Families: We've all got them, and we've all dealt with their unique problems. And we love them all the more for it! But when it comes to your wedding, it can get hard to balance who you love with what you need to do. We consulted with top etiquette experts to find answers to some very difficult family issues.
If you and your ex are still on good terms, and you're sure there's no jealousy or resentment involved on his part, feel free to invite him; if not, you should keep him off the guest list. The reason: Inviting a former spouse who no longer feels close to your family will leave him with two fairly awkward choices — not attending and looking bitter, or attending and feeling uncomfortable.
No matter how badly you may want them to be there for your wedding, there's always a guest or two who just can't make it: They're stuck on a Navy destroyer, in a nursing home, sick, or in maximum security. Even if there's no chance he'll get out (short of a last-minute jail break), send him an invitation and include an extra note expressing how much you'll miss him, if you feel so inclined. Even though you both know the answer, it's a time when it's truly the thought that counts. He's part of the family regardless of his situation, and probably doesn't want a wedding invitation snub on top of any other issues he is dealing with. It's just a nice, thoughtful gesture that lets him know you wish he could be there.
Consider this rule of thumb: If you want people to know that they are included in your wedding plans, send them an invitation. While it's thoughtful to think of your guests (and thrifty to try and cut costs), the decision of whether or not to attend should be left to them. Who knows: They may want to juggle their commitments and make a cameo appearance--but they can only do so if they get invited in the first place.