Help! Fiance wants my ex, his friend, in wedding party.
March 20, 2012 8:33 AM   Subscribe

[WeddingDramaFilter] My fiance wants his best friend, my ex, who may still be in love with me, in the wedding party. And it gets more complex from there. Help me figure it all out!

Some years ago, Ex and I had a fairly serious relationship. After it broke up, Fiance and he became close, and after that, I wound up getting involved with Fiance. (We all work in a relatively small field) This initially prompted some awkward conversations between Ex and Fiance, but it seemed to be resolved, with Ex wishing blessings upon us both, and saying that (other than himself) he couldn't think of anyone he'd rather me be with. Ex and Fiance have managed to maintain their friendship. Ex and I, however, while we're on relatively friendly terms, don't talk too much-Ex's Partner is particularly jealous of me, and it causes fights in their relationship when we talk. Fiance, I, (and Ex's partner, for that matter) both believe Ex to still be in love with me, though we differ on the degrees. It's not a problem in our relationship, though-Ex and Ex's Partner live far away.

The Problem:

Fiance says that Ex is one of his closest friends, and he would definitely want him in the wedding party. I'm having trouble voicing or clarifying opposition to this. Fiance asked me if I would feel emotionally uncomfortable if Ex were in the ceremony, and the answer is no. I really like Ex, and would love to have him (if genuine) celebrate our happiness. I'm not opposed to this on personal grounds, and have always said that I'd have no issues inviting exes in general to the wedding. But it's hard-But I'm worried about complicating drama.

1. It seems possibly a little unfair to Ex. One of the reasons that Ex broke up with me was financial-he felt he couldn't keep up his end or provide for me. Ultimately, with distance and time from the situation, I can tell that there are dozens of better reasons we never would have worked-but from conversations with Ex, it seems like he prefers to view it as finances, bad timing and his rotten luck that kept us apart. Thus, it feels a little bit like kicking the guy when he's down to force him to watch Fiance spend a ton of money on a wedding-kind of like, "Hey, want to come help me do this relationship better than you did, and marry the woman that you still kind of wish you could be with?" Also, Ex loves being the "strong,silent" type that might say yes just to be a good friend or to show it's fine, even when it's not.

2. Many of my friends strongly dislike Ex because of the circumstances of our breakup-including possibly at least one of the bridesmaids, who has cheerily said she would love to "watch him burn." While I doubt physical conflict would erupt, it still seems like a recipe for sadness.

3. Ex's Partner really hates me, occasionally tries to call or email me to talk about Ex inappropriately, and whenever we run into her, she makes really catty commentary. Normally it is just mildly frustrating, but I suspect that on the day of my wedding, I will really, really, not want to deal with it. Thus, I really don't want her at this wedding.

Fiance thinks it'll be totally fine-he thinks that Ex would completely understand being asked not to bring her and would happily do so. Fiance thinks she should be fine with it - after all, Ex will be there to watch me get married, which kind of discourages tawdry affairs. Fiance further suggested that maybe Ex would just not tell her about the wedding if it looked likely to cause trouble. (Ex has lies-of-omission issues when it comes to girlfriends and awkward subjects, which is one reason we're not together anymore) Fiance also suggests helpfully that maybe they'll break up by then! (They've been together for years now)

4. We are planning on an open bar. Ex is a heavy drinker. When Ex drinks, he gets somewhat talkative. I dread any kind of toast that might come out of his mouth. It is not impossible that he will say something about our previous relationship.

I think this plan is the worst house of cards I've ever heard of, and it's practically a recipe for having Ex's Partner, who delights in making scenes, show up at my wedding uninvited with an axe to grind. Or having Ex and Bridesmaid fighting. Or a host of other awful situations, some named above. But at the same time, I don't want to deprive Fiance of the support he needs. Also, we're inviting other exes we like far less, so it might be weird if he weren't there.

Please help me figure out how to deal with all this! I haven't set up a disposable email, but if anyone indicates their willingness to memail about it for further support, I will happily ping you from my account.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Don't invite either Ex or Ex's partner. Honestly, this is such a shitty option but I think it's the least bad. Inviting only Ex and not Ex's Partner is a license for Ex to be isolated and drunk and Ex's Partner to have a quasi-legitimate reason to go on badmouthing you. Inviting both leads to the scenario you outline.

