The Booming Business of “Divorce Parties”

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Feather boas, sashes, tiaras… no, it’s not a beauty pageant. It’s not even a bachelorette party, although between the giddiness and the flowing Champagne, that would be an easy mistake to make. Party planners and manufacturers of party supplies are raking it in selling everything from “decapitated groom” cake toppers to black “just divorced” sashes to nights on the town complete with VIP club entrance and limo transportation. 

Warren Berkowitz, owner of the company Forum Novelties, says sales of his company’s “Divorce Diva” line are gangbusters. “There is more interest in the line as time goes on,” he tells New York magazine. “Unfortunately, there’s a growing need for this.”

Berkowitz wouldn’t say how much his business had improved as a result of ex-wives letting their hair down and partying with the help of accessories like voodoo dolls and buttons with snarky sayings, but one of Forum’s top retailers says sales of divorce party supplies and favors are a runaway hit, up 30% in three years. “The trend is really picking up. I’d say out of ten orders, seven of them are divorce,” owner Janet Morante LaFauci tells New York.

One divorce party-planner in Los Angeles says her business has tripled since 2003, and even in a recession, she books three parties a month at $5,000 to $20,000 a pop (that’s a lot of alimony). In Las Vegas, party-planning company Vegas VIP says bookings for divorce parties have gone up by 70%, “a result of more people finding out about celebrating divorce by throwing a wild party or a laid-back night out with a group of friends,” it says. The company can arrange dance outings, club nights, pool parties, and even private dinners complete with a “divorce cake.”

Some of the accoutrements of divorce parties are decidedly adult-themed, like Forum’s “pecker piñata” or a Vegas VIP party at a strip club (which will set the host back a cool $179 per person).

Although these versions definitely aren’t for kids, piñatas are a hit at divorce parties. “We have recently divorced customers wanting a likeness of their ex,” says Ramon vanMeer, CEO of Fiesta Piñata in Fremont, Calif. “I guess it’s a way for them to get closure, but also to make fun of a bad situation.”

Another popular item is one you can’t get at a party supply store, though: the bride’s wedding dress. And shears, paint or even a grill with which the “divorce debutante” can destroy it. “It was my idea to burn my wedding dress,” divorce party hostess Mari-Rene Alu tells New York. “It was amazing.”

16 comments
Juan Carlo
Juan Carlo

God says NO TO DIVORCE. YOU ARE A IDOLATROUS AND SINFUL GENERATION. Repent of your SINs

Nan Eliana
Nan Eliana

There seems to be a lot of intensity and I dare say even acrimony centred on the divorce in the first place,  if one needs to big it up in a divorce party. I'm not sure if a divorce party - especially a lavish one - is an indication that one has come to terms with the divorce or if he or she is just looking for some kind of catharsis; and I'm not sure if the catharsis would be long-lasting either.   

CREWMEN amp; Co.
CREWMEN amp; Co.

We have thrown one or two Divorce Parties ourselves. Our topless waiters and bartenders are a hit with both sexes. We even created a special cocktail using icewine and either sparkling wine or champagne. Check us out http://CREWMEN.ca 

Sasha Knittel
Sasha Knittel

I'm 28 and still not married. I could have gotten married a few times already but I found someone who is so amazing that there is no question I would marry him and it would last. It's not about the dress or the parties or money. It's about meeting someone who makes you want to love everything and everyone. I think it's so unhealthy to celebrate divorce. Life is about coming together and strengthening love.

pc1397
pc1397

Exactly, at least there are some people out there that get it. Your last two sentences bear rereading, especially by anyone rejoicing in their divorce.

DM101010
DM101010

Can you imagine if it was men throwing these parties instead of women?  These feminists... No wonder guys my age are not getting married.

CREWMEN amp; Co.
CREWMEN amp; Co.

We've served and bartended Divorce parties thrown by men.... gay men and they've been some of the most entertaining events ever. However, we wonder if the divorce party thrown by straight men would include female servers and waiters. 

pc1397
pc1397

I find the idea of celebrating the breakdown of a marriage disturbing, to say the least. Painting divorce as a good thing can only have the effect of inducing a few more spouses into abandoning their partners for the illusory "greener grass" on the on other side. We are a sick society, downplaying the often emotionally crippling pain of the one divorced in favor of the "emancipated" partner. It is nothing to boast about, nothing honorable about it.

Mewslie
Mewslie

Try not to paint all people with the same brush huh. You may never use this service but I'm glad that it's available for people who do choose it.

bellaluna30
bellaluna30

Why does everything involving marriage have to be such a production?  From engagement parties to bachelor/ette parties to rehearsal dinners to showers to receptions, and now divorces, it seems the focus has been removed from the actual MARRIAGE to the pageantry surrounding it.  It's ridiculous!

A funny aside:  I did go to a karaoke club with a friend to celebrate the finalisation of my divorce - it took three L-O-N-G years for him to sign the paperwork - and I met my current husband for the first time that night.

Don Bartenstein
Don Bartenstein

 Because once-upon-a-time marriage was a lifetime commitment, and was celebrated as such, and divorce was unheard of except for the most heinous circumstances.  The current average U.S. attention span can't handle that kind of commitment....

pc1397
pc1397

Hilarious, I'm sure the first guy you promised to stand by through thick and thin is on the floor laughing over your good fortune.

Talendria
Talendria

You raise a good point.  Weddings have become an expression of self-indulgence which surely doesn't bode well for the actual marriage, since marriage often requires sacrifice.

Edit: I forgot to mention the debt problem. I think a lot of couples splurge on their wedding because "it's once in a lifetime!!" then discover the pitfalls of starting your married life in debt. Bad idea.

D_Coder
D_Coder

"Current" husband... sounds so...

CREWMEN amp; Co.
CREWMEN amp; Co.

Oh we do wish you'd finish that sentence.... please do.