When one thinks of the concept of a divorce party, it sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Almost like saying a “happy funeral” or a “blissful suicide”.
But the concept is real: divorce parties exist. In fact, they have become a trend, as more people are finding it appropriate to celebrate breaking free from their crumbled unions.
But what exactly is a divorce party? How does it work? Who do you invite and what do you wear?
We spoke to two event planners who have divorce party experience, and they let us in on what goes into planning such a party.
But first, psychologist Thelma Ruele says having a divorce party can be a double-edged sword.
“A divorce party is basically throwing a party to celebrate one’s divorce. Most people have it on the day the divorce is finalised. Having a divorce party can be seen as a great way to purge. It can be a release, and can be quite a strong statement of celebrating one’s strength after getting out of a tumultuous relationship.
“The guests at the party can also be genuinely happy for the divorced individual, mainly because they had seen what they went through and are happy that they finally broke free of the chains of abuse,” Ruele says.
“On the other hand, divorce parties can be a mask. A facade. A way to hide all the feelings of resentment and hurt that one may feel. It’s similar to people who go on lavish shopping sprees to mask depression.
“They may feel the need to tell the world how free they are by throwing a divorce party, when in fact they are not. Some people can also use divorce parties as a way of being spiteful to their ex.
“So in essence, a divorce party depends on the reasons the person is having it in the first place, as well as the type of marriage they were in.”
Event planners, Thulani Khomo, founder of Thulani Khomo Events Management, as well as Nonkululeko Ndawo, owner of Letsatsi Events, weighed in and gave tips on what goes into hosting a successful divorce party.
They say these elements need to be taken care of:
“The cake should be obscenely decorated,” says Khomo. “It’s a far cry from the traditional wedding cake, and it shouldn’t look like it.”
“Perhaps have a cake that has one of the figurines pushing the other off the cake,” adds Ndawo.
“Another idea could be having broken shackles on top of the cake, or a cake that emulates an earthquake, with one of the figurines sitting on the edge comfortably while the other fights to crawl up.”
“You cannot have a divorce party at your house, as the undertone might be that your ex once lived there and their remnants are still there. So go all out. Perhaps a rooftop set up, or hire a club,” Ndawo says.
“Play music that talks about you being better off without that loser. Nothing that whines about heartbreak,” says Khomo.
“Burn your marriage certificate. You could also write down all the terrible things your spouse did to you and burn them as well,”
Khomo adds. “Overall, have fun. Remember, it’s all about you now. No longer do you have to act like Mr or Mrs so and so,” says Ndawo.