Freelance writer, amateur photographer and qualified in Environmental Science ... I'm also a mum and a lover of all things Melbourne :)
Published October 12th 2012
When life gives you a cheater, make a margarita
Whilst there is mixed opinion on the rise of this new party trend, it is steadily gaining popularity. With every third marriage in Australia currently ending in divorce, there are large numbers of people finding themselves in this situation. How people chose to deal with this turning point in their lives is up to them.
Photo courtesy of myhumour99.com
No one enters a marriage lightly or without complete optimism and determination to make it work. Sadly, however, it often doesn't and it can be a traumatic and lengthy process to sort through the material, financial and emotional wreckage that accompanies this life event.
Once all the practical separation is over, it's a simple matter of submitting documents to the court and receiving an official piece of paper months later that verifies you are no longer married. With all the ritual and planning that goes into a marriage ceremony it's a very quiet, lonely, and sad, anti-climax of an ending to what was a major part of your life.
Whilst it is nice to signify the coming together of two lives with a party with people to support and celebrate with you with gifts and food and everything else that goes with a wedding. You need this support more than ever as an individual when you are getting divorced. Of course, the ending of a marriage is not a happy occasion and not something any one plans for. However, once the trauma is over and the dust has settled, there is a freedom, a sense of relief and a celebration is deserved, I believe, for the fact that it's over and that you made it through. It is also a happy occasion for someone that has a new chance to begin again and the fact that there is now a line in the ground marking the ending for what may have been many years of unhappiness within a relationship.
image courtesy of bigfatblog.co.uk
There are a number of ways you can go about having a divorce party, you can base it on some wedding traditions, have a theme, have it alone or even plan it with your ex partner. There are a few things to consider regardless of how you chose to do it.
Only have a divorce party if you are in the right state of mind (ie. you can't still be holding on to unresolved feelings of resentment or anger still be emotional raw. Allow enough time to pass after the break-up to feel emotionally ready for it.
With this in mind, the idea isn't to have an occasion to trash the ex. This will likely make it an occasion full of negativity, which may make it uncomfortable for some people and doesn't help you emotionally.
Only invite people that are happy to celebrate with you, there may be complications with inviting people that are still friends with you and your ex or people that just don't approve of the idea of a divorce party, also divorce parties aren't for kids.
Finally, it may be an idea to have a good friend host it for you or at least help you plan it.
The tradition of the bridal shower is one that is losing significance with ¾ of people that marry today having lived with their partner for some time before getting married, most people have all the things they are likely to need for their household. As a divorcee however, there is ultimately going to need to be a separation of assets, which leaves people with a need for household goods lost in the split.
As a friend of someone who is the process of getting divorced or has recently become a divorcee, a great idea of a practical way to help is to throw them a divorce shower. As well as replacement of items the ex may have taken with him/her, you could also pool money together for a much-needed relaxing getaway, or for a laugh there are loads of fun novelty gifts out there for the newly divorced. How about a number plate with 'my next husband will be normal'? an ex-husband/ex-wife voodoo doll?, or for help moving on 'Grow your own Mr, right'?.
'The First Time I Knew He Wasn't Right for You' – If you're able to laugh at what your rose coloured glasses may have been hiding early on, this may be an interesting and fun game. Your friends might have known it was going south before you did, perhaps noticing early on some tell tale signs said it wasn't going to last. In this game, everyone sits in a circle and each woman tells how she knew it wasn't going to last with your former prince charming.
Dart board/ Balloon popping - A photo of the ex is placed at the centre of the board or on to balloons. This is then used for target practice.
Piñata - a piñata representing the ex such as a clown or even a 'pecker piñata' can be made and filled with adult treats for a fun twist on a traditional party game.
Back on the market – if you're ready to go 'back on the market' guests can "fill in the blanks" on an online dating profile such as rsvp.com or match.com - they can write it for you, read them out loud and give a prize for the best one!
DIVORCEE GIRLS/BOYS NIGHT
Girlfriends or mates are always important but at times like divorce these friendships can be what gets you through. Just as you celebrate your 'last night of singledom' before you get married you can celebrate your 'first night of freedom' with your closest friends.
Whether you chose to have a big night out or a more sedate night in, any ideas that work for bucks nights/bachelorette party can work for a divorce party for girls. If you are going out you can go for the limo service to make it an occasion, and play scavenger hunt or similar games usually reserved for the pre-wedding celebrations.
1 in 3 brides will end up a divorcee (Image courtesy of photozou.jp)
Girls/Boys Night in – A girls/boys night in is a good chance to enjoy your new home, or celebrate what is now just your space with your friends. A movie marathon is an idea for a girls night in, be it divorce related movies eg. First wives club, The war of the roses, waiting to exhale etc. or just some feel good movies.
The ideas are limitless, just to mention a few, you could try; Life drawing class ,cooking classes, adventure or outdoor activities, a pamper day, or winery tour.
For the serious party planner, you may wish to consider a theme for a larger all-inclusive party.
survivor party theme (Image courtesy of beachultimate.org)
Survivor Party – based on a similar idea to the 'Survivor' TV series, could include desert island beach food, and beach based party decorations, summery cocktails. Music to link the theme could include "I Will Survive" – Gloria Gaynor, Survivor – Destiny's Child
Lemon Party – based around the idea of turning a negative into a positive, including a banner "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade", lemon based food and drink and yellow/citrus decorations.
Rock party – based around embracing your current status with the theme "divorce rocks". Decorations could be rock band based with bright vibrant colours and a party activity could include karaoke to songs like ' I will survive', So What – Pink, I'm Free - Rolling Stones, You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet - Bachman-Turner Overdrive, and Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac
Fancy a cheater margarita? (Image courtesy of public-domain-images.com)
A Wake – Fully engaging black humour, with the official divorce being a funeral, perhaps a wake is in order? Decorations can be of the black tablecloths and napkins, candles and Halloween style 'corpse bride'. You can even put out your wedding ring in a coffin and let your friends pay their respects.
Cocktail – A cocktail making night - get some creative guests to create some unique divorcee drinks or rename some old favourites. How about a Gin & Toxic, Cheater Margarita, or for the non-drinker a dissolution Diet Coke?
Everyone is different, and the very idea of this may seem distasteful to some. However, I myself am planning an event such as this in the coming months. I see a divorce party as a way of celebrating life going on, and a way of showing appreciation for what got me through my divorce, that is my sense of humour and friendships and support of those around me.