Should You Invite Your Ex to Your Wedding? Experts Weigh In

It's one of the most awkward decisions you'll have to deal with.
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Sarah Title - Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert.
Sarah Title
Bridal Fashion & Shopping Expert
  • Sarah writes a variety of content for The Knot and WeddingWire, including bridal fashion advice and product recommendations.
  • Sarah’s work has also been featured in Brides, Nicki Swift, Betches and Style Me Pretty.
  • Sarah lives in Alexandria, VA with her (new) husband and golden retriever named Brady.
Updated Jun 07, 2023

Creating your wedding guest list is one of the first steps of wedding planning. The number of guests you choose to invite informs your venue choice, budget, wedding style and so much more. This is why it's so important to get it nailed down as early as possible. Close friends and family members are the easy part, but what about people in your life you're not so sure about, like an ex? Is inviting your ex a good idea? Or should they be left in the past? We tapped a few experts to answer all of your questions and weigh in on whether or not they think it's a good idea. Plus, tips on how to actually make the decision.

In this article:

Should You Invite Your Ex to Your Wedding?

There's no short answer to this question, unfortunately. The truth is, it depends on the situation. "There are many things to consider when thinking about including an ex in your wedding celebration," says Nora Sheils, founder of Bridal Bliss and co-founder of Rock Paper Coin. "How long ago were you an item? If it was recent and they are still hurt you may want to avoid it for both of you. However, if it was years ago, you have both moved on and stayed friends than great! Also, think about how your future spouse would feel about having this person at their wedding. Is it awkward? Skip it. Are they fine with it? Then include them!"

Is it Bad Luck to Invite Your Ex to a Wedding?

If you're a superstitious person you might think so, but it really depends on how you and your significant other feel about them being there. According to one expert, your wedding should focus on the future and not the past. "Your priority is your future, celebrating finding the love of your life and devoting the few moments you have that night to the people who deserve to attend your special day," says Kathryn Johann, owner of Parties by the Sea in Southern California. You don't want the celebration to be overtaken by worrying about running into your ex or talking to them. "Even when a relationship ends amicably, history often exists and has the potential to upstage the true reason for the celebration - your marriage to the love of your life," says Alexandra Denniston, owner and lead planner at Eventlightenment Planning in Rhode Island.

When to Invite Your Ex to Your Wedding

While it may not seem like the best idea when you first consider inviting your ex, there are some cases in which it may be appropriate. If you dated a long time ago and your families have remained friends, it may be awkward not to include them. "It's ok to invite an ex to a wedding if you have both moved on and stayed friendly," says Sheils. "If it's truly a platonic relationship and no one will feel awkward (ie: your future spouse or theirs!), then go for it. The goal is to avoid awkward interactions!" Another situation where inviting your ex might be okay? "If you remain good friends with your ex within a circle of friends that will be invited to the wedding," says Denniston. Lastly, if your ex is from middle school or high school and it wasn't actually dating (even though it felt like at the time it was) sending an invite is perfectly acceptable. The rule of thumb is to check in with your partner about it. "You should also have a conversation with your significant other whether it is your ex or their ex being considered for an invite," recommends Denniston. "Communicate how you feel about including or not including this person and have an honest discussion about what feels most appropriate."

When to Not Invite Your Ex to Your Wedding

If inviting your ex to the wedding would make you, your Fiancé, or anybody else uncomfortable, they shouldn't be on the guest list. "Absolutely do not invite your ex if your future spouse is not 100% on board. It is their wedding too and you want them to be 100% comfortable," advises Sheils. "Also, if either side is still upset about the breakup or it's relatively fresh, skip it. Or, will it make others uncomfortable? Maybe your maid of honor who bashed your ex or your parents that loved them dearly?"

What To Do if Your Fiancé Wants to Invite Their Ex

If your future spouse wants to invite their ex, it's important you speak up and explain that it would make you uncomfortable and articulate why. "If your significant other wants to invite their ex, have an open conversation about it. If there is even an ounce of uncertainty then skip it," says Sheils. "This is supposed to be one of the best days of your life and including an ex could really put a damper on that." Chances are, if you're open and honest, your significant other will completely understand. If it's their side of the family that is pushing for the ex to be on the guest list, use your partner as mediator to explain to them that it would make you feel uncomfortable.

What To Do if Your Ex Invites You to Their Wedding

If your ex sends you an invitation to their wedding, take a minute to consider all the factors. "Assess the 'weird' factor for yourself based on your individual situation," suggests Denniston "How close are you? How comfortable are you with not being together anymore? What is your relationship like with their friends and/or family? If you'll be an outlier guest...maybe consider declining the invite. Everyone's relationship with their ex is different, so ultimately it depends on your unique situation as to whether it is appropriate or comfortable to invite an ex (or attend an ex's wedding)!" In the case that you've been able to maintain a platonic friendship, there's no hard and fast rule that says you aren't allowed to go. "Have you moved on, are in a good place and are legitimately happy for this person? Then go and celebrate them," says Sheils. "While you are there, no need to share intimate stories or shout from the rooftops that you are an ex. Keep it classy!"

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