I threw a $30,000 ‘divorce party’ and tossed my wedding ring into the sea

    Sabrina Philipp celebrated her divorce with a lavish party with friends in Miami.

    Ashlee Huff

    Sabrina Philipp split from her husband after nearly three years of marriage.She celebrated her divorce by hosting a $30,000 “divorce party” for 18 family and friends.In a mock freedom ceremony, Philipp used a slingshot to fire her wedding ring into the ocean.

    This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Sabrina Philipp. It has been edited for length and clarity.

    I hadn’t expected it to be so emotional, but the high point of my divorce party was taking a slingshot and launching my wedding ring into the ocean.

    A friend played “Goodbye Girl” by The Chicks as the band hit the water. It was out with the old, in with the new. My life was over as a married woman. The next adventure had begun.

    My guests — including my parents — clapped and cheered. I had never felt so relieved and happy. It might have cost $30,000, but my divorce party was worth every cent.

    I met my ex-husband in Bali in June 2017, when I was a 23-year-old graduate from the University of Florida. He was an Australian who was about to turn 29 and traveling simultaneously.

    He was my first serious boyfriend — certainly the only one I’d lived with. We had a great time exploring Bali and then Europe. A couple of years later, we moved to Scotland.

    My ex and I were the only people at our wedding

    The relationship had its ups and downs. We shared many interests, such as food, travel, and animals — but spent a lot of time apart, particularly when he flew to Australia to visit his child from his first marriage.

    Still, I quickly said “yes” when he proposed in January 2020. We began to plan a destination wedding in Bali in July 2021. However, the pandemic shut everything down, and we had no idea when it would end.

    An immigration attorney suggested that we move the wedding forward. We ended up getting married in Denmark in August 2020. Restrictions were still in place, and we had to take COVID tests before and after the trip. Only the two of us were there, but my family watched the ceremony via Zoom.

    Philipp poses on her wedding day in Copenhagen in August 2020.

    Courtesy of Sabrina Philipp

    I cried when I said my vows. Everyone thought it was because I was so happy. The truth is, I was thinking, “Oh, my God, I just got married, and my mom and my dad aren’t here.” But, in my young mind, I thought it was the right decision.

    We settled in Edinburgh, where I ran my business coaching company. We got two dogs — Bonnie and Clyde — and considered starting a family. But there were issues behind the scenes, such as him declaring his love and ghosting me. We had couples therapy.

    After a while, my ex stopped going to therapy. I went on my own. Things weren’t working out. I was growing older and wiser as I approached the age of 30. We argued about money, and there were other fights. We separated in the summer of 2023.

    It was extremely traumatic. I felt emotionally lost. Then there was a drama about finances. Luckily, he didn’t object to me keeping our pets.

    I focused on health and wellness after the split

    I’m an influencer and shared the details of our break-up on Instagram. It struck a chord, especially with women. They commented on my posts, messaged me, and asked for advice. I realized I had a platform to talk about the reality of divorce and how to survive it.

    Meanwhile, I became focused on health and wellness. I wanted to feel good and look good — purely for myself. I got Botox and plastic surgery, including rhinoplasty and blepharoplasty, in New York City.

    My friends and I jokingly coined the phrase “Hottest Ex-Wife Ever.” It was one of the reasons I decided to celebrate my new look and new-found freedom with the divorce party.

    Philipp kicked off her divorce party with a boudoir shoot —and a black heart cake.

    Ashlee Huff

    I wanted to challenge the negativity around divorce. Many people see it as a failure. If your marriage ended, that doesn’t mean it failed, or you should regret it.

    We live our lives in chapters. It’s OK if one chapter is marriage and the next is being single again.

    The party happened in April in my home city of Miami, just before my 30th birthday. Eighteen people flew in from Canada, California, Texas, North Carolina, and all over Florida. It meant the world that Mom and Dad were there. They hadn’t attended my wedding, so it was fitting that they came to my divorce celebration.

    I felt the opposite of ugly, rejected or unwanted

    I micromanaged the guests’ outfits — everyone had to wear black because it was a funeral for my marriage.

    We started with a sexy lingerie shoot in my hotel suite with my girlfriends. I posed in lacy underwear with my divorce cake in the shape of a black heart. It was great because, when you go through a divorce, you can feel so ugly, rejected, or unwanted. I felt the opposite.

    Philipp pitched her $1K Cartier wedding ring into the Atlantic with a slingshot.

    Ashlee Huff

    Then, we had a four-course dinner at a waterside restaurant in Miami Beach. We ate caviar and seafood and drank bottles of Dom Perignon. The ambiance was perfect. I couldn’t have wished for better company or a better time.

    As for my wedding ring — a platinum piece from Cartier that I’d bought for myself in Copenhagen for $1,000— we had a mock ceremony when I pitched it into the sea.

    A jeweler told me I could have melted it down and gotten around $70 for the weight of the metal. “That’s not very fun,” I thought. “Do I want $70, or do I want photos and videos of me slingshotting my wedding band into the ocean?” The symbolism was everything. I took the slingshot.

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