Thinking about inviting an ex to your wedding?

Modern wedding etiquette demands constant recalibration in order to accommodate new realities. In the olden days it would have been unlikely that either of the wedding couple would have an ex-boyfriend or girlfriend (or spouse) to consider inviting to the celebration. These days … well, let’s just say it comes up frequently as wedding planning couples pull together their invitation lists. Here’s a quick primer of dos and don’ts for inviting the exes of the bride or groom to the wedding.


Do invite the ex:


  • If the relationship was deep in your past and you have remained friends with your ex and want them at your wedding. Your partner has likely gotten to know them in this instance and may also call them a friend. If the drama and emotion have long since subsided, why not have them attend your special day?


  • If absolutely everyone is comfortable with it. That includes your partner, their family members and everyone in the wedding party. Not sure? Ask. Or all else being equal and you are unsure, err on the side of caution and don’t invite the ex. Not everyone freely expresses their unease about certain people, but you can usually discern it and choose to be sensitive nonetheless.


  • If they share children with you or your partner. You’ll want the kids in attendance and it will seem strange if you don’t invite their parents as well, especially if the children are very young. In a best-case scenario, everyone is already co-parenting cooperatively so being together at a large social celebration should be just fine. But see provisos below.


  • If you’re sure they won’t show up. In this case, you’ll have made a loving and tolerant gesture, but won’t have to worry about your ex on the big day. Best of both worlds really.



Don’t invite the ex:


  • If past drama and the resulting wounds have not entirely healed. It’s amazing how long intense feelings can linger. The big day is supposed to be about you and your current love – if inviting an ex is going to detract from that in any way, don’t do it.


  • Try to imagine introducing your ex and their date to your new spouse’s family at your wedding reception. If that feels awkward maybe plan to integrate your ex into your new family some other day when the stakes aren’t quite so high.


  • If you know your ex to be a wild card in some way (perhaps they tend to drink to excess, or act out, or enjoy embarrassing you in public – hey, it happens!), don’t invite them to your wedding, even if you have remained friends. The day will be stressful enough without worrying about whether one of your guests is going to make a spectacle.


In a perfect world, everyone would get along without weird feelings and awkward moments – and wouldn’t that be grand? We’re human however, and our emotions can sometimes get in the way long after they logically should have subsided. Use your best judgment, talk it through with your intended if you’re not sure how they feel about it and don’t worry about your decision once it’s made. Keep your focus where it should be – on making sure that you and your partner have a beautiful and joyful wedding.



We hope this post on inviting an ex to your wedding was helpful and we hope you can get through your wedding day with no tears, unless of course they are happy ones!