I would make it a point to have a small dinner with you, Fiance, Ex, and a few other mutual friends at some point after the honeymoon and just use that as an opportunity to gloss over the wedding invite situation and firmly establish that you both intend to remain friends with Ex.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:40 AM on March 20, 2012 [8 favorites]

I think the problem that you're having is that your sentence here:

"Fiance asked me if I would feel emotionally uncomfortable if Ex were in the ceremony, and the answer is no." incorrect. You say that you wouldn't feel "emotionally uncomfortable" if Ex were in the ceremony, and clearly are. Not from an "oh I wish I were still with Ex" sense, but "there just would be drama" sense. Which is valid.

So I'd start with that -- go back to your fiance and tell him, "Okay, I've thought about it, and actually I AM a little uncomfortable with Ex being involved, but here's why," and then tell him about points 2 through 4 - your friends are still not all that happy with him, Ex's partner has issues with you, and you're worried about Ex's drinking affecting the toast.

Your fiance will probably ask you about point 1. Affirm that you know it wouldn't have worked out with Ex. Focus on how YOU'RE cool with him being an ex, but you're not sure HE is.

Figure out together with your fiance how to address these issues -- but you definitely have a right to at least express them.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:41 AM on March 20, 2012 [24 favorites]

If the circumstances of your breakup were so horrible, I am confused as to why your fiance is such good friends with your ex. There seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the reactions of your other friends -- such as the bridesmaid who would like to "watch him burn" -- and your fiance who considers him a best friend.

It's natural to want one's best friend at one's wedding. At the same time, it's also completely reasonable to not want one's ex at one's wedding. I think in this case your desire to not have him at your wedding should trump your husband's desire to have his best friend there. It does sound like a complicated situation though.
posted by peacheater at 8:42 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can't invite your ex to be in the wedding party, or even attend, and not invite his long-term partner. That would be really rude. Beyond that, I think you're doing the worrying of a lot of other people- it's not your job to police how the ex feels, how his partner feels, how your friends feel. You and your fiance have to weigh this decision for yourselves and plan accordingly. If you're already having a big party, I think it might be worth just inviting them. You'll be occupied with other stuff on your wedding day, you'll probably hardly even notice they're there. People that hate me (from my church, go figure) showed up to my wedding but it didn't ruin my day.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:42 AM on March 20, 2012 [12 favorites]

It seems like there are 2 separate issues here: in the wedding party, or invited at all.

As to In The Wedding, honestly, I think it's a bad idea. You shouldn't have Exes in the wedding (at least Serious Exes). It doesn't sound like Fiance is really really pulling for him? but honestly, I think you can just say "I think this is inappropriate, I think it will be bad for me, bad for him, bad for our friends, and bad for the wedding guests". You don't have to feel like it will destroy people emotionally.

As to invited at all, though, which many of these questions refer to: You cannot invite him and not his serious long-term partner. That is a huge breach of etiquette, which means it's either both of them or neither of them. And honestly, again, no Serious Exes at the wedding is a perfectly acceptable line to draw.

Really, the low-drama thing here is to just not invite them. He's an Ex, it's fine. You don't have to come up with extra, additional excuses beyond that.
posted by brainmouse at 8:42 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Ex's Partner really hates me, occasionally tries to call or email me to talk about Ex inappropriately, and whenever we run into her, she makes really catty commentary. Normally it is just mildly frustrating, but I suspect that on the day of my wedding, I will really, really, not want to deal with it. Thus, I really don't want her at this wedding.

This seems like the crux of the matter, practically speaking -- you (understandably) don't want Ex's Partner at your wedding, and you can't invite one half of a couple, PARTICULARLY when it comes to the wedding party.

If you invite the Ex and his partner to the wedding as normal guests, you can do the hello-thanks-for-coming and then otherwise not have to interact with them; if he's in the wedding party, they'll be around MUCH more, including the rehearsal dinner and such. If that's a situation you want to avoid, then that's a super-practical, easy to explain, totally valid reason not to have him in the wedding party.

