COACHELLA VALLEY, Calif. - The Coachella Valley is a very popular place to hold a wedding and now we are learning it's also becoming a place to hold divorce parties. Some are just as extravagant as the wedding.
Whether it's a birthday, an anniversary or even being sober, people like to celebrate milestones in their lives. While a divorce is not necessarily a happy occasion, it is certainly a milestone. For many throwing a big party can be symbolic of taking back control of their lives.
"People call it a divorce party or a freedom fest or a conscience uncoupling as Gwyneth Paltrow and her husband are having have announced that they are having," said Becky Chenik, a marriage and family therapist at Indian Wells Psychiatry and Counseling Center.
"Any reason to throw a party is a good reason," said Debra Quinn, owner of Pastry Swan Bakery.
Quinn specializes in making wedding cakes, but says requests for divorced themed ones are getting more popular. Designs range from a broken gingerbread couple to a edible knife through a classic wedding cake.
"Anything bloody, pins and needles type decoration," said Quinn.
"I think in some cases there is definitely a reason to celebrate," said Indio resident Devona Read.
New York party planer Richard O'Malley tell us he organized a reverse wedding that cost nearly $30,000. It included a cake, and full ceremony just like a wedding, but instead of the father walking the bride down the isle, he walks down to the alter and takes her back.
"It puts a positive spin on something that could be very difficult for some couples, divorces are very emotionally traumatizing at times so this is something that celebrates the beginning of something new," said Chenik,
"I think it is actually good, it's showing that they are getting some support," said Quinn.
It's an usual concept but one that shows divorce is becoming more accepted in our society.
"A lot of women were seen as a victim or seen as a failure if they were divorced and now women are able to make choices for themselves," said Chenik.
Not everyone we talked to thought it was a good idea. Jeff Vilarino, who is divorced, said, "I think marriage is something to be celebrated and i think divorce is not something to be celebrated."
"When you marry someone you want to be with them for the rest of your life, so it's kind of sad that it's become we are celebrating to that extent but maybe that is just people's way to cope with it," said Rancho Mirage resident Brooke Butler.
"Not everyone is fortunate enough to be married to their best friend and so celebrate if they are going to be happier with a new beginning," said Read.
People are certainly getting creative, we've heard of a broken ball and chain cake, to even having the person who caught the bouquet that the wedding, throw it back to the bride at her divorce party.
O'Malley tell us the idea is to remember it's OK to laugh, and in the process create new memories.