Have it both ways: Celebrate the beginning and end of marriage

LUCAS COUNTY, OH (WTOL) - Marriage mortality statistics are often interpreted differently and not agreed upon. The rate of divorce is decreasing, but there are also less people getting married in the first place.

No matter how the data is collected or explained, the statistics are still sobering.

Every 13 seconds, there is a divorce in America.

There are nine divorces in the time it takes for a couple to recite their wedding vows. Nearly half of marriages still end in divorce, with more than half of second and third-time marriages ending.

Some Lucas County couples are looking on the bright side, despite the grim statistics.

"Take the plunge and see what happens," said Skye Simon. Her fiance Don Brower has been married two times before, but says he's not phased by the divorce rates.

"I'm going with third time's the charm," Don said.

In Lucas County, it all begins, and potentially ends, in the same area. You can get your marriage license at the courthouse, and file a petition for divorce across the street at Family Court.

"Statistics are horrible, but I'm hoping and praying, and know we won't be one of them," said future husband Ryan Mason. His fiance, Brandy Porterfield, echos his positivity.

"It doesn't scare me," Porterfield said. "I love love and I love this guy."

This is just the attitude to have going into wedded bliss, but some businesses know that numbers don't lie.

Prepared to bank on the disillusionment of marriage, businesses are taking notice and cashing in on divorce.

It just takes a quick Google search or a scroll through Pinterest to see that commemorating the end is becoming just as common as marking the beginning of matrimony.

"You're closing this one chapter in your life and starting a new chapter," party planner Mandy Schmidt said.

The choice to celebrate the cessation of marriage spans from scary to funny, and the marketing mirrors the demand. You can find balloons, t-shirts, divorce cakes and even invitations for divorce parties.

Schmidt said she has planned several such parties,for both men and women.

"The clients that have approached me, it's usually when they're toward the end of their healing process, where they just want to have fun, let loose and just be themselves," Schmidt said.

Downtown Toledo chapel Simply Married provides a beautiful, cost-effective wedding setting, but the owner sees the other side.

"I think that's partly why people do come here, especially second marriages, because they've been through the $20,000 to $25,000 wedding and they just don't want to do that anymore. Because, as we talked about before, 50-percent of marriages end in divorce," Simply Married owner Jess Kozik said.

Just as there is a ceremony for matrimony, you can also have a ceremony for a divorce.

Karen Kiemnec officiates a type of divorce ceremony that she calls, "undoing vows".

"I'm divorced myself, and it just seemed like a natural fit that I should do these ceremonies for women who've gone through a divorce, cause we don't have anything like that," Kiemnec said.

Since a wedding is usually a big celebration in front of those closest to us, Kiemnec said people take it pretty seriously.

"And to not undo that, I think makes it harder in a new relationship. They get to release the old vow. We do some rituals around releasing," Kiemnec said. "There's one where we actually take a piece of paper and burn it. They can put the person's name on it, or something about the relationship that they want to let go." 

Pam Weiruch hasn't never been married, but a ceremony to undo vows appealed to her anyway in the form of healing past relationships.

"I realized that if I don't ask for something that I want or need, then I probably won't get it," Weiruch said. "If you make money and they get what they want, then I guess that's the American way."

Knowing these divorce statistics might make some people give up before even starting. But for the future Masons, a "divine interruption" came their way during their interview with WTOL.

Dave Pettee told the couple that he proposed to his girlfriend on their second date.

"She looked me in the eye and said no!" Pettee said.

But everything worked out in the end.

"She opened the door and looked up at me and I said, 'Would you make me whole again and marry me?'" said Pettee.

This time, she said yes.

"47 years ago and she's still training me," Pettee laughed. Then he gave the couple some marriage advice.

"Hold your hands together, never fight. If you guys have a disagreement, look at each other and say, 'have I offended you?'" Pettee said.

The stats aren't stopping a second chance at love for Ryan and Brandy.

"You run into obstacles just like anything, but you learn how to correct them the second time around," Ryan said.

The bottom line is, whether you're looking to get hitched or to heal from a divorce, there are services out there for you.

If you are interested in attending Karen Kiemnec's next "Ceremony for Women to Undo Old Vows," the next one is scheduled for:

Monday, November 27th from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
3454 Oak Alley Ct., Toledo

Click here to visit Karen's website.

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