There are plenty of other reasons, of course, but that one seems like the easiest case to make to your fiancé.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 8:46 AM on March 20, 2012

Well, to simplify things, you really can't ask your Ex to not bring his partner to the wedding. You really, really can't. This goes double if he's in the wedding party, traveling to the wedding from afar, and incurring all sorts of costs to be there (suit, parties, whatever).

If they're still together then, she's coming to the wedding, whether the ex is in the wedding party or not. To not invite her would be horribly horribly rude of you, and probably cause your ex to decline any invitation.

So. The drama quota is high, regardless. Trust your ex to refuse if he's uncomfortable with being in the wedding party, trust your bridesmaid to keep her feelings to herself, and trust your fiance to know whether your ex is or is not one of his closest friends.

The choices you have are:

a) invite ex and partner to the wedding. His being in the wedding party is actually irrelevant in terms of levels of drama, so do what you prefer.

b) don't invite ex and partner to the wedding at all. His not being invited will probably cause hurt feelings if your fiance feels ex is one of his closest friends.

Talk to your fiance and pick the best option for the two of you.
posted by lydhre at 8:46 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

How important is it to you to *have* a special group of people be officially denominated your wedding party, and how much of the drama would be cured by not having one?

As for toasts, consider putting a trusted friend in charge of the microphone, and ordering him/her not to give it to Ex if Ex is drunk.
posted by willbaude at 8:48 AM on March 20, 2012

So, he asked you if it would be emotionally difficult for you and you said, "No." Why?! He gave you an out and you didn't take it. Go back to your fiancé and tell him that actually your answer is "yes."

You are clearly no bridezilla but I think you are within your bounds to ask for no ex-romantic partners in the wedding party. Also, who cares whether he has a torch for you? You are taken. End of story. If he makes any overtures, you can tell him that you do not feel the same way and that his expression is inappropriate. Stop thinking about this guy and stop over analyzing everyone's special snowflake feelings. Which, really, you don't know.
posted by amanda at 8:48 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

My inclination would be to invite Ex and his Bitchy-Current to the wedding but not ask him to be in the wedding party.

Leaving Ex out of the wedding party goes a long way to preventing him from making a toast.

Seating Ex and date away from your friends is just good sense.

My wedding had <1>
It's entirely possible that Ex will decline, or choose to come alone if he thinks he will be uncomfortable as a guest. It's harder to decline an invite to the wedding party.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 8:52 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

I gotta say, there are really three possibilities here:

1. Have Ex in the wedding party, and deal with it. And, yes, you have to invite his partner.

2. Invite Ex and his partner, yes, you have to invites his partner, and not have to deal with him as part of the wedding party so that cuts down on the time you have to spend with him on your wedding day --- possibly with this option you can "assign" someone not in the wedding party to keep an eye out for him or put him at a table where he'll be with people who can keep him "safe"

3. Not invite him at all.

If you go with 1 or 2, though, it includes his partner. It just does. Or you'll create far more drama in his relationship.

Also, any wedding dj worth their salt knows when not to give a microphone to a drunk person at the wedding, so just instruct your dj to not give the microphone to anybody not on your approved list to receive the microphone. This won't have been the first time they have dealt with such an issue.
posted by zizzle at 8:56 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think the best option is to elope and put the wedding money in a "savings for future fun" account.

Barring that solution—and believe me, I am totally correct—you have two choices.

1. Make a small wedding, where you can exclude all but your nearest and dearest, followed by a party for all. This works great: a ceremony of 10 to 30 people, mostly family and old friends, and then you all arrive at a party, where that group plus another 100 can cut loose.

2. Have a big-ass wedding, and let the chips fall where they may. Someone drinks a lot and gets chatty? Someone's a total bitch? Guess whose problem this isn't: THE BRIDE'S. Nothing is your problem on your wedding day. If people get out of line in any way, it is the responsibility of the couples' friends to deal with the drama. And so what? Humanity is complicated. Let the grownups be grownups and the fools be fools.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:57 AM on March 20, 2012 [7 favorites]

My wedding had less than 100 people, and there were still people I barely spoke with because I was busy, or they came late, or left early; anticipate that she will be one of those people for you.

