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Selling divorce while planning a wedding

By Sascha Rothchild, Special to CNN
After selling her divorce memoir across the country, Sascha Rothchild went up a mountain for a marriage proposal.
After selling her divorce memoir across the country, Sascha Rothchild went up a mountain for a marriage proposal.
  • While promoting her memoir on divorce, Sascha Rothchild gets marriage proposal
  • No proposal, no wedding dress, but a comedian conducted first wedding
  • Second wedding is being planned seriously, vows to include "love" and "forever"
  • Marriage
  • Dating
  • Divorce

Editor's note: Sascha Rothchild is a TV and film writer whose memoir, "How To Get Divorced By 30," was recently published. She will appear on the "All the Single Ladies" panel at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books on April 24.

(CNN) -- As I sipped Champagne and breathed in the clear icy air of Mammoth Mountain, my boyfriend Matt got down on one knee, offered a glistening diamond ring and asked, "Sascha Rothchild, will you marry me?"

I was shocked, floored, stunned. I dropped my Champagne and almost passed out.

This was my first marriage proposal, but not my first marriage.

When Matt suggested our mountain vacation, I had just finished a book tour to promote my memoir, "How To Get Divorced By 30."

That divorce was from my first, lovable, lackadaisical stoner husband whom I married at age 27. We'd been dating for 3 years when my arbitrary timetable had hit its must-get-married date. He never actually proposed, we just decided one night we would "do this."

I bought my own engagement ring, choosing something untraditional so if we ever got divorced I could wear it on my right hand. I was planning my divorce while I was planning my wedding.

And I did everything in my power to pretend it wasn't really a wedding at all. Three months after the non-proposal, we had a stand-up comedian perform the ceremony in a friend's yard and never uttered the words love, forever, or til death do us part.

Eventually I realized I was unhappy and way too young to be stuck in nuptial mediocrity, so I was divorced by 30.

Now as I stood with Matt, it dawned on me that this romantic mountain touring spot was private not because we had lucked out, but because he had rented out the whole area. He had spent months having the ring custom made with the help of my sister and he had told my father about his intentions the previous winter.

While Matt was planning this proposal fit for a big glossy studio romcom, I was traveling around the country discussing and defending my book about my starter marriage.

When asked by interviewers and fans if I would ever get married again, I always answered "I might get married again, but I won't get divorced again."

Although I had been with Matt for over 2 years and was madly in love, I wasn't focused on marriage. I was focused on enjoying the relationship. Yet another giant difference between what I did wrong the first time, and what I was doing right this time.

Second weddings are often small, discreet and sensible. And for a moment after Matt proposed I wanted to run to a courthouse or elope to Vegas, too embarrassed to have another wedding, especially since I had just written a book about divorce.

But Matt, who has never been married before, feels strongly about having a real wedding, so I decided to succumb to the juggernaut that is the wedding industry and have a second wedding, which will feel like most people's first.

I'm getting wrapped up in trumpet versus mermaid versus princess-cut wedding dresses, in color schemes and bouquet shapes and invitation fonts. I'm enjoying the small moments of making decisions with Matt about venues and open bars and save the date cards.

As we plan together we are solidifying our bond, compromising on likes and dislikes, but not to the point that both of us are unhappy. I'm energized by the process as well as reveling in the idea of spending the rest of my life with someone, saying words like love and forever, and wearing an actual engagement ring that's important -- not because it's so damn sparkly and pretty -- but because it was picked out with care and symbolizes something timeless and meaningful.

Like many brides-to-be now my days consist of trying on Monique Lhuillier gowns, thumbing through cheesy bridal magazines and wondering about flower budgets.

But in between all this wedding planning, I'm signing copies of my book and dispensing advice to distraught readers about the merits of young divorce. It certainly beats staying in an unhappy marriage.

I'm giving interviews about why divorce can be a great rite of passage, and why starter marriages, if dissected, can be necessary to fixing one's own flaws and to finding the right person the second time around.

I'm on the phone with the wedding planner one minute and then running out the door to a "single ladies" author's panel the next. The timing of it all is bizarre to say the least, but somehow totally fitting. Had I not gotten divorced by 30, forced myself to question my failed marriage and then written a book about it, I doubt I would have ever been able to sustain a healthy relationship.

I believe in divorce, and I believe in marriage. Perhaps my follow-up book will be "How To Get Remarried By 35...And Stay That Way."