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Divorce parties growing in popularity

While divorce rates have been on the decline in recent decades, individuals in Maryland and elsewhere have taken an increasing interest in celebrating the ends of marriages. While critics of divorce parties have harshly compared the practice to "celebrating a miscarriage," advocates say they empower divorcees and help them to begin enjoying post-divorce life.

According to one divorce party planner, the growing prevalence signals "the changing societal acceptance of divorce. She explained, "It's not like the old days where divorce was shameful and you were left out of the dinner party invites." The planner said that she organizes about three divorce parties each month, with her business having approximately tripled since 2012. An online retailer that sells supplies for bachelorette parties has enjoyed a similar boom: "I'd say out of 10 orders, seven of them are divorce."

Many early divorce parties had strikingly different tones than those that have become common in recent years. For instance, former model Heather Mills took a lavish vacation with 25 friends in order to thank them for their support during her divorce from Paul McCartney, while two billionaire socialites held a gala following their amicable divorce to support each other in their new lives. However, many such gatherings now see party-goers armed with decapitated groom cake toppers, ex-spouse toilet paper and shirts reading "Divorced and on the prowl."

One 31-year-old woman threw exactly such a party following the finalization of her painful, two-year-long divorce, taking her friends out to dance and drink Champagne. "The marriage was over, but it was the start of the rest of my life," she said. Another divorcee celebrated an "un-wedding," burying her ring walking down the aisle to her wedding song played backwards.

Source: NY Magazine, "How Divorce Parties Became the New Bachelorettes," Michelle Ruiz, Oct. 10, 2012

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