If your Fiancé wants the Ex in the wedding party because he doesn't have enough buddies to match your bridesmaids, lose some bridesmaids.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 9:02 AM on March 20, 2012

Is your fiancée getting married to your ex / his friend, or to you? I have to wonder because it seems like his options are "piss off his friend" or "piss you off" and I fairly sure when getting married to you that "piss you off" is the wrong choice.

You say, "I am not comfortable with the level of stress that having him in the wedding party will add to an already stressful day, so I have to ask you not to include him." Really that should do the trick. I would probably get a bit huffy if asked to explain that stress in detail considering that you have undoubtedly already explained the details of the breakup, etc.

He should just say, "okay, I understand, let's think of another possibility!" You know. Working together! Like partners!
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:09 AM on March 20, 2012 [6 favorites]

1 and 2 are your Ex's problem, 3 is your problem, and 4 is everybody's problem. The fact that you have four frickin problems says something; it says you need to sit down with your fiance' and discuss why, upon reflection, you think inviting the Ex is a bad idea.

There's a lot of weirdness here, that's for sure.
posted by sm1tten at 9:11 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

If he's your husband's best friend and your husband wants him in the wedding, then do that. And of course you have to invite the significant other.

Ways to cut down on drama: don't have a head table. Sit with your families and let the people in your wedding sit with their significant others. Don't let random people give toasts - just set up whoever is going to toast and tel the MC/DJ/Person with the mic that there is no open time for toasts.

There was all sorts of drama at my wedding involving people who didn't like each other, or me, or whatever. I had no idea at the time. I was too busy having fun and being in love.
posted by dpx.mfx at 9:12 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm going to join the consensus here that yes, you do sound like you're emotionally uncomfortable with this.

Compassion for others is an emotion. Your own fear and anxiety are emotions. You feel that it would be unnecessarily cruel to your ex to put him through this — and on top of that, you suspect that it will give you a lot of extra worries on your wedding day. That sounds to me like a whole heap of emotional discomfort. I'm not just trying to twist words around here to fit you into some sort of "emotional discomfort" loophole. The pain that you feel when someone you like is suffering and you're worried that he's about to make an ass of himself? That's real pain — just as real and potentially just as intense as the pain of garden-variety jealousy.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:13 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I would never invite an ex to my wedding. It would just feel awkward. And I get the sense that you feel awkward having him there. He can't interact with your friends, you have a bad relationship with his partner and there will be a tiny part of you spending your wedding and reception worried about how the ex and his partner are going to act around the rest of your guests. Weddings are stressful, why add on to the stress?

You and your fiancé need to have a talk about your concerns and you need to be honest about the things that stress you out with this situation and he needs to be honest with you about how important his friend's involvement is and once all the chips are on the table you can work as partners to make a decision as a couple. There are creative ways to deal with this on top of the in or out options and you and your partner can come to a solution that will probably involve some compromise but will work best for you as a couple.
posted by GilvearSt at 9:16 AM on March 20, 2012

Also, if you don't mind some unsolicited metacommentary, it looks like you're looking for a way to please everyone — to make sure your fiance, your ex, your ex's partner and your guests all get their first choice, even if it means that you have to bend over backwards and jump through hoops to get there.

There probably won't be a way to please everyone. That's okay. It's not your fault — if anything, it's your ex's fault for being unwilling to face reality about your breakup, and his partner's fault for being catty and difficult.

So you have to decide what your priorities are here. Your own sanity needs to be priority #1. Your relationship with your fiance is a close second — priority #1-a, let's call it. So what's your second priority? A reasonable guarantee that there won't be drama at the ceremony? A ceremony where you keep up appearances and nobody is conspicuously absent? A stable friendship between Ex and Fiance? A stable we're-exes-but-we're-on-speaking-terms-ship between yourself and Ex? If you try to focus on all of those you're going to make yourself crazy, which is violating priority #1 and you can't do that. So pick one.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:24 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tell your fiance that you are actually REALLY uncomfortable with having those two at the wedding at all, much less in the wedding party. They both sound like total drama bombs here. Do not allow them to be there so they can go off.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:31 AM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

- It sounds like many exes on both sides are invited, like everyone is trying to prove how "cool" they are. In reality, this usually doesn't work out well the majority of the time because people have messy feelings. Your friend group sounds very messy.

