The question “can I invite an ex to my wedding?” is a commonly asked question among brides and grooms and a much debated topic in the wedding world. The fact is that there is no right or wrong answer, especially when considering each situation is different. The effect of inviting an ex to the wedding, however, reaches much further and deeper than you might realise and it’s important to study the case from all perspectives before making your decision.
Firstly, you have to consider yourself.
Even if you are really good friends with your ex, it’s impossible to clean the slate in your mind. We’re only human – we can’t just forget because we choose to! It might have been years since you last dated or even thought of your ex “in that way”, but deep down there will always be a hint of unresolved feelings or feelings of resentment – depending on who broke up with whom, of course. Remember: Your wedding day is going to be very emotional – you’ll experience more roller coaster emotions than you’ve ever experienced in your entire life – joy, anticipation and a hint of cold feet even. In the end, even the tiniest splinter of a feeling has the potential to escalate under all the emotion. Worst case scenario, the bride gets nervous, spots her ex sitting in the pews, feelings of “what could have been” resurge and the wedding is called off.
Secondly, you need to consider the feelings of your spouse-to-be.
Even if you are completely over your ex, your spouse might still feel like there is a potential threat in the room – as a result, he won’t be able to fully relax and enjoy his big day. Imagine for a second that you’re at the wedding reception, and your ex comes up to chat to you and your new spouse. Maybe your ex mentions how the dessert tastes almost like the pudding you had on your trip to Italy or comments how your hair looks much like the time you went to that gala. As innocent as it might be in your mind, it will make your spouse feel uncomfortable and one small comment like that could wreck the entire evening. Put yourself in your spouse’s shoes and really think this one through. Even if he or she agrees to your ex attending the wedding, you need to weigh up the potential consequences and unforeseen feelings that might surge on the day.
Thirdly, you need to think of your ex’s feelings.
Sitting in the pews at an ex’s wedding among people who know your history with the bride or groom is never easy. In many cases an ex might even feel like you’re rubbing your new and improved partner in his or her face, as a way of saying “see how much better this one is?” This might be somewhat of an exaggeration, but you really need to put yourself in the shoes of your ex. Ask yourself: Would you like to be faced with the reality that you weren’t marriage material? A scathed ex might also feel the need to prove that they’re better off without you, whether it is by bringing a flashy date or dressing over the top in a way that intimidates your spouse.
Lastly, you need to consider your guests.
Remember, you and your spouse might be on good terms with the ex, but your parents, siblings or best friends might not have had the same opportunity to come to terms with the breakup. Perhaps your mother still hasn’t forgiven your ex for hurting her baby or your brother doesn’t know what to say to him. This could lead to your guests feeling uncomfortable and ultimately create a sense of awkwardness among them. So be sure to run through the guest list and consider every single name on there before writing your ex’s name on the wedding invitation.
In the end you must remember that an ex is really a reminder of a failed relationship and brings a whole suitcase full of old memories that you don’t need to be faced with on your wedding day. Just remember, there are two very important people who will be attending the wedding day – you and your spouse – so it’s not just your decision to make.
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