Guest lists are tricky things. Often, they’re far too big and couples are forced to make difficult choices to save their budget or their personal relationships. Of course, there are some questions that involving putting a person on a guest list, instead of taking them off, and none are quite so problematic as the question of whether of not to invite your ex to your wedding.
Here’s a look at some answers to some of the questions this problem stirs up:
1. My ex is/was a mutual friend and since we’re inviting all of our other friends, shouldn’t we invite him/her as well? Just because everyone your ex knows is going to your wedding, doesn’t mean you have to invite him or her. There are probably other people that many of your friends know who aren’t invited to your wedding, but I bet you those strangers won’t mind a bit when you skip them. If you’re worried about offending your ex, don’t be. It’s likely that he/she will understand. If you do get an offended phone call, simply remind them that the past relationship makes the situation slightly different and you feel like it would be inappropriate to invite them. Any more complaining will be their breach of etiquette, not yours.
2. My ex is in a relationship with someone important to me/us and we don’t know how to say that he/she isn’t invited if we’re inviting the other person. Do we have to invite him/her? It’s actually fairly common for ex-lovers to end up in relationships with people you know, since you probably hang out in the same circles. If someone in your life is dating your ex and you feel comfortable enough, you may want to talk to them about the fact that you don’t want to invite your ex. Let them know that you’ll understand if they choose not to attend, but that it would really bother you to see your ex on your wedding day. If you don’t know the person your ex is dating very well, consider not sending them an invitation. If they ask why, you’ll have to explain, but they’ll probably just let it go.
3. My family is very close to my ex and want me to invite him/her. Must I? Your parents might be able to force you invite obscure relatives and all of their buddies from work/golf/church/bridge club, but they definitely can’t make you invite your ex just because they miss him or her. That’s akin to saying that you’re marrying the wrong person. It’s simply rude and you should feel free to let them know it.
4. Is it rude to invite my ex to my wedding just in case he/she thinks I’m showing off? Are you inviting your ex just so you can show off? If the answer is yes, you should probably skip the invite. If the answer is no, your ex will probably know that and they may be touched that you thought to invite them. If they feel uncomfortable attending, they will decline your invitation, but it’s unlikely that they’ll be offended just because you’re celebrating your new relationship. Just be sure that you’re not offended if they don’t end up coming on your big day.
5. I want my ex to come to our wedding but my fiancé doesn’t. He/She is an important person in my life and I feel like my fiancé is being unfair. Can I invite him/her? This is a clear cut answer and it spans across all the other questions we’ve discussed: NO. If your fiance’ doesn’t want your ex at your wedding, the ex doesn’t get an invite. There are no extenuating circumstances, no special exceptions, no more discussions about it. If it makes your future spouse uncomfortable, you can’t argue with it. Their happiness needs to be your number one priority and any disappointment you feel at not inviting your ex will just have to play itself out.