- You are marrying each other, right? Why are you and your Fiancé open to blowing up parts of either your wedding ceremony or reception, or otherwise just keen to cloud the day with other people's problems??

There is a serious lack of priorities on display. Why are you getting married? What are your longterm goals together?

My suggestion is that you discard every feature or individual from your ceremony and reception that isn't in support of your longterm goals together - just for the sake of planning. Agree to add back features or people, together, and only if the impact can be reasonably marginalized. Otherwise, you're better off nixing certain people or situations permanently.

(Unpleasant people situations/people can be around, I suppose, but they should be so far off the radar as to be inconsequential.)

I also am questioning your fiance's motivation here. His suggestion to allow your ex to exclude his current partner BY A LIE OF OMISSON shows bad character on your fiance's part, too, not just your ex. He's OK with his friend telling his GF lies of omission? Why are you OK with that? Or are you??

I've seen that "bro club" in action. Hon, things are kept from you, too. You're not "above" the treatment your ex's current GF receives from your ex and his friends that go along with the lies.

Your fiancé's comfort level with lying like that (about a big wedding everyone else will be attending!) is a red flag. Re-examine things before you start putting down deposits.

The comfortablness about lying and a desire to directly insert drama into the wedding are not ringing endorsements for future happiness.

You deserve to be happy and emotionally safe. This situation isn't providing happiness or safety thus far. Proceed with caution.

PS - How your ex feels about you is squicky, but less a problem than how the guy you are marrying conducts himself, what his underlying motivations are, and ESPECIALLY how you guys will handle sticky social situations. IMHO, you shouldn't be that close to people who aren't lovely and trustworthy. You can't afford it if you plan to spend the majority of your life happy and drama-free.
posted by jbenben at 10:10 AM on March 20, 2012 [7 favorites]

You first need to admit that you're emotionally uncomfortable and figure out a way around this.

First: Your fiance and your ex are close friends, so it is expected he will be in the wedding party, unless you want your fiance to "break up" with his close friend over the wedding.

However you're concerned this might cause problems regarding the ex's drinking and the toast.

Solution: no toasts except possibly your father. Keep the ex and the bridesmaid that hates him far away from each other. (I like the "no head table" idea. Disperse the wedding party throughout the guests so they're sitting with their partners and non-wedding-party guests at various tables)

I assume most of your are all relatively well into adulthood and are accustomed to acting appropriately at large public gatherings. They can handle this as long as you minimize opportunities for things to go wrong.
posted by deanc at 10:11 AM on March 20, 2012

All weddings are drama tornados. Anything you can do to decrease obvious sources of drama are a good idea. It's better to deal with it now then at the wedding when it is pretty much too late.

You are allows to say "I don't want ex or his partner at the wedding because it will be a drama filled mess. His drinking, lingering feelings, and partner's rage are not something that I want to deal with at my wedding"

You are both under obligation to select guests who are able to handle the event. If one or both of you has reason to believe that your very expensive, once in a lifetime, event will be ruined by someone who is not able to treat the event with the respect it deserves, then that person does not get to come. Full stop.

Do you really want to spend that much money on this and take the chance that they get drunk and go off the deep end? Finally break down and cry like a baby all evening? Have a "you love her more then me and you always have!" fight during dinner? Get into a drunk boxing match fueled by years of pent up frustration? Throw up on your cake/dress/dance floor?

