Ireland’s divorce industry: baked wedding dresses and luxury retreats
Pastor Brenda O’Grady from Laois said: ‘No one knows how to approach the endpoint.
renda is an ordained interfaith pastor and family presider who celebrates ‘divorce rituals’ for couples who have broken up and want to mark the event in a positive way.
She started providing this service in 2007 after working as a divorce mediator – she has helped couples and families through the legal process to maintain a healthy and respectful relationship. phone.
Currently, it takes about two years to finalize a divorce in Ireland and some couples want to end the process. “Divorce ceremonies bring closure and healing,” she says.
Last year marked 25 years since Ireland voted 51% in favor of legal divorce.
In 2021, the number of divorce applications hit a record, with 5,856 people filing for divorce, up 11% from the previous record of 5,220 applications set in 2020. Although the divorce process can be challenging. conscious, long and difficult, Rev O’Grady says that when couples are no longer together, things tend to be more civilized.
“By the time the divorce happens, a lot of the trauma has passed and couples can be more mature and able to talk to each other,” she said. “The first two years apart, they can kill each other. In the third year, they started talking and by the fifth year, I saw a couple who could communicate properly.”
As well as suggesting an end, a divorce ceremony can be an opportunity to celebrate a new turning point in a relationship and friendship. If a couple has children, a ceremony can give them some peace of mind.
“For children, the difficulty is: ‘So [our parents] divorced, what happens now?’ They don’t know and that’s why the ceremony is needed,” she said. “This is an opportunity to say: ‘Just because we’re divorced, doesn’t mean we’re no longer a family. We will always be a family.’”
Different countries and cultures mark the end of a marriage in different ways. In Japan, some reunited couples smash their wedding rings with a mallet, Unitarian churches have a ceremony of hope, and in Judaism, there is a divorce document called Gett. In Ireland, the divorce ceremony is still a relatively new concept, but attitudes are changing.
Rev Brenda consulted with the former couple and their families to create a personalized ceremony. “The important thing that I emphasize in the ceremonies is that not all years are bad, but there are good times. I usually let the couple talk about the good times and the special moments — especially when the kids are there… I try to paint the good parts,” she said.
If the couple has children, she recommends talking about birthday celebrations, holidays, and traditions. “It is important from a mediation perspective that the connection is maintained and there is an openness…”
In one ceremony, an ex-couple and their two children met in a park they loved, shared and cherished family memories, then danced to their 1979 hit single. Sister Sledge We are Family.
In other ceremonies, couples symbolically mark their separation by stepping apart in a series of steps – each step represents a year of their relationship.
In another case, a woman used it as an opportunity to ask her husband for forgiveness for past infidelity and to remember the good times together. “The ceremony can be as simple as lighting a candle and saying, ‘I used to love you,’ and that’s it.”
Rev O’Grady believes it is an honor to celebrate her divorce as she is sharing a poignant moment with those present. She also presided over the wedding and said she has noticed a change in attitudes towards marriage.
“The attitude of people in their thirties and forties is… ‘We’ll do our best’. The idea of a lifetime commitment is foreign to the younger generation,” she said.
“Recently, I ran into a couple who were committed to each other for five years and then got back together five years later, and I thought that was great.”
While Rev O’Grady focuses on the holistic aspect of ending a marriage, Irish event organizer Steven Mangan helps organize divorce parties a bit louder. These types of feasts are an American imported dish and have grown in popularity over the past 10 years.
On Amazon, you can buy divorce party packages with balloon arches (similar to the one rapper and producer Dr. Dre bought to celebrate his divorce from ex-wife Nicole Young) and statement belts the wearer is ‘Divorce Lady of 2023’. There are ‘freedom’ crowns and candles that are said to smell like newly signed divorce papers.
There are heart-shaped piñatas that you can whip, and layered cakes that feature the bride and groom’s toppings stacked on top of each other, decorated with a cursive ‘Newly UnWed’ or cursive icing toppings. ‘I Do, I Did, I’m Done’.
