You threw a party when you got married right? Probably more than one, if you did it right.
Flash forward to the Big D. And no, I don’t mean Dallas. Divorce. It happens. In my case it happened with a flurry of infidelities on my ex’s part and enough drama to fill a Lifetime movie. So what’s a girl to do when she finds herself smack-dab on the other side of what was supposed to be marital bliss? Throw herself a divorce party, that’s what.
If you've never heard of a divorce party, trust me, they are a thing, gaining in popularity since around 2008. But your familiarity with divorce parties probably rest mostly on how many friends you have getting divorced. I was only introduced to the idea when my close friend went through a divorce a couple years ago, and I threw her a party. Now here I am throwing my own.
I know I surely can’t be the only person standing in these shoes, I figured I would share my experience with some guidelines to make sure your divorce party is everything it’s cracked up to be.
Rule 1: Don't go straight from the court to the bar.
I learned this rule from my aforementioned BFF after throwing her celebration on the same day as the court proceedings that finalized her divorce. This is a bad idea. Do not throw your party on the same day everything is finalized. I don’t care how together you think you have it. Uncontested divorce or not, court is weird and it makes you feel weird and feeling weird can make you very emotional. This does not a fun divorce party make. No matter how tempted you might be to blow it out after court, wait.
Rule 2: Curate the guest list.
You thought long and hard about who you invited or didn’t invite to your wedding right? Your divorce party guest list should get the same level of scrutiny. Who do you really want by your side to both mourn and celebrate the next chapter of your life? (And, in my case, help royally roast your ex’s well-deserving hide.)
Rule 3: Just like in real estate, location is key.
When choosing where to throw your party, you need to decide if you want to be out in public or at someone’s home. Either way, be sure to choose someplace you are comfortable with and that was not a place you and your ex frequently enjoyed together. Nostalgia should be avoided at all costs.
Rule 4: Set conversation and tone guidelines (if only for yourself).
So by now most of your friends have heard the particulars of your divorce. A party is a time to celebrate, not rehash—although as mentioned above, when roasting is warranted, go for it! Keep the topics light and focused on the future. Celebrate the friends you have around you.
Rule 5: Burn, baby, burn? Not so fast.
If you research divorce parties online, you'll read a lot about burning your ex’s things. While I am all for therapeutic ways to channel emotions (I'm definitely not above destroying a PlayStation with a pickaxe), but burning things can get out of hand, and quickly. Just ask Left Eye (RIP). If there is any drinking involved at your party, it's just not a good idea. You don't have to schedule all your divorce rituals on the same night.
Rule 6: Get drunk, but not too drunk.
I get it—you're probably ready to toss back a cocktail and then some. I am right with you on this one. Riiiiight with you. I may or may not be having a drink with you as I write this. That said, be careful not to overindulge. As we all know, too much booze can make you emotional, and can lead to bad decision-making— and this party is correcting one bad decision already, isn’t it? So imbibe carefully. For my party I instituted a three-drink maximum for myself. (Note: three drinks might not sound like much, but I drink whisky, straight up, so at 96 lbs that’s plenty.) Keep in mind what you are drinking is just as important as how much and don’t let anybody force-feed you booze. Even if you're ending a marriage you'd rather forget, this is hopefully a night you want to remember.
Just like anything else in life, if you follow the rules, your divorce party will set the tone for your newly free and independent life. That said, going through a divorce is tough, and despite how common it is, feelings of guilt and shame make talking about it seem taboo. That's why I've decided to share my journey and what I've learned in the process. It’s a wild ride, so stay tuned and see you soon!