I was a wedding photographer for a few years. I have seen it all. Anything can and will happen at a wedding. Don't make the mistake of thinking everyone is a resonable adult who will put your special day above their own selfish issues.
posted by Shouraku at 10:11 AM on March 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

posted by Shouraku at 10:12 AM on March 20, 2012

"I think this plan is the worst house of cards I've ever heard of"

It is certainly one of the less auspicious house of cards I've ever seen. You are totally within your bounds to say fuck this.
posted by Blasdelb at 10:30 AM on March 20, 2012

I recently read a blog post about "Geek Social Fallacies of Sex," and even though this is, strictly speaking, about relationships more than about sex, I think you'd benefit from reading it too. Specifically, I think you and your social circle are falling prey to fallacies 1 and 4.

First, neither you nor anyone else can simply decide not to have feelings that make your lives difficult. Your ex is still upset about the end of your relationship, and possibly in love with you. He can't just decide not to feel those things and make it so. Similarly, you are uncomfortable with the dynamic between you and him and between you and his partner. You can't just decide that it's bad or wrong or inconvenient to feel those things and make yourself not feel them. You feel them. You can't will them away, and denying that you feel them won't lessen the pain those feelings are causing you. Now you have to decide what you're going to do to deal with the pain you have about your feelings and the pain that other people's feelings are causing them. But not wanting those feelings to exist doesn't make them go away.

Second, you're really worried about causing drama. You're worried about your ex's partner making snide comments about you, and you're worried about your friends being upset, and you're worried about what people will say about your decisions. But that drama is not necessarily worse than the underlying problem that leads to the drama. The problem is that your ex is still in love with you and is unable to move on. You taking action that points out that problem is not worse than ignoring the problem, even if taking action causes friction in your social group.

Bottom line: you need to figure out what you're feeling rather than denying your feelings, and you need to acknowledge that other people have their own feelings that may or may not be easy for you to deal with. You need to face the pain that these inconvenient, but very real feelings are causing for you and others. And you need to deal with that pain head on, even if it causes drama. You, your fiance, your ex, and everyone else have been trying to pretend for years that your feelings don't exist because you're all afraid of breaking up the picture of a cozy little circle of friends where everyone, even exes, can be close and drama-free. I think that letting go of that image (which has never been an accurate reflection of reality given everyone's complicated feelings) is the first step towards figuring out what you actually want and need. Then you need to work with your fiance to figure out a solution that works for both of you, and to a lesser extent, for other people you care about. But you need to stop pretending you're not having feelings and actually talk with him about it, even if it's hard.
posted by decathecting at 10:56 AM on March 20, 2012 [8 favorites]

Geez, no - you should not invite an ex who still loves you to your wedding, and certainly not to be in the wedding party! That's just cruel.
posted by yarly at 11:07 AM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Fiance further suggested that maybe Ex would just not tell her about the wedding if it looked likely to cause trouble.

This is pretty much the worst idea imaginable.

Invite both (and refuse to let either of them ruin your fun) or neither. No to including him in the wedding party.
posted by naoko at 12:37 PM on March 20, 2012

My fiance wants his best friend, my ex, who may still be in love with me, in the wedding party.

As soon as I read this, I had assumed that the solution was simple...

I'm having trouble voicing or clarifying opposition to this.

Yeah. Just as I expected. You just have to girl up and be honest. If you can't tell your hubby to be that your ex/his best friend may still be in love with you, you are in for a world of years of a bad relationship based on not being able to be honest. This is one of those do or die moments. Girl up and tell your husband to be.
posted by karathrace at 1:09 PM on March 20, 2012

You need to be completely honest with your fiance. If, after you have expressed your concerns, your fiance still wants to proceed, you have to include the ex's partner.

But. You don't have to put up with any scenes or nonsense or catty bullshit at your wedding. You can task a bridesmaid, or a cousin, to keep an eye on either the catty partner or the heavy drinking ex and discreetly intervene before anything untoward happens. This happens all the time at weddings- someone is assigned to keep an eye on a potential troublemaker so as to prevent a scene.
posted by ambrosia at 2:33 PM on March 20, 2012

From the OP:
For more detailed clarity: this is intended to be a medium size wedding, with approximately 150-200 people. Because the guest list is already high, we are currently planning to invite some people with their dates, and some without, depending essentially on the seriousness of the relationship. I think that a lot of people are correct- Ex not in the wedding party but simply a regular guest would probably be very low drama- except for the problem of Ex's Partner. I think part of the problem is that Fiance still sees Ex's Partner as just a temporary bad choice that Ex will wake up from - and thus, not entitled to the "serious relationship" status that we are marking as the cutoff. Ex and Ex's Partner do have frequent breakups, but they always get back together. I tend to view relationships in "months/years since initial get-together" rather than Fiance, who views them as "months from last get-together."

