Your friend just signed her divorce papers and you’ve been by her side through the highs and lows (mostly lows) since day one. Now, it’s time to party. It might seem odd to you to celebrate the demise of a marriage with a divorce party, but it’s probably not so weird to the guest of honor who’s more than ready to put the whole ordeal behind her. In fact, these congratulatory bashes are going to be big this year, according to Pinterest. And it makes sense—a celebration with her besties might be just the boost she needs to start anew with the right foot forward. If you’re feeling inspired to host, we have some sage advice that’ll ensure the shindig is a success.
1. Keep It Intimate
The most rewarding kind of divorce party is one that involves only the close friends and family members who supported the guest of honor through the darker days of the whole ordeal. After all, divorce is a deeply personal life event, so it only makes sense to limit the guest list to the divorcee’s inner circle.
2. Pick a Location
Book a fancy hotel suite, plan a glamping trip, head to a wellness retreat, or ask your friend if she’d like to have the party in her own home, be it the one she once shared with her spouse or a new pad she’s breaking in. There is no shortage of options when it comes to the party venue—the most important thing is that you pick a location where you know the guest of honor will be able to let loose and truly enjoy both the occasion and the company present.
3. Send Invitations
Given that the guest list will be limited to her closest friends, it might be tempting to send out a casual text to see if everyone can make it. However, this is a real occasion, not just your average weekend hang, so we suggest you formalize the affair with proper invitations. Bonus points if they include a cheeky slogan that fits the theme. (Think: “‘Til Divorce Do Us Part.”)
4. Set an Intention
Whether her divorce was bitter and nasty, quiet and sad or something else entirely, the intention of a divorce party is to recognize the feeling of empowerment one gets when starting a new chapter, and it’s important that everyone is on the same page about that. Fortunately, those invitations we told you to send out are an ideal way to communicate the message that, having signed the papers and finalized the divorce, your friend is ready to celebrate a fresh start.
5. Keep the Vibe Upbeat
Empowerment is the intention, so resentment and melancholy have no place at this party. Be sure to keep the negative energy away with bright decorations, upbeat music (more on that later) and a light-hearted atmosphere.
6. Invite Guests to Share Their Experiences
Chances are there was a time when your friend’s divorce left her feeling more defeated than triumphant and she had to lean on the friends in attendance to lift her up. Now that she’s giving off those goddess vibes, ask her support system (i.e., guest list) to do the same by sharing empowering moments from their own lives. Bonus: This bonding sesh will go a long way towards keeping the vibe upbeat, too.
7. …But Keep Them In Check
Once conversation starts, someone is going to have to keep it flowing in the right direction. That means that the host or an appointed guest might have to assume the responsibility of making sure no one in attendance strays too far from the spirit of the event with negative talk. In other words, if one of her besties goes down a rabbit hole and starts bashing an ex a bit too much, be prepared to shut it down and redirect the conversation.
8. Serve Food
This one is sort of a no-brainer, since good eats are a prerequisite for a successful party of any kind. Again, there are options here—potluck dinner, catering service, cheese platters and finger foods; just be sure to pick a menu that has something for everyone, including those with dietary restrictions, and features the guest of honor’s favorite foods.
9. Celebrate with a Toast
Pop a bottle of bubbly, share some words of empowerment and praise, and drink to the guest of honor’s future. The wedding toast from yesteryear isn’t making the guest of honor misty-eyed anymore, but this one will.
10. Get a Cake
A showstopping cake is never a bad idea—namely because half the fun of a divorce party is that it provides an opportunity to turn wedding rituals on their head. Plus, everyone likes cake, and the guest of honor certainly deserves to have hers, and eat it, too.
11. Pick a Theme
A clear intention will certainly suffice, but a clever theme can really pull the party together. Get creative and think about the guest of honor’s personal circumstances. If she’s still living in the same home she shared with her spouse, perhaps a redecorating party is in order, while a spa themed party is a perfect way to pamper a friend who has just reached the end of a long and arduous divorce. Bottom line: There are as many divorce party themes as there are fish in the sea, so get creative and make it fun.
12. Bring Gifts
Whether it’s a favorite throw blanket or a set of crystal wine glasses from her wedding, there’s a good chance the ex absconded with some of the goods they once shared. Divorcees who had to move out could also use a hand in making their new home feel cozy. The solution? Set up a registry or ask everyone to bring a small gift to replace some of the material possessions the guest of honor had to part with when she and her partner went separate ways.
13. Plan an Activity
Remember how we told you to keep it upbeat? Well, the best way to keep the good times rolling is to have activities lined up. Break out some games, have a karaoke session, burn a wedding dress—any fun and engaging activity will do the trick when it comes to getting the parting going in full gear.
14. Make a Playlist
The guest of honor likely already has a playlist from the early days of her divorce, but none of the tunes she used to listen to while crying into her wine glass are appropriate for this occasion. Instead, play DJ (or hire one) and blast some feel-good songs that fit the theme. Feeling Good by Nina Simone, perhaps?