Should You REALLY Invite Your Ex to Your Wedding?
It used to be that you’d never dream of inviting an ex to your wedding. But given our dependency on social media and texting, it has become all too easy to stay in touch (and even rekindle a friendship from the ashes of your relationship). As with many wedding faux-pas that have since become acceptable (asking for money as a gift, guests wearing white), it seems that the rules have changed. Or have they? We spoke with four professional wedding organizers and planners to get their take on when it’s okay for your ex-boo to be invited to your “I dos.”
When “ex” stands for “ex-husband.” So is it actually okay to bringing an ex to your wedding? “The short answer is no,” says Amy Abbott of Amy Abbott Events, a weddings and event planning team in Seattle. “However, nothing is ever as easy of an answer as it would seem, and there can be situations when a definite no becomes a yes. For example, if this is your second marriage and children are involved, in an effort to set a good example of a united parental front, you should invite them.” In other words, do it for the children or don’t do it at all. “This gesture sends the positive message to your children that, while the two of you are no longer a union, you are a still part of a co-parenting unit. Having the whole family together sets the tone for a healthy future for your children and can provide them with a sense of security that the family will remain intact, although in a different way,” Abbott advises. But if it’s just an ex-boyfriend, Abbott stands firmly in the “no” camp.
When your future spouse (and THEIR guests) will be comfortable with it. Your future spouse may be totally cool with your ex being in the picture, having had a front-row seat to seeing your friendship in action over the years before you got engaged. But if it’s going to create drama with those wedding guests who aren’t as accepting (or, for instance, be viewed as an affront by spouse-to-be’s mom), it may be best to skip it. “I think this is completely dependent on the type of relationship you have with your ex,” concedes Emily Sullivan of Emily Sullivan Events, a wedding planning firm in New Orleans. “It’s important to have a conversation with your future spouse to determine their comfort level with the whole thing as well. If their presence would be distracting to you or your guests, then it’s best not to extend an invite.”
When they’re on the A-list of your guest list. We get it: Some exes are more than exes, and they’re hugely important to you. So it’s understandable that you’d want them to share your big day with you. “As you’re putting together your initial guest list, really think about the reasons why you’d consider inviting your ex,” suggests Kevin Dennis, certified wedding planner and owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services in Livermore, California. “If you’ve been nothing more than acquaintances since your breakup, or if you’re looking to simply fill seats, it may be best to skip on the invite. But if you’re still relatively close (as in still sharing mutual friends and seeing each other semi-regularly) or the relationship ended on good terms, it’s okay to extend the olive branch.” It’s also worth remembering that offering an invite to the wedding can affect more than you originally anticipated (e.g., letting your ex bring a plus-one and reworking your seating arrangements to accommodate them and their guest). Plus, as Dennis points out, “It’s important to remember that if you’re inviting an ex to the wedding, he or she may also expect to be invited to some of the other celebrations. So it’s not just a matter of asking yourself, ‘Are we comfortable with this the day of the wedding?’ Instead, you need to think whether you’d mind having his or her presence throughout the engagement period.”
When you’re staying close to home. “Destination weddings tend to have smaller guest lists, so before you invite your ex (or anyone else who may be on the B-list, for that matter) it might be a good idea to consider the setting,” says Megan Velez of Destination Weddings Travel Group. Destination weddings are more of an all-or-nothing affair, so you might end up spending more time with your ex than you were prepared to. “Events leading up to the ceremony such as welcome parties, excursions, receptions, and send-off brunches can be intimate, so make sure both you and your spouse are comfortable being in a quaint setting together with your ex,” Velez advises. Plus, there’s the added pitfall of ending up poolside with your ex… a situation that could definitely become awkward. “If you choose a tropical setting, you could find yourself in a precarious, tight-quarters situation like a swim-up bar or extended time in bathing suits,” she warns.
Wondering about other wedding questions? Share them with us @BritandCo!
(Photo via Getty)