I definitely will need to talk to Fiance again about this: suggestions on offers and counteroffers I could go in with would be appreciated. I really do not want to be the Bridezilla who says, "Your best friend can't come to our wedding." Nor do I want more stress-I'm already stressed, and I'm just in the planning phase.
posted by mathowie at 2:38 PM on March 20, 2012

"I think it could be hurtful to put Ex in the wedding party and we should just invite him and Zilla as regular guests. We have to invite Zilla, she's part of the couple and it's not like we can hide the wedding from her."

[blah blah objection objection]

"What worries me is that if we do that, it's likely to become a drama festival and not a wedding. Based on how [x] behaved on [y] occasion I think they're likely to do [z] this time if we provoke them."

[blah blah objection objection]

"Well, like I said, I think that approach virtually guarantees drama and I want a wedding, not a drama festival. I'd be willing to postpone the wedding in order to buy time to make sure it doesn't get disrupted."

[harrumph blah blah my best friend yadda]

"But you're marrying me, not your best friend. I get that he's very important to you but we know he still has feelings for me and we know that he and Zilla have a history of being disruptive, and I am sorry to put it so bluntly but I would not put it past them to be disruptive at our wedding. I don't think I've been impatient, I think I've been very patient. If it's absolutely essential to you that we do things that I think will provoke them to cause a scene at our wedding, then that's indicative of a bigger problem and we need to postpone the wedding and go into counselling so as to make sure that when we do have the wedding, it will be on a solid footing as two people who put each other first."
posted by tel3path at 3:38 PM on March 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think offering to invite the couple as guests is a great compromise (in my experience, being in the wedding party is a lot less fun then just attending; you're practically doing them a favor). With 150-200 other guests, there is no way her drama will be able to touch you.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:46 PM on March 20, 2012

Yes, do as tel3path suggests.

Please show your fiancé this thread if you need backup. I think that he sees this guy as more of a friend and less of an ex. Friend status does not erase ex-boyfriend-ness.

By having this discussion with your husband now, you are potentially saving your wedding from ruin. You are not bridezilla for not wanting to have your ex and his psyco partner in the wedding. I attended at least a hundred weddings as a photographer, and I have yet to see one instance where a drama prone couple was invited where they magically turned into respectable people. However, I have seen many were it went even worse then the worst case prediction.

Bride > ex/best friend
posted by Shouraku at 3:50 PM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best friend or not - it would not be a kindness to invite this couple*. Why on earth would someone who's carrying a torch (and his partner who's carrying all this resentment) want to spend good money and time traveling to a wedding just to pretend to be happy for you?

It's better for everyone not to put them in that position. Nobody should need to have it spelled out why your ex and his current partner don't belong there, least of all your fiance. (He does know about ex's torch and how ex's new partner treats you, right?)

If you're bridezilla for not wanting his best friend there, then your fiance is groomzilla for insisting on inviting people who'll at best make his bride feel bad and at worst create a massive scene on your wedding day. Tell him you're not ok with the potential angst and cut the guest list.

*As convenient as it may seem, you can't invite one half of the couple. Obligation invites are a plague on weddings.
posted by Space Kitty at 11:57 PM on March 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Because the guest list is already high, we are currently planning to invite some people with their dates, and some without, depending essentially on the seriousness of the relationship.

This a is really bad idea, especially as the criteria you and your partner are choosing is whether ~you~ think they are "serious" (relationships of several years are definately serious). It is also going to create a lot of drama in your friend group because it is so judgemental. Decide on the size of your wedding then invite half that number with one guest each. You will probably find you won't have space on that list for your ex and his girlfriend.
posted by saucysault at 10:46 PM on March 31, 2012

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