Should You Celebrate Your Divorce with a Party?

Sometimes, divorce is the best solution for everyone involved. But, that doesn’t make it an easy process, nor is it easy to get used to the new normal after the fact.

Should You Celebrate Your Divorce with a Party?

It can be helpful for many people to think of divorce as a new chapter or adventure, rather than as a failure. Reframing divorce in a positive way can give cause for celebration, even if it is bittersweet.

The Rise of the Divorce Party

When you reach a milestone, whether it be getting a driver’s license, graduating from high school or college, or getting married, there’s usually a party. Even death is commemorated with some sort of service or celebration of life. Although divorce might not be a milestone you ever planned to experience, it can still be marked with a party.

Divorce parties have risen in popularity over the years, serving as a way to mark moving on from a previous chapter. As long as they’re done tastefully, with respect to others who are involved, a divorce party might be just the thing for lifting spirits and marking the first few steps on a new path after marriage.

What’s a Divorce Party?

Almost half of marriages end in divorce, and there is less stigma around a legal separation than there was 100 years ago. Still, you may be wondering when divorce parties became a thing, and what they tend to entail.

In 2016, Christine Gallagher released The Divorce Party Handbook: How to throw an unforgettable Divorce Party when “Divorce Do Us Part. She wrote the handbook to complement her Divorce Party Planner business, which was established after she hosted a divorce party in 2003 for a friend who experienced an uncoupling. 

Since then, casual and formal divorce parties have become more normal, serving as a way to show support for a loved one experiencing a separation.

How to Throw a Divorce Party

It may be tempting to throw out anything your ex has ever given you, or burn their photo and dump the ashes into the wind, but there doesn’t have to be any animosity at a divorce party. It can be a positive experience that allows loved ones to get together and show support for an unexpected and difficult life change. 

Invite Close Friends Only

No need to feed the trolls and invite everyone in your life to your divorce party. Treat it as an intimate celebration with the people who know you best and understand your reasons for hosting the event. Some outliers in your life may just be interested in getting the dirt on a couple's separation, but there needn’t be any room at the table for guests like that.

Focus on the Future

Leave bitterness at the door when having a divorce party. Use the gathering as a way to focus on the future and the new beginnings that await. Play childhood games like M.A.S.H. or make folded, paper fortune tellers to get everyone in the mindset that the divorcee is not going to dwell on the past during the party.

Plan Activities

Speaking of games, to avoid allowing the party to become a gossip-fest or a sad experience, plan activities that encourage positive attitudes about what the divorce can lead to. Curate the party around a central theme, and stick to games, music, and even food that support it. Plan a karaoke night and sing anything but love songs, attend a yoga retreat together to focus on practicing mindfulness, and watch movies with strong and capable actors successfully going it alone.

Are Gifts Required?

Usually, attendees feel obligated to bring a gift to any party, whether it’s for a housewarming, a new baby, or a birthday. While it’s certainly not required at a divorce party, some ideas of what to give to a divorcee include:

  • Contributions to a babysitter fund

  • A journal with prompts for practicing gratitude

  • A body pillow

  • Letters of encouragement

  • Meal delivery subscription

  • Tickets to events (and a promise to attend together!)

If your loved one is relocating after a divorce, household items may be the perfect gift to help them start over in a new place. There’s nothing wrong with practical gifts such as toilet paper, new bed linens, and new dishes can mean a lot. Imagine still using your items from your original wedding registry after a divorce; working with a clean slate after divorce can be healing.

Where to Host a Divorce Party

The wedding may have been lavish, but the divorce party doesn’t have to be unless everyone is on board. The venue could be as simple as someone’s living room, or guests could make a weekend out of it and stay in a hotel. If you’re looking for nightlife, head to one of the following cities:

  • Miami

  • Las Vegas

  • Malibu

  • Los Angeles

  • Chicago

  • New York

Some resorts may even include some perks if you mention you’re booking for a divorce party, similar to how they welcome honeymooners.

There's nothing wrong with staying a little closer to home when hosting a divorce party. Maybe attendees get together at someone’s home, in a church recreation room, or in a local restaurant for the celebration. If the weather’s nice, reserve an outdoor pavilion at a park, or host a BBQ in someone's backyard.

Social Media Dos and Donts

As lighthearted as the divorce party may be, consider keeping it off social media. In order to keep the peace between former partners and their loved ones, it may be necessary to avoid coming across as insensitive by posting divorce party photos online. There's nothing wrong with commemorating the new beginning, and being happy about it, however. If you want to share the party with others who can’t attend in person, consider creating a shareable Google folder with pics, or a printed album from a company like Chatbooks or Shutterfly. 

Get Your Ducks in a Row

Of course, before any of the celebrations can take place, a divorcee has to be in the right place mentally and emotionally. Divorce can be a complicated life event, especially when assets and children are involved. Be sure that you or your loved one is seeking out the counsel of an
expert attorney who can help with the transition from married to divorced. Your legal representative should be able to outline child custody arrangements, division of assets, and alimony or child support.