What's the etiquette on inviting exes to your wedding? Does everyone really deserve an invitation? If you invite the ex will the wedding cake go flying and champagne glasses start shattering? Hopefully not, but who is to say that inviting an ex won't wreak havoc on the wedding day, your emotions, and the state of your relationship? Then again, you could invite the ex, and she (for example) could compliment you on your gorgeous wedding gown, exquisite taste in decorations, and even thank you for the wedding favor. If she were to attend, however, it is expected that she bring you a wedding gift.
Because relationships vary so drastically from one couple to the next, there are different schools of thought on the matter. Most though say no to exes at the wedding. The reason for this is that exes are in the past and your wedding is about the future. With that said, others agree that exes are perfectly acceptable at the wedding because everyone is friends. Here's a brief guide about whether or not to invite the exes.
When NOT to Invite
* When inviting an ex causes your fiancé any emotional stress, anxiety, jealousy, or insecurity. Does your spouse-to-be tend to feel insecure or jealous from day-to-day? If so, definitely do not invite your ex. Also be sensitive to any issues that you might be having between you and your partner. If the relationship is a little rocky, adding exes will only stir up more conflict.
* If there are any residual negative feelings towards the former relationship, perhaps due to cheating, abuse, or drug problems.
* If your ex and partner have met and it was awkward or tense. Weddings will only escalate that uncomfortable feeling.
* If you and your ex used to be good friends, but then you drifted apart over the years. This is the same for other friends and family as well.
* If you are planning a very small, intimate wedding. Sometimes it can bring people a little too close for comfort.
* If you feel that inviting him or her will cause your family to create an uproar.
* If you feel that your ex is one of your top 10 closest friends -- in other words, when you still have feelings towards him or her. The same goes if he or she has strong feelings towards you. That includes "crazy exes" who tend to email or call you incessantly or try to meet up with you often. Usually this is a sign that the relationship is not one of "just friends" and it might cause future problems both for you and your partner as well as the ex.
When to Invite
* If you are good friends with your ex and he or she has been a part of your life over the years and will remain so. This also goes for those exes who might have a tight bond with your family. Make sure though that these are genuine friendships, not anything more. Note though that you should be very careful about inviting exes with whom you are still close. If there is an inkling of romantic or sexual attraction still between you, it might be better to nix the ex invite.
* If your ex and your soon-to-be-spouse have met and are comfortable with each other and do not have any issues.
* When the relationship you and your ex had occurred many, many years ago and was left off in good standing.
* If you were invited to his or her wedding and both you and your partner attended.
* Many people are of the mind set that once lovers, you can never be "just friends". If you are of that variety, best leave the ex off the guest list.
If you have children from a prior marriage, inviting the ex-spouse is often a concern. If you and your ex-spouse are on good terms and the children are old enough, inviting the ex to the wedding is not necessarily a problem as long as your current partner doesn't mind, and if you invite him or her with a guest. That helps ease tensions significantly. However, most recommend keeping the ex out of your new marriage, especially when you have young children. That way it shows your kids that you are moving on and creating a new family. Lastly, think about your guests and family -- particularly those who attended the first wedding. It can be quite uncomfortable congratulating a new bride or groom when the old one is standing over the guest's shoulders.
Other things to remember are that your ex, should he or she be invited, need not be introduced as such. Keep all "ex-talk" to a minimal and avoid making the ex the center of attention. Your wedding is about you and your new husband or wife. Finally, no dancing with the ex and keep your conversations with him or her to a minimum. You might also recommend that the ex not participate in the garter or bouquet toss, simply as a matter of respect and decency.
The Bottom Line
You and your fiancé should, without a doubt, sit down prior to creating the guest list and discuss this matter if either of you feel compelled to invite an ex. Talk about why you want that person to come and how that will make each of you feel. If you are both comfortable with it, then fine. Otherwise, you should reconsider.