Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012 | 2:22 a.m.
TV producers are battling to turn the new rage of divorce parties in Las Vegas into a new reality TV series, and the pilot teaser reel is already being completed for network pitches. Glamorous Glynda Rhodes, herself going through a divorce from Jim Rhodes of Rhodes Homes, created the business the Divorce Party Planner to expand her Blackbook702 Event and Talent Agency.
“We threw a recent house party for a divorcee and her closest friends to help her get through the anguish. She burned her wedding dress, burned all her photos and made targets of her ex-husband and the girl he ran off with to shoot paintballs at them,” she told me. “Next time, we burn the dress, the photos, the certificate; I will have an urn to keep the ashes in!
“We made a custom cake of a man wearing concrete shoes sunk to the bottom of a lake because she and he had partnered in a concrete company. We gave her a butcher’s knife to smash the concrete. She tied her wedding ring to balloons with a note to whoever found it that she hoped it brought them happiness, as it did not to her anymore. We had a country singer play acoustic guitar and sing an original song for her. We had a cotton candy machine -- her favorite -- and we had a makeup and hair artist to make her feel beautiful for her celebration.
“The theme of her party was ‘undo’; she wanted to undo everything. We went as far as to get the same song she walked down the wedding aisle and instead played it backwards as she walked down the stairs to greet guests. It was fun but emotional, as well. At the end of the party, the Divorce Party Planner presented her with a custom gift bag that included a picture frame for a photo of her at her party, an engraved necklace that had her name and the “Release Date” (the divorce final date), a knife set of a little man that had the knives going through him and a voodoo doll, and all the paper wrappings were her shredded documents from the divorce.
“The best part of the party is when at the end she was talking and she said she finally felt free, and this celebration helped her realize it was all over and she could now reinvent herself and begin to live again.”
Glynda created the concept as an expansion of Blackbook702. The temporary website is up and will be completed within the month. Now she’s affiliating with partners to provide anything for anybody who is going to be divorced and may not have thought of everything needed for a celebration when it’s over. View the parties at Facebook.com/thedivorcepartyplanner. As Glynda says, “Divorced is the new single.”
Since Blackbook702 began in 2008, Glynda had turned down wedding-planning opportunities. “I never wanted to do weddings, but then somebody joked would I do a divorce party,” she laughed. “I always said, ‘Anything but weddings.’ People ask me to do weddings all the time, but the brides are always too chaotic.
“A TV producer from Los Angeles talked to us about a Blackbook reality TV show, and when I mentioned the one divorce party, he went nuts over it. I was then convinced we had a business, and it’s exploded. Now it’s going to be a reality TV show about celebrating divorce Las Vegas style.” A Japanese TV network has filmed a segment, and Glynda is booked with divorce parties through the end of October.
I was curious about the number of divorces vs. marriages here in the Wedding and Divorce Capitals of the World and wanted to know if there’d be a sufficient number for her unique service. “Oh, hell yeah! There are more divorces then there are weddings these days,” she said emphatically. “We’ll be doing them for the divorced girls and the divorced guys, but I think the show will focus more on the ladies. That would probably be more dramatic!
“I want to provide the fun that takes away the sting of the separation. Divorce is always such a negative; we wanted to have fun with it. The parties become a finalization. We want our parties to start them off turning a negative situation into a new life with a positive feeling.
“We’re the only company doing this in Las Vegas. I know of just a couple others in America. I think this will become big business for Las Vegas; after all, there are bachelorette parties and wedding receptions galore here. We have more to offer than most cities, so divorce events can be a whole new thing to celebrate.”
I had to ask the woman who is 12 months into her own divorce proceedings and is throwing parties for other divorcees if she still valued the traditions of marriage and if the parties were an interim step to get life back to normal without fighting divorce lawyers.
“I still value marriage. People kind of grow separately, I guess; lives change, but I think that there is still marriage after divorce. I think of this as just a kick-off, closing one chapter and opening another. I’ll do their bachelorette party the next time around, too!”
“People think this is an awesome idea. They just can’t believe it. At first, they just kind of laugh, and then they say this is brilliant. Some are in shock that we are even doing it. I have a bunch of brilliant ideas I want to do. I am going through all the court dates and stuff just trying to get mine finalized. My divorce party is going to be of the hook. I can’t wait to celebrate mine. I am kind of envious of these girls that they’ve had theirs already.”
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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