There was even a book released in 2006 — Divorce party handbook, where Christine Gallagher, LA-based divorce party planner, shared her top tips. The aim is for you to let your hair down and celebrate your new life with lots of karaoke, snacks and cocktails.
Prior to Red stones actor Steven also hosts hen dos and other celebrations as part of his That’s Entertainment partying business plan. He said the demand for divorce parties has “sprung up” since the pandemic.
“People have engagement parties and now they have farewell parties,” he said.
He recalls a woman who invited all her old friends and her ex-husband to her divorce party. On the big day, she arrives with the guest book from their wedding under her arm. Mutual friends who didn’t attend the party were disqualified because she believed they were siding with her ex. “That was it, then they were his friends,” Steven said.
He’s also witnessed people tearing past wedding gifts apart, reusing them and giving them back to old wedding guests, and the women “throwing the dress in the trash.” , a trend that shows women coating or burning their expensive wedding dresses. He said a woman threw her dress at a barbecue.
Even so, Steven says, for the most part, divorce parties aren’t bittersweet. They are very happy – even emotional.
He says the majority of clients at divorce parties are women, but he’s also hosted a handful where both ex-husbands and ex-wives are present.
In these situations, the couple is toasting their new friendship and celebrating the love and fun times they had. It also gives organizers a chance to thank their friends for the emotional support they gave them during the test.
He said: “The divorce party was fun, it was really fun. “Over the next 18 months, the number of divorces will continue to increase.”
While some might describe divorce services as an industry, Melanie Murphy prefers to see them as support services that help individuals cope when going through challenging times.
Melanie is a divorce coach and runs retreats for people who have gone through a divorce, are in the middle of a divorce, or are contemplating going that route.
She worked as an executive and life coach for 11 years before going through separation and divorce in January 2020. She noticed the process – seeing an attorney. and going to court – very scary sometimes. She said: “I wish I had a divorce coach by my side during my own divorce.
She then enrolled in Divorce Training in the United States before founding the Divorce Training Academy in the UK and Ireland. She is also a member of the Family Law Society of Ireland and moderated Ireland’s first Divorce Summit this past February.
As a coach, she helps support people and gives them practical advice on personal finances, how to explain to their kids what’s going on, and how to budget for the future. She initiates divorce retreats to give everyone time to rest and think.
“People use it for different reasons. Some people are considering divorce and using it to go away and have some time to themselves, time to think about if it’s the right time for them,” she said.
“They might be in the middle of a divorce and [feel] overwhelmed and need to clear my head and talk to people who have been through the process. Others in attendance have gone through a divorce and are stepping out to the other side and are considering what’s next. [They’re asking] How do I start my own life again?”
A three-day luxury stay at a four-star hotel costs around €560 and includes a two-night stay, three-course meal, breakfast, private sessions with Melanie, training sessions, meditation , yoga classes and a group hike.
Melanie started offering retreats last year and also offers more budget-friendly options, starting at €297. She says retreats are of great benefit to people who are getting divorced and don’t have a support network or group of friends to turn to.
“Especially those who live in the countryside,” she said. “They’re lonely or they don’t feel comfortable talking to people because it’s a pretty small community… people are relieved to have people they can talk to, and that they’re not alone… because people may feel like they are a failure, they may feel guilty.”
While retreats create a space for discovery and sharing, she says there’s no pressure to discuss your personal circumstances with others. While there is still some stigma related to divorce in Ireland, she thinks that is starting to change.
“I think we’re in a different position now and people are more willing to talk about divorce, especially in the last two years,” she said. “I think it is changing slowly and it depends on where you are in Ireland. It is being talked about more in the media, but there is still a way to go.”
https://www.independent.ie/life/irelands-divorce-industry-barbequed-wedding-gowns-and-luxury-retreats-42314854.html Ireland’s divorce industry: baked wedding dresses and luxury retreats