cinema platform.

You can now book a group screening wherever you like. Suitable for Film societies, Film clubs, film nights, baby loss support groups, midwifery training groups and others.

It’s simple and easy to do.  Click here to find out more about how it works.

Make your booking.




Still Loved on DVD

30th May 2017

Still Loved is now available to buy on DVD. If you would like to order a copy of this critically acclaimed documentary, please visit the Still Loved shop.

  ★★★★ Remarkable candour‘  The Guardian 
 ★★★★★  ‘Vital Viewing’    Vulture Hound 



Documentary, Still Loved, Uncategorised

Still Loved special screening for MPs in House of Commons

14th March 2017

We’re delighted that there was a special screening of our documentary, Still Loved for MPs in the Houses of Parliament on the 13th March at 7pm.

Organised by Will Quince MP  of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss and Tony Perkins MP, who are working hard to raise awareness of babyloss and hope to help us get Still Loved out to as wide an audience as possible and on TV.

Big thanks to Will and Toby for organising this event and let’s hope it helps to break the silence around stillbirth and baby loss. Thank you very much to all the MPs that attended the screening.

Here are some feedback tweets:

Will Quince MP @willquince
Please ask your MP to join me in writing to the BBC Director General asking that the BBC screen the @StillLovedDoc documentary on #babyloss

Greg Mulholland @GregMulholland1
Tonight I joined @willquince & MPs to watch @StillLovedDoc, a deeply moving & remarkable film on #stillbirth #babyloss. Show it @bbctrust!

Will Quince MP @willquince
@MarcusInStroud @StillLovedDoc @BigBuddhaFilms it really is very special, moving personal accounts from very brave people.

Mark Durkan MP @markdurkan
Viewed powerful @StillLovedDoc on #babyloss by @BigBuddhaFilms in HoC tonight. Back @willquince call on BBC to rethink screening refusal.

Will Quince MP @willquince
I will be writing to the BBC Director General to encourage the BBC to show @StillLovedDoc and help break the silence on #babyloss, will you?

Gill Furniss MP @GillFurnissMP
Very moving film thanks @willquince

Will Quince MP @willquince
It was my pleasure to host a screening of the hugely moving and important film @StillLovedDoc by @BigBuddhaFilms tonight. BBC must show it.

Alice Jolly @JollyAlice
@GillFurnissMP @willquince A sincere thank you for your support of @StillLovedDoc @BigBuddhaFilms We need MPs to help us #endstillbirths

Child Bereavement UK @cbukhelp
Thank you @willquince for inviting us to the screening of @StillLovedDoc. A powerful and moving film looking at the impact of a baby’s death

Victoria Morgan @victoriaRM6
Off to see #StillLoved – being screened by the APPG on Baby Loss. Tissues at the ready. Thanks for arranging @willquince #endstillbirth

Will Quince MP @willquince
@StillLovedDoc my pleasure, we must get this film screened on the BBC. It really is beautiful and so moving. #notadryeyeinthehouse


Still Loved is released into cinemas

3rd October 2016

October is here. Baby Loss Awareness month. With it come the long awaited release of Still Loved into cinemas across the UK. These will be one night only screenings followed by Q&A’s with our team.

Our World Premiere is AMC Cinema, Manchester on Tuesday 4th October. This is almost sold out already. Followed by Cardiff on 7th October, which again has only a handful of tickets left. For a full list of screenings click here.

We’re delighted with how well the tickets are selling and are super excited about finally sharing this film with our audience.

Watch our trailer here

Read reviews and articles about the film from the press below.

Standard Issue Magazine

Manchester Evening News

The Good Funeral Guide

Nottingham Post


Women in Film and TV 


Documentary, Post Production, Still Loved, Uncategorised

Still Loved post production in full swing

1st May 2015

Post production on Still Loved is progressing well. The score is almost complete now, with Jack Ketch doing a wonderful job. A bit more tweaking and it will be ready.

Tom Foster has been working on our Sound Effects and Claire Ellis has been our dialogue Editor. Des Murray has been preparing the first stage of our on line, and we’ve been getting our credits ready.Nas Parkash is our Sound Re Recording Mixer, who is preparing for the final mix next week with George Foulgham. It’s sounding wonderful so far.


This week we completed our colour grade with our Colourist Chris Rodgers. Director Debbie Howard and Director of Photography, Emma Dalesman worked closely with Chris to get exactly the right look and feel for Still Loved and we’re delighted with the results, it’s looking absolutely gorgeous!

Big thanks to Chris for doing such a wonderful job. It was a pleasure grading in the beautiful grading suite at Molinare with full size cinema screen, instead of on a computer, being able to see the detail really helped us to get the best cinematic look for the film and work on subtle detail. We’re incredibly happy with the results.

Our Composer, Jack Ketch, has just completed the first pass on the score, which is sounding fantastic so far, there’ll be a bit more work to do on this over the next two or three weeks. We’re having a full 5:1 surround sound mix for Still Loved to give it the optimum finish for cinemas.