For her divorce ceremony, Alinta invited the family and friends who had joined her for her wedding day, five years earlier, acknowledging that they had been there at the marriage ceremony offering their support.
Now, she was asking for their support to help her through this difficult transition because they had stood by her side and many had been there for Sam, her ex-husband, as well. Sam did not want to be involved in the ceremony. Alinta organized a late afternoon divorce ceremony with a party to follow.
About thirty guests joined her for the divorce ceremony. There were a few items from her wedding day placed on a small table. Everyone was invited to bring a plate and she chose not to have any alcohol served at the ceremony.
Everyone came in close and we listened to a song that gave her a sense of courage and strength. It certainly wasn’t sentimental or made anyone cry! Alinta stood by my side and her best friends were near.
I welcomed everyone, honouring what it meant for Alinta to have them there. I also shared a few stories about Alinta and Sam’s wedding day which Alinta and I had discussed in the meetings we had prior to this day.
We had two meetings, face to face because I wanted to be really clear on what was going to best support Alinta by having a divorce ceremony. I listened deeply, offered empathy. She laughed and cried. I did too! We talked about the options and then we sketched an outline which she filled out over the next few weeks. When we met again, we ran through the outline and we checked in as to how that felt and what needs it was meeting for her. We added only one more thing at this second meeting which was a credo that she had written.
After the introduction to guests, I invited Alinta to speak. She honoured the relationship she shared with Sam, acknowledged the gratitude for all that she had learnt, and shared a brief poem about the heartache and hurt that had also been present – all making her stronger in the bigger picture. There was no blame just an earnest request for understanding, acceptance and forgiveness and the desire to move forward. She had asked for my presence, as a celebrant, to formalize the separation with words we had written together; to declare her decision to reclaim her maiden name and to invite people to come forward and offer her blessings for this next journey. To close the ceremony, she read a credo which she had written affirming her direction forward. It was a heartwarming and rich ceremony that touched everyone present.
There are more stories and ideas for creating a divorce or separation ceremony here.
For getting support you can visit here to download free publications on men, women and separation – Navigating the Future and Managing New Horizons. Also, Parenting Plan ‘Share the care’ Collaborative Parenting Apart