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.”