I read recently that Reese Witherspoon committed a faux pas by not inviting her ex-husband Ryan Phillippe to her recent wedding to Jim Toth.
I couldn’t disagree more.
As it turns out, this dovetails with a question a friend recently posed to me regarding when, if ever, it’s permissible to invite exes to weddings. Every situation is different, but here are some factors to consider.
- In Reese’s case, Ryan is widely rumored to have cheated on Reese, leading to their divorce. Reese has described the experience as “humiliating.” My thought: If you feel someone has humiliated you, don’t invite them to your wedding, no matter who they are. In addition, if you’re attempting to turn over a new leaf with a second marriage, seems like the presence of a husband from an unsuccessful marriage may not put you in the best mindset. The day is going to be emotional as it is, and you shouldn’t feel selfish for not inviting someone whose presence is upsetting to you.
- Some might say Reese should have invited Ryan for the sake of their children. However, Peggy Post states in her book Wedding Etiquette that children are a reason not to invite an ex. The presence of a father when your mother is marrying someone else could be confusing for children and uncomfortable for the husband-to-be.
- That said, if you have an amicable relationship with your ex, your children have clearly adjusted to your new relationship, and your fiance(e) is comfortable inviting your ex, then it may be a nice gesture. Valerie Bertinelli invited her ex-husband Eddie Van Halen to her recent wedding to Tom Vitale, and I thought it was really classy. However, Valerie says she and Eddie have a good relationship without animosity. That’s essential if you’re consider inviting your ex.
- If the ex was a boyfriend or girlfriend rather than a husband, then this question is a little less loaded. Still, many factors could influence your decision. How recent was the relationship? Does your betrothed feel threatened by your ex? (Whether he/she has good reason to be or not is also worth considering, though too big a topic to tackle in this post.) Do you consider your ex a close friend? Only you can weigh these factors and determine what makes the most sense for the both of you.
- As a rule of thumb in any situation, would the ex’s presence be more positive or negative? If the ex has become a true friend and his/her presence would not agitate you, your spouse-to-be or any children involved, then by all means, invite that person. But if he/she brings up negative feelings for you, your fiance(e) or children, then leave the ex off the guest list.
Photo by iStockphoto.com