We all know about fairytale weddings.
But what about fairytale divorces?
Jack White (of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather) and his model/musician wife Karen Elson have characteristically opted to end their marriage with a bang, as opposed to a whimper.
According to a recent statement released by their rep, the pair announced their amicable divorce while concurrently announcing an event marking the end of their six-year-long marriage.
“In honor of that time shared, we are throwing a divorce party,” reads the statement. “An evening together in Nashville to re-affirm our friendship and celebrate the past and future with close friends and family.” Invitations described the party as , “a positive swing bang hum dinger” with “dancing, photos, memories and drinks with alcohol in them.”
If the bringing together of two people into a brand new life together is worthy of uncorking champagne, surely the fresh start that divorce brings is also worth celebrating.
In the past, divorce has been regarded as shameful or even taboo. Social acceptance has been slow to arrive, but now that it’s here, such acceptance can swing the extreme in the form of divorce or closure parties.
Amaya, 31, was married in her early twenties. She and her husband separated in 2007, and the divorce was finalized earlier this year.
“It was my idea to throw a divorce party for myself in March when the papers finally arrived,” she says. “I figured since it was an amicable divorce, and my ex-husband had a serious girlfriend, why not celebrate having legal permission to move on?”
Amaya’s family is religious and do not condone divorce, so they were not involved in the proceedings. Her friends, however, were supportive.
“Most of my friends are dancers, so while there was food and drinking involved, for the most part we celebrated on the dance floor. ”
She says she’s glad that she marked the transition with a fun and supportive gathering.
“I feel like it marked a fresh start and celebrated my strength as a single woman starting over in the city.”
Toronto-based therapist Tracy B. Richards (tracybrichards.com) says that divorce parties can be healthy, depending on the context and intention.
“Is it the bashing of an ex?” she asks. “Or is it a support system to celebrate a new chapter in (someone’s) life? I think it can be a very healing experience if it’s used as a kind of a ritual in a very uplifting and positive way. (It should be about) putting away all of the feelings and emotions and ideas and scars”¦and making it your intention to move forward.”
Immediately after signing their papers, Andrea and her former husband jointly celebrated the end of their marriage with a divorce pub crawl with some friends.
“He and I are both such good sports about most things,” she says. “We were able to have a really great catch up and say some things that we would not have said otherwise. A little liquid courage, some love and understanding and great friends made for a fabulous night!”
But Richards cautions couples to remember that divorce always affects other people. Anyone planning a divorce party should be mindful that the divorce has likely upset a lot of friends and relatives, not to mention any children the couple may have had. In such cases, the involvement of family should be carefully weighed and divorce parties should be sensitive to frayed emotions.
Divorce is rarely pleasant, but it is sometimes necessary for the happiness of those involved. In throwing divorce parties, couples are simply embracing another major milestone in their lives.