Plan a Divorce Party for Your Bestie

I’m assuming that if you’re here, someone close to you is getting divorced (either that, or you just really want to throw a divorce party, which like, you do you). You’ve probably said some variation of “I’m sorry” countless times. Maybe you’ve even cooked them dinner, or helped them find new housing if they need that. Maybe their dog is now your dog because their new apartment doesn’t allow dogs and their ex-spouse never liked the dog in the first place!

It’s important that you support your loved one through this transition in their life. A divorce is a big fucking deal! Your friend and their ex-spouse decided their lives would be better apart than together. The “better apart” piece is what the entire concept of a divorce party rests on. If your friend is excited about this next chapter of their life, a divorce party could be just the thing to herald in this change. And honestly, even if they’re devastated (which is an extremely valid and fair place to be post-divorce!), a divorce party could be a great reminder of all the love and relationships that they still have.

What is a divorce party, you might ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s a party to celebrate a divorce! Obviously, a divorce party only works when the celebrant is into the idea. Otherwise, it’s just weird.

I know that for some people, the idea of a divorce party seems crass. We’re celebrating the rupture of a supposedly eternal bond. And yeah, in a heteronormative society, maybe a divorce is a “failure” to uphold the belief that marriage is the end-all. But we’re queer! We don’t have to follow these norms. Sure, a divorce is a rupture, but it’s also a rebirth, and I think that’s worth celebrating. Plus, we celebrate so many other life transitions: new jobs, graduations, houses… why not a divorce?

If you’re throwing a divorce party, here’s what you need to know:

Make sure your friend wants a divorce party.

Emotions are presumably high around the divorce, and it’s entirely possible that a divorce party might sound fun one week and kind of awful the next! I’d recommend, if you get a “yes” to the first ask, to wait a week and then confirm that your friend actually wants you to throw the party before making any major moves. They might not be ready to celebrate just yet!

Carefully assemble the guest list.

Now is not the time to invite everyone your friend knows, nor is it the time to invite any of the shared couple friends that your partner used to have with their ex (unless they want that, of course)! The goal here is to make sure that everyone invited understands that this party should be fun and that they are ready to maintain that vibe for as long as is necessary! IMHO this guest list should not include couples but ultimately that is your and your friend’s decision!

Serve food. Lots of it.

I’m assuming people will come to this party with wine, because what else do you run to a friend’s house with when they’re getting divorced other than a bottle of wine, unless your friend is sober, of course! The last thing you want is a room full of people who are wine-drunk, empty-stomached, and on the verge of tears (because tears often follow wine-drunk).

To reduce the chance of sobbing, make sure there’s food! Bonus points if the food involved includes ingredients that weren’t a part of your friend’s relationship. If your friend’s ex hated cilantro, maybe this is the time to bring out a cilantro-heavy guac!

Think about activities.

Without them, it’s possible that the divorce party will turn into twenty people sitting in a circle shitting on the ex, and this party is explicitly not about the ex! It’s about your friend, and celebrating this next stage of their life!

The activities can be symbolic (vision board-making, or a tie-dye situation where your friend tie-dyes their wedding outfit), but they don’t need to be! You could also take turns whacking a piñata, lighting some sparklers, or even take it to the next level and make it a murder mystery party!

Cake is a requirement.

This should go without saying, because every other celebration has cake. However!! This cake should NOT be a divorce-themed cake. I looked up ‘divorce party cake’ on the Internet and all the cakes I saw were Extremely Not Cute (think ball-and-chain, broken heart, etc.). None of that exudes celebration!

Instead, maybe think about the kind of cake you’d expect to find at a garden party: optimistic, floral, abundant. All the things you want for your friend in this next phase of their life — in cake form!

Get a guestbook.

Weddings have guestbooks, and I think it’s fun to borrow from the wedding oeuvre here. Stick a Polaroid next to a guestbook with some sparkly gel pens and stickers, and have the guests leave notes for your friend. Maybe leave some prompts, too, just in case the guests need some inspiration!

Photograph everything!

OK yes, use the Polaroid I mentioned, but also — we have weirdly powerful phone cameras these days! Put them to work and document all the laughter and joy that comes out of this divorce party. Encourage the other guests to do this too, and create a shared album for everyone to add their photos and videos to at the end of the night.

Your friend may be in high spirits as the night winds down, but they might have a hard day in the future, and being reminded of the love that they have in their life might help, even if just a little bit.

Divorce Week is a celebration of taking a life-changing step, of coming out the other side of devastating trauma and being all the better for it. It’s co-edited and curated by Nico Hall and Carmen Phillips. Remember, you may be divorced, but you’re not alone.

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Ashni is a writer, comedian, and farmer's market enthusiast. When they're not writing, they can be found soaking up the sun, trying to make a container garden happen, or reading queer YA.

ashni has written 51 articles for us.

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