On Wednesday at New York's Metropolitan Pavilion about 850 people paid the $40 dollar ticket price (couples got in for $60) to attend New York Magazine's "New York Weddings Event," which featured all the wedding accoutrements we've been told to expect by TLC and David Tutera's relentless self-promotion on WE — wedding planners, cake designers, and representatives of bands that couples could hire if they wanted to forgo a DJ and roll the dice on at least one of the band members getting wasted enough to shatter an electric guitar onstage. Starting this weekend, however, a different expo has brought its matrimonial wares to town: the divorce expo called Start Over Smart.
The New York Times reports that the divorce expo, which started at 9 a.m. Saturday morning and continues through Sunday, is predictably a little more expensive (with a $75 admission price) than the wedding expo, but that it's the perfect way for all those jaded people for whom love has become a mere exercise in limited liability to study up on ways to protect themselves from a marriage gone horribly wrong. The expo will feature tips from the author of "Investidate: How to Investigate Your Date," lawyers specializing in matrimonial law, and even advice from kindly plastic surgeons in achieving the post-divorce face and body that will certainly attract a far-better caliber of spouse for the second go-round.
Francine Baras, who organized the expo with her daughter Nicole Bara-Feuer, told the Times, "We're putting a positive face on divorce, because although it's difficult and a big transition for most people, there is light at the end of the tunnel. There is a post-divorce life." Baras says she and her daughter were inspired to put on a New York expo after seeing a Start Over Smart expo in Paris. "We flew over to check it out," said Baras, "and fell in love." With the expo, not any strapping Frenchmen full of empty promises and stinky, stinky cheeses.
Baras, who's been through a divorce of her own, says that though she and her daughter expect mostly women to attend the expo, she also encourages men to come on down to the Metropolitan Pavilion and soberly weigh their options. Amy Laurent, the ringleader of a matchmaking enterprise, said that events like Start Over Smart can be helpful to people who feel stigmatized by a divorce. "I'm telling them they do not have a scarlet letter D on their forehead," said Laurent. "It can feel that way - ‘Now I'm this divorced person.' The people they're dating don't see it that way. Lose that kind of insecurity before you even step back in."
Start Over Smart promises to at least act as a forum for people hoping to put a fizzled relationship behind them, but for such a steep admission price, you'd wish that the people over at the wedding expo might offer a little marriage safety brochure or something instead of brainwashing its attendees into believing that they should be making every effort to have as photogenic a wedding as possible.
Image via Mincemeat/Shutterstock.