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Should You Invite Your Exes To Your Wedding?

Exes and weddings, like oil and water, don’t mix. Until of course we saw Chelsy Davy and Cressida Bonas walking into St. George’s Chapel last May 19—as guests of Prince Harry—as he tied the knot with Meghan Markle.

When it comes to the subject of exes, people perk up and listen intently. Gossipmongers check on whose ex follows whom on social media, netizens scour Tweets to get a feel for where the conversation’s heading, and partners carefully listen to their loved one’s take on this emotionally-charged topic—eager to see if their opinions on the matter line up perfectly. Or else.

Next to politics and religion, someone’s past and all the juicy entanglements that come with it, seems to be the most controversial topic one can bring up at dinner, nevermind a wedding. But alas, the presence of Prince Harry’s exes at his nuptials has stirred the pot, and everyone’s eager to dig in.

“Why were they invited?” was the question everyone seemed to be asking. Some have said it’s part of a bizarre tradition (the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and Kate, had their exes in attendance at their wedding; Prince Charles’ former-ex and present wife Camilla, was at his first wedding to Diana), but for people who aren’t royalty, who are removed from this seeming British largesse, is inviting an ex really something you should do?

7 out of 10 people say no, you shouldn’t invite your former flame to your wedding. And with good reason. It’s not because they can stand up at any moment and fail to hold their peace, although that’s a pretty good reason.

It’s because a wedding is a celebration of love. It’s not a simple party where everybody can bring anybody, and you may or may not awkwardly bump into someone from your past. It’s a gathering of people that both of you love, trust, and more importantly, want to bring along in your journey moving forward.

The past has no place there. Not between moodboards in your Pinterest for wedding pegs, not in your playlist for the reception, and certainly not seated between pews as you’re vowing to spend the rest of your life with someone else.

According to psychologist and sex and relationship therapist Rica Cruz, "Inviting an ex to a wedding can be quite a tricky and sensitive issue for everyone involved, the couple and the former lover. However, there really aren't any concrete rules in the books on inviting an ex; it all boils down to the circumstance. Two things to consider on whether to invite your ex or not is 1) if he/she has been an important part of your life as a couple, and 2) if your soon-to-be bride/groom is COMPLETELY on board with the idea. If you answer "no" to any of the questions or if you feel even a tinge of uncertainty, it's advisable to just keep your ex out of your guest list."

A lot of people have managed to stay friends with their exes. It’s not entirely unheard of. Exes fall into different categories. There are the puppy-love encounters—those first relationships that have had no bearing on your adult life whatsoever; the passers-by—people you dated once, twice, or too few times to resemble anything serious; and then of course the go-for-broke blokes, the exes who broke us into a million pieces, forced us to look at ourselves in the harsh light of truth, and ultimately, the ones who made us better for the next one.

Most people stay friends with the first two types. And more importantly, it’s easier for partners to deal with those as well. They are the exes you can probably (safely) invite to your wedding. But as a general rule: leave your exes where you left them. Travel light, but well, to the next adventure.

In the grand scheme of things, exes offer little significance in your life. Their existence can be summed up into simple lessons you can take with you as thoughts, and not necessarily in the form of a physical reminder such as an RSVP to your wedding.

Exes will always be a minefield of conflict, if not for you, then possibly for your partner. It might be okay now, but inviting an ex to a wedding could also be a timebomb waiting to be set off, inflicting an unnecessary strain on your relationship. In life and in love, it’s always best to err on the side of caution—besides, that’s one less person you have to feed at your wedding. Take it as a win.


Lead photo from Instagram.