Photo: Don Mears Photography
If you're on the fence about inviting your ex, it's usually best to not. "Exes are a reason that relationships break up, and inviting them to your wedding can be tempting fate," warns April Masini, relationship and etiquette expert. "Typically, when a relationship ends, and a new one begins, there's no reason to have your ex at your wedding. Moving on means leaving your ex behind — and off the guest list — when you remarry."
But there are exceptions to every rule. And Masini believes there are three to this one. Check them out and see if your long-lost-love should make your guest list.
1. You have children together.
When your ex is also the father or mother of your child, he or she should get an invitation to your wedding — not for him or herself, Masini says, but for your child. "In some cases, when you have children together and you're remarrying, it's a show of good will towards the complicated blended family culture to have your ex at the wedding, or simply to invite him," Masini says. "When the kids see you can all get along and the marriage is condoned, they'll have a much easier time with the new relationship dynamics created by the wedding."
2. Your ex is remarried and you're all four (your fiancé included) friendly.
Weird as it may sound, when your breakup with your ex was amicable — and especially when you run in the same crowds — you may find yourself going on double-dates with your former flame down the road. "It happens," says Masini. "There are instances where exes are friendly with each other and with their new respective new spouses. It's rare, but it isn't Guinness Book of World Records material." If you have this kind of relationship with your ex, "where everyone is friendly and there's no chance of any of you reuniting, then having your ex and his wife at your wedding can be fine," says Masini.
3. When there's no chance they'll come.
You know how you added your mean Great Aunt Sally only because you know she won't come? You can apply the same rule to your ex. Says Masini, "Sometimes your ex lives in another country and you're just Skype friends or Christmas card friends." That distance — whether physical or emotional — is key. "You both have separate lives, and the invitation is a formality that won't be followed up with attendance," explains Masini. "It's fine to extend the invitation in these circumstances as a matter of etiquette and civility."