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Traditional wedding etiquette says you have to include your friends' fiancés, live-in partners, and serious boyfriends on your wedding-invitation list, but Emily Post never met some of the "gentlemen" around today. There are exceptions to every rule, and not giving a plus-one to a friend in a serious relationship is breaking a pretty hard core value of the girl code — but sometimes it just has to be done.
For whatever reason (his past behavior at events, a track record of being tossed out of bars), you and your fiancé do not want this person at your wedding and that is your prerogative. You don't have to invite him. But you have to be prepared for the blowback that may ensue. Whether you actually pull the plug on a "plus one" depends somewhat on whether you're getting married at home, or having a destination wedding.
At home, it's one night of your life (he doesn't have to be included in the rehearsal dinner — say you're keeping it small). Have a really honest conversation with your friend ahead of the wedding and express your concerns about her date's behavior, even if it's uncomfortable. The goal is to get her to talk to him about behaving properly at your wedding. Then keep your fingers crossed. But if you're getting married someplace tropical where you're all going to be spending several days together, think long and hard about whether to let somebody you cannot stand or do not trust attend your destination wedding. While he might behave himself for a wedding one night, it's hard to keep them under control for several days of open bar and Caribbean beaches. You have to trust your gut on this one. And be in agreement with your fiancé (after all, it may be one of his friend's dates you don't want to include). Be resolved before you tell your friend if you've solidly decide to exclude the person she loves. Otherwise, you're going to wimp out and back down if she makes you feel guilty. Odds are, she'll be mortified — and that might come across as angry — but it's best to be completely honest.
Nobody likes to hear that everybody else thinks the man they love cannot behave in public. She may react very, very badly and even walk away. Let her go. Once she calms down, you can talk to her again. If you can get away without using specific examples of why he isn't invited, stay vague and don't toss out stories of his reprehensible behavior in the past. She was there. She knows. She's still with him. Just tell her your decision and let the chips fall where they may. Most of the time, your first instinct is right.
Owner of Weddings in Vieques, a destination-wedding planning company off the coast of Puerto Rico, Sandy Malone has helped countless couples plan their big day since 2007.