Drawing up the guest list for your wedding is almost sure to bring up the thorny question of whether to invite your ex. If your swift and unblinking reaction is an automatic, “Are you out of your mind?” then case closed and move on to the issue of hors d’oeuvres. But if you and the former Mr. Not Quite Right parted on amicable terms and you still move in the same social circle, the question is going to come up. Here’s a way—beyond your immediate gut check– to think about the answer:
Remember that the focus of the day is celebrating the love you and your new husband share. Will an appearance by your ex raise eyebrows among those who love you best—your partner, your parents, your partner’s parents, your close friends and family members? Will their reaction range from dismay to hostility when they remember his drunken tirades at Thanksgiving dinner or his cheating on the side? You may have moved onto to forgiving and forgetting, but you can bet your other dearly beloveds would like to toss more than a wee basket of rose petals at the creep if they remember vividly how many times he made you cry.
First and foremost, consider is your bridegroom and his feelings. If you have any doubt about inviting a former flame, think about how you will react if your soon-to-be husband wants to extend the same invitation to an old girlfriend.
If your ex is the father of your children and your relationship is in an extremely good place, you should extend an invitation for the sake of the children. Showing good will may ease your children’s anxiety about the wedding and blending the family. And who’s to say it’s a forgone conclusion that the ex will accept your gracious gesture? He may have better things to do on The Happiest Day of Your Life.
The same holds true for former loves with whom you do not share children. Knowing that he won’t make an appearance removes stress from requesting the pleasure of his company at your wedding. If you are on good terms but separated by distance—geographic or emotional—and the invitation is merely a nod toward civility, go ahead. If he was your boyfriend in second grade and plans to bring his third wife, go ahead. The key here is that you’re comfortable nobody is harboring any lingering romantic jealousy.
If you have any nagging doubts about how your ex will behave, inviting him is asking for trouble. Will he get drunk at the reception and start throwing punches? If his brand new wife is so jealous she spits whenever your name is mentioned, don’t invite them. Who wants to see her glaring at you in all the candid wedding pictures?
You want a wedding day you’ll remember as joyous and drama-free. Invite your exes accordingly.