Welcome to Ask Anka, a weekly column where sex therapist Anka Radakovich dives into your most intimate issues with advice and tips to help you live your best sex and relationships life. Have a question for Anka? Drop us a DM (no fear, we’ll keep it anonymous) on Instagram @Brides.
How do you tell an ex who you’re still close with that they aren’t invited to your wedding?
Most people (especially men) say they wouldn’t want to go to an ex’s wedding anyways, so telling them shouldn’t be a big deal. Weddings are about new beginnings and celebrating the future with your new love, not worrying about what you ex thinks.
It would be torture for me to go to my ex’s wedding, but that’s just me. (Being forced to watch a guy who dumped you marry his “dream girl,” who wasn’t me? No thanks.) And the last thing you want to worry about at your wedding is how your ex will behave. Or even worse, how your ex’s plus one will act. I went to a wedding once where the ex-boyfriend’s date dressed inappropriately and drank way too much at the reception. Everyone was asking “Who is that?” before the night was over.
Master the awkward and blame other people.
When in doubt, put the blame on your fiancé or your fiancé’s family—which could be the truth. Say to your ex, “I would love to invite you to my wedding, but my fiancé would find it awkward, and his family would feel uncomfortable too.” They won’t be able to argue with that. If they ask if you would also feel uncomfortable, just tell them the truth. It’s your wedding, and it’s not up for negotiation.
If you say you are still close, you could also break the news with a more casual, direct approach, such as, “I just can’t invite you to my wedding. It would just be too awkward. Please don’t take it personally. But we will always be friends.” They might even be happy now that he/she doesn’t have to explain to your fiancé’s family how they know the bride.
Etiquette 101: Never do anything unless you are 100% comfortable.
Emily Post, who wrote what’s considered the first etiquette book, Etiquette in Society, In Business, In Politics, and at Home in 1922 summed it up best: Don’t do anything that makes anyone uncomfortable. The advice still holds true today. This should be your general rule with your entire wedding. If you are not 100% comfortable with any aspect of planning the wedding, don’t do it. If you think anyone you might invite has even a remote possibility of upsetting your beautiful wedding, don’t do it. (Remember Ross and Emily’s disastrous turn of events during their nuptials in Friends?)
If you want to stay BFFs, plan ahead.
If you still want to stay friends with your ex, and don’t want he/she to be hurt, plan a future group dinner with friends that includes him/her. The queen of “uncoupling,” Gwenyth Paltrow, actually goes on vacations with her ex-husband Chris Martin, her new husband Brad Falchuck, and their kids. Of course this requires extreme emotional maturity and politeness, so be prepared. Fun fact: Prince Harry invited two ex-girlfriends to his wedding with Mehgan Markle (Cressida Bonas and Chelsy Davy). And Kate Middleton also invited two ex- boyfriends to her wedding, while Prince William invited four (!) ex- girlfriends! Miraculously, nobody embarrassed anybody. #UncouplingGoals
Anka Radakovich is a couple’s counselor, certified sexologist, and sex therapist. Follow her on Twitter @ankarad.