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The Rise of The Divorce Party


The Rise of The Divorce Party

My best friend is getting married to the love of her life. They’ve been together for over a decade, and I can’t imagine one without the other. In fact, if it weren’t for the lack of a ring and a wedding, I’d think they were already married.

 

Being a bridesmaid, of course, I took my duties very seriously. We did a full-on Beyonce-meets-Taylor Swift cowgirl theme with the hats, the cowboy boots and a rodeo— the full shebang! Too much Prosecco in, looking at my friend with her bridal glow, we began regaling stories of how the happy couple met; recalling the proposal and gushing about all of the things they love about each other. Slurring about how wonderful love is, “Isn’t it just so beautiful?’ one of the girls said, tears in her eyes.

 

As I boarded the flight back, I put on a chick flick to pass the time. “Isn’t it just.” I thought to myself. “Love is really something.”

 

I’d barely landed when I received a message from another friend with an invitation to celebrate another angle of love. “It's finally official—I'm divorced! Let's celebrate the end of a chapter and the beginning of something new. Join me for a night of freedom, fun, and fabulous company.” My friend had been going through a difficult time of it for months. The whole separation was a lengthy and messy process (in which we will not air the dirty laundry). It entailed a lot of wine, numerous breakdowns, one extreme hair cut and some serious weight loss. I was honestly in awe that we had got to the celebratory stage, and as the group chat lit up with differing opinions on throwing such an event, all I could think of was, ‘Why not?’. Technically, a funeral is a celebration of a life, and isn’t divorce the death of a relationship? Why shouldn’t we mark the closing of a difficult chapter in our friend’s life?

 

In the United Kingdom, the divorce rate is estimated at 42%, with 45% of those divorces cited as due to unreasonable behaviour, and 14% due to adultery. That’s a lot of divorces. 80,057 in England and Wales alone to be exact*, and the majority of divorces are instigated by women. All I could think about was why there weren’t more people waving goodbye and embarking on their journey to singledom in this way.

 

“I can’t believe I’m this age, and already divorced.” She’d sobbed to me one night. “I feel like such a failure”. I told her quite frankly, that being the same age, I was personally impressed that she’d been married and divorced when I hadn’t even had so much as a proposal. But witnessing the unfurling of my friend, and the dissolution of a marriage, was the wedding and the diamond ring really worth it? The divorce rate figures, although comforting to those going through the motions, were not reassuring to those considering the waltz down the aisle.


On the night of the party, she answered the door dressed in a bold and extravagant dress, looking more radiant than I had seen her in months. It was like the stress of the past year had been lifted from her shoulders and now, she was somehow lighter. Honestly, this was the glow-up my friend didn’t know she’d needed. Blasting from the speaker behind her was Beyoncé’s “Ring Off”, which had become her anthem in recent months, alongside Cher’s “Strong Enough.” There was Champagne and cake - which of course was ‘extra’. The aesthetic heart-shaped dessert with its beautiful buttercream piping had a not-so-tasteful, “He coulda’ had a bad b*tch” message emblazoned on it. It was over-the-top classy but trashy and I loved it!  She’d opted for a full-blown girl-power-music theme, with sparkly disco ball balloons and a giant glittery garland inspired by (the also divorced) Ariana Grande’s “Thank u NEXT”. Dancing terribly, we drank margaritas into the early morning, and when we finally flopped down on the couch, I looked up at that garland and asked her, “So, what’s next for you?”. “Well, next up, I’m going to pull an EmRata and split my engagement ring in two to make some stunning bespoke divorce rings. Then, maybe I’ll even take myself on a solo honeymoon.”

 

We raised our glasses to that as I realised that I’m an advocate for celebrating love in all its forms. Be it the start of a new love, the end of an old love, or choosing to love ourselves and celebrating that love with our friends. The ups and downs of relationships are all chapters in our lives, and each stage warrants its own party, and I am here for it.  Plus - anywhere there’s a cake, there’s a Pam.

 

*2022

 

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