Nix the Ex?

Inviting an “ex” to a wedding can be a mixed bag. The success of this decision depends on the status of the relationship with the former love as well as the feelings of the betrothed. Having an ex at a wedding takes tremendous tact and an extremely understanding fiancé––hopefully one who is confident in the relationship and can freely admit if he or she feels uncomfortable with having the ex at the wedding.
Many couples like my husband and I, do not want any reminder of the past. I wanted my new life partner to feel 100% mine and me his. If I looked up at any time on that beautiful day to see an old boyfriend across the room, dancing with my cousin, I just knew that I would have been thrown off kilter. Knowing this about myself made the decision easy. It was the idea that the day belonged to my fiancé and I, not the ones who didn’t make the cut.

There is the other school of thought. My sister invited not one, but two, significant others from her past. Both men danced with me, cousins, our mother and wooed my Aunt Patsy off her feet just like they did so many moons ago. She and her husband decided they had moved beyond feeling, what could have been considered by some, petty jealousy. My sister is in good company. Prince William and Princess Catherine invited ex-flames to their wedding.

When couples dicuss the ex situation, they should consider why they’re inviting them. Extending an invitation to an ex should be executed with grace and only if you parted ways on amicable grounds and no longer have romantic feelings for one another. There is no room, on the wedding day, for seeking revenge and “proving” your happiness to an ex. This type of behavior shows unhealthy  feelings for an ex and would certainly affect the new life partner in a negative way.

If an ex is invited and they accept, there are a few dos and don'ts that the couple should keep in mind to ensure a stress-free wedding day.

  • Do invite your ex with a guest. This way, he or she won't feel alone.
  • Do seat your ex with people he or she knows and likes.
  • Do limit the chit chat in the receiving line, after you’ve introduced him or her.
  • Don’t dance with your ex. There's no reason to become the center of gossip at your own wedding.
  • Don't let your ex catch the garter or bouquet if your ex is single. There shouldn't be anything that causes your ex to stand out.

While there is no clear cut answer on the suitability of having an ex at a wedding, it is important that both bride and groom are comfortable with the decision and have talked it through. Even if there is a smidgeon of discomfort, the answer should be no. It’s a new beginning for future-to-be’s, so they should not focus on the old boyfriends, girlfriends, former wives and husbands but look to the future.

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Stoneleigh Event Consultant Meredith Thomas is available for additional planning services on a fee basis.  Meredith has many years of experience planning special events and will work with you to create the wedding of your dreams. Contact Meredith at [email protected] to learn more.