Etiquette: Inviting an Ex to the Wedding?

The thing about wedding etiquette (and I suppose, any etiquette), is that there are exceptions to every rule!  Some situations we find ourselves in are not always so black and white that we can refer to our manners 101 author/website of choice.  This “Ask Carly” question from is one of those very tricky situations.  Read and let me know what YOU think. 

Q.  I have very calmly agreed to invite my fiance’s ex to our wedding. When she received the bridal shower invitation, her response was somewhat insane — she called my husband-to-be and asked him if I was “mocking her.” Then she did not respond with “regrets only,” and my bridal party paid for a dinner for her when we knew full well she wouldn’t show up. The question is: Must the wedding invitation be sent? I want to take her name off the list altogether.

A.  First of all, it is definitely impressive that you agreed to invite your fiance’s ex to the wedding. Many couples who are on good terms with exes — where there is no remaining relationship “tension” — decide against inviting them because it might be too weird for everyone involved. Nevertheless, inviting this woman to your shower might have been a bad idea — you certainly weren’t meaning to mock her, but since bridal-shower guests are generally your closest female friends and relatives, it’s easy to see how she felt she’d be very uncomfortable at such a gathering. However, the fact that she called your fiance to complain calls into question what her feelings really are for him — if she felt “mocked,” does that mean she feels animosity toward you because you got the guy? Her response may imply that she’s not really over her relationship with him, which brings up the issue of whether it’s a good idea to invite her to the wedding.

You and your fiance should sit down and discuss this. Why was it so important to him to invite this woman in the first place? Is she important to him (which isn’t categorically bad as long as they’re both okay with their relationship being over), did he think she’d get angry if she wasn’t invited, or what? Technically, shower guests are invited to the wedding (and no one invited to the shower should be left off the wedding guest list), but this is a unique case, and if it’s going to upset everyone (including her) further to invite her, it might be best not to go there. Think about it: Is this situation giving you unnecessary stress? It really shouldn’t be — this ex is no longer a part of your fiance’s life, at least not in the way you are. You’re marrying him. Keep that in mind when you decide.


So, my question as I read this was this:  why, in heaven’s name, did she invite the ex to the BRIDAL SHOWER?  From the ex-girlfriend’s perspective, if I didn’t know the bride, I might not think they were necessarily mocking me, but I would find that invitation quite strange.  What do you think?