A group of women brought wine and dressed in their wedding gowns to support their friend whose 13-year marriage came to an end.
When Nicole Niesner received a letter in November saying her divorce would be finalized the following month, she decided to mark the next chapter of her life with her dearest friends around.
“Divorce is devastating, no matter what the reason for it. It’s a very painful process. I wanted the divorce and it was still very, very difficult,” Niesner, 36, of Saskatchewan, Canada, tells PEOPLE. “When I found out that it would be official on December 16, my initial reaction was sadness, but that turned into relief.”
Niesner recently came across the concept of a “divorce party,” which have been trending on social media pages like Pinterest. When she mentioned the idea to one of her friends, they told her they would plan one for her and she wouldn’t have to do a thing.
“The party wasn’t celebrating divorce necessarily, it was about friendship and supporting me as I start my new chapter,” says Niesner, who is a mother of three. “These women came together to let me know that I am loved and supported by many.”
On the night of December 16, the day her 13-year marriage was officially dissolved, Niesner opened her door to find all of her friends dressed in their wedding gowns. So, she ran to her storage room to retrieve her own gown as well.
“We all helped each other get dressed, danced around, took some pictures and reminisced about our weddings, children, families and friends,” she says. “We ate, drank some wine, visited, laughed so hard we cried, took pictures and that’s it.”
Eoanna Tatoulis of MissYianna Photography, who recently went through a separation herself, brought along her camera and took photos of Niesner enjoying her night.
Niesner says that now that she is single, she is focusing on living her “best life” and taking more time to concentrate on her own happiness.
“I needed to learn how to take care of myself, so I can take care of everyone else,” she says. “I work out regularly, I have taken up painting, I’m working on my mental health and focusing on my children. I’m in a good place.”
And for anyone else thinking of throwing an end-of-marriage celebration, Niesner highly recommends it.
“My life isn’t over because my marriage ended,” Niesner says. “I’m going to live it to the fullest!”
“I felt so happy. I felt loved. There is nothing more uplifting than being surrounded by close friends, who support you no matter what,” Niesner says. “We get through the good and the bad together. After that party, I knew